For those of you who know me personally, know that I am a bit tightly wound. (I can almost hear a collective facetious chorus of "No shit"!!!) So, heading into our dress rehearsal yesterday I was stricken with an assortment of psychosomatic ailments ranging from intestinal disorders, to headaches and a strange nervous cough that just lingered all morning. To put it mildly, I was scared shitless and no amount of stroking, joking or confidence boosting psycho-babble was going to help the condition. In short, I needed to get the proverbial show on the road and the anticipation was killing me-literally! To add to my now-legendary anxiety, was the fact that our colleague from Western New York was finally going to be in attendance to rehearse with us and nobody knew how the whole thing would come together. I needn't have worried. She proved to be warm, willing, gracious, altogether humble and wholly uncomfortable with the spotlight being thrust upon her. My kind of woman for certain! We all meshed in voice and, more importantly, in personality and character. By the time all of the fussing with music stands, microphones, choreography, a slightly flattened Eb on the piano, reserved seating, frigid temperatures in the theatre (we were all blue with cold!) and the storage of our stuff backstage (six women have bags and bags of "stuff") was done, we knew that there was nothing left to do but sing our lungs out.
And sing we did!! We sang from the depths of our souls and we sang to the rafters of the moldy old theatre. (Is it ever a blessing that this place is being torn down and rebuilt properly. The backstage and dressing areas are truly disgusting with mold stains on the ceiling and cracked tiles throughout. The bathrooms need a thorough cleaning and the temperature in the building is so inconsistent that we were wearing our winter coats inside for much of the day! We were forever warming ourselves on the light bulbs on the make-up mirrors.) We created a new model for the dusty old cantorial concert. We danced and we shimmied and we played. One of the email comments that was forwarded to me today spoke of seeing Miriam and the women with their timbrels. That comment touched me in a way that was so strikingly personal and was so at the heart of everything that we attempted to convey last night. It was impossible to get a sense of the audience (who braved a miserable weather night to fill the place to capacity!) while actually being in the moment, (the lights blinded me so completely to the crowd, that I had no idea who was there until this morning when I started getting messages!) but the response has been overwhelming.
I need to express my heartfelt gratitude (it seems like so little, but it is what I have to offer) to my "singing sisters" who stood together as one on that stage and saw this project through to a remarkable conclusion. The music, the love, the debates, the devotion and the chocolate were more than I could have ever hoped for! The connections that were forged will last a lifetime. I need to acknowledge the wonderful people at Kolel and especially their visionary leader for even pondering the notion that something like this could work. I need to thank my Kol Ami family who turned out in force in support of something that I am certain many thought would be a colossal bore. (Boy, were you ever WRONG!!) We may be small, but we are mighty and our strength was there for all to see last evening. Finally, to my family-those who were there physically and those in spirit-thanks for putting up with my "stuff", for listening, for lending credence to my shit and for just saying "Yes, Dear", "Yes, Dawn" and "Yes, Mom" for much of the last three months. Your support was unwavering as always. And now, I need a vacation! Take me south, husband!!