Sunday, July 3, 2005

Stress... it can be good for you...

Munich... July 2... 11:03 am. I'm stressed. 3 hours and 45 minutes to our soundcheck and final general rehearsal at the Odeonsplatz... 11 hours to go before we head to the stage... and I'm stressed. I'm at my desk listening to different songs from my music library... 80's rock... musical theater... hard rock... jazz... classical... in an effort to take my brain off of whatever this is I'm feeling. Hmmm... maybe I shouldn't have had that third cup of coffee.

Stress is something I've learned to live with, expect, and even enjoy as part of my job. It's that extra adrenaline push in my bloodstream... the extra espresso shot... that intangible thing that makes my pulse race. It's something that I associate with a challenge. In this case, the challenge is singing a high soprano part... with an excellent singing partner... accompanied a fantastic orchestra led by a Grammy award-winning conductor. Translation: I'm in deep shit.

I have found myself in situations like this before, where I'm at the point of near desperation, filling my mind with negativity ("What the hell am I thinking??? I can't fucking do this!!!"), trying to scurry about in my head for solutions. John Barrowman (my partner for tonight) said at our first rehearsal: "There that face that I haven't seen in years... that STRESS face... the one where you're pretending that you're in control, but you're stressing out inside." How well he knows, even after not having worked together for 15 years.

So... the minute I got back to the hotel, I sat in my room, my music in front of me... piece by piece I went through each song, marking specific points where syllables need to be separated for easier singing... I find starting something with either a hard "g" or "k," or a "t" to be the easiest. Singing the "eh" or "ey" sound is never easy... to be honest, I actually loathe it. I have to think harder to figure out how to produce the sound.

Yes, believe it or not, for one night, I am a soprano. I'm billed as such in the programme too.

Today, I'm in my bathrobe, going through all my technical mumbo-jumbo once more, trying to be as specific and detailed as possible... and then tonight, I'm just going to forget about it all, and enjoy the emotional roller coaster of music.

1:28 PM... and I'm writing in my blog to help clear my head. Seems to be working...

I've also made prayer requests from my friends (the BATB cast included me in their pre-show prayer, which was sweet) to help calm me down, and I think the knowledge that my nearest and dearest are rooting for me is helpful.

5:03 PM... I'm back from rehearsals (was for around an hour actually...) and I'm happy. The sound check at Odeonsplatz went very well... if all things go as they did in rehearsal, we will have a great night. The weather is cooperating, thankfully... it'll be a nice, clear evening. Perfect for a concert.

My notes are there now, and I'm getting a bit of rest in preparation for the evening. I don't have to be there until 9:30 tonight, so we're going to grab some dinner at around 6:30 to keep us going through the show.

Back to the stress. I guess the only real way to combat it is an awareness that there is much preparation required to get the job done... to be vigilant in practice... to realize what my limitations are, and try to go beyond them.

5:30 PM... Time to lie down for a bit, then head off for something to eat. Will write again once the show is over.

July 3, 2:32 AM... Well, as you can guess, the concert is finished, and it went very very well. My friends' prayers got me through (I truly believe in its power), not just for my voice but for the weather... everything went as I had hoped, if not better. You might say that I had nothing to stress out about, but you know what? It's because I worried and took the time to prepare that this night turned out the way it did... and I wouldn't have done it any other way.

"When angels travel, the sun shines." -- German proverb

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