She has ALWAYS wanted to try out for (and ideally MAKE) the kids chorus at The Muny. For out of town readers, The Muny is a gigantic outdoor theater (11,000 seats) in Forest Park (much bigger than New York's Central Park!), that puts on 7 musicals each and every summer. Rachel has wanted to be in one of these shows since she could talk.
Well, this year is the first year she was eligible to even try out and she has talked about doing it non-stop for the past year. She KNEW this year was her first chance. After all, she has waited her ENTIRE LIFE for this moment!
For the audition, the kids must prepare 8 measures of a song, plus learn a dance routine that is taught to them as part of the audition. Rachel has been wanting to sing a song from "Godspell" for the past year. However, I tried to talk her out of it, because everytime she sang it, she'd get even more extreme with the fake southern accent the performers on the recording use. Additionally, the song is so fast that it is hard to understand the words to begin with...much less with a 7 year old doing it!
So last week, my wife picked up a number of Broadway music books she thought may be more appropriate for Rachel to use. Rachel decided that we were right, and settled on "Tomorrow" from Annie.
She worked and worked and WORKED on this song, even counting out the beats for her pick-up notes! How many 7-year olds count beats? She really put a lot of effort into the piece and had it down pretty good. Fortunately for Rachel, she has NO problems with singing on key, and with timing and such. She's very good with music, in general. The biggest problem in prepping her for this song was that she was singing it from memory, and her memory had a few of the words wrong! I think that she was so used to singing it a certain way in her head, that even when she read the lyrics the motor memory kicked in and she'd sing the wrong words.
We worked out those parts, and she was really good to go on Friday night. She was going around singing the song to anyone who was willing to listen that night. I was actually kind of surprised she went to sleep as quickly as she did Friday night when I got her home. She was SO wound up!
Her audition time was on Saturday morning between 8:30 and 10:00. We got up and drove to the audition, getting there just a bit after 9:00. They were rapidly running out of 7 and 8 year olds so she was able to go in right away with the 9:30 group.
Although she professed that she was getting nervous, never once did she waver on her commitment to audition. In fact, if anything, her nervousness made her concentrate MORE on the tasks at hand. She reviewed her music - ON HER OWN - and stretched out for dancing. She paid attention to everything that was going on, and when the Muny lady got up with her bullhorn to announce that the next group of kids would be lining up soon, Rachel got up and stood by the elevator that would soon take her to the audition all by herself. I can't even imagine WANTING to audition for something like this as a 7-year old, much less going through with it!
I had explained to her in the car on the way to the audition what the audition would be like, based on the experience Rebecca had last year, so everything that happened wasn't too much of a surprise for her.
After the kids in her group were all lined up, Rachel disappeared for her audition, without so much as a backward glance.
Nearly an hour later, she returned, smiling BIG.
I asked her how the audition was, and she replied "GREAT!" Although, in review, she had forgotten the last line of her piece (the part she kept stumbling over when we practiced...she kept wanting to use a line from a different part of the song), but she said that she did the first part great. I believe her, too, because she was nailing it when we practiced. She said she probably messed it up because she was nervous.
She also said the dance went pretty good, but there was one step that she found tricky to remember. She was able to duplicate it for us at home, later, so she probably didn't do too bad.
I asked her if the audition was what she expected, and she said "not exactly." Apparently, she had anticipated the audition being on the Muny stage, so the auditorium she auditioned in at SLU High School wasn't quite the same to her. However, she DID have a great time auditioning and is already thinking ahead to next year.
Later that same afternoon, my oldest daughter Rebecca also auditioned. She sang a song from "Grease" as her musical number, which she was singing very well, too. At 13, she is starting to get her adult voice and sounds really good. The competition starts to get fierce at 13, as it turns out. There were probably twice the number of kids The Muny was expecting, based on their published audition schedule.
The girls were auditioning for "Annie", "The Music Man", and "Meet Me in St. Louis." We'll know within a couple of weeks whether either of them was selected for one of this summer's shows.
I'm just proud of them for giving it a try!
Picture information: top to bottom - Muny Audition sign, Rachel waiting for her group's turn with her sheet music and registration information, Rachel stretching prior to audition, Rachel absolutely BEAMING while she waits for her group to go up (just after she ran over when her group was announced), Rachel returning after the audition (sorry for the blur!), and finally Rebecca returning from her audition.