Annuals or perennials? Blooming where you’re planted

Competitions are a big deal in the music business, from childhood talent shows, to state school solo-ensemble festivals, to the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions, and to the big time, The Voice or America’s Got Talent.

I’ve often said that I hated doing competitions, but that’s a lie. I didn’t feel comfortable in them because of the whole being judged/comparison thing. But at the same time, there was something always a bit thrilling and challenging about preparing for one. And I find the idea of just blooming for the sake of blooming to be somewhat disingenuous. And flowers don’t think. So there’s that.

When I go to Zumba, sometimes I assign some unwitting dancer in class the role of my personal trainer. I decide that my goal is to keep up with that person (at least as well as I can given my multiple knee issues – I’m realistic, if nothing else). I don’t want to BEAT her at Zumba – I just want to keep up and not lose ground. I don’t want just to keep moving, I actually want to do the dance as it’s intended. If I didn’t, I’d just run or do an exercise bike. It’s about more than that to me.

I think it’s important to be aware of what other singers around you are doing. Are they doing things better? If so, why? Are they practicing more? Are they more mindful of their practicing efforts? Are they picking music that suits them perfectly? Are they marketing themselves more effectively and putting themselves in the right place to be heard?

Yes, “bloom where you’re planted,” as they say. But keep growing. Nourish yourself. If that’s not a good spot, move to a better one. Add a little fertilizer now and then (#InsertManureJokeHere). It’s not enough just to bloom but to flourish. Because blooms die, eventually. Unless you’re a perennial. Then you come back, every year, unless you’re ripped out of the ground by the roots. And even then, one little root might remain and you’ll come back again and again. Whether anyone likes it or not.

Be a perennial. 

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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