Tuesday, July 20, 2010
He wanted to make sure each of his kids had the opportunity to attend college as well, and did everything he could to encourage us.
Then came the trip to Cincinnati. The CCM campus was quite large, the staff a bit stiff and unsmiling. Immediately upon arriving, approximately 30 of us auditioners and our parents were corralled into a large room and told to sit in the uncomfortable plastic chairs that faced the front, where a giant piano sat. Just in front of the piano was a long table, where there were seated several music/drama/dance professors, all sporting unfriendly scowls. The auditioners were asked to take seats in the chairs nearest the front, the parents were to remain in the back.
I watched as, one by one, this man berated each young applicant, always with a great deal of mock exasperation and stinging words. Every once in a while, he'd decide he liked someone, and would let them finish their number. This, however, was rarely the case.
Looking back, I'm pretty shocked at my reaction to all of this. I didn't crumble in fear. I think I was pretty sure by then that I didn't want to attend this school, with this group of hostile teachers. I already knew I wanted to go to Syracuse, if they chose me. So, I honestly had no anxiety. None at all. I liked my prepared song, "Cockeyed Optimist" from South Pacific. It had an easy range, and gave me a chance to show a little personality. And besides, there was a full audience of parents out there for which to perform! I decided to focus on that and forget about the pompous jerk who would most certainly be cutting me off!!
I flashed him a quick smile before beginning my number. It was the best I could do. I was proud of it. Mumbles DID, in fact, stop me, about three quarters of the way through my song. He gave me a few notes, then asked me to begin again. I did. This time he let me finish. I was satisfied with that. But as I turned to walk off, I glanced back at Dad. He was still standing, arms crossed, leaning against the wall. But on his face was the biggest, warmest, proudest smile I'd ever seen. I put it there. Dad was proud. Really, really proud. Can I tell you how amazing that felt?
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