The other side of auditions


One of the duties that comes with being on the committee of my operatic society is being on the panel for society membership auditions.  Most of the other duties involved letters or e-mails, so interaction with real people makes a pleasant change.  And although I’d never want the responsibility of being on the casting committee for a show, I rather like doing this.  Tonight we had eight auditionees, as we’re beginning show rehearsals and that always brings a stream of people in.  It was a mixed bunch, but a pleasure to listen to.

We had songs from stage and screen, including ‘Chim, Chim, Cheree’ and ‘Music of the Night’, and even a traditional Welsh song.  Lovely.  None of it was painful, and it was heartening to see people overcoming nerves to sing to us.  Some just sang the notes and some really performed the song, giving it their all.  Some had ludicrously large ranges, one was very limited.  Some sang scales beautifully, some rather raggedly.  But it was interesting to sit and focus on someone else’s voice, hear the potential in it and think about its possibilities.  You’re really willing the person to do well, and feel a bit nervous on the behalf of anyone who’s shaking or sweating.  Having been on the other side of the divide many times (and soon to be again), being on the panel for this is probably very good for me, giving me an insight into the mind of the panel members and reassuring me of their good intentions.

We inform the auditionees of our decision by post, so thankfully there’s no call for immediate feedback, positive or negative, which would make me squirm.  I’m no Simon Cowell.  I’m just a young man who wants to see talented people join the society and have fun.  And hopefully that’s what most of tonight’s auditionees will do.

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