In November 2013, I stood in the hallway of a college rehearsal hall with my fingertips hovering just above the metal door handle. I was waiting for the doubts in my head to give up and let me open the door to the audition room.
I had been discreetly peeking through the narrow glass window and smiled cheerfully as those who finished their auditions walked out past me. The clock was ticking and this was the last audition opportunity for this show. Still I hesitated. What was it?
I knew something different was at play here. It wasn’t just nerves. I inherently knew this was not the right show for me, but I ignored that little voice. I checked my gut instinct in the hallway and left it behind when I opened the door to that audition room. All smiles, gleefully I walked in, thanked the judges and belted out my version of Whitney Houston’s “Saving All My Love for You” – they were blown away! I knew I was in.
You see, there was history here. After my thyroid cancer surgery in 2007, I auditioned for this show before, as a way to regain my vocal confidence after dealing with this life changing ordeal. Certainly, they would sense all I’d been through and realize that I needed this break. But sadly, no. My audition was “dreadful” as Simon Cowell would say. My voice sounded okay, but my upbeat Sheena Easton song was not what they were looking for and I paced back and forth on stage like a nervous tiger. It was clear I was a rusty performer and couldn’t get my bearings on stage. The judges roasted me; my only saving grace was that they seemed to like my voice.
I limped away, licked my wounds and put the performance behind me, but a few weeks later I received a call from the show’s director. She said that someone had dropped out and would I be interested in performing in the show. Amazed at the turn of events – I said absolutely. It turned out to be a great performance of Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful” and although I did not win, I walked away with much adulation and a renewed self-confidence. So, what was bugging me now? Well, as much as I hate to admit, perhaps a bruised ego. My entry into the NOVA Competition in 2008 seemed, in my head anyway, to always have an asterisk above it - I never passed the audition. And even though a great performance prevailed from the opportunity that was given, I auditioned for this show three more times to absolutely no avail. Disappointment.
Finally, I let it go, but in 2013, it seemed to creep back into my thoughts that perhaps I would try it again. So, there I was in that audition room nailing that Whitney song like no one else to satisfy my ego and completely ignoring that little voice saying, “Hey, you don’t have to do this; you have moved on as a performer”.
The 2013 show proved to me that I had grown out of this song and dance routine and the validation of passing the audition didn’t make me feel any better. So now, more than ever, when I feel that gut instinct poking me or hear that little voice calling out, I think of this story, cup my hand to my ear, lean in and give a good, hard listen.