In the time it took to finally realize that I had actually been chosen to audition for the amateur hour, the fear cycle began it's first descent upon my psyche. It would be the first of many fear cycle's that would encapsulate most big decisions that I would make throughout my life. It was the silent second guessing that took control and gave you the insecurity that you may have made a wrong decision. Now, I truly believe that there are no wrong decision's just complicated choices, brought on by not sticking with your gut feeling. I had no qualms about taking my chance on the show, but I somehow made it feel like it was just another youth center talent show. The innocence of thinking that was very much my saving grace. If I even had one inkling of what takes place on an audition I would have been running away like a crazy boy being chased by a rabid dog.
I think I wrote so many scenarios in my mind of how this would all play out and how great it would be if I got to be on the national TV show, that I never gave any thought to just how many others were thinking the same thing. I would pick my choice of a song and hours later I would change my mind. This would continue for a month before I made the final decision. In those days there were no karaoke cd's and finding the instrumental music for accompaniment was tough. With help from my friends at Lefter's music store, I scored with exactly the song I needed. It was so fully orchestrated and all that I had hoped for. I knew I couldn't lose and had many vying for me.
The day of the audition for my age group was on a Saturday between 1 and 3 pm. Walking into that local hall was very overwhelming. There were people everywhere, singing, dancing, playing instruments, etc...... This was not the vision that I had parlayed in my mind, this was terrifying and intimidating. There was a lot of talented people all hoping for the same result, to be picked above the others. For my age group there must have been over 50 kids waiting. Each had one minute and thirty seconds to perform and then you had to wait for a call back to perform for the show. WRONG... this was not as I planned it....I was already prepared for my closeup and was above having to wait it out like the others.
Afterall they did pick me when they sent the letter. WAKEUP CALL-BACK
With the insistence of my Mother telling me to be patient, a trait that I so lacked, I endured what all the others had to endure, the final call back. I was so glad that my brother was out of town with my grandparents, and I would not have to listen to all the comments that would ensue pending a disaster.
They called me in for my song and proudly I gave them my record as I had it marked where to place the needle. I walked up to the microphone and ripped into "I'm Learning About Love" just the way I'd heard it sung a million times before. Nothing went wrong except a bit of microphone squelching at the beginning. While it was supposed to be a minute and a half, my song lasted a bit over two minutes. I could feel my knees shaking throughout the whole number and also noticed how high I felt from the adrenaline that was having its effect on my nerves. I got some applause and was told to wait until the decision was made and they would call me back into the room.
I was nervously thirsty and wanted something to drink so I quickly left the room to pursue a Pepsi machine I saw outside the auditorium hall. As I made run for the vending machine, they started calling people back into the room where the auditions were held, the whole room gave way to pandemonium as each person was trying to hear their name called back. My Mother motioned for me to come back to where she was but I was thirsty and that was my priority. I can look back now and know that I was running outside so I would not have to know if my name was not called, I was terrified that it would not be and would rather find it out later.
Upon my return, hoping the Pepsi would soothe my nerves, my Mother had a grin on her face that told me something was up, and she informed me that I had made the days tryout and would be doing the show at the auditorium the next night. It was at that point I dropped the bottle of Pepsi and suddenly felt ill. Here once again I had been given another leap of faith solely by my own arrogance of looking beyond what I was competing with. I firstly became aware of how to block out things that did not have my presumptive conclusion attached. It would start a total selfish trend of how to look at things that may have an effect on me. I would not get the clearer picture of just how selfish that trend would become until later in my life.
I wish I could tell you that the stars opened up for me that next day at the show but alas I cannot. It was an incredible experience to compete like that and while I ended up in third place for my age group I walked away from it happy. I will never forget the colored lights of the stage and the brilliant beam of spotlight that shined directly in my face. To me it was like a guiding light that surrounded my being and took me to a different realm. It was truly a childhood high like no other I had ever experienced.
I did not lose anything that day, yet I came away with a lot of insight. Theatrical auditions are not for the meek, and you must be prepared and stay focused because the view of others in the same boat can dislodge your oar in the water. It still remains the same with any risk that you may take on in your life. Stay focused and be prepared.
In retrospect I came away with a whole set of new ideals. I watched all the people intensely as they waited and felt the aura of hope that surrounded the whole auditorium. Everyone in there wanted the same outcome, yet only a few would be chosen. I was a lucky one to be chosen, and that experience changed my life and left me with a sensitive feeling that still remains in my heart. I understand so clearly now that it was on that day that the lights I faced on that auditorium stage would then become the runway lights that I still follow on the road to myself.