In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Too Big To Fail.”
Tell us about something you would attempt if you were guaranteed not to fail (and tell us why you haven’t tried it yet).
I’ve had a dream ever since I can remember: I don’t know when I first felt the pull of the stage, but I do remember I had a lead in every chorus performance our small school ever had. I still singing “Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover” in my eighth grade play. Every moment on stage was like breathing in some heady drug. When I entered high school, I was excited to join the “real” chorus.
The chorus director at my high school had a reputation for being a tough lady. She taught honors English classes, had directed the band, and even led an all-girls song and dance group. I had been the big fish in my middle school. Would I be special in high school? My new chorus teacher, Ruth Lewis, who eventually became my mentor when I began my teaching career, nurtured me and began to find music to help foster my talent. By my senior year, she urged me to pursue a career as a vocalist. She told me I had an ear and a voice that really could take me to New York.
Here I am, though, still in the place where I was born, loving music as much as ever, tears tightening my throat when I hear a song of a certain type, the type I know I could be doing. Why didn’t I try it? I did take voice lessons in college, but I was raised to value stability over excitement, and those lessons took. I have been teaching in the school from which I graduated for the whole of my career, so I got that stability. I chose safety over the true calling of my heart. I haven’t been unhappy; quite the opposite: I am married to the love of my life, whom I would not have met had I left. I have some remarkable children in my life because of teaching.
I love teaching. I love the connections with my kids. I love pushing young people to do and achieve more than they thought they could. I love challenging them to confront their beliefs. This is how the world gets better. I am a good teacher.
But if I could become a professional musician, I wouldn’t wait another second. If I could go to New York and audition for just one role in a big show knowing I’d get it, I would do it without hesitation. Just thinking about it as I type, I can feel the electricity on my skin. I hear the strains of “Anything Goes” and “Send in the Clowns.” If I could join one of my favorite bands Pink Martini singing “Sympathique (Je ne veux pas travailler)“ and travel Europe with them, it would be a dream come true.
Would I say goodbye to teaching forever? I can’t say. Even in this dream, it’s difficult to think of never seeing my students again.