Performance Jitters

by Cookie

So you all know about my “super important” music festival final I had to sing in this past weekend.  Winning sure isn’t everything,  but what was important to me was to put on the best performance that I was capable of at this moment.

Challenging, considering I had a few obstacles to get around.  At six months pregnant, I really had nothing to wear.  And the few maternity stores in Winnipeg don’t really carry any floor length, fabulous opera singer gowns.  But check out what I found!  This new little boutique in Winnipeg literally saved my life.  She does online orders too.  Thank you to J.Mackenzie fashions for helping me waddle my way on stage in class.  First obstacle cleared.

Then there was the question of what to sing.  Von ewiger Liebe, in my opinion one of the most beautiful German Lieders of all time happens to be in my repertoire.  So this is what I chose.  Have you ever tried to remember someone’s name that you haven’t seen in a year or so when 6 months pregnant?  Yeah.  Try remembering the lyrics to a 5 minute song in a language you don’t speak in 3 days.  I’m pretty sure by the end of the week Husband was convinced I was making the whole fucking thing up to torture him for some sort of bad behaviour.  A recording of it played constantly.  For three very long days.

Oh.  And the ensemble with the piano.  Lets just say that my two crazy pieces worked my accompanist to the bone.  And she had three days to learn the second one.  Every other pianist in the building came over to congratulate her afterwards.  They were that awful.  I think she charged me extra, or at least she should have.

So let’s get to the day of.  I woke up feeling surprisingly calm.  I even saw a few students in the morning, which was a nice distraction.  Then around lunchtime my anxiety started to mount.  I started to build up this concert/performance to a new level of terror that had me convinced I would get this over with and never sing publicly again.  I contemplated risking FAS to calm my nerves, but thought it wouldn’t help my memory.  Super.  Nothing could help me now.  We were in the car, on our way, and I was too proud to back out now.

So I headed backstage, and many of the other singers were already there. And of course they all knew each other.  Let me explain to you about who ends up at this thing every year.  We have an excellent program at the university here.  The teachers are amazing and the student are reflective of that.  They do this all day, every day, on Daddy’s tab.  They perform weekly.  They were talking about Met Opera competitions.    And here I am am, this knocked up nobody just trying to finish her Conservatory diploma and trying to be the very best teacher she can.  Talk about a dark horse.

So one of the girls I do actually know, and she comes over to say hello, and I tell her I feel sick.  Not baby sick, but I might forget everything I know sick.  And she says “Fuck it if you do.  Just keep going.”  Perfect!  I think up plan B in my head.

My first piece is called “Mother, I Cannot Mind My Wheel”.  If I forget any words, I’ll just pretend I’m drunk at karaoke and turn it into ” Motherfucker, I Cannot Remember My Words.”  Right?

Then this over-confident girl with her tits hanging out of her dress comes over to me.  I almost drop dead of shock.  She is probably the favourite to win.  She seems to be quite curious about singing while pregnant.  I answer her questions as honestly as possible, and then I realized something.

All of these kids know nothing else except for this.  They are probably worried about the same things as I am.  The biggest difference is that I already piss my pants on a regular basis due to the baby, so I got more experience there than they do at something.

And you know what else?  I pushed a fucking human being out of my vagina a couple of years ago.  And I’m about to do the same thing again in a few months.  And they’re all probably still discovering their bits. They’re probably all virgins.   So guess what bitch is now gonna push all her bullshit aside and go out there and enjoy herself.  This is nothing. 

And I soon as I get settled up there, I did something I haven’t done on stage in a really long time.

I enjoyed every second of it.

I didn’t win the Rose Bowl that night.  Neither did Tits, by the way, to my surprise ( she really was incredible).  But I won back something else.

I won back my confidence. I wonder if I could put that on a plaque?