Thursday, June 2, 2011

And don't it feel good?

My junior year I decided to try out for SHOWCASE – which was kind of like the glee club at my high school.

To get into SHOWCASE, you had to show you dedication and enthusiasm by taking a four week summer class to learn all of the songs and routines, which then culminated in a big blow out performance that a ton of people attended at the end of the summer.

At the big blow out performance the new members of SHOWCASE were revealed. People cried tears of joy because they were now members of this exclusive group, and people cried tears of disappointment realizing they had spent four weeks of their summer indoors when they could have been out working on their tans and cruising the beach for boys.

I bet you can already guess whether or not I got in.

I was a joiner. I wanted so badly to be part of something. I had already tried out for Starettes (the school dance team), Mrs. Bryce in Funny Girl (the musical the school was putting on) and school senate (I handed out candy and tried to bribe people to vote for me.) Didn’t get any of those, but I was still surprisingly optimistic.

I had never tried out for the school chorus or anything like that but I liked to sing in the car and in the shower. My Grandma did say I had a better voice than Madonna. I would sing along to my “Like a Virgin” cassette tape in the car with her and she would tell me I was a better singer and talk about what a “pig” Madonna was. With Grandma’s encouragement I decided the glee club would be the perfect for for me. I was used to rejection, so what did I have to lose besides four weeks of my summer?

During the first day we found out that the theme for this summer’s show would be “Walking on Sunshine.” All of the songs would have a sunny, summery theme and the big show stopping number at the end would be done to the Katrina and the Waves song.

We had to pick a song to sing for the director and the current SHOWCASE members. For my song I chose “You’re So Vain” by Carly Simon. This seemed to me like a natural song choice to go along with the theme, because nothing says summer fun like a moody song from 1972 by Carly Simon.

They called my name and I went in with my sheet music feeling good, and for some reason full of confidence. I had never rehearsed with an accompanist; I had just known the song my whole life and sang it out loud a few times in the car that morning. The accompanist asked me if I’d like to run through it a few times before my big audition and I remember saying “Nah – let’s just do it!” Bad idea. I plowed through the song trying to envision Carly and Mick Jagger in my head but the piano was going so fast and my voice sounded so low, off-key and slow. It was over. I said thank you grabbed my sheet music and left the room.

Weeks passed and we rehearsed various songs and choreography. I listened to other kids’ amazing voices as they sang their solos that had been chosen for the performance. Shockingly enough, “You’re So Vain” didn’t make the cut.

The costumes we all wore for the show consisted of a bright turquoise blue t-shirt with bright yellow lettering that said, what else, WALKIN’ ON SUNSHINE. I chose to wear yellow pants with yellow socks and my turquoise blue Converse sneakers – a perfect match! I also put a little bit of my hair up on the side with a turquoise and yellow scrunchie.

Pre-performance photo.
That scrunchie makes zero sense.

The show went off without a hitch and concluded with all of us singing the big Katrina and the Waves “Walking on Sunshine” song. I can still see myself doing the box step and making big sunshine gestures with my jazz hands.

The director then announced the newest members of SHOWCASE and life went on for me. I got to keep my cool turquoise and yellow t-shirt and I had learned how to harmonize. And do the box step.

I have to admit I never, ever, for one second liked that Katrina and the Waves song. Not even back in the day. I hated the horn section at the beginning, I hated the happy go lucky kitchiness of it, I hated in the video how they sped everything up to make it look like the band was moving around really fast, and I hated Katrina’s mullet.

After the summer of SHOWCASE and having personally walked on sunshine with my own two feet I can tell you that it ain’t so great. When that song comes on today I change the station, leave the room, or go out to my car while the person on stage belts it out at the bar doing karaoke.

I would rather sing “You’re So Vain” when I’m up at karaoke. Who doesn’t want to sing an opening line like “You walked into the party like you were walking onto a yacht”?

And any songwriter who can rhyme the word “yacht” with the word “apricot” is a genius.

A million times more of a genius than Katrina. Or any of those Waves.

Post-performance photo with my brother.
Life goes back to normal.

1 comment:

  1. So your Grandma is like those family members of the kids that go on American Idol after a so-called loved one tells them they are a good singer? Bad Grandma!