A weekend away, with thoughts on singing for people you love.

In case any of you were considering teaching the first five periods on a Friday and then getting on an airplane, I don’t recommend it.

This weekend was the long awaited wedding of the brother of a dear friend, whose family I have known since childhood. I took a cab from work to the airport and arrived about an hour before my flight. The flight was delayed, so I wasn’t heartbroken by the long lines at security. As soon as I sat down at the gate they announced that my flight was cancelled, and I sprinted to the agent counter to try to get on another flight. Lucky for me a different airline had a flight heading out and I got a ticket on that one. All I had to do was go through security again…

When the agent at security checked my boarding pass and license, she looked up at me with a pleasant smile and said “I’m randomly selecting you to get an extra security check after you go through the metal detectors”. Here tone of voice made it sound like I was getting some sort of prize, and my first inclination was to reply with such deep sarcasm that I could have gotten in a bit of trouble.

The security agents were polite and almost apologetic about having to pat me down out in front of everyone and go through all of my stuff. No matter how kind they are, that doesn’t change the fact that my underwear is being rifled through in the middle of the airport.

I made it to Philly just in time for rehearsal dinner (although not in time for the actual rehearsal, which was fine because I was singing rather than being a part of the wedding party, but I still felt a little guilty just eating, not churching). The families of both the bride and the groom are of that fabulously warm variety, the kind that almost make you feel guilty for not being more like them.

The details of the weekend are pretty standard stuff that could send this post down the road of “today I got up. then I looked out the window. then I ate a sandwich.”, so I’ll spare you that. I will say that it was an honor, as usual to sing at the wedding of people I care about.

Most of the music was your usual Catholic stuff – midrange, needing amplification, etc. I did sing Ave Maria, which is always a treat because it is actually in my tessitura.

We train for years to get everything just right: open your throat in the passagio, raise the soft palate on that F#, maintain a consistent voice throughout the registers, make each note expressive, keep the breath spinning. There are times when that work seems horribly selfish, all done just so that we can win a few competitions, or depict on stage some selfish woman who you won’t feel terribly bad for when she dies in the end. Once in a while I have the opportunity to use those skills for the right reasons and to really give a gift to people I care about. This weekend was one of those times. As much as I love adulation and applause and being approached by strangers after shows seeking to laud me, if the people I loved were my only fans, that would be enough for me.

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