I can learn anything in 2 weeks. Anything.

It’s been a very busy year, mostly with what I would call last minute engagements. I really wish I were the kind of artist who got hired more than 3 months before a gig, but that doesn’t seem to be my lot in life. Frankly, as long as I get to sing with orchestra in front of other humans, I am a happy camper. I’ve cultivated a reputation as a good musician, a quick study and for being easy to work with, so when someone has to back out of something, I seem to be top of the list of people to call. There are worse things!

Part of the last minute-ness feeling is my own fault. We moved from the east coast to Indiana and time sort of got away from me.

When we moved in January I had 3 gigs lined up; Johnathan Dove’s Mansfield Park, a cover for a reading of a new opera with Center for Contemporary Opera and an Operetta in Maine that I truly did not like. So I kept putting off the actual learning of it along with the dialogue, which was all in rhyme. All. In. Rhyme. I don’t know how I find these gigs, but they’re never boring. Since I didn’t like the material, it made learning a real challenge.

Generally before I say yes to a gig I use the rule of the three Ps: People, Piece and Pay. You’ve gotta have 2 out of 3, or you’re not happy. For this Operetta, I broke my rule. I didn’t know a soul going in, I HATED the Piece, but the pay was amazing (Why is it the bigger the pay check the worse the art and vice versa? More on that another time). I lucked out and the cast and stage director ended up being an absolute gem. Everyone, no matter the “size” of their part was just a rock star and we all really came together in the face of some absolutely terrible circumstances. But because I hated the piece I found myself scrambling to memorize this operetta while performing Mansfield Park. I do not recommend this way of learning. But the gigs were back to back and I’ll be damned if I ever show up unprepared.

Honestly, I was really looking forward to my cover/ paid work-cation in New York when I got a call that the person I was covering was dropping out due to a pregnancy. Usually, that’s great news, But I hadn’t so much as cracked the score and this gig started 2 weeks after on the operetta. But, I can learn anything in 2 weeks. And I do mean anything. I don’t have a day job, just a couple of students. So, as soon as the operetta wrapped up and the last unicyclist had left the stage (oh, Did I mention there was a team of unicyclists in this show? As well as a mime? A f*cking MIME! I cannot emphasize how great the paycheck was) I changed myself to the piano to learn, what basically amounted to a 2 hour one woman opera, staring yours truly. 2 hours of music in 2 weeks. I can do this. Thank GOD it was a staged reading.

I get to New York and start rehearsals and the Wednesday before I head home I get a text message, A TEXT MESSAGE st 10pm asking if I’m available to jump in for a Memorial Day concert In 2 weeks because their soprano just dropped out (turns out this soprano didn’t even want to be on the same stage with the Govenor). Can I learn a patriotic program about an hour long to sing with orchestra in front of 5,000 hoosiers in 2 weeks? Yes. Yes I can.

So for the folks playing at home that’s 4 gigs on top of each other with just about two weeks worth of preparation for each and somehow the world didn’t end. I arrived with my music learned and my shit together. Back in September I started the season with one scheduled gig. Which somehow ballooned into six full productions plus some odds and in concert here in there. It’s been my busiest ever And I am so grateful to be the singer that somebody calls when they’re in a bind. I love to be the first singer on the list to be hired but for now I’m just glad the phone is still ringing.