Honestly, singing at Carnegie Hall wasn't even on my radar of immediate desires. I just look forward to whatever opportunity great or small comes my way -- that's sort of how I've always been in life and in this career. But, this past Fall as one of many auditions my manager set up for me, I sang for a couple of organizations that produce concerts at Carnegie Hall. Thankfully, I was hired to sing on one of them!
The concert was a few weeks ago now and the excitement and buzz around making my Carnegie Hall debut has subsided. But one of the biggest things we as artists take away from an experience like that is forever imprinted on me -- I now know what it feels like to sing on that stage. I was the Soprano Soloist for Haydn's Lord Nelson Mass sung with an enormous chorus of over 200 singers from around the world, a huge orchestra, a great conductor and 3 talented singers as the other soloists. This is a piece that really features the soprano and has some great solo moments to shine. It was incredible!
This is not a traditional career. You don't work Monday through Friday 9am to 5pm, do your tasks and earn the paycheck to feel a sense of accomplishment. This is a career that is based on talent, luck, circumstances and people's opinions. This is a career where in one instance everyone is feeding your ego and telling you how fantastic you are and then a negative review comes out tearing your performance to pieces and is then immortalized on the internet. This is a career where you have to constantly keep improving not only your voice, but your physical appearance in order to succeed. These things can really wear on you after all the years of undergraduate, graduate, post college training and years working professionally.
When have you really "made it"? This is why I say: persistence.
And what about patience? What if you are doing everything right, but everytime a new email pops up on your cellphone it's not a new gig or a new opportunity? So much of our careers is out of our control. Yes, patience is a virtue, but it is not a passive quality that you either possess or lack. I work every day on "big picture patience".
Despite all the ups and downs of this career and the spectrum of emotions that accompany this process, all in all I have been so fortunate to have had some great opportunities come my way. This must be my passion: performing, the musical and artistic journey, the challenge. Whether I like it or not, this passion must be what propels me to keep moving forward to achieve my goals.
This must be what makes me practice, practice, practice.