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Monday, May 14, 2012

Tales of Auditions Past

Singing is one of my unspoken dreams. I've loved singing ever since I was a little girl, but it's not something I tell people about as much as I tell them that I want to be a writer. I know I can carry a tune, but I feel that my singing talent is raw, so raw that I'll drown in a sea of people who can sing better than I do.

When I was in fourth grade and I didn't make it to our school's drama club, I thought of joining the chorale. When my drama club teacher told me to look for another club to join, I knew what I wanted to audition in. And so I proceeded to the classroom where the chorale audition was going on. I peeked inside and knocked on the door, but not loud enough for anyone to hear me. However, instead of knocking again, I just stood there, watched, and walked away. I settled for the speech club, and joined the school paper in the two school years that followed.

I transferred to another school came freshman year, and I brought my interest in writing for the school paper with me. That, along with my love for singing. However, I kept on missing the audition dates; I would only know about it after it was over. When I was in my third year in high school, I finally got the date. I went to the music room on the said date and time, got myself enlisted, and sang Colors of the Wind, one of favorite songs. I probably went flat on the bridge part, or probably wasn't good enough, or both. I knew, after singing, that the music teacher wasn't satisfied. She played some notes on the piano--scales--for vocalization, but I couldn't follow. I was out of tune. Of course, when the list of the new members was posted, my name wasn't there. I was disappointed, but I somehow expected it. I didn't try again the next school year; I was a senior after all. I chose to focus on my studies and the school paper, of which I was a part of since freshman year. "Not so bad," I thought. "I can't have everything."

I went to college and joined U.P. ICTUS, a Catholic organization in U.P. It has a choir, which doesn't require an audition, so I volunteered myself. We would sing every Tuesday, at the 6 p.m. mass, at the Parish of the Holy Sacrifice inside the campus. I was happy because I was able to do two things I love: writing, because I was taking up journalism, and singing in the choir.

Trying out for the choirs in U.P, like the U.P Concert Chorus and the U.P. Singing Ambassadors, came as shooting for the moon for me. There was no way I could get in, because I knew my capabilities. My singing skills were so raw; I wasn't good enough. So I pushed the thought of auditioning aside, even if I was captivated by the voices of the Singing Ambassadors singing Moon River in my Sociology class when they went from classroom to classroom to invite students to try out.

I was satisfied with singing at the Parish of the Holy Sacrifice with the ICTUS Choir. We had no conductor or a maestro to teach us, and it would've been better if we had one, but it just wasn't the case. Some members who were also part of their respective parish choirs, or those who were part of their high school choirs, shared their music know-how. We would play the notes on the keyboard, schedule practices, learn the pieces, and sing during masses. Come Christmas season, we would go caroling to raise funds for the org.

One of my orgmates, Angel, who already graduated, invited me and another orgmate to audition for Bukas Palad of the Jesuit Music Ministry. Angel was a part of that group, and auditioning is by invitation only. I felt honored that she saw something in me to invite me to join. However, I had quite a lot of things going on--my parents were very strict at that time and I couldn't stay out late. But still, I decided to give the audition a try. When I got to the venue and was standing in front of the seasoned BP members, I got so nervous that I couldn't project my voice. It wasn't loud enough and it was airy.

I thought I could deal with not getting in because my parents wouldn't allow me to join either had I been accepted. But after the audition, when I went out of the room, that was the only time when I realized how much I really wanted it. So I cried. And of course, as expected, I didn't get in.

I graduated from college and worked, but my singing dream didn't die. I wanted to keep singing while working as a magazine writer. So, last December, when my friend Kuya Marco asked if I wanted to join their choir, Kammerchor Manila, I quickly said yes. That night, I went with him to their rehearsal to audition. If I didn't get in, at least I tried. If I didn't get in, that would be my third rejection, but it didn't matter. At least I tried. I sang I Seek You For I Thirst, one of my favorite mass songs. I went out of tune in some parts, but I just repeated the phrase and continued to sing while staring out the window to keep my nervousness from devouring me alive. After singing came the vocalization and singing with the members of the alto section, where I was auditioning for. The conductor then said they're taking me in as trainee, and was told that my evaluation would depend on how I could keep up with the songs they already knew. There were also pieces which we would still learn in preparation for the group's 20th Anniversary Concert.

Five months since I've auditioned, I can say my singing has changed, but I'm not yet there. True, as I've written in a previous post, I was part of the choir's concert. But I still have a long way to go to be able to contribute a lot to the choir. I still have a long way to go to achieve that rich, deep tone that is needed from the alto section. I have to practice more so I can project better when singing while blending with the other voices in the choir.

It's true that there are times when it's hard to juggle work, family, and the choir. But I don't want to give this up. Looking back at my past auditions, I know how much I want to be part of this. I'm thankful to God for giving me this opportunity, and I don't want to waste this.


  1. wow! haha so you sing huh., :) great., why not post some videos or soundcloud., it's fun doing that., :D God Bless!

    1. Actually, I want to do that. I'm finding time for that :)

  2. Hi katherine, you are so blessed being invited to audition for Bukas Palad. It's one of my biggest dream :) just continue to serve God thru singing. God bless you.
    - Angelica A.