posts tagged with 'theater'

it begins

We're well into rehearsing for the opera now, Harvey, Zion, and me. We have roles now: Zion and I are part of the Dutch crew (I'm Captain Gouda) and Harvey was just promoted to the part of Cecily, with several solo lines. It was slow work getting into the show: with so many songs and dances to learn it started out as just an overwhelming swirl of information. But at this past Sunday's rehearsal we ran through a whole scene for the first time, which gave us enough context to really start practicing at home. Plus I was able to access the practice tracks for us to listen to. What that means, of course, it that all of us—including Elijah, and probably Leah too—now have the music to Scene 1 of The Cutlass Crew firmly established in our brains. Like, so much it's preventing me from sleeping. Or maybe I'm having trouble sleeping for other reasons and while I lie awake the music is all I can think of? Either way, if you hear me singing about Moll Cutpurse, that old thief from the market you'll know why. Until next week. Then we'll have different songs to obsess over.

future opera stars

Yesterday evening we went to the first rehearsal for the North Cambridge Family Opera production we find ourselves taking part in. Despite his relative enthusiasm at the audition Elijah decided he didn't want to do the show so he stayed home; Zion also decided—very decidedly—that he didn't want to either, but I made him go. We make these children do very few things, so when one of them loves singing and acting and has a beautiful voice and great stage presence but resists trying new things sometimes he doesn't get to refuse. Don't worry, he had a fine time! They haven't assigned roles yet, but we have our voice parts so we could start working on the choruses: Harvey is singing alto, I've become a bass in my old age, and Zion—along with all the other preteens—is singing "melody", which means he can sing along with whatever sounds like the melody to him at any point. Which he's quite good at. Besides the singing we also started learning some dances, which was harder, but still fun. This morning Zion was showing us how he remembered the moves better than the rest of us. I think he'll do ok.

no business like

Lately Harvey's been feeling that he'd like to have a chance to try out musical theater. We listen to lots of musicals and sing them too, so it makes sense! Not being in school, though, he doesn't have as much access to the stage as many kids, and I figured he'd have to wait until the summer. But then via the Homeschooling Together email list I learned about the North Cambridge Family Opera Company, holding open auditions for a show about pirates. Everyone who tried out would get in! Sure, opera isn't precisely what Harvey was going for, but it's modern opera, so he didn't take much persuading to give auditioning a try. Plus the auditions were being held Sunday afternoon, just a few minutes walk from church. It's like it was made for him!

It was slightly stressful transitioning from a busy morning at church to getting ready to walk into someone's house and sing for them, but aside from the boys trying to walk briskly holding full cups of hot chocolate ("don't spill on your shirt", I told Harvey; "I did!" he answered) we managed it. And Harvey did great with all aspects of the audition: answering questions about himself, smiling for a photo, and doing his best singing on command. He hadn't had time to prepare anything, but that was fine; they just tested him on pitch-matching, then explored his range by having him sing the first half of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" in many many keys (he wondered afterwards why it was that his voice was so shaky; I told him that's what happens in auditions).

As he finished, the show's music director asked what experience Harvey had with singing. When I told him we just do a lot of music at home, he wondered if I sang too. I had to admit that I did, so he suggested that I should audition myself. I tried to demur, saying that this was Harvey's thing, and plus I had the littler boys to think of, but he wasn't having it. "It's a family opera," he told me. "And they can join too!"

So we all three auditioned. Each of us had to do less than the last: I sang plenty, but much faster than Harvey. Elijah volunteered to go before Zion and did fine; just a couple minutes was enough to show off all his strengths and limitations. Zion stood behind a chair and did his best not to take part at all, but he loves singing so much he couldn't resist singing along when it was supposed to be Elijah's turn, and then he was persuaded to give just enough to give a sense of his considerable range. Then of course we all had to get photographed and measured (Harvey told us how it was done).

Zion and Elijah still aren't convinced that they want to be in an opera. In fact, right now they might be convinced that they don't. But we were all so proud and happy Sunday afternoon as we left the auditions, that I hope they change their mind. They're both fantastic singers, and getting to be part of a big production seems like a great opportunity. I told them we'd all go to the organizational meeting and see what it's like; that'll be towards the end of November. Stay tuned!