Last night I headed to a local theatre. I was taking Delilah and Lydia along to the auditions for The Sound of Music production that will be Pickering Musical Society’s spring musical for 2019. They are hoping to get parts as the Von Trapp children.
I love being back stage at a theatre, seeing “how it’s done” is something I find fascinating. Back in school I always helped with the sound and lighting at the productions so I do have a history there. Being a chaperone at the pantomime back in January also had me thinking about joining the musical society myself, but in a backstage role somehow.
Unexpected Turn of Events
As we sat and waited, Delilah ran through So Long, Farewell for what seemed like the millionth time, one of the other parents asked if I was auditioning. “Oh no, not me,” I replied.
But Delilah had to chip in, “go on Daddy, why not?”. So I contemplated it. It was something I’d thought about, but not for this musical, not right now, and not that seriously.
One of the helpers went off to get me the lyrics for the song the Chorus would sing in the audition. She returned with the sheet music for (How do you solve a problem like) Maria. This posed some issues for me; one, I don’t read music and, two, this song is about 100 octaves too high for me and is sung by the nuns!
All the kids there to audition for the Von Trapp children were called up to the stage. We could faintly hear the piano playing out the song all us parents had heard lots of in the past couple of weeks. Then, quicker than I expected, they were all back.
One by one, each girl and boy were then called back to perform solo and run through a section of the script. It was at this point Lydia had a bit of a wobble. She didn’t think she could go back and do it solo. You could call it a meltdown.
Delilah, myself and others reassured her. I likened the experience to ripping off a sticking plaster, once you’ve done it you wonder what the fuss was about. She calmed down though because she realised that I was auditioning too and I was in way over my head.
Waiting for all the kids to have their solo audition seemed to take an age. We chatted and I realised what a friendly bunch the musical society is. I recognised many of the faces from sitting in the audience watching the pantomime and their spring musicals.
Slowly but surely the kids were whittled down. And I was bricking it. Despite trying to act calm and up for the challenge I was trying to come up with a killer excuse to get out of it.
But Lydia and Delilah used my own words against me. Talking to me with the same encouraging words I had said to them. Then they hit me with the killer phrase I love to use – “You will fail 100% of the time if you never try”. They were right, I needed to do this to prove to myself I could. Plus, I’ve always liked the phrase do one thing every day that scares you.
So I’d tried to learn the words to Maria in the space of an hour and had listened to it on my phone. It’s not an easy song to sing, especially when you hardly know it and it’s so far out of your range that the range is just a dot!
As the Chorus auditionees were called up it became clear we hadn’t all been given the same song to prepare. This caused some confusion in the wings as discussions took place as to what we were to sing. I hoped it would actually be Maria simply because I’d at least just learnt it.
Maria it was to be, thank heavens for that!
As we filed onto the stage, some of the long-term society members were joking that as I was the only man then I was in because they are short of men! I can’t remember the last time I was on a stage. The lights were so bright that I could barely make out the people sat watching. This was all of a sudden a bit real. I was stood on a stage about to bloody sing!
Now, anyone who follows my Instagram or YouTube channel will know I don’t have an issue talking to the camera, dancing about, and generally acting the fool. I even upload a video of Delilah and I singing I Dreamed a Dream from Les Miserable when she was learning that for panto a couple of years ago. But that’s not to an audience sitting mere feet away from me. This is VERY different.
After a false start with the music when the MD was just warming up yet half of us on stage started singing (although very half-heartedly myself) we were off.
After the first sing-through, I was fine. It’s amazing how much better it feels to have just done something that scares you and you realise it wasn’t so bad at all.
After another group sing-through, we were broken into small groups. I was paired with a lovely lady called Ann. I recognised her from principle roles in pantomimes gone by. She was so friendly and encouraging. We went last.
It certainly felt more exposed in a pair. Nowhere to hide and just having to do it. I know I fluffed the words a little but I’m blaming the poor photocopy where I could barely make out the words! But I held my head up and I sang. I have no idea if I sang well, I’ll let the director be the judge of that.
The Fly in the Ointment
Lydia and Delilah seemed pleased I had done it, even if they did find it hilarious. On returning home, Grace was in hysterics when she found out. Even more so when she realised that I sang the nuns song! But at least now, when I am encouraging them in the run-up to an audition and telling them that they can do it, I can refer back to the time I did it too.
Helen did point out a potential issue – the fly in the ointment. If I do get offered a part in the chorus as well as Lydia and/or Delilah getting parts then I won’t actually be able to watch them perform – not as an audience member anyway. This has upset me a little. We do so much to help and encourage this passion they have that seeing them on stage is our reward. But, if it does pan out this way then I’m sure I will feel just as proud catching a glimpse of them from the wings.
But, regardless of what happens, I am super proud of my girls for auditioning. I am also proud of myself for finally getting out of my comfort zone and doing something I have thought about for some time now.
Do you have something you’ve thought about having a go at but not had the bottle to do it? Let me know in the comments.