Show Time!

Well, I did it after all – we did it.  My show went off well on Friday, well-received by the audience and with a lot of fun on stage by the performers.

Friday was exceedingly wet; it was grey and raining steadily all day, and generally foreboding.  As I finished some of the last-minute details, I watched the puddles and rivulets forming outside, wondering if the foul weather would prevent some prospective audience members from attending.  I also could not help from feeling a little more nervous, in my already anxious state, about the weather being some kind of sign indicating a mishap to come later that evening.  Luckily, I was able to distract myself for most of the day with little projects, keeping my eyes and mind mostly off of the pouring rain.

Despite the weather, that evening we had an overwhelming audience of over a hundred – we ran out of programs!  Peeking out into the audience before the show, I was excited to see so many peers, parents, professors, and locals sitting there – it was rewarding to see so much support from the community.  Whatever their reasons for coming to the show (good publicity, the friend or family they came to see, jazz music), I was pleased that we got to share all of our hard work with so many people.

A shot of the cast during our opening number, "And All that Jazz".

Afterwards, most of the cast re-congregated in the lobby of one of the dorms for a cast party.  We watched a freshly-burned DVD of our performance and ate brownies and cupcakes.  It was fun to be able to celebrate our performance together, having the cast all congregated one more time.  As we watched ourselves bow and leave the stage on the recording, I could tell by looking around the room that everyone was as proud of what we accomplished as I was – I know that I couldn’t have done it without a great cast of talented vocalists and instrumentalists, and it turned out so well!  We have even been invited to perform selections in the coming semester at a couple of events, so perhaps the show is not over yet, after all.

J-term is for Jazz

Here we are, halfway through the month of January, and over halfway finished with the beloved month of J-term at Erskine.  This Friday is the official end of my class, because that is the day of my final project – a musical revue – which has become tradition at Erskine during J-term.

Ever since my Freshman year, there has been a senior in the music department who spent three weeks in January compiling a musical revue for their J-term, and I’ve had the pleasure of being involved in all of them.  It began the first year as the final project of a senior music major, in lieu of a recital in the spring, and has been taken up by someone every year since.  The first two years began as musical theatre shows, highlighting a variety of great music from Broadway.  Last year, my friend Elizabeth did a show featuring all 80’s music, and this year I decided put together a revue of vocal jazz music.

Though we have a jazz band at Erskine, and the Chamber Singers often do some vocal jazz repertoire, there are not very many other opportunities at Erskine to explore jazz music.  I have always had an interest in and love of this genre, though I have limited training (limited meaning one year of jazz band in high school and singing jazz songs here and there in choir).  However, I thought it would be a great chance to stretch my own musical knowledge and abilities, and to open up the opportunity other musicians at Erskine, so I decided to take on the challenge.

I began the process in the fall, sifting through great jazz songs and familiarizing myself with more standards, and holding auditions at the end of November.  After choosing my cast of a dozen, recruiting a pianist, bass guitarist, and drummer, I distributed music just before the holidays and relaxed a bit over Christmas break.  Once January came it was back to work, and the rehearsals began. The last two weeks have been full of trial and error, stress and excitement, fun and work, singing and dancing, and lots of music.  Hard to believe there is only one more week left!  Three weeks, it seems, is not a very long time.  I’ll post later about how it all goes, but by this point I feel confident that everything will come together nicely – I just have to make it to Friday to see it.