On Tuesday, a few hours after President Obama was sworn in (yay!!!) I recieved a special visitor: my dad. After months of planning, he'd arrived, and we spent the evening catching up over some Crock Pot chili (who knew I'd actually use my Crock Pot?) and dessert at the amazing bakery on the next block. Since it was a.) freezing outside and b.) the night before my very first practicum, we decided to keep things chill. I showed dad around the neighborhood a bit and then we came back and went to sleep (well, he went to sleep--I sang through my music and organized it a bit, freaked out for a few minutes, and then finally fell asleep.)
The next morning, I was out the door at 6:45 to get to school to warm up before my 8:15 class. After anxiously sitting through my 1 hour and 45 minute nusach class--which I normally love--I was rarin' to go. After 45 more minutes of my crazy pre-performance neurotic behavior (asking lots of silly questions, going over and over tricky musical spots, checking my hair and lipstick 20 times, drinking too much water) it was finally time to sing. My 3rd year colleague, Cheryl--who was also giving a practicum that day--came over to reassure me and remind me to PRAY. It was the best thing anyone could have done for me at that time. I settled my music and prayerbook on the lecturn, turned around to face the congregation, and began. I fumbled a little through my spoken introduction (I hate public speaking) but eventually found my groove as I began singing.
As a whole, I am happy with how the practicum went. The entire thing was sung too quickly, I think out of nerves and adrenaline, and I wish I would have taken more time in several spots. Luckily, my singing was consistent and my tone was appropriate for the text-based nusach I sang. Certain points were the tiniest bit pitchy, though I was always able to get back on track. I'm happy to say that Cheryl did as well as I did, if not better, and it was a successful morning of practica.
At the lunch review, the student body and faculty had many good things to say. Many people were impressed with the prayerfulness of my davening (yay!) though the faculty didn't like a few of the pieces I'd chosen. That, however, was much more my coaches' fault than my own. Overall, the peanut gallery was pleased and weren't afraid to tell me so. Yay!
One of the proudest moments of the day was when Shira, a 5th year cantorial student, complemented our class as a whole. She said that she was entirely impressed by our musicality, saying that she wasn't sure SHE could have done what we'd done when she was a 2nd year. I agreed with her completely--we really are a great group of women, and all of us have done well this year. Not that I'm biased, or anything ;)
For those interested, I do have a recording...let me know if you want one.
Dad and I after the practicum. I can't tell you how nice it was to have him there for support--and to show off my mad Nusach skills, of course :)After the practicum, I was a bad student and cut classes the rest of the day (I only missed one hebrew class, don't panic.) Dad and I walked down Broadway, stopping at The Strand (an amazing used bookstore) and Max Brenner's (an Israeli chocolatier, where we each got a hot chocolate for the road.) We hopped on the train and came back to the apartment where we quickly changed clothes before heading to Times Square for a fun night on the town. We ran around a bit looking for a good show to see that night, and discovered that Mamma-Mia! had $30 student tickets! With my student ID, I was able to get 2 student-priced tickets for fantastic seats. We were SO excited. From there, we went to the Carnegie Deli, where we devoured one of their HUGE sandwiches. We walked around a bit, venturing over to Rockefeller Center, before heading to the show, which was fantastic. It was a great end to a great day.
Thursday I had a normal day of classes and work, so dad was on his own. He managed to keep himself busy and joined me at HUC for tefillah and lunch. That night, we stayed in and ordered pizza and I made him watch Grey's and Private Practice with me. I think he was bored, but I was happy for sure :)
The next day, we ventured out early to go to Ground Zero. We weren't sure what exactly we were going to see, but we ended up going on a group tour sponsered by the WTC Tribute Society. It was a heart-wrenching tour led by a firefighter who'd helped to rescue victims. As hard as it was to listen to her story and relive the tragic events of 7 years ago, I'm so thankful for the opportunity to have done it. Being in Columbia, Missouri at the time, there is no way I could have possibly understood the impact this event had on New Yorkers and the people who were directly involved.
When we finally made it to the show, I have to admit that I wasn't that excited. I'd heard about Blue Man Group from a trip to Vegas a few years ago, but didn't really have any desire to see them. I was completely blown away by the show! It was so creative and fun and different, and both of us had a great time. I highly, highly recommend the show to anyone going to Vegas or NYC. After the show, my dad was SO EXCITED to meet the cast members and take pictures with them.
I was sad to see him leave, as we had a really fantastic time together. Hopefully he'll be back for another visit soon!
BTW, at my practicum discussion Cantor Faith Steinsnyder mentioned that she couldn't wait to read the blog about the practicum. Soooo...here's a shoutout to you, Faith! Glad to have you onboard as one of my faithful readers :-)