The nobility of PERFORMING

Last year I went to the NATS Chicago conference and bemoaned the fact that I had taken an unintentional hiatus from performing for nearly 10 years. Specifically, I posted on Facebook:

Something that makes me a little sad is that, although my voice is still working just FINE, thankyouverymuch, I missed out on performance opportunities because I focused so much on my teaching. Which was in part because I wasn’t getting a chance to perform. And while I love teaching and feel like I’ve made a difference to students (past, present, and future), what more could I have done as a performer??

It’s interesting to see the comments that were made. They mainly run the gamut from “I know what you mean” to “It’s never too late.” But there was one comment that was made that took me aback a bit, because I think it reveals the perspective that people have about performing as being less noble than teaching. And that comment was:

As a performer, you touched the present. Teachers touch the future.

My immediate response to that was then as it is now.

I don’t think it’s just the present we [as performers] touch. I don’t think of it as ephemeral.

I have seen so many performances that touched me deeply, that made a difference in my life. Performances that were authentic, that told the truth, and that were noble. That doesn’t mean they were serious, necessarily, They could have been just as easily musicals or comedies as they were dramas. If Gilligan’s Island touched you back when you were a kid (and I bring this up because when Carmen was on the radio Saturday, my husband began singing “Never a borrower nor a lender be!” along with the Toreador Song, so clearly, there’s an example of leaving an impression), does that mean it was pointless?

Perhaps that’s not the best example, but it was the first one that popped into my head.

There is still more work to do, as a teacher, a director, and a performer, and as a person. I’m not just one or the other, and one is not better than another. And I want to touch the past, present, and the future.

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.

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