Thursday, December 31, 2015

My Grown Up Christmas List

Jolly Old Saint Nicholas came bearing gifts a tad early this year in the guise of Kim Weild from Other Voices.

Kim (and her producing partner Jill Bernard) invited me to join an exquisite lineup of Broadway performers for a special fundraiser called Broadway Holiday.

My role would be providing American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation for the sweet and selfless holiday song My Grown Up Christmas List.

To be invited to frolic on the playground with the big kids brought a bit of excitement tinged with "OH MY GOD!" nervousness.  If I was going to do this I couldn't mess it up, so I enlisted the ASL interpreting talents of my lovely team teacher, Oni. Interpreting is not just providing a word-for-word translation of the lyrics.  Rather, it is digging deeply into the message the words evoke and presenting them with clarity and truth.

We worked for hours to perfect this one little song.  The most challenging section was pondering how to put forth the imagery and meaning for the lyrics, "What is this illusion called the innocence of youth? Maybe only in our blind belief can we ever find the truth!" When I arrived at rehearsal the day before the event we still hadn't settled on a satisfactory interpretation.

At rehearsal I met the exquisite Elizabeth Ward Land.  She started singing "Do you remember me..." and my heart literally started going pitter-pat.  Luckily, I had a job to do so there was no time to stand there with my mouth hanging open in awe of her talent.  Check out her website or listen here to see what I mean.  The voice of an angel!

Afterwards we chatted about mutual friends, Broadway shows, passion, education, and music.  She really is extraordinary.

The night of the performance she brought me a signed copy of her CD First Harvest (I am currently obsessed with Flies on the Butter) and we went over some last minute ideas.

My Grown Up Christmas List with Elizabeth Ward Land

All in all I was quite pleased.  I think I could have done a better job but given that we put it together in just a few days it went rather well.  Above all, I am so grateful for the opportunity to play once again on the stage for a meaningful cause.  The irony of it all is not lost on me.  I gave up performing to teach and then teaching brought me back to performing (the event came about because of Broadway Books First Class).

Thank you to Kim, Jill, Oni, and Elizabeth for making it happen and thanks to Mark for being there to celebrate the moment with me.


37paddington said...

This is wonderful!!! What an extraordinary thing. You look good on stage!

Gary said...

Thank you. You are always so kind to me. It is appreciated.

Happy New Year to you and your family.

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