Monday, April 18, 2011


As I like to tell people, I'm convinced that my ward would implode if we had fewer than two special musical numbers a week. Three seems to be the standard.

I'm going to gloss right over the part where I sang a vocal solo today (though my friends, who were accompanying me on viola and piano, were positively magnificent) and rave for a while about the other two numbers today.

First there was a bell choir. I wasn't entirely aware that such a thing existed before today. Apparently, I was only living half a life. It was stupendous! It was enchanting and ethereal. I'll admit, I spent a few moments fantasizing about an entirely bell-based fantasy movie soundtrack. Some of the chords they hit gave me goosebumps.

The second musical number was a vocal piece by an impressive tenor. That man was belting it! It kind of made me want to start attending the opera, though his music didn't precisely have an operatic quality to it. I suppose the best way to describe his vocal stylings would be "confident". As a side note, this is, oddly, the second time today that opera has come up.

Now I'm going to gloss right back to my own performance because I want to comment on the phenomenon of me performing in front of a crowd. It's not something I love, but I can do it. I'm quite capable of mentally bracing myself. What I am incapable of controlling is my physical response. I don't know what it is, whether it's adrenaline or something else entirely, but every time I perform I start trembling. Theater, music, public speaking. None are exempt. It's not as pronounced when I'm one among many, as in a choir, but when I have any part to play that singles me out, the trembling revs up into overdrive. Even a single line in a play is enough to do it. Heck, even giving an answer in class is enough to do it to a certain degree. The unfavorable conditions seem to be any wherein all attention is solely on me. This wouldn't truly be an issue if it weren't for my second year at girls camp. Oh, girls camp...

It appears that story time is in order. The scene: girls camp, my second year. Fifty 13-year-old LDS girls are on a two-mile hike with a few chaperones and some older girls when it starts pouring rain. Well, it started drizzling, and then it started pouring. It didn't last very long, so we all decided to carry on with our hike. The problem came when we got stuck between two slopes. We had to choose between trying to go back up a slick, grassy hill or down a rough, muddy one. We all chose the latter. The older girls (known in our part of the world as Big Sisters) went slowly down one of the sides, digging footholds and positioning themselves in such a way as to enable a hiker to be gripping a steadying hand at all times. I was the only second year who chose this method. The others all chose to use the hill as a giant, muddy slip'n'slide instead. I lacked their daring. In retrospect, I should've gone their way. Something about going down that hill messed up my right knee. At the bottom, my knee was kind of spasming like the muscles didn't quite know what to do with themselves. I probably should've asked my parents to get it checked out as soon as I got home, but I was 13. It never occurred to me.

This story has a point, promise! You see, since that day so many years ago, whenever my fight-or-flight trembles kick into high gear, it is my right knee that feels it most pointedly. It starts going haywire. So haywire, in fact, that I was worried it was going to give way while I was singing today. I don't think I've ever had to stand on it while it was acting up that bad. Looking back, I've mostly managed to wind up in a sitting position when it's done that. Huzzah for theater sets! Today was unexpected, to say the least. I was expecting the trembling, but I was not expecting it to that degree. I was mostly hoping the bishopric didn't notice and start worrying about me.

I suppose it's for the best that I've never seriously entertained ideas about being a performer.

Listening to: "Bangarang" by Pogo
Reading: Hawksong by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

1 comment:

  1. Hey, lovely style :) I could even feel the hill. I would suggest trying to give a pep talk to your right knee before uncomfortable public performance situations in the future? Maybe even sing TO the knee..? A lullaby or just a few soothing words sent to your especially fidget-prone muscles as a warm-up could go a long way...