Sometimes the summer can feel very void of opera and sometimes it can feel very full of it. This summer is most definitely the latter.
I returned from the Westchester Summer Vocal Institute about two weeks ago and I still feel that I'm recovering from it. It was a wonderfully huge dose of opera and singing. It was also a huge dose of getting my butt kicked by coaches and conductors. But there is nothing better than that!
I'm still trying to get everything straight: to apply everything that I've learned and fully understand the things that I've simply absorbed without even realizing it. Every experience changes you and this seemed like a lot of change jam-packed into ten days. I met so many new people, heard so many new opinions, and learned so many new techniques. My brain is still trying to categorize it all, but I'm beginning to think that maybe some things can't be categorized. Maybe, like opera, these things span a wide variety of categorizations. Maybe I need to stop trying to box them up and start trying to accept them simply for what they are.
So much is happening! I've just come from that great ten-day adventure and I'm headed toward another two-year adventure at Bard. The whole Bard acceptance thing has been quite a roller-coaster ride for me. At first, I was overwhelmed by the euphoria of getting in. Bard was such a pipe-dream for me and when it really happened, I almost didn't know what to do. I had let myself think for so long that I would never, ever get in and that I could only give it my best shot and then settle for my second or third-choice school. So when I got in, I could only be amazed by it. That stage of amazement continued as I got a scholarship and then a personal phone call from Dawn Upshaw herself.
But, finally, the high wore off and I realized that I had to prepare myself for the huge task of actually attending Bard. Of living up to the potential that I'd shown in my audition. Of making good on my promises and paying forward on it all. And that can be a very scary thing.
I was in that stage when I left for Westchester. And now that I'm back, now that I've experienced all those things at WSVI, I am in the next stage-- the stage of purely excited anticipation and a dogged determination to be the best I can be. I can truly thank all the people at Westchester: my fellow singers, my coaches, my mentors, and everyone who came to support me. Of course, I always have people back home who encourage me and help keep me strong, but Westchester was like an IV of criticism, encouragement, and just plain enthusiasm for the incredible artform of opera. It did me a world of good and I can't wait to see what's in store for me at Bard.