Well, it’s official. Today is the last day of 2013, so unless there are any surprise contracts coming my way with rehearsals starting this afternoon, I have spent the entire year without any opera gigs. And it’s not like I didn’t do a lot of singing, and tons of other cool stuff, but it is certainly a shift from 2012 when I was on the Met roster and auditioning like crazy.
Part of the career readjustment is out of my control, of course. I have auditioned for many things and gotten no gigs. I have been asked to keep dates open, told that it was between me and one other person, and roundly praised by many experts, but at the end of the day I have not been hired to sing any operas, so there you have it. But a large part of this new life has been of my own design. After all of my daughter’s health problems I made a conscious decision to be local. I did fewer auditions, and I took as many gigs as I could within a one hour radius of my house. No flitting across the country or spending months in New York when my family might need me.
I started by taking a job as the Minister of Music at my church. I had been previously reluctant to get any sort of job that was not 100% flexible, in case I needed to suddenly leave for a show, but this job was going to require a commitment to a place, although they assured me that there would still be an opportunity to take gigs if they arose.
Then somebody drove out in front of me and my car got all smashed up. I spent over a month fighting with the car people and driving a rental car, which definitely cut down on my travel for auditions and gigs.
I did spend a lot of time with my kids and encouraged their musical development. Edward sings all the time, and is quite good at it actually. And Ruby started piano lessons, which she loved.
And of course I kept singing, but instead of singing amazing gigs all over the country, I sang at amazing gigs in Vermont! I got to be a part of the Middlebury Bach Festival, and it looks like I’m going to be doing it again this coming year. I have sung with The Burlington Choral Society, the Oriana Singers, and many others. It’s been a good year for concerts!
Perhaps my biggest life shift was that I finally started medicating myself for my long-self-diagnosed ADHD. It’s pretty great. I feel the same, only my brain does what I tell it too a little more often. But don’t worry, not too often.
And being home all the time meant that I was able to participate in things that I would have otherwise missed out on, like celebrating the retirement of my favorite high school teacher, who got me into music in the first place! If I was gigging all over the place, I probably would have missed singing at the party.
Now, I did do a concert version of Pirates of Penzance, which some of you may believe to be an opera, but it is not, so I can’t really count it. Also, it was local as well, which doesn’t mean that it wouldn’t have counted, but it does illustrate my new push to be at home.
I also had more time to work on this blog. I redesigned the look of the thing, and I started doing new things, like posting opera-related pictures on the Tenor Dad Facebook page, and doing local giveaways.
With the auditions unfruitful and the part-time church job going well, I decided to put down a few more roots and became a voice teacher at a local college. This has also gone well for me.
Along the way I realized that, with fewer opera gigs, this blog was becoming less Tenor and more Dad, so I made conscious effort to insert some musical thoughts back in with “Tenor Tuesdays.” If you haven’t noticed, for the past few months I have tried to post about something related to the musical half of myself every Tuesday.
And so we come to the end of the year. I have sung auditions and concerts (sometimes overlapping each other), but I have sung no operas. Is this good? Is this bad? It’s just different. Perhaps I will sing more opera in 2014. Perhaps I won’t. But either way, this has been an amazing year, filled with great memories and time spent with my family. I couldn’t ask for anything more from the next one, and whatever happens, I’ll let you know.