To raise a singer, that is. Tomorrow will mark my 6th year and my 10th fund-raising performance in my home town. These semi-annual concerts not only allow me to share music with the general public through cross-over works and theme concerts, but they also assist me in paying for summer programs, audition tours, recordings, lessons, and all the major costs that go into creating a singing career. Last year, I decided to keep track of just how much money I spent on my voice in one year. After 12 months, I realized that 85% of my income went directly back to the costs related to singing… the other 15% was rent and groceries. When I tell this to people with normal, profit-bearing careers, they look at me with a mixture of confusion and disdain. Why would I pay for a career? Paying for school is one thing and working an unpaid internship is another, but actually PAYING others to allow you to perform your career? That’s madness! Yes, it is mad; but, here is the reasoning. When you are attempting to begin a career in vocal performance, you need to have several roles and recital performances on your resume. But, how are you to get those integral performance experiences if no one will give you a job? So, you have to pay your dues… quite literally. You pay to perform until someone will actually pay YOU to perform. It’s frustrating, exhausting, and a bit disheartening, but that’s the way it is. In our capitalistic society, these types of careers are frowned upon. I have a masters degree, shouldn’t I be garnering a regular income in my chosen career field by now? Shouldn’t I be done with working 4 part-time jobs in order to support my chosen profession?
Yes, I should; but it’s not about the money. It’s about the challenge. It’s about doing what I love for the rest of my life. We all spend so much of our lives working. Work becomes our life. Those who work just for money (a valiant goal, to be sure) spend their non-working hours just trying to forget about work. They are putting in the hours, bribing themselves with vacations and retirement. But, what if you couldn’t wait to go to work? What if you didn’t want to take a break from your career? What if you never wanted to retire? Those of us who really care about the music never want to stop working. We practice incessantly, work tirelessly, and enjoy every minute of it….. Well, we enjoy almost every minute of it, until the bills start to come.
All of this is just a long-winded explanation of why we performers need your support. Of course, your financial support helps us to afford to attend auditions and pay for vital coaching and performances. But, even more so, it is your smiling face in the audience that does our hearts good. I love to sing, so even if there is only my mom and dad in the audience, the show will go on. However, walking on stage to a full house of enraptured audience members who can’t wait to be entertained and introduced to new music is truly why I perform and why I put so much work into these self-produced concerts.
So, let me share with you! Come to my concert- Americana: The Songs of Aaron Copland Saturday, September 11th at 5PM at St. Luke’s Church: 5318 Palma Ave, Atascadero, CA. You’ll be glad you did, and so will I.