Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Bach to the Future

I just did something I haven't done in five years: I ordered some music.

With New Year's Eve just around the corner, I've been spending some time pondering just what the hell I am doing with my life. For 2007, I established some specific goals -- big ones -- and met them. So, now what?

I mean, fine. I have the kind of apartment I wanted in the neighborhood I like, and I have a good job with the salary I needed. But these are all external, meaningless things. Who am I? Where am I going in life? How am I getting there?

Okay, maybe I'm not ready to answer all those questions in detail, but if right now my response is, "I'm an administrative assistant going nowhere in my '93 Mercury Sable," that's fairly unsatisfactory.

Earlier this month I went to an extraordinary concert of baroque holiday music by the Trinity Consort. It was the finest performance I had heard -- by a longshot -- since leaving New York. It wasn't long before I began to ache with envy for the performers and I thought, "Damnit, I'm not a secretary. I am a musician."

There is a passage in the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas that reads, "If you bring forth what is within you, it will set you free. If you do not bring forth what is within you, it will destroy you." And I am afraid that is true.

So, I'm going to sing again. There, I said it.

Now, wait, just a moment. This is not me re-launching my singing career. Uh-uh. Now that I live in the realm of steady paychecks and benefits, I'm not ready to turn around and go back to poverty and uncertainty and auditions and all that. I don't have time for that kind of dedication. This is merely me deciding that all that time and effort -- literal blood, sweat and tears -- is not going to go to waste while I quietly disappear into my cubicle in Beaverton, with a few fading photographs and wrinkled posters on my walls.

Actually, I have already been singing a little bit. I warm up every now and then and sing through my old repertoire, just for fun. But it's become clear to me that without goals, it's only so much yodeling.

So here's the deal: I've picked a piece to learn (the aria "Mache dich, mein Herze, rein" from JS Bach's St. Matthew Passion) and I'm going to ask the music director at my church if I can sing it at a service either for Lent or Easter.

There. It's in writing. I expect you to hold me to it.

18 comments:

seithman said...

This sounds like a great idea to me. Good luck with it.

Any chance we'll get to hear a sample at some point? ;)

-- Jarred

Princess said...

I am smiling...

Faustus, M.D. said...

That is so, so incredibly fabulous. Congratulations and Godspeed.

And "Mache dich, mein Herze, rein" is so fucking gorgeous.

I want a recording.

Jade said...

I'd drive down and go to services if you get to sing in them. :)

Jess said...

That's wonderful! I'm glad you're doing this. Even if it's just a hobby at this point, it's something you love, so doing it can only be good!

Jeff said...

Fantastic!

Anonymous said...

I would do my best to be there if you'd say when and where. It has always been my fave aria of St. Matthew Passion, and I know you would put your heart and soul into it.

MrAlto said...

YES! Mache dich is gorgeous and will only whet your appetite for more. Andy, take this from an ever increasing OLD singer... it is not about the fame and the fortune, it is about the music and what you use it for. Sing for yourself and sing for others but mostly sing to serve and your life will be richly rewarded. The rest is bullshit and will take care of itself. Here endeth the lesson.

JereNYC said...

That's wonderful! I'm so glad that all the changes you've made in your life have made it feel safe for you to take this step.

If it goes well, you should look into community organizations (choirs, theatres, etc.) that would allow you to get back into singing as much or as little as you want or have time to do. These places are also great ways to meet new people.

This is a wonderful thing

Jeremiah Andrews said...

They say that if you have a gift and you do not use it, you loose it. Your passion for music is apparent so I say well done.

Jeremy

Jeremiah Andrews said...

Gospel of Thomas passage comes from line 70 --

Yeshua said, if you bring forth what is within you, what you have will save you. If you have nothing within you, what you do not have within you will kill you.

Gnostic Gospel.

Jeremy

SMB said...

Hooray! Glad the Consort concert picked up your singing spirit... it was nice to meet you after! Cheers and happy hollies, SMB

Gino said...

i was hoping you would get around to this again.

if yer ever singing in orange county, let me know.

Crash said...

This is wonderful!

kr said...

:).

David in KC said...

I'm so pleased for you! Music is clearly what drives you. Now put your performance on YouTube so we can all enjoy it.

Pentimento said...

I am SO glad to hear this. I remember when you were no longer calling yourself a singer, and I tried to tell you that there are as many different ways to be a singer as there are singers. And, as someone who heard you sing every day for many years as your downstairs neighbor, and who thought you sounded like a young Thomas Hampson, and as someone who was trying to eke out my own unusual way to be a singer, I secretly always believed you would be back. I am going to pray to St. Cecilia to show you the way to do your own singerly thing. You have a lot to offer as a singer and musician.

Andy said...

P: I think we were extremely lucky to have each other for neighbors -- especially after your ceiling collapsed and the sound between our apartments was so bad. If I hadn't had a singer downstairs, it might have been problematic. It got bad after you moved out; the nasty old Serbian lady who took your place used to complain that my cats made too much noise.

All: thank you so much for your support; I'll keep you posted!