Wednesday, February 1, 2006


When I accepted my temporary teaching job, I was asked to sing at a party in January, given the date and time, and very little other information. That party happened last Saturday night. As it turns out, it's a yearly event, invitations to which are bid on at the annual school auction, with proceeds benefitting the school's arts program. Certainly a worthy cause, and I was happy to donate my time. Nearly the entire arts faculty contributes in some way -- photographs, jewelery, paintings, and sculpture were on display from the visual arts department. I sang, of course, and accompanied R, the orchestra teacher, and the drama department had some wonderful surprises in store.

I'm always somewhat skeptical when asked to sing in someone's home. I often want to ask, "Do you know how loud opera singers are?" However, I needn't have worried in this case, as the home in question was more of a mansion than a house, with a huge two-story entryway and parlor (where I sang), complete with a beautiful grand piano brought in specifically for the occasion. I began the evening, and sang an aria from Carmen, as well as Voi, che sapete (in honor of Mozart's birthday, of course), and one of my favorite musical theater tunes, Bill from Showboat. I'm a high enough mezzo that, for the most part, soprano musical theater pieces (which tend to lie quite a bit lower than arias) fit nicely for me, and it's fun to pretend that I'm a soprano from time to time.... :)

I don't think very many people at the party realized that I sing professionally, so watching their faces as I started to sing was pretty fun. Everyone was very kind afterward, and it was great to meet some of the parents of the kids I've been spending so much time with, but that was only the beginning of the evening! We then went downstairs to look at some of the amazing artwork of the faculty, including some incredible hand-made silver and copper bracelets which should be selling for thousands of dollars somewhere. Then, S, the drama teacher and stage director, gave an incredibly powerful performance of a couple of monologues that moved everyone in the room. After a brief break so we could all catch our breath, B, who teaches stage crafts, set design, etc. at the school got up and told a story. He was introducing himself and chatting with the crowd, and suddenly, almost inperceptibly, his voice changed to an Irish accent and we were sucked in to this amazing tale of giants, which was exciting and so hilarious. We were all like a group of school children, totally engrossed in the tale from beginning to end, and he was so masterful in his crafting and telling of the story! Finally, we headed back upstairs, where R played some beautiful Bach solo violin, followed by my favorite, O Danny Boy, on viola. She asked me to sing it first, a cappella, so that people could hear the words. When it comes to that song, I'll sing it anywhere, any time, so I happily belted it out.

What an amazing opportunity to share in the talents of this amazing staff! How great would it be if we could all have chances to see the hidden talents of our co-workers?


Gia-Gina said...

I also never knew that you sang until fo course I went to one of your recitals. You have a great voice and if you ever come to Rome to see me then I will have to have you play a piece for my MIL.

Ariadne said...

In my world, it's amazing what talents other parents have as well, that we don't know about. (Maybe if my daughter's school does the all-community talent show again this Spring, I'll sing something. So thanks for the inspiration.)

Add me to the list of people who really want to find a way to hear you sing!