All in all, I had a delightful (re)audition experience, even if my final performance was not as great as I wanted it to be.
The whole day, I felt like I had swallowed a potion of felix felicis — I was in an inexplicably good mood. But as I traveled over to Symphony Hall, I could feel my heart rate climbing and the back of my neck sweating. Thankfully, I had a good half hour plus to warm up and try to physically calm myself down.
What I learned… is it’s very different to sing under those physical conditions! I could feel some elements of my technique slipping, and I missed a few full breaths that left me scrambling for air at the end of two long phrases. I acquitted myself on my solo selection despite those issues, and I did fine on the slower-than-expected-tempo prepared piece (except for a very unfortunate part where I mangled a word, and that threw me for such a loop that I got ahead by a beat – still not sure how I did either of those, but I reset and soldiered through to the end.) I was pleased with my sight reading: even if my breathing was terrible and I had to stop once in each piece, I thought I got intervals and dynamics and rhythm pretty darn well for reading. And the ear training? A lot harder than what I had been practicing, frankly, but I think my solid music theory and my ear got me through it. It was not my best possible performance — always more you could have done, right? — yet it was one I’m proud of. I know my voice has developed significantly over the past few years, and despite the flaws I believe I showed what I came to show.
I may have fought off physical symptoms, but mentally I felt completely at ease. That was in part because James Burton was more of a host than an adjudicator; he came bearing welcoming smiles and knowing nods, full of the same enthusiasm and energy he brings to rehearsals. (Maybe because I was #2 on day 2; I hope he can sustain his gusto all the way to #8 on the final day of reauditions!) They even arranged for the accompanist to come over to the practice rooms to run through my solo piece and get tempo and markings, rather than winging it within the chorus room — truly a luxury for an audition! It was more than fair. Maybe it was lingering effects of that luck potion, but it felt like everyone on staff wanted all of us to succeed.
I’m still bemused that, despite my confidence, the body still betrayed the mind. Perhaps the next time I do an audition, I’ll heed a suggestion from a conversation with the assistant chorus manager: she’s heard of violinists who run up and down stairs before practicing for an audition, to simulate the shaky hands and pounding chest that often comes with the territory.
In the meantime, it’s a few weeks’ wait until the results are announced. I’m thinking positive and expecting a three year renewal. I would understand a one year renewal. If I’m not renewed, then I think I’d still sing this summer and then plan to audition again. I have too much left to sing.