Honesty … is such a lonely word….

Holy Serendipity, Batman.

I decided that these Billy Joel lyrics were going to be the title of today’s blog – and it’s been awhile since I wrote – and then I decided to lie by the pool and just let thoughts roll over me. Suddenly, I hear that very song as I lay in the sun. I haven’t heard this song for years. So – this was meant to be.

I haven’t written for awhile because my last blog entry – around Easter weekend – was negative, filled with vitriol, and it wasn’t what I want this blog to be. I want to inspire people to sing, to facilitate their singing, and not to make them feel guilty for making me feel bad. If I feel bad, it’s my own fault, not someone else’s. So I deleted that post, because I was embarrassed that I even posted it. It wasn’t honest.

A lot of the talk at the NATS Conference in Salt Lake City this past weekend had to do with singers being honest in their performances. Teachers being honest with their students. Students being honest with their teachers. This is what sets us apart as performers and as teachers – telling the truth in each and every communication we have, whether that is one-to-one in a lesson, one-to-two or more in an audition, or one to 100-10,000 in a performance setting.

The best example of a performer who tells the truth with her every gesture, with her every sound is Audra MacDonald. I had the privilege of seeing her perform in 110 in the Shade this past Friday at the Hale Center Theater in Orem, Utah.  It was a small theater (320 square foot stage) in an area that I can only describe as the Armpit of Utah. (Sorry to anyone who may be from Orem.) But she inhabited the role. She told the truth. She was present.  The same with Kelli O’Hara in her recital this past Saturday and in her masterclass on Sunday.

I want to be that kind of performer and teacher. I want my students to be those kinds of performers and students. And I want to do what it takes for us all to get there.

This message in the various sessions reminded me of a video I posted a few months ago on my studio FB account. Acting coach Patsy Rodenburg spoke at a TED conference on the subject of “Why I do theater.” How appropriate in a blog called “Why I sing.”

I will be honest with my students and with people for whom I sing, with whom I speak, and those who I love. A recent FB status of mine was “I have decided that I will no longer use my FB statuses for evil.” This means I will not be passive-aggressive; I will not seek to shame people for wrongs (perceived correctly or not) they have done me; I will not write cryptic messages with veiled innuendo where the clear message is “You know who you are.” I will be honest and I will be present with them in their lessons, on my Facebook pages, both personal and studio, and in this blog. If I have offended you with any of this negativity, I do apologize and I will try for it never to happen again. I may backslide, but hopefully I will catch myself.

I will be posting a lot more videos on the studio FB page. You may also check out my You Tube channel, Mezzoid01, in order to see what it is I like.

Have a great summer. I’ll try to write more regularly.

Published by Mezzoid Voice Studio

Christine Thomas-O'Meally, a mezzo soprano and voice teacher currently based in the Baltimore-DC area, has performed everything from the motets of J.S. Bach to the melodies of Irving Berlin to the minimalism of Philip Glass. As an opera singer and actress, she has appeared with companies such as Charm City Players, Spotlighters Theatre, Chicago Opera Theater, Opera Theater of Northern Virginia, Opera North, the Washington Savoyards, In Tandem Theatre, Windfall Theater, The Young Victorian Theater of Baltimore, and Skylight Opera Theatre. She created the role of The Woman in Red in Dominick Argento’s Dream of Valentino in its world premiere with the Washington Opera and Mary Pickersgill in O'er the Ramparts at its world premiere during the Bicentennial of Battle of Baltimore at the Community College of Baltimore County. Other roles include Mrs. Paroo in Music Man, Mother Abbess in Sound of Music, Dorabella in Cosi Fan Tutte, Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro, both Hansel and the Witch in Hansel & Gretel, and many roles in Gilbert & Sullivan operettas. Her performance as the Housekeeper in Man of La Mancha was honored with a WATCH award nomination. Ms. Thomas-O'Meally received an M.M. in vocal performance from the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. She regularly attends master classes and workshops in both performance and vocal pedagogy, and is certified in all three Levels of Somatic Voicework™ The LoVetri Method. Her students have performed on national and international tours of Broadway productions, at prestigious conservatories, and in regional theater throughout the country.

2 thoughts on “Honesty … is such a lonely word….

  1. Chris,It sounds like you had some time to really reach into your soul during this trip. I would chuckle at your comments you write about, but the reality is that it CAN hurt people.I take off my hat for the courage and honesty you placed on paper today…..I never thought of it as \”bad\”, but, as we get older, I know we want to get better.

  2. Beautiful posting Chris! I echo your thoughts re being honest with ourselves and our students. It's something I am striving for after the amazing and thought provoking sessions we had in SLC!

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