Catherine’s concert this week got me thinking: She comes by those vocal chops naturally (click at the end of this post for another song from Wednesday’s concert).
By the time I was her age, I had been singing my way through life — church choir, school chorus, school plays, driving my mother crazy around the house. (A tonsillectomy at age 18 forever smashed my record-label fantasies, but doesn’t keep me from singing today … in the shower, the supermarket, the kitchen, along with the car radio and sometimes along with the Jazzercise set I’m teaching.)
I danced, too. Having had a brief run at tap and ballet lessons, I had a lovely plie and a mean step-shuffle-step combination that I practiced over and over (and over) on the wood floors of our house. (Confession: If I still had tap shoes, I’d be doing the very same today.)
Although rather shy and not comfortable being the center of attention (which will no doubt come as a shock to my Jazzercise customers), there was something about performing that drew me back again and again.
Truthfully, my skills were fair to middling: I could hold a note, follow basic choreography in the smallest possible way, and deliver a line as well as any well-programmed robot.
I was a triple no-threat.
But it was fun. And like most budding ingenues, I got my start early. Here I am as the narrator of Mrs. Plakun’s kindergarten play at Park Avenue School.
This was before a stint as Prince Lollipop, a lesser role that required my mother to sew numerous multicolored circles of felt on my tights and leotard, and countless other supporting roles over the years.
As far as I remember, this play was also the only time I was picked first for something at school. My average-ness gave way over the years to others much more talented. (My athletic skills didn’t save me — my classmates used to pray I’d be absent on gym days rather than have to add me to the end of their team rosters.)
Look closely at my shoes: You can see that then — as now — I had both feet planted firmly on the ground.
Honestly, though, your time this morning is better spent listening to this: