Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Glee Of It All

Back in high school, I was a band geek.

Correction: I was a cool band geek.

Now, perhaps that stunted my potential rise to the top of the high school social ladder. I'll never know because I gladly traded that top rung for the joy of playing a piece of orchestral music so beautiful that the world around me disappeared and all I knew was the glorious sound that surrounded my heart.

As much as I loved playing the flute/piccolo in the concert band, orchestra and marching band {for three painful football seasons until I ditched the polyester marching uniform- even a cool band geek can only take so much}, I loved singing even more. In the years leading up to high school, I had been bitten by the musical bug. I'm sure watching Wizard of Oz, Annie, Singing In The Rain and The Music Man through my childhood years only added to the rapid toxicity with which the love of all things musical spread through my veins.

In third grade I auditioned and won the role of workhouse boy/pickpocket/schoolgirl in a local production of Oliver!. The elementary years were scattered with church musicals (my first taste of a lead role and solo speaking parts) and a movie audition for the lead role in The Man in the Moon which ended up going to Reese Witherspoon and kicked off her Oscar winning acting career.

Yeah, it could've been me. Sigh.

Summer before eighth grade, it was Annie Oakley's little sister in Annie Get Your Gun and a glorious moment in the spotlight in the school district's summer production of Hello Dolly!.

I was completely and irrevocably hooked on the musical.

Anxiously anticipating my four years of high school, I knew I would join the band but I also knew I had to be in Chorus. The teacher was incredible and had built an impressive reputation for himself complete with competition awards and year-end school musicals in which roles were deeply coveted. This was my chance. This was to be the start of my Broadway career.

And then he quit. A new teacher came on and he was awful. Just awful. I lasted two weeks in Chorus before I knew that my Broadway career would never flourish under this hack and my social standing would take an even worse hit than simply being a cool band geek.

Perhaps this helps explain why I have been waiting with bated breath for a show like "
Glee". It's the story of a hapless group of high schoolers who love nothing more than to sing and the teacher that will guide them. In the face of an evil cheerleading coach, an unsupportive {and dreadfully selfish} wife and a doubting principal they come together to revive the woefully downtrodden Glee Club.

{At 3:05 is where the goosebumps kick in for me. I'm just sayin'...}

"Glee" premiered last night after American Idol and was the most delightful hour of television I have experienced in a long, long time. I laughed, I clapped, I gasped, and I cried tears of joy at the last scene. I've also watched that scene at least five times this morning {the full episode can be found over on, right here} and bought the show's version of "Don't Stop Believin'" off of iTunes and listened to that at least 15 times already.

I've spent a lot of time this morning trying to figure out why a soaring musical number in a TV show makes me cry. Or that scene in Mamma Mia! {the movie version} when all the women on that little Greek island follow Meryl Streep in a rousing chorus of "Dancing Queen". Or when all of Central Park joins Amy Adams in a charming musical number in Enchanted. The only conclusion I can reach is that in those moments, those scenes, those songs, the people in them are doing what they are truly passionate about. Maybe what makes me cry is the incredible contagiousness of that passion. Or maybe it's that I know it's my passion too and the tears are my heart's cry to start pursuing that passion, that joy again.

I should really get on that.

{Edit: Oh my gosh, this was too funny not to share. This afternoon, I stopped at a convenience store up on the mountain to get Jason something cold since he'd been tiling a floor all day. This little store sells gas too (in those very old fashioned pumps) and they specialize in frozen coffee drinks. This might account for the delightfully effeminate man running the counter. As I handed him my 20 oz. Orange Crush he asks me, "Are you a TV watcher?"

"Um, yes," I replied, wondering where this conversation was going.

"Did you see that show last night about the high school kids and their glee club?"

And just like that, I had a new friend. We spent the next few minutes rehashing our favorite lines and he even did his own dance version of the rival glee club's rendition of "Rehab". And it was good.

"Glee". Bringing people of all ages and all walks of life together. Never underestimate the power of showchoir.}


  1. Have you been to the Mystery Dinner Theater in Chatty? I had a friend who auditioned and was a part of it for a time. I'm dramatic and not theatrical, so I couldn't pull it off, but I love when other people do! You should get involved in stuff around the area... :)


    My personal favorite line: "Your resentment is delicious."

    I think that very clearly highlights my level of bitchiness. :) What can you do?!

  3. OH MY GOSH... I watched it at lunch today on Hulu & am in TOTAL LOVE!! Dont know what I love best - the dark humor, the cast, the singing & dancing... oh my word... it was a little piece of heaven! I too laughed, teared up, was on the edge of my seat & love the drama!

    I'm totally thinking his wife isn't pregnant either - or its not his.... wait & see!

    I didnt know you could download that song either... going to do that right now!

  4. Since I was in Hello Dolly with you I HAD to comment. I, like you, am addicted to musicals. I go see shows as often as my schedule, and wallet, will allow. Unfortunately singing off key is not cute once you've graduated 3rd grade so I was always stuck as a chorus member. But I will always remember how much fun I had being in musicals....I'll have to give this show a try. Hadn't heard of it.

  5. Anonymous12:31 AM

    What a fun show!! My favorite part was straight from the beginning, with the guy practicing "Where Is Love?" OH! The memories!
    And, I agree w/ you about the passion. Where is... Leslie?

    xo, Marmee

  6. Sarah Jo1:01 PM

    I can't sing and I hate musicals, but I just watched Glee and it was great! Dare I admit that I nearly cried? Do I tell the hubs that I really want to buy their version of "Don't Stop Believing" and stave off the fear that he'll laugh at me? :)

  7. Anonymous3:19 PM

    Thanks for posting the link to Hulu - I don't have FOX and I *needed* to see what all the buzz was about.

    LOVED it!
    Thanks a lot!

  8. I love it! I love it! I love it! And more than the show tuney, outsider, underdog aspect I LOVE that it is just like the movie Election! Love the voice overs, Christopher Guest Movie Stars...I love it all. DON'T STOP BELIEVIN'!!!!


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