When someone auditions for a role in a play or musical, they will tell you that the most nervous time is not the audition itself, but the waiting until decisions are made and the cast list is posted. When the list does arrive, whether you’re happy with the results or not, at least the wait is over. And even if you’re disappointed with yourself, three important lessons were learned: that audition required risk-taking, the wait for the cast list developed patience, and the results provided perspective. All of these experiences will benefit us in other areas of academia and in life beyond the walls of Dana Hall.
No one knows this better than I do. Most of my life has been occupied with practicing, private lessons, rehearsals, and concerts — a never-ending circular process that has obligated me to take risks, be patient, and adjust my perspective, especially when the results were not what I envisioned. Who better to teach students new to this process than one who has done it countless times? But as I grow older and wiser, I begin to see that this routine has more challenges for me.
In 2014, I was granted a sabbatical for one year to begin work on an original musical, which I wanted to dedicate to the history and legacy of same-sex education, specifically all-girls schools. What I thought would be an easy task turned into a full five years of writing and composition. I promise you, there was risk taking and a LOT of waiting. And I’m still waiting as my show is being read, studied, and performed by other artists in preparation for its initial performance. However, my favorite group of artists who helped me develop this show are the students of the Dana Hall School. Even now, the 7th and 8th Grade Chorus members are learning songs from my show and preparing to perform them. Hearing them learn and sing the songs is the best perspective I can have.
These risk-taking, patience, and perspective experiences are also what many are going through in the Upper School this week as they prepare to audition for solos for the annual Winter Concert. This year’s theme is a Choral Tribute to Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey, two of America’s most successful pop and R&B divas. Come join the Upper School Chorus, the Chamber Singers, a live band, faculty guests, and the Dana Hall community as we enjoy the fruits of their risk-taking and patience.