Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Sondheim Pictures

Here are several pictures from the Sondheim in the Park performances I did last weekend...we don't look nearly as hot as we were! And check out Sondheim himself, in the tan blazer and blue shirt, standing amongst the crowd...

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Command Performance

Friday July 14
Weather: the hottest day so far this year.

AM: Cram rest of Sondheim lyrics for this afternoon's Sondheim in the Park festival performances. Dress in white. Shoes: comfort or cute? Comfort.

1:00 take bus. Review lyrics on bus.
2:00 rehearse at Cultural Center. We run our set of songs to the interest and applause of passers by, then review some problem spots. Still not quite confident with beginning of Have I Got a Girl for You, where I have little solos. Simple lyrics but challenging rhythms. I downloaded the song from iTunes and ran through it many times.
3:00 supposed to have sound check at our performance space in the Lurie Garden.
But, it's POURING rain. All look out windows in despair. Was our preparation, our memorization for nothing?
3:20 rain has miraculously stopped. Sun comes out. Group heads over to Millenium Park. Air is so humid it's hard to breathe. Audience begins to gather, sitting on puddles on rock ledges. Sound people set up our microphones but there's no time for a sound check. Makeup is melting.
4:05 Performance number one begins. Word is that Sondheim is on his way. Several my friends, mom, sister in law and niece and nephew are in the audience. More people gather as we begin to sing. Much applause. No Sondheim.

5:00 Sondheim due at any moment. Several sightings occur, but I can't see him as places have been called. Despite sweltering heat and relentless sun, several friends decide to stay for performance #2, a couple more friends arrive. We sound great. No Sondheim, despite rumors.

5:30 Audience begins to scatter. We get word that Sondheim has finally arrived. Would we be willing to reprise a song for him? Wow. I will get to sing for the great composer and lyricist, tho for the chosen song I don't have as much to do as in some of the others. As we sing his music, I can see him watching and smiling. He applauds with the remaining and newly arrived audience.

A once in a lifetime opportunity, well worth all of the effort.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Sondheim Performances Approach

Had rehearsal Saturday...learning the second set of Sondheim songs is a challenge. One song has a 4-part chorus that is spoken, with each part saying similar words but in different rhythms. Really put my triplet and eighth note counting to the test.
One more rehearsal, at the park itself, for staging. Meanwhile, I'm memorizing, memorizing! Is it: A is one is who is A? Or: A is one is A is who?

On another note, pun intended, this morning I got booked to be an extra one day next week for a new feature film (one of the only ones in the near future) shooting here. I'd seen the listing but had decided not to send in. I'm not in the mood to walk up and down the street or be a commuter. I've worked with one of the casting people several times before and he called me, for a nice sounding, smaller party scene.

And, should have an audition for a commercial this week. On the other hand, the two additional days I was scheduled to do for the documentary were cancelled, to be rescheduled. One has to be flexible in this business!

Finally, almost finished with book number 8!

Monday, July 03, 2006

Fitting in

Sunday was the first rehearsal for four performances of two sets of Sondheim songs I'll be doing mid-July as part of Sondheim in the upcoming festival of the great composer's in Millenium Park.

I got the gig via a forwarded e-mail from a friend. They were looking for "good sight singers" because "rehearsal time would be strictly limited." I responded by listing some of my singing experience in musicals and with a symphony choir. I am a good sight reader, learn quickly, sing on pitch and can easily hold my notes even when standing next to someone singing something different. My concern was that my voice quality wouldn't be good enough. (IMO, a great voice is a gift that should be used to its fullest extent.) But I didn't have to audition.

Friday, I received a three inch thick packet of music to learn, and was pleased to see that I had been assigned a small solo, right in my range. Sunday, more than twenty singers of various ages gathered in the designated rehearsal room to rehearse the first set of songs. Without much ado, the music director launched us into the opening number. No part pounding to be sure we had the notes, no slow rehearsal tempo. She took off on the piano at performance speed.

Each soloist had a better voice than the next. When everyone joined in, and Sondheim's mulit-part harmonies and huge chords filled the space, I got chills.
My heart beat a little faster when we moved on to the next song with my solo bits. I missed a cue or two that first time, but so did several of the others. I hit my notes. Whew. As part of the group, I fit in.

Today's message: if you have a gift or something you love to do, find a way to do it.