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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.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Train Ride

We patiently wait on the platform
For the train to arrive.
Passengers look at their watches countless times,
Eager to go home perhaps to a warm dinner.

But I don't mind waiting
Or staring at the empty railroad track.
Precious minutes may have gone,
But there I am, spending them with you.

Queues of passengers are getting long
Moods are turning dark and sour.
But there I am, still cheery and sweet,
My hand clasped in yours as we talk.

You tell me about your day, about your friends,
About your dreams, big and small.
Then something funny, and we both laugh,
A lighthearted pair among a disgruntled bunch.

Here comes the train, and the doors open.
We get shoved inside by the rush.
There's hardly a space to move or breathe,
But we carve our own little spot, remaining oblivious.

We reach our stop, time to alight,
And time to end our little talk.
We part ways, as I secretly think about
What the next train ride will bring.


-Katherine Lopez
09 May 2012

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Choir I Joined

After a suuuuuper long hiatus from the blogging world (three months!), I'm back. Hello everyone! To say that I was busy these past three months is an understatement. What took most of my time, aside from my magazine job, is the choir that I joined last December: Kammerchor Manila. A friend invited me to audition, and I got in as trainee.

Since then, my schedule has changed, especially because I joined at a time when the choir was preparing for its 20th Annivesary Concert, held last April 14. We would rehearse twice to thrice a week, to almost every day as the concert date drew near. There were times when I thought of giving up because of exhaustion, thinking, "What have I gotten myself into?" It was hard to divide my time between work and the choir, because both are equally demanding crafts. But when the concert was over, everything was, cliche as it sounds, sooo worth it.

Here are some photos taken by my dad:

Conductor Anthony Go Villanueva and Kammerchor Manila
The choir following the conductor



Projecting while getting ready for the next song hehe

Change positions

Ikaw Lamang

Me and my partner, Othan, while performing Ikaw Lamang

Soloists Tynna and Rufo for the song, Ikaw Lamang

Soloists Tynna and Rufo for the song, Ikaw Lamang

More singing



Here's a video of us singing one of songs in our repertoire. The song is titled Galawgaw, describing a woman who is not prim and proper, and who is liberated based on the existing norms in a conservative society. I love this song. It's such a joy to perform. 

My dearest took this video, and was focusing the camera on me, positioned at the right side, that's why the camera wasn't at the center. Hehe. 

video

After the concert and after I've uploaded the photos and videos on Facebook, I could feel that my parents, especially my dad, were proud. My dad was even the one thanking the people who liked this photo on Facebook. 

Me with my proud parents
Now, we're back to our regular rehearsals and singing at the church. I feel blessed to be given an opportunity to sing on stage with a choir such as Kammerchor Manila. I know that there will be times when I'll feel exhausted again (we all are) as I juggle rehearsals with my job. But I won't give this up. I just have to pray to God to give me strength to endure everything. He gave me this, so He'll be with me as I do my best in practicing and singing my heart out together with the choir.