Senior year the drama department put on West Side Story. I was both the wardrobe mistress and the
soloist for the dance sequence to “There’s a Time for Us.” That song became the class song. The choir
traditionally put on two concerts, one near the end of each semester. The winter concert featured
Brahms’s Requiem – that’s one challenging piece. It is so rich – I remember thinking I didn’t like it
very much when I first heard it, but when I was in it – inside of it – the tapestry of sound was
astoundingly and almost overwhelmingly beautiful. That concert was my first solo work since
elementary school… the first time after I must have realized that there were actually people out there
listening. Desiring the ever-understated presentation, Ms. Micheletti dictated that the soloists were not
to be dressed in formal clothes with chairs and stands in front of the chorus. We simply stood in the
front row in our choir robes and took a step out to sing our solos, and then stepped back to totally
blend in. I will never forget that step out. I sang the first solo – I actually pulled it off – but when I
stepped back into line my knees were shaking so much I fell into the person next to me. I didn’t have
a friendly face in the audience upon which to fix my gaze: my parents didn’t come. It wasn’t important
enough for them to take time off work – at least, work was the excuse they gave me.
The first time something like that happens it is devastating.
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