While working at Walt Disney World, I was constantly amazed with the generosity of the foreign guests who came to see characters. It seemed those from overseas always came bearing gifts to give to those of us working in entertainment. Though my repeatedly polite refusals to them were in earnest, I still came away with more gifts than I could believe. And, in the end, I gave away nearly all of them to others. Of those I still have in my possession I count: a miniature Mickey and Minnie in Japanese dress; Winnie-the-Pooh stickers; many coloring book illustrations with lines filled in to varying degrees of exactitude; several postcards featuring the character I was performing at the time of gifting; and this lovely plush Chip given to me by an English family (though it appears this doll was purchased in the Japan pavilion at Epcot):
When I was five years old, I had my first public singing performance. It was a holiday pageant for children and I was Head Angel.
I know the details are a bit fuzzy, but I assure you this is me. I still have the wings and the halo, in fact. My mother made them.
As circular as life can be, it seems things may have come 'round. This evening I played the role of The Angel in a performance of a Calvin Hampton arrangement of We Three Kings. His title of choice is The Wisemen Cometh and it is a really lovely 20th-Century adaptation and harmonization of the story and melody. See the three kings in the lower right-hand corner of the photo up there? Well, this time around I got to stand nearer the kings. Like, right next to them. And, they sang better, too.
What's even better is that I got to sing my favorite things: high notes! I may not have been physically at the top of the set as I was in my first performance, but I hope I was able to bring Hampton's work to life as he would have liked.
Well, despite the fact that it had been snowing for about 20 consecutive hours, this morning's rehearsal at Old South Church still took place. The MBTA bus service was even running on time! After a trudge through the snow and a rather rough warm-up, I was pleased to find myself in good voice (all high notes there!) and rehearsal thoroughly enjoyable. I even felt confident in all my bits by the time rehearsal drew to a close and I stepped out into the snow once more.
Despite the fact there will be no organ played this Christmas Eve, the evening will still possess musically dynamic and enjoyable performances. We've got a brass quintet, timpani, grand piano, cello and clarinet lined up. Oh, and of course many wonderful soloists. There may be other instruments as well, but not all people could get to the rehearsal due to the recent snowfall.
It's always a lovely evening and the candlelit portion is, perhaps, my favorite. I hope you'll come! The service will begin at 8 PM on Wednesday, 24 December 2008, with seating at 7 PM. (Be sure to come early--the pews will be packed.)
Yesterday, a former choir member of the Old South Church Sanctuary Choir emailed me with a screenshot he'd captured a week ago. Apparently, he was surprised to find my face on the WCSH6 weather page. I was surprised as well!
This turns out to be a screen capture from a TV commercial I worked on a few years ago for the Maine Credit Union League. The Credit Union League website has a wider image of the same shot under the "Find A Maine Credit Union" link:
Don't I look happy to be using a Maine Credit Union? I think I do. And, in fact (and if you're interested), they've got the whole commercial up under the "I Saved" link. I hope people who check the WCSH6 weather forecasts online feel as though they, too, would be happy to use a Maine Credit Union. I'm sure they're great!
Last night at 9 PM, a casting associate called me to do more stand-in work for Bunker Hill. I was so irked! I have an appointment and a rehearsal today that in no way could be moved at 9 PM last night. So, I had to turn down the work. The associate did apologize for calling so late and indicated that the call should have been made five or six hours before. However, that did nothing insofar has helping me move my previous engagements.
Next time, O Casting Associate, please call me sooner. I do so want to help you out by standing in.
It's true. I spent all day on set with Donnie Wahlberg yesterday. No, really! Perhaps you saw the article in today's Boston Globe? I got to learn about shucking oysters from Anton Christen, oyster bar specialist, at ye olde Union Oyster House and everything! While I wasn't doing exactly what I would like (i.e., acting in front of the camera), I was in front of the camera as a stand-in for Maria Thayer in the TNT television pilot Bunker Hill.
Working as a stand-in is an interesting position to be in. Clearly the director and crew know the names of the stand-ins because we all walk around with large pieces of tape stuck to our chests that list our names and the names of the characters we're representing.
Yet we're almost always referred to as "second team". Or, in first AD speak: "SECOND TEAM!"
There is an unwritten but standing rule on TV and film sets that one does not speak to or approach the principal talent unless such talent speaks to or approaches you first. Well, Maria turned out to be super-nice. She introduced herself straight away and she and I had an easy conversational style from the get-go. In between scenes I helped her run lines (at her request) and we chatted a bit. Mr. Wahlberg was more serious, shall we say, and remained focused on his character and the action at hand.
Did I get to meet him? Well, in a sort-of way, I guess. The second team had been called in while cameras were re-set. Mr. Wahlberg's stand-in, Shawn, and I were making our way into the room when--SMACK! I ran straight into Mr. Wahlberg as he exited. Literally, I walked into the man. My words at that moment? "Oh! I am so sorry! Please excuse me." He looked over me saying, "It's okay," as he moved past. Did I feel sheepish? Yes, but I soon got over it.
The day was rather long and while most of the day was spent inside the Union Oyster House, we spent the last three hours shooting outside in the positively cold weather we had. I think it was 18 degrees at the time. While the principal talent typically gets to move about and have some kind of action that will generate warmth, the second team just stands there, when and where requested, not unlike large bumps on a log. There's not much warmth created when doing so. Succinctly: I was a popsicle. However, Shawn had a connection at the Bell in Hand which allowed us to wait inside a large, warm, unpopulated space between shots.
All in all, the day was great! I met some fun people, received a nice compliment (I "look beautiful on camera"), and enjoyed myself in the process.
Someday, just watch. I'll have lines and I'll have a stand-in, too. Until then, I'm hoping to be called again to work when they shoot the remainder of Maria's scenes.
Well, I've decided the long wait is over. I happen to know that some friends of mine who were also on first refusal for the train commuter audition were contacted about the commercial. However, I wasn't. No phone call. No email. Zip.
Now, typically, when one is on first refusal for a gig, one of two things happens:
- the client decides they like you and the casting director calls to hire you for the gig; or,
- the client decides they won't use you and the casting director calls to release you from first refusal
In this particular case, neither of these happened to me. So, any one of these situations could apply:
- the client decided I wouldn't be used and the casting director forgot to call to release me from first refusal
- the client forgot about me altogether and, consequently, the casting director didn't contact me
- the client hasn't finished selecting cast for the commercial and, therefore, the casting director hasn't yet contacted me
Whatever the case, I no longer think I'm on first refusal for this spot and I'm now looking forward to the next audition on my plate. However, I can't say I'm not curious to know what happened with this one.
Yes, indeed, this is my second open letter to you.
I cannot express the shock and dismay that crossed my face when I walked into rehearsal at Boston's Old South Church this evening. Apparently, sometime Tuesday night, or perhaps early Wednesday morning, a huge crack appeared in the Eastern wall--the Dartmouth-facing wall containing multiple large stained glass windows--of Old South Church. Earlier, I had reported that it was 30 feet in length. Now I know it is much greater than this.
A closer inspection revealed the crack begins at the foundation, works its way up the right side of the stained glass, wends its way around one of the rose windows, and then angles towards the ceiling, making its way across the plaster to the lantern at the base of the cupola. It also branches off into the organ tower and paneling. The crack is deep enough to extend from the exterior of the building's stone façade, to the interior plaster, into which one can insert a hand. An entire portion of the church has shifted.
MBTA, I think this crack is a result of the Copley station transit project, a project which many parishioners of the church where I sing and work believed would not affect the structure of the building, per your assurances.
The organ should not be played, now, as it could prompt large portions of the plaster to fall. This directly affects the Boston Secession concert that will take place there tomorrow evening, Friday, 5 December 2008, as the concert makes use of the organ. Will my friends' concert take place? We do not yet know. Tomorrow, structural engineers will determine if the sanctuary is even safe for habitation. Will church services take place this coming Sunday? Only time will tell.
In good news, during tonight's rehearsal I was assigned a lovely solo in a Calvin Hampton piece, which I will sing in the always-beautiful, candle-lit Christmas Eve service at Old South. I do hope you'll attend. Hopefully it will still take place.
N. B. I would like for it to be made clear that this open letter is written by me, Alecia, an individual, and not as a spokesperson for or on the behalf of Old South Church. Any opinions and thoughts expressed herein are solely my own. It is important for readers of this blog to understand that I believe Old South Church will work honestly, faithfully, carefully and fairly to ensure the safety and preservation of this historic structure.
Several weeks ago I submitted my materials to the well-known Handel and Haydn Society for audition consideration. The Handel and Haydn Society is world-recognized for its historically-informed performance (HIP) practices and recordings. I auditioned for the group once before, several years ago, when they were seeking substitute singers. However, for whatever reason, I was not selected as a sub. Perhaps they didn't like my sound at that time. Perhaps they weren't seeking sopranos. Perhaps they thought I was terrible. Who knows?
Auditions for the ensemble are typically held in the winter, with audition assignments handed out a few weeks in advance. This year, it seems to be taking awhile for these assignments to be distributed, though. The group has always been good about keeping its applicants informed regarding the various stages of the process, but perhaps they have many more applications to review this time around. I suppose it's also possible I haven't been selected to audition at all. I would be sad if this were the case, but I keep hoping the organization is just taking its time to carefully consider the potential of every singer that has applied. I think I have a good look and a good sound, and I would contribute well to the group. But as before, its possible they're not seeking sopranos (we are about a dime a dozen), or any number of other possibilities.
In the meantime, I'm sending out HIP vibes.
Ten days ago I had a second audition for the role of a train commuter in a television commercial. The commercial is slated to shoot in about a week, but none of the actors have heard anything, yet. Or, at least I haven't. We're all still on first refusal. (Or at least I'm assuming all have elected to stay on first refusal.) Essentially, we're waiting. I sent an email inquiry today to see if the casting director knew anything about where things stood with this particular spot. This is the response I received:
"Hey! WE are still waiting to hear!! WE will let you know [sic]"Okay. So the casting director is waiting, too. And is possibly busy and in a hurry. It was great that I received a response, though. The casting director could have just ignored me.
I realize that patience is a virtue, but I must admit I've never been the most patient of girls. I'm a "now" kind of girl. I prefer to learn/know/do/discover/complete with immediacy! But, for now, I wait with immediacy.
I hope I get it.