Just Hear Those….what?!

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned here how much I love Christmas and Christmas music.  I love, love, love it!  I’m one of those who will start listening to Christmas music on Thanksgiving Day.  Gets me into the festivities RIGHT NOW.

So, imagine my excitement when I was asked to sing a mini-concert of Christmas music to a large group of Kiwanis Club members in one of the swanky athletic clubs in the Seattle area.  I had not done specifically Christmas music before, although I have been a soloist for years, but this was right up my alley.  So, I got right on it.

I called my ex-roomy, who was an excellent pianist, and we met at her house to “rehearse”.  We picked a set of songs and ran through them maybe once.  After all, Christmas music — how hard could it be?!  Easy as pie.

As I sat up on the stage in front of these several hundred people I felt confident, maybe even a bit smug.  I was going to be singing the songs that I love the most and I was going to blow them AWAY!

How wrong I was!   The second I got up to the microphone I knew there was something wrong.  Something was rising up inside of my body that I had not ever felt to that extent before.  And, my friend felt it, too.  She started playing.  Fast.  Faster than we had practiced.  And all of a sudden I realized….”I DON’T KNOW THE WORDS TO THIS SONG!”

But, I could do nothing about it.  The intro had completed and it was my turn.  My turn to sing.  My turn to wow them.  My turn to make a complete fool out of myself…

“Just hear those sleigh bells ringling, rijerjlelijlkngln-ing, too,
Come on it’s sdlkjf;oasdkf for a a;sldjfa;sodjf ;laskjfdl asf with you!
Outside the asodjfaslkdmf;l and oeoirj;oasiejr asff YOO HOO!
Come on it’sapsodfijaosdifja;soidf for a poajsdf;oajsdlkfja sdd with you!”

What had come over me and taken over my voice? What was taking over me that I couldn’t make stop?! I Barney Fife feel like Barney Fife.  “What was that — what??”    My mind is racing as quickly as my mouth is spewing out nonsense. “Wait! Those aren’t the words!” I am thinking to myself! But, I don’t know what they really were, and it only gets worse:

 

“There’s a birthday party apsodfjalmwe;lrjlj asdpofjasdofj Farmer Gray,
It will fpeoajs;eljejfoij l  sadpofiasd of a perfect day!
It will poasijdf;laskdjfl;asdkjf o o;tijasoito sf asotija;soti;oisdj
POUOIWEurpoawesrj;laskjrpoasuerj;soifdoisaufd…….”

I looked at my incredulous audience.  Many had their mouths open in disbelief.  Others were adjusting their hearing aids.  Many of the faces said to me, “I can’t believe I have to sit hear and listen to another 20 minutes of this!”

But, in my professional training I KNEW I had to keep going, to not quit, and to keep a smile on my face like I knew exactly what I was doing.  And finally, the song was over.

It was not the end, however, as I had 5 more songs to peform.  And the rest of them were not much better.  It only got better when I got to “O Holy Night”, my closing number, which I actually DID know because it is my favorite Christmas song on the face of the earth.

My friend and I left that place holding on to each other necks both laughing and crying together as we walked out to our cars.  Several weeks later, I called to ask when we might be receiving our checks in the mail.  The agent replied, “Oh — that was a charity gig.”

Needless to say, I use this constantly as an example to my students to know their music 100% or they will end up like me.  I hope they listen.

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