The Fairy Princess is a trained singer – some people may not know that, but it’s true. She attended a classical voice program, and was thrown, kicking and screaming into 24 Italian Art Songs & Arias by her Professors with nary a backward glance. That was just the beginning….
Classical training was not easy for The Fairy Princess, because she likes to be ‘instantly good’ at what she attempts, and Classical Music – whichever instrument one studies, is not a sprint…it is a marathon.
We were in class from 8:30am studying sight singing, eurythmics, theory, choir, dance, acting, music history, English Diction, Italian Diction, French Diction, German Diction, the languages themselves, our ‘private’ lessons, our coaching sessions, rehearsals…it seemed at times endless. We usually got out of class at 10PM. So…yeah – 8:30am start, usually a 10PM finish. Perhaps a few hours to yourself midday to eat, but you usually grabbed something to go, in order to get back to the practice room.
Typical Conservatory life.
It was work.
But to quote Chris Kutcher, “Opportunities look a lot like work”
The Fairy Princess had an opportunity to study.
She remembers walking through campus when she was absolutely slammed with work, thinking “wouldn’t it be great if I could just….have time to do nothing but practice’, and that is when it hit her that a four year classical music program is EXACTLY that – four years to do nothing but practice.
You may well shake your head at her foolishness…but let’s face it, Freshmen are not known for deep thoughts.
The Fairy Princess readjusted her thinking, and she was grateful for the opportunities that her teachers, her fellow students, and most of all, her Family helped provide her.
And…as she wandered up and down this show business life – big highs, big lows – as one does…. her classical voice skills were rarely called upon. She honed her Musical Theater chops, and frankly- that was where her heart was. As the man who founded her University said, “My Heart Is In The Work”, which she has always taken to mean ‘if you love your work, it doesn’t become work, it becomes your heart”.
Musical Theater has always had her heart, thus Musical Theater became the focus and the concentration. She’s added a few more arrows to her quiver of performance skills – writing, comedy, improv, on camera commentary – but if she had to choose ONE thing to do, and only one – it would be to perform in musicals, on Broadway and it’s regions, for her life’s work. She’s happy with the choices, she’s content with the focus and where it lead her journey.
However today the classical chops were required. It happens every once in a while.
Not to audition with, not to compete with, but to give comfort, she had to sing at a funeral.
As she does not always flex the high notes unless a King & I audition is nigh, she always has momentary panic.
Sometimes she requires a bit of a pep talk…
Or a surf on YouTube….
However, as she looked over the crowd in the church this morning, (little over a year from when her own Father had passed) quite large, because a rather remarkable lady had passed away, she realized that the opportunities that she had been given – to study, to grow – were not about auditions and booking work – they were about helping people in situations where they need comfort.
Artists – musicians, painters, writers, etc – are who people look to when their grief is so strong, they can barely stand. Somehow, Artists are supposed to make sense of that which can render one insensible.
Singing at a funeral is a privilege that we do not always value. We should – because the Family trusts us with sending their loved one onward. We sing because everyone deserves beautiful music as they go on their ultimate journey.
So I wanted to take the time to thank the Universe for reminding me that, ultimately, what our work should provide, is respite from grief – if only for a brief moment, joy to share the gifts that we have been given, and humility that our talents are needed in the darkest of times.
It is all too easy to forget that.
It may be the reason we have talents at all….