I knew I might get called to sing. So I rehearsed a bit the night before and in the morning. It didn't seem like it was going to be any ordinary birthday party anyway. My aunt, a voice teacher herself, was celebrating her birthday. And whenever she has any occasion, there will always be singing.
The party itself was hosted by a very wealthy self-made man, also a student of my aunt & uncle. He is so wealthy he actually has a separate 'music hall cum entertainment area' in his huge home, with a grand piano at one end. Wonderful venue, actually.
The affair started with reciting and singing the Three O'Clock Habit, the devotion to the Divine Mercy. And the entire devotion includes a repetitive verse sang for 50x (based on the Holy Rosary). Then the singing started. My aunt introduced it as a recital of her students.
One by one, in varying degrees of talent and nervousness and confidence, the students, almost all female, sang. And what I thought would have been a boring senior citizen's activity turned out to be most enjoyable, a gathering among people like me. We enjoy singing. Though we all know we will probably never be paid for it. But we believe in honing what little talent we have so we can sing better.
Students as young as 16yo, to as old as 72yo, sang, conquering their fears of performing. Yes, with a few missteps and missed notes or lyrics. But the sheer joy of going beyond the comfort zone of bathroom singing was enough to send waves of mirth in the place.
But even as I enjoyed and became inspired by them, my own heart started to beat faster. Would I be called? It seems inappropriate because this is her student's recital. This is their moment. But the anxiety started to mount anyway.
Finally, when the students were done, my aunt said that it was time for guests to sing. Gulp. Here it comes. And after the first name, she looked at me and announced that her nephew was going to sing.
It's all about just conquering that fear. Of being able to perform even as your heart was pumping crazy inside that chest cavity of yours. It's really about 'just doing it'. And I did. And that was triumph in itself.
I sang twice. And what made my performance 'special' was that I sang Filipino translations of two beloved classic-crossovers (Nella Fantasia and Con Te Partiro), translations I made myself. It bowled them over. They sat there amazed that I actually translated these myself.
Yes, there were heaps of praise after. On both the singing and the translating. I knew that wasn't me at my best, but I conquered myself anyway. And the audience appreciated it.
A very appreciative guest sent me a message "U belong to d stage and u made d stage ur world..."
Enough for me to know that sometimes, it is only our own shadow that blocks the light.
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