November 19, 2012     Rebecca Ray

A Musical Memoir: The Importance of College Music Tours


With the holidays approaching, memories are flooding my head and are taking me back to the most memorable seasonal performances in which I have performed. I remember being a pilgrim in a Thanksgiving musical, a twirling snowflake in a play at my church, a dancing doll for the nutcracker,  a swing dancer, and a cowgirl, yes a cowgirl, for a spring production. The seasons, whether winter or spring, have always presented some wonderful performance opportunity. Whether at home or during a college music tour, there was always something for me to perform.

While the cute turkey, pilgrim and snowflake costumes are fun, I have to say I didn’t miss them in my college years. I was excited to wear the gorgeous dresses that were locked away only to be brought out for the musicals we had twice a year.  Though it wasn’t a lead performance dressed in a gorgeous gown that was my most memorable performance, it was actually a solo in the winter musical my college was putting on called ‘Children of Eden’, by Stephen Schwartz and John Cain.

A few weeks after the auditions, the list went up.  To my dismay, I didn’t get the lead or the other role I had so much wanted.  While very sad, I later got a call from the director that he wanted me to perform as the lead soloist for the song-Generations.  I was thrilled as it was a challenging song that covered a large vocal range. He had full confidence that I could perform it without a hitch. It was early in my performance years and I was actually a very shy girl, so this performance opportunity gave me a huge boost of confidence and took away nerves for future performances.

The opening night brought many nerves and much anticipation.  I remember like it was yesterday.  I stepped out on the stage in my brown garbs worn back in the days of Adam and Eve, and I was immediately illuminated by the spotlight. I sang the entire song as a solo with the concert choir in the background joining in every once and a while.  I am proud to say I didn’t miss a note.  By the last time I performed it, I had so much confidence I threw in extra notes. My confidence bloomed as my friends and the audience members congratulated me.

After that point, I began traveling with the choir, and each time I auditioned or performed a solo, I remember my earlier performance that brought me the confidence I needed.  One performance can really change someone, and it changed me. Encore is now a wonderful place for me as I am constantly reminded of how music changes lives.

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