FIELD OF DREAMS
I recently found out that I will be singing another National Anthem – this time, for the San Diego Padres. Nothing moves me more than singing the Anthem. Absolutely nothing. So many reasons – many of which overlap in so many chapters of this book.
The first time I was asked to sing the Anthem was completely unexpected. It was a week from Opening Day at the Del Mar Race Track, with 45,000 people expected in attendance, in July of 2014. When the news came, via a nonchalant phone call from the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, my jaw dropped in disbelief and shock – and excitement, the levels of which I have NEVER experienced before in my life! Then, 15 seconds into the phone call, the cooling off started to happen in my head: “what am I going to do?! I don’t KNOW the Anthem! I know the Canadian one – and remember some of the Polish one too. But I’ve never sang the US National Anthem – I’ve just become a US citizen four years ago – it wasn’t on the test!”. The gentleman on the phone from Del Mar felt my nerves, laughed and reassured me that I had plenty of time to get ready – and sounded warmly excited to be handing off this opportunity to a giddy sounding jazz “diva”.
After much exalted chit chat about the news with all my cohorts, we came up with a plan: I’d find a really tough and demanding vocal teacher (probably in LA), and nail this thing, in no time at all. And I only had seven days (minus all other responsibilities planned for that week, like being mommy and running a business.)
The following morning, I called my friend, Jennifer Paterson, the head of my music school, California Music Studios in Encinitas. I think she too could feel the giddiness on the other end of the phone line. But she brought it right down to earth – and business – and right away got me the toughest vocal teacher in her roster, and yes, the teacher was in LA. Ahdda Shur.
I packed my bags three days later. A couple of rehearsals at home with my mentor, Larry White, set me up comfortably so I did not sound like a complete idiot in LA. The clock was ticking: only four more days to nail the Anthem in front of 45,000 people, one of the toughest things to sing out there, respected and recognized the world over – and such an honor. I did not want to screw it up. More than that, I wanted to treat it with the respect it deserved…
(Excerpt from the book, “Find Your Wings”, coming in 2016)