“Three, two, one, exhale,” Mrs. Letovsky breathed. We were just ten minutes from our District Festival performance for Varsity Men’s Chorus. Only a few knew what to expect behind the sinister black curtain. Max Cothran stood beside me; it was his first year in choir, too.
“One minute remaining.”
We stood still. Mrs. L gave the lady a nod and we quickly worked out who was to lead us on stage. Like lambs out to slaughter, we moved slowly, we moved patiently, we moved urgently. It was my turn to leave the safety of our practice room and go out on to stage. Strong beams of light hit my face; the stage lights scorched our faces as we headed for the risers. Was this how we were supposed to feel: lost and prepared at the same time?
The punctual pluck of the piano stood still among the sounds of the auditorium. Judges sat ready to grade our performance. We couldn’t move, we could sing.
Suffocated we sang. Melody, countermelody, harmony, splits, deceptive cadences, one, two, three, rest, rest, two, three, and four. Was was only a four minutes felt like hours, days, weeks.
The final note rang clear, the echo seemed to sustain forever. Our mission had been accomplished and we could finally breathe. The audience gave a standing ovation. Bright with embarrassment, all we could do is smile.
As we left the stage, we knew that for once in my life, this what I was born to do. Sing.
Photo from: https://supertackproductions.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/60284_brighton-little-theatre-youth-group.jpeg