I love to sing. My voice and I have a rocky relationship, but we make peace the best we can because I can't live without music. It fills me.
My stake (group of about 10 large congregations) just started rehearsing for a production of Handel's Messiah. I love the Messiah.
I tried out for a solo. I wasn't planning on it. I hadn't even considered it. But at the suggestion of some friends, and with the support of my husband, I decided to go for it. Not because I want a solo, but because I wanted the experience of trying out. And it went well, considering that I'd only heard the song twice before. And that I'd never actually sung it before. And that my voice was shot from rehearsal.
It was a funny thing, but after I walked out of the audition, I was hit by a surprisingly pleasant wave of tingly shakiness. It was a weird sort of rush, a quiet little on-top-of-the-world feeling.
Auditions are generally hellish experiences for me. I can sing a solo or duet in church and be okay 75% of the time because I'm doing it as a service and to praise God, but auditioning isn't like that. It involves competing against other people. And it's something you volunteer for, not something you're asked to do. So at auditions, generally, I choke.
But this time, though it was far from perfect and my voice shook in places and was tight and tense, most of my notes were clear and true. My body didn't shake uncontrollably. I enjoyed the experience. I liked the sound of my voice. I liked that I could (mostly) sightread in front of a panel of judges. What a big step for me! What a good experience.
I'm much happier and better equipped to be an ensemble member than I am to be a soloist. I don't want the part--I want to enjoy singing the glorious choral numbers without feeling nauseous anticipation of a brief moment in spotlight. I just wanted to prove to myself that I can be spontaneous. That I'm not a prisoner of my perfectionism. That sharing doesn't have to be self-conscious.
I left with a good taste in my mouth and without embarrassment or shame. It wasn't that the judges responded positively to my performance, it was that the judge inside of me was pleased.