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Empathy Pains

My kids have their first audition tonight.

I guess every parent kind of hopes that their kids will be interested in what we are interested in. I think we all hope to share our love of The Beatles, or football, or knitting, or whatever you thing is. One of my things is choral music.

I sing.

I tried a church choir when I was little, but it didn’t really pan out. When I was in 10th grade I was taking guitar lessons and my music teacher formed a girl group. That didn’t really work out either, but one day we were trying something new and I ended up with the microphone. You know how sometimes you put on a sweater or a pair of shoes and you know that you need to own it? That is how I felt about the microphone. I wanted to be the singer, and honestly, even then I was a far better singer than I ever was a guitar player.

The drummer and I formed a new band and I was on vocals.

I never went back to the guitar.

I loved singing so much that I joined the school choir. I like that so much I ended up minoring in vocal performance in college.

Since then, I have sung with a lot of different groups. I am currently in a 100 voice choir with an outstanding conductor and I love it.

I usually don’t make my kids go to our performances. We do a lot of big long choral works. I think that 45 minutes of Mendelssohn or Bernstein can be too much to ask little kids to sit through, but this Christmas we did a fun concert. We did Rutter’s “Gloria” which is only about 20 minutes long and very accessible and then some traditional music and we had a brass ensemble playing with us and both of our children’s choirs were singing. I thought it would be fun for my kids to see it.

They really enjoyed it. In fact, they enjoyed it so much that both decided that they wanted to be in the children’s choir.

These aren’t regular youth choirs. This isn’t the children’s choir at a church. This isn’t the one where you go every day for fifth period. This isn’t even the one where you can stay after school once you are in 3rd grade. This is an audition choir. If they get in they will be singing with a world class conductor.

We want our kids to share our passions and we fear that our kids will share our passions.

If you have never auditioned for a choir before it is kind of scary. You stand in front of very good singers and then you sing something. Most of the time they will also play a sequence of notes on the piano and make you sing them back just as you heard them. Sometimes they make you sight read. One time they made me sight read and then asked me who I thought wrote the piece I just read.

So this evening my babies are going to audition.

When I stood in front of that group of people and they asked me about what kind of choral experience I had, I was able to tell them that I performed the Verdi Requiem with James Judd and the Florida Philharmonic.

My kids can say that they know most of the words to Tik Tok and one time they tried to sing Lil Wayne’s 6 Foot 7 to their grandmother before I stopped them.

I would imagine that the panel is easier on the 7 year olds than they are on the 35 year olds. Now that I think about it I sang an Italian art song and they get to sing Happy Birthday and Row, Row, Row Your Boat and asking second graders to sight read a book can be taxing.

I want them to understand that if they don’t get in it is okay. I want to tell them about how many times I have auditioned for things I didn’t get or applied for jobs I didn’t get, but I don’t want to scare them. Not getting things is just as much a part of life as getting them. I guess I will tell them that right after the audition.

I almost wish they would pick something easier first, but I sure do admire their pluck. I also know that 99.99% of kids in the world don’t get this opportunity and it would be crazy of me to deny them the chance to do something this cool at such a young age.

I also know how bad it hurts to audition for something and not get in.

So we go tonight and audition.

And tomorrow we start worrying about what happens if they accept one twin and not the other.

 

 

 

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