August 4th Trip Day 13 PERFORMANCE DAY!
I still had trouble believing that I was going to perform at Sydney Opera House that afternoon as I got ready for my day, making breakfast and planning out everything I needed to get done and have ready for that afternoon. I went through hour by hour, minute by minute leading up to the performance, in my head, making sure that I was prepared. Concert attire? Check! Snack? Check! Vocal chords warmed up? Check! Music prepared? Half check. Mentally ready??? That was yet to be determined. The morning started off with a Q&A with Dr. Redding followed by a "talk through" of our most difficult pieces before breaking for lunch. (We spoke the lyrics in rhythm, but not on pitch and without exerted effort so as to save our voices.) I hurried back to the apartment to allow myself plenty of time to have lunch and get ready. If there's anything that adds to nerves it's definitely rushing around. As I got ready, I practiced our most difficult pieces over and over in my head. I did another short vocal warmup, (1) because my nerves were starting to kick in and I wanted to practice WITH the nerves and (2) just to make sure that everything was feeling nice and smooth. The nerves were starting to subside as they normally do right before a performance, and by now, it was time to leave. I joined my group where we got on our buses and drove down to the opera house. It was an absolutely gorgeous day, and, as we walked toward the opera house, we just couldn't resist doing an impromptu performance for all the tourists. That was quite fun! Heading in the Stage Door, we made our way through backstage and onto the stage for our dress rehearsal. We had decided to do our performance completely from memory, and this was our first time running through the program straight through, without our music. Things went quite well, which is always a worry for a musician when the dress rehearsal goes well. After our rehearsal, we were escorted to the balcony of the opera house where we waited for our performance (we were first) and subsequently would watch the other performances (there were three high school groups). I will spare you the details of what took place between our rehearsal and the performance, but that doesn't mean it was uneventful. Between running around trying to find water, walking up and down a million stairs, and taking ten minutes trying to figure out the toilet paper in the bathroom, I would say I kept myself rather well occupied from thinking too much about the upcoming performance. Before I knew it, the concert was about to start, and we were escorted backstage, lined up and ready to walk on stage. I love the stillness that comes right before a performance. Up until I'm standing backstage, I will have nerves wash over me off and on, but when I'm standing backstage, everything just disappears, and I'm at peace. All at once, our performance was over. It went by so terribly quick. But even though it felt like the blink of an eye, it was one of the most joy-filled moments of my life. Was it a perfect performance? No, it was not. I can recall two particular spots when our choir messed up the music. Did we sing with our hearts? Yes. Did we keep going? Yes. did anyone else notice? No. We performed with such grace and passion that made any mistake unnoticeable. I am so proud and honored to be able to say I was a part of that group. We did our best, we had fun, and I give all the glory to God for this incredible opportunity, and that's all that matters. We arrived back at the hotel rather late, and I was thoroughly exhausted (another cup of hot chocolate was in order. That could become a habit very easily!). It was hard to believe that after 7 months of waiting, planning, and anticipation, it was over. The performance was over. Our trip to Australia was almost over. We only had one day left, and we surely made the most of it!