There's been something in the air this fall, I think, something that induced me to sign up to be a cast member in the upcoming Vagina Monologues performance (Feb. 9/10) AND to say yes to the enthusiasm of a member who wants me to be the lead vocalist for a house concert offered as a UUCWI auction item by a trio---herself on mandolin, another friend on guitar, and me.
As you might be able to infer from the title of the blog, Ms. Kitty has a strong desire to be a performer. And I've had my stellar moments in the spotlight: with friends, in 8th grade, won first place in the Weston-Athena talent show singing "Gotta put shoes on Willie"; shone at summer camp leading campers in "Sippin' Cider Through a Straw"; spent four years in the Linfield College a cappella choir; appeared as Mary in the play "A Family Portrait" as a staffer at the American Baptist Assembly in Green Lake WI; led small children in a variety of junior choir experiences; knew all the words to all the folk songs of Peter, Paul and Mary and their ilk in the 60's and 70's and sang in informal jams for years; met great boyfriends (after the divorce) through those jams and actually started to sing at open mics and informal church services because of them; sang in sleazy bars with my pal Pat in Colorado; sang at friends' weddings; performed as Ms Piggy in a pledge campaign skit at my former CO congregation; harmonized with pals at parties; made up lyrics to sing to the lunch room kids to hurry them outside onto the playground as a lunchroom monitor during my school counselor career; and, as a minister, developed a sermon-opening gambit of asking the congregation to sing some old song with me (Whispering Hope, Last night I had the strangest dream, etc.), a song relating to the sermon.
So you see, I've had my moments in the sun. But always there has lurked in me a desire to really perform for an audience, not sneaking in as a harmonizer, or leading a hymn, or tormenting junior high kids with my parodies, or acting silly in a skit. I've loved doing the goofy things, yes, but I've never taken myself very seriously when it comes to singing or acting. I don't want to be a professional singer or actor, but I would like to know more about the craft of both arts.
So when the VM opportunity arose, I jumped at it. And then Debbie asked me to do the house concert, singing old Hoagy Carmichael stuff, and it feels like I've stepped into the artist's circle, completely unexpectedly. We won't be putting on this concert very soon; it will take a lot of preparation and I may get some advice about styling a song, breathing, the kind of stuff non-serious singers never think about. But it's given life a new and interesting twist, and that's always a thrill.