The Frog Is Staying, Day 25
King Louis and Kanishe recognized Jon the instant we walked into Lampworks, as if they had been waiting for him all day. Max, much older than the other two, took some time to perk up, but soon his tail began to wag as we attached their leashes and headed outside for a long and rather nice walk. After my audition at Temple Emmanu-El, I had the time to meet up with Jon, a great friend and well respected dog walker on the upper east side. We hadn’t seen each other in months, but Jon and I have been close since I first moved to the city, so we had a great time catching up with ease.
Although I love and cherish my friends, rarely do I stay in the vicinity of my longtime confidants like Jon. After graduating from Westminster Choir College, I moved with my (now ex-) husband around New Jersey until we separated, at which point I stayed with my parents near Philadelphia for about two and a half years. Even then, the majority of my trusted friends lived elsewhere, with a few exceptions in the chorus at the Opera Company of Philadelphia. In Maryland, at the Maryland Opera Studio, I earned my master’s in two short years and though I made some lifelong friends there, none of my solid friendships moved with me to New York afterwards.
At two and a half years in New York, I approach the longest I have lived in one place as an adult. That fact both scares and thrills me. Perhaps despite my willingness to open my heart to my companions, I have found ways to distance myself physically so as not to allow them full access. Perhaps I overanalyze and really just moved to follow life’s path for me. Either way, today felt delightfully strange. I found myself confiding in Jon, who knows me better than most, fears and joys I hadn’t yet said out loud, making them real and surprising even to me. It felt good.
At my audition today, I sang for my friend Scott Warren, the organist and choral conductor at Temple Emmanu-El who I’ve known well since we sang together in one of my first professional choral jobs in the city. Margery Daly also attended the audition, a friend, colleague, and contractor for the temple, along with the cantor and music director Lori Corrsin, with whom I’ve sung and met several times. I sang well, despite the obstacle of this week’s earlier health issues and though I made a few mistakes on the sightreading, my closeness to my colleagues and the confidence that therefore ensued made it easy to joke about my mistakes, admit them, and show my personality and musicianship in the process. Oh, that every audition could allow me that one grace of being myself.
Entirely too often I want the world to see me through rose-colored, perfectly detached lenses and forget that I do myself and my friends, colleagues, and potential directors a disservice by keeping everyone at some degree of distance. Of all the ways I play it safe inside my comfort zone, this possibly harms me the most. Well, I think it’s time to break the cycle. I have no interest in moving anywhere and only a longing to deepen my relationships in this city I grow to love more each day. In the immortal words of Kermit the Frog in Muppets Take Manhattan, “I’m staying! You hear that, New York? THE FROG IS STAYING!”