Mom and I agreed you should go to rehearsal at DiCapo for “Of Thee I Sing,” no matter what. You’d invested months in the show and so had we, often picking you up by car on the Upper East Side on weeknights to make it easier for you to get to sleep earlier and make it to school the next morning.
We knew it had to be hard going for you, but we also knew from our own lives that doing anything special often turned out to be hard going. If you were to be a singer, as you told us you wanted with all your heart to be, then you would have to get used to the rehearsals, however grueling. You would have to get used to rehearsing even while fatigued, singing songs you might dislike, taking directions you disagreed with, giving it your all while others skimped.
Otherwise you would have no future as a singer. In this moment, we saw all that clearly.
And just as doggedly as you refused to go, we adamantly refused to let you quit. It would be a mistake and you would come to regret it. Worse, if you quit on a show once, you might never try again, or – equally bad – you would get in the habit of quitting.
Mom went out to talk to you some more, and I joined her, and we tried to reason with you. All in all, the argument must have gone on for more than an hour, complete with yelling and crying. Back and forth we went, you making your case, we making ours.
Finally, after all this, your face red and wet with tears, you relented. You would go. You would rehearse along with everyone else, even though you knew nobody there well and felt out of place and disliked your role and felt too tired to sing or dance or smile on any stage.
And go you did.
And come opening night, there you were.
And then, over the next few years, came all the other shows at DiCapo. “The Mikado” and, most triumphantly for you, “Kismet.”
You fulfilled your potential there – just about everyone with eyes and ears knew it – and then you simply outgrew the place.
You would go on to perform with other opera companies – Amato Opera and Opera of the Hamptons, among others. You would appear in “La Boheme” and “The Merry Widow.” Just this past May, you sang at a concert fund-raiser on the same stage as Marcello Giordani, lead tenor for the Metropolitan Opera, and “Phantom Of The Opera” star Lisa Vroman.
I’m glad we took a stand that day. Who knows for sure what might have happened if we had let it slide?
But let me tell you this: I believe it would have made no difference in the long run. Somehow or other, sooner or later, either at DiCapo or elsewhere, you would have come back to doing what we all knew you were always meant to do.
Singing. On stage. In the spotlight.