Music has always been a passion of mine. Ever since I was a child I would sing. Sing along to the radio, the movie, the CD, even make up my own silly songs. It was apparent from a young age that I was in love with music. Sadly, part of growing up is dealing with bullies and annoyed siblings, who find the constant singing annoying. They tear you down and laugh at you until you confine yourself to their standards and shut up. That was my reality. But not for long.
“Are you ready for tonight? This is going to be your first solo!” My mother says excitedly. Years of choir and an ensemble group have finally paid off. I get to perform a solo at my graduation. I feel more fear than excitement.
“I just wanna get this over with so that I don’t feel nervous anymore.” I reply honestly. Her bright expression turns into a light laugh. Folding clothes while sitting at the couch, she reminds me that I can do it. I’ve practiced with my brother for weeks. He plays the piano, I sing. To my embarrassment, my mother even made me perform my song for relatives. I clung to our green couch, but the forced me to the piano.
“You wanna go over the song one more time?” I ask my brother eagerly, I want all the practice I can get. He sighs,
“We practiced last night, and the night before, Ann you know the song. You’ll do fine.” He reminds me. Yet he still walks over to the piano and starts playing. Happily I join in and go through the song quite smoothly one last time at home.
The time has come. I pull on my favorite yellow sweater, adjust my bun, and head out the door. My heart beats heavily.
“We’re going early for practice. So you guys can work with the microphone and their piano. Just work until you feel comfortable. “ My mom tells my brother and I as we drive to school, the trees fading away behind us as we fly past.
“We won’t need much practice, but okay.” My brother responds. I sit quietly in my seat, trying to not look as nervous as I feel.
“Can we just go home?” I beg. My mother laughs and scolds me. So many eyes, so many ears. So many people! They’ll all see me... We enter the room and I spot my friends on stage practicing their songs. They wave and continue working.
“We’ll be done in a minute, then you guys can practice.” My old music teacher tells us. Happily we wait. I’m even nervous to practice in front of them!
“It’ll be fine.” My brother says. I nod,
“Yeah, I know.” I reply, then mutter to myself about how there will be so many people. Closing my eyes I pray. I need God right now. Peace comes over me and I open my eyes when it’s our turn to practiceI feel a little jittery, but it all goes by without a single hiccup.
“Wow good job Ann!” My friends compliment me. Bashfully I smile,
“Thanks you guys. I enjoyed your practice as well. You guys will do great!” I reply. All too soon people start arriving and before we know it, the production has begun. Everything moved in super speed!
Hiding in the last stall in the bathroom, I pray. I pray that my music can touch people. I pray that I’m not so nervous. I pray that God will be with me so that I don’t feel so alone up there.
“God, please help me. I’m scared.”
Seated in the pews, I watch as the performances go on. A group goes up and dances to a god awful song, but I smile anyways, because I’m happy. This is my graduation night, and I’m going to have fun, no matter how silly things maybe be or how nervous I am. This is important. Each slide show comes and ends quickly, the next kid goes up to perform. She sings a song from the movie, Annie. Wringing my hands my friend next to me gives me a hug.
“Haha, thanks I’m excited to see Angie perform, aren’t you?” I say, distracting myself momentarily. She whispers her response. I don’t hear so I just nod. I’ll go up any minute now. The lights are dim where I sit, hiding the nervous look on my face, but when I’m on stage, all eyes will be on me. All too soon I see my slide show go up, my name across the top. I cringe at all the embarrassing pictures, and feel my stomach writhe with nerves. The dark room is alive with the soft pulse of peoples mutterings. It’s time. The slideshow shuts off and I am called up. I can feel my heart clawing to get out of my chest. Thud thud thud. Joining me my brother follows me to the stage. Lights shine, on me and I feel my legs shake, my heart races and I search the crowd for my family. Shakily I take a breath,
“I’d like to dedicate this song to my grandfather, he’s the one who suggested it to me. It’s called Take me There, by Anna Golden.” Everyone politely claps for me, and my brother starts the song. In a rush I close my eyes and start singing. My mind races as I sing. I say, I’m never doing this again, and, this feels so right. All too soon the song ends and the host leans into my ear and whispers,
“That was amazing.” The adrenaline and pride I feel is like nothing before. I did it. After I exit the stage I almost skip back to my seat. Music filling my ears. It’s done! All the other performances blur by.