2

London Audition


The audition went quite well really! Much better than I expected! I was expecting to mess up my monologues and get really flustered and rush through them. But I managed to say them in a way that was beyond my expectations of myself. I think they found my Irishy one funny, which is good. They didn’t really laugh very much, though.

My songs went quite well, even though I thoroughly messed up one part of “Let Me Be Your Wings. I missed an entry and screwed up a syncopated but. But whatever. I feel like I dealt with it well, which is a good sign of a performer.

The pianist is like the musical director on “Wicked” in the West End, so I nearly had a conniption because one of my songs was “Defying Gravity.” God, it was such a good feeling to sing it with him. I was so elated and enjoyed it so much. UNFORTUNATELY, he didn’t follow me at all and took it much too fast, which didn’t give me enough time to change register a few times. But I did my best and he should have been following my lead.

The workshop was NOT SCARY!! Christ, I’ve had Drama classes more scary than that!! It was a short physical warm up with spine rolls and rhythmic movement followed by a 3 minute improvisation. I *love* improv. So… well, that was awesome? The girl I was doing it with ended it after about 1 minute though. Idiot.

Meeting up with everyone was just wonderful. My flight was delayed and thus I was 1.5hrs late to meet everyone but I got to see them for a while and we went to the Science Museum. (fun) Once the younger people went home, myself, Chloé, Neil and James S went to a quiet pub near King’s Cross for a few drinks and a loong chat. It was just thoroughly enjoyable. I had a pint of water and two bottles of J2O. Lots of fluid. Neil had come all the way down from Scotland just to hang out! How great!!!

I stayed with Chloé on Sunday night. I had never met her before. I am besotted. I think she’s amazing! I’m utterly astounded by how wonderful she is. She’s so kind and funny and fun and just so nice? And she has amazing taste in MUSIC and obviously BOOKS and she’s so TIDY and ARTISTIC and she’s FRENCH and I don’t know. I’m just marvelling at the fact that I never knew her before, I suppose. Like definitely I wish everyone had a Chloé. She made me feel so at home in her little bedroom!!

After the audition I went home with my friend James and we had dinner out and I stayed at his place in Windsor. That was nice. We watched YouTube videos for a while and in the morning I made him breakfast with food i’d brought from here. He put me in a taxi and everything.

Jaysus lads. People. Humans. They’re just awesome. I love them!!

This a photo of me singing at the opera show two weeks ago! 🙂 The thumbnail above is a photo of the whole cast!

0

Taci! Taci!


On the Sky Arts channel on Saturday there appeared to be some sort of opera marathon. I came in for a bit and watched a documentary on Caffé Taci in New York City. It’s a restaurant that has regular opera nights. Singers come and serenade the diners once a week. It sounds amazing. I would so love to sing or eat there. Or both. It seemed so lovely – such a warm and understanding, supportive atmosphere. I wish we had something like that here in Cork. It would be amazing to be able to have somewhere to perform frequently if we liked. I wonder if anyone would come. I’d say they would – there appears to be quite a devoted opera following in Cork. Imagine an open mic opera night!! Amazing!!

If only I could snap my fingers and hop of a flight to New York. I could do a musical tour of the city and go to Broadway and Julliard and Café Taci and the Metropolitan Opera. I need to do this.

Excuse me while I tell ever single one of my New Yorker friends about Caffé Taci.

2

Paranoia


My friend Emma recently pointed out to me that as singers, we are so vulnerable to any change in our bodies. I remarked that absolutely every singer has at least one thing that causes them trouble. For me it’s my sinuses and throat. For someone else it might be athsma or tension or old muscle injuries. Every one has one thing.

I think this breeds some paranoia. If we know that the tiniest thing going wrong can ruin us, we start to worry about it until we have to be talked down.

Right now I’m convinced I have laryngitis. Just because I feel like I’ve had a lump in my throat for about two weeks. “Laryngitis?!” I hear you cry. “Isn’t that a SLIGHT over-reaction?”

WELL NO. I’m just a leetle bit worried that my throat is doing anything out of the ordinary four weeks before my deluge of rehearsals, concerts and auditions begin. You expect me not to freak out?! Well then you need to send me some singing and ear-nose-throat specialists STAT because that is the only thing that will calm me down.

As it stands I’m drinking buckets of the above “Yogi Throat Comfort Tea.” Today I had to replenish my stock and buy two new boxes. I’m sipping it as I type. I’m convinced that if I drink enough of it, the mysterious larynx lump will go away and I’ll be able to reach that C6 with ease and grace. A girl can dream.

Today I mentally started writing letters to anyone who might be able to figure out what this weird feeling is.

If it were laryngitis, it would hurt right?

Gah! It’s so frustrating! I’m not hoarse and my singing’s not impaired but I haven’t practiced any of my songs since Wednesday because I’m PARANOID that maybe I’ve inflicted some terrible irreversible injury on myself, of developed vocal nodules/nodes. Nooooo! A singer’s worst nightmare! Let’s not even go there!

Right, I’m going to make another cup of throat comfort and go to bed with my programme from the Wexford Opera Festival. Hopefully when I wake up I’ll be a bit more rational. Or maybe I’ll actually start writing those letters.

Goodnight. xxx

6

Singing.


Singing is my life. It’s always been my life. I can remember being 4 years old and standing on a stool to sing ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’ for my grandparents. Every car journey, regardless of distance was spent singing along to cassettes in the back seat with my older sister. There is nothing that I have ever wanted to do more than perform.

When I was in third class, aged 9 years old, I stood up and volunteered for the first time to sing ‘Land of the Silver Birch’ publicly. (In front of my whole class) I will never forget the feeling that came straight afterwards. That infinitesimal stretch of silence between finishing a song and the applause that follows. It’s heart wrenching and terrifying. You wonder why you just did that and if everyone now thinks you’re an idiot and if they’re going to laugh at your or just stay silent and stare in horror. Thankfully neither of those happened to me at the tender age of nine. In fact, that was the beginning of my school music career. That was when the teachers realised I could sing, and that was the year that I auditioned for the school choir.

For the next three years I relished every second that was spend singing, listening to music, learning about music… My only weak point was practicing my instruments, which I will undoubtedly delve into at another time. On reflection, the fascinating thing was that my family never really knew I felt like this, or that I had “a voice.” That changed, I think, when I was in sixth class. I was 12 years old and the teachers put me singing something at the Christmas concert/mass. I think I sang ‘Once In Royal David’s City.’ Afterwards, parents of other children came up to congratulate me and once I managed to reach my mother, she said “You never told us you could sing!” She was a music teacher and my mother so I took that as meaning “OH MY GOD YOU WERE AMAZING. I AM SO PROUD OF YOU. YOU ARE THE BEST SINGER IN THE WORLD!!!”

And so I carried that with me into secondary school. Incidentally, I attended the school where my mother was the music teacher. This meant that I happily spent half of my secondary academic years in the music room singing in choirs, playing the ‘cello and learning about Vivaldi and Jazz. The school knew me as a singer, because I didn’t just restrict my musical activity to the music room, and because I was the music teacher’s daughter and that comes with a legacy of its own.

I decided to study Music at university. Actually, I don’t remember ever deciding to study music… I always just knew I was going there. That was almost a complete disaster, except that I found my singing teacher. I started to train my voice and appreciate singing classical music and opera as well as popular music and musical theatre.

I’ve since graduated. And I’m still studying my instrument, my voice with aspirations of being on stage, on TV, in a recording studio, on the radio and far, far more.

Starting to learn to sing properly is simultaneously wonderful and frustrating. It poses many more questions than it answers and every day your voice changes. It’s a journey with puzzles and rewards along the way. I’m going to start properly blogging about singing here as often as possible.

It would be fantastic to hear from other singers and music lovers in the comments.

Amy~*~