I sang “Minuit Chretien”, the original French-language version of “O Holy Night” at a Christmas concert last night. I have to tell you, I was stressing big time all week about it. I’ve recently started with a new voice teacher, with whom I’m working a whole new technique into my voice. Old dog/new tricks, don’t you know. Well, on Friday, I worked with the accompanist, the fantastic and someday sure to be world famous Ryan Murphy, and he told me, “you’re just going the teeniest bit sharp in the passagio”. Them’s death words to me. Flat is bad, sharp is waaaaaaaay worse. He and I talked about it for a bit, and he helped me realize that I was pushing too hard to incorporate the new technique, and I was blowing it in the process.
Enter DH, who is a jazz saxophonist. He told me this quote from Charlie (“The Bird”) Parker: “You’ve got to learn your instrument. Then, you practice, practice, practice. And then, when you finally get up there on the bandstand, forget all that and just wail.”
I took that advice, and decided to screw the technique and just immerse myself in the music. The result was that I nailed it, and to my utter shock, got a 5 minute standing ovation from the SRO crowd. I started crying, and Ryan later said, “That was magical.” A friend recorded the concert for me, and I’ll post it later when I pull it off the mini-disc.
I think I’m going to make Bird’s quote my mantra.