A Song to Sing!

Late yesterday my son, Ryan, said something that prompted me to think of a song - and despite having a sore jaw from having had a root canal a few hours previous, I started to sing. It hurt a little to move my mouth, but not so much that I couldn't get a few lines out.

"Mom," Ryan said, "you always have a song to sing."

I chuckled at that. "Yes, I guess I do." I said. And then I started to sing another song, but this time the song was the solo I sang when I was playing Sister Robert Anne in Meshuggah Nuns - "I'll Find a Song to Sing."

That song has a lot of meaning to me. Because learning to play a feisty nun with a song to sing (as well a couple of duets, several group numbers and and many, many lines that had to be delivered in a Brooklyn accent), was a wonderful experience for me. A life changing experience, really.

I'm so grateful I had the opportunity to push my comfort zone and play a nun with a song to sing! But I couldn't have done the show, let alone the solo, without the help of a bunch of people. And I want to thank them.

So here I go:

First to Julianna Skluzacek of The Merlin Players - thanks for casting me in the show as Sister Robert Anne. You had confidence I could do this part which gave me confidence to do it. Thank you! What a wonderful journey this has been. I'm already looking forward to our next adventure!

To my "Sisters" Lisa, Alane and Cynthia, to Craig who played Howard and to Hilary, our purser on our magical musical cruise  - Thanks for the fun. For telling me I'm funny and pretty. For all of the compliments and encouragement. For humoring me as I did my flower dance. And for the hugs. I like hugs. And more! Lots and lots more - but, gee, this is long enough already so I've got to stop somewhere!
Sister Amnesia (Cynthia), Sister Robert Anne (me), Sister Hubert (Alane), Reverend Mother (Lisa)
Our Purser, Crystal Clare Waters (Hilary) and Howard (Craig) Photo ©Ed Brown

To everyone behind the scenes -  Thank for the music, the music direction, the costumes, the sound, the lights, the lovely set, for having all of our props in the right place and all the help between scenes. And a special shout out to our pianist Doug who covered for me one night when I forgot a few lines of my solo...thanks to Doug and a little bit of luck I got through it okay.

Long before the show started Shari Setchell (brilliant Bodywork & Movement Therapist, dancer, choreographer, actress, singer and lots more) was getting me ready to play my part - she encouraged me to try out, helped me with my voice, with believing that I have something to say and sing. And once rehearsals began she helped me keep moving freely in body, voice and mind. Thanks, Shari!

Even before Shari there's been my friend Joy who has listened to me as I've talked about not feeling confident enough to play a big part in a play. Actually, she's listened to me talk about way more than just that - I talk a lot and Joy is a great listener and friend! And Joy would tell me I could do it. That I should try out. That I'm funny, even. She also tells me that I have things to write - and blogging again is a step in that direction :)
Gotta see Sister Robert Anne's purple shoes! Here's Sister Robert Anne, Sister Hubert and Sister Amnesia
just "potchkying around" and singing "The Potchky Polka" Photo ©Ed Brown

Once I got cast in the show I realized I was going to need some serious help with the music - and I had great help from two voice teachers.

Thanks to Chris Kallman who assured me I could sing (seems like there's a pattern here of not thinking I can sing) and worked with me on learning my harmony parts in one of my songs and learning my notes on several others. (It's fun to note that Chris is also a playwright and director who cast me as a nun, Sister Roma,  in a Northfield Arts Guild show a couple of years ago - Donata's Gift).

And thanks to Katie McMahon who helped me figure out how to sing Sister Robert Anne's solo. That song was tough! But with Katie's help I figured out how to differentiate between about a dozen musical styles in one song including a bit of jazz and blues, rock and roll, and opera with a little Ethel Merman and Elvis thrown in. (Katie, by the way, was the lead vocalist of Riverdance - her Celtic Christmas show is coming up soon. Get your tickets!)
Sister Robert Anne - singing "I'll Find a Song to Sing" Photo ©Ed Brown

Without a doubt, though, I couldn't have been in the show at all if it wasn't for the encouragement and support or my family - Thanks to Owen for doing a lot of extra work while I was at rehearsals and performances. And to Rose and Ryan for being extra great kids and putting up with me being gone so much. And for giving me things to smile about each day. And for giving me the best hugs. And for your your patience and love.
My kids, Rose and Ryan, and I - this picture was taken after the opening night performance of Meshuggah Nuns.

And for giving me reasons to find not just one but many songs to sing.

And now, in the words of Sister Robert Anne...

"So I'll say so long, But don't get me wrong. I'll be coming back strong. Baby, I've got a song, I'll find a song to sing. I'll find a song to sing. Amen!"


Joy Riggs said…
Great post! And I'd say that even if you didn't mention me. : )

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