Part Four: Healthification, Rehearsification, and Final Extra-Special Competition Preparation

by Megan M. on September 9, 2009 (Blog) |

If you’re looking for the beginning, it’s right here. ;}

Well, Why NOT Get Sick?

It was my own fault, honestly. Marty’s birthday is August 26th, so the previous weekend we had a party and some fun evenings with friends, and the inevitable influx of wheat, sugar, and dairy. One little exception at a time, I can generally keep up with (though I shouldn’t). But all of them at once and in quantity… nope. The big problem is that I can get away with it for awhile. I think, Oh, I’m fiiiiine. And then I find out that I’m wrong!

And so that last week of August, I didn’t touch my music. Not so much because I couldn’t… but because my every tiny mote of energy was bent on doing the work that had to be done before I left. It would have been reasonable to finish this work if I’d been healthy. With a sinus infection, it took everything I had. Needless to say, I didn’t get out to buy a strapless bra. Marty spent a lot of time taking care of me. And I spent a lot of time wrapped in a blanket, sipping tea with whisky or drinking lemon-ginger shots, pumping out project work.

The day before my flight left, I felt mostly better. I was still easily exhausted, but my other symptoms were pretty much gone. I went to the MAC counter at Saks Fifth Avenue and bought half the makeup my little sister had recommended. (At this point I knew nothing about makeup. The woman there made me up; it was fun.) I went home and crashed. Marty helped me pack. The next day, I flew to Pittsburgh.

My mother picked me up at the airport and took me home to Youngstown. I spent the next three days mostly relaxing. I did a little bit of work, and I ran my music to the rehearsal accompaniments Kim had kindly recorded for me. I gave mini concert sets for my grandmother in the living room. I sang for the dogs. Then I crashed some more, because I was still getting tired from little things like showering—but it was getting better.

Checking Into the Hilton (and Out of the Internet)

On Tuesday the first of September, my mother drove me into Pittsburgh. We went to Ross Park and bought the rest of my makeup from an adorable man who clearly knew exactly where everything was. We went to Nordstrom and told them just how in-a-hurry we were, and the kindest, loveliest woman rushed around finding a strapless that fit me. It turned out that they didn’t have the right size in the store for what I wanted—but I suggested that I try a difference size down just to see if it would work. It did, and we bought it. We thanked her and dashed away.

You know some of this; we checked into the Hilton Pittsburgh, and their wireless was broken. They insisted that it would be fixed in a day or so. (It stayed broken the entire time I was there.) I used the internet by sitting on the floor outside my room, or squeezing onto one corner of the farthest bed, or (occasionally) risking a trip to the lobby to see if it was working there. When connected, it was very slow. But the hotel was ultra-posh, otherwise enjoyable (if you don’t eat, drink and breathe internet the way I do) and I managed all right.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday I made sure my pieces were—finally—memorized.

I cemented my Welsh, repeating phrases to remember to use the right words. I had succeeded in setting aside almost all of my workload while in Pittsburgh, and I had a lot of downtime. I slept. I kept myself fed. I rehearsed alone in my room (wondering how obnoxious I seemed to the neighbors) and waited for someone to complain to the front desk. (No one ever did. Whew.) I watched Keith Olbermann and Bill Maher on the spiffy flatscreen. I watched the gorgeous view outside my window, and the gorgeous view outside the Executive Lounge windows. One night, I noticed them building something crazy in Point Park. (It turned out to be a portable football field. They worked all night for a few nights in a row. It was a riot.) I read my book. I slept some more.

Wednesday evening Joan arrived in Pittsburgh and came up to my room to go over my pieces with me. We read them through, adjusting bits and pieces, and then I sang them for her. She called my attention to two places, praised my progress over all, and that was it. I am always surprised when this sort of thing goes well, because I have so little internal compass for whether my Welsh is correct. It often feels like quite a bit of uncertain gut intuition refined with Joan’s guidance and, well, just doing what I’m told! But the outcome always seems magical to me, especially this time.) I thanked Joan—gratefully and profusely—and we went our separate ways to bed.

On Friday, I rehearsed with Alan Thomas, who is fantastic. We rehearsed in the Ballroom, which was perhaps one of the most exciting places I’ve had the opportunity to make noise in. The sound and shape of it felt so good, I felt like I could sing forever—even after the first set, when I botched the words or the diction or the timing. Alan helped me get my tempos closer to what I had been rehearsing with, and everything was instantaneously better. I relaxed. I sang two more songs, echoing to the rafters. They went well. We stopped.

I uploaded the recording I had taken of that rehearsal to the internet (it took just about forever) and called John, who was glad to listen and give me some pointers Friday night. I changed my rehearsing, now, because we were close; I breathed the music instead of singing outright, and I kept my eyes closed. I was picturing the room in front of me. I was imagining the energy exchange of an audience that appreciates the music in front of them. I was working out my final interpretation and the sequence of emotions I wanted to use—simple, but applicable. I was trying to stop analyzing it and start feeling it.

A few times I sang in front of the picture window looking out at Point Park. I don’t think anyone noticed, but it would be very funny if they had. ;}

Saturday: Lift-Off

I don’t remember Saturday very well, but I’ll surely do my best to recount it…

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