Wednesday, September 1, 2010

MPT13--11th Grade

This is the 13th in a series of 15 posts recounting my childhood. (To see parts 1 through 12, click the label "MPT" in my sidebar.) Today's topic is 11th Grade.

Last week, I wrote about my adventures in the performing arts. In hindsight, I wish I'd mentioned, for those who hadn't been reading my whole journey, that I did not in a million years have the talent for Broadway, that was just a naive childhood dream--by high school I was very much aware that I didn't have a musical theater career ahead of me, but I did enjoy the performing arts and therefore auditioned for the big choirs. So continuing where I left off....


Choir Opera. Cho-Op was co-directed by Mr. Streightiff (I really should check my yearbook for spellings!) and Ms. Burnett. I liked Mr. S, he was a fun guy; Ms. Burnett always scared me a little. I got in trouble (not really) toward the beginning of the year because I wasn't in voice lessons. I was called over and told, "Everyone in Cho-Op has to take voice lessons." Now anyone who was anybody at my high school had been taking private voice lessons since freshman year and those "in the know" scrambled to get the best teachers from the get-go. Here I was a junior already so I had to take whatever was left and I got assigned someone (let's see if I can reach back and recall her name) I never particularly liked. She was nice enough, I suppose, but I didn't like her voice. It was very operatic (for lack of a better word). For whatever reason, it wasn't something I wanted to emulate. The other thing I remember was she wanted to change how I stood and how I breathed. I'd been singing (albeit casually) all my life, I had a way of doing it, I didn't see why I had to change. Stubborn much?


Anyway, the big musical was in the spring. We had to audition for roles, even though by then I knew where I stood in the pecking order and I knew I would just be in a background chorus role. Fine, whatever. Oh, the musical was "Pippin." When they made the big announcement I was like, What? Never heard of it. Then I went home and rented the movie. Eek--weird show. {And raunchy and sexy and not appropriate for high school, by the way. In the end, our version was highly edited.} So I auditioned for the grandmother role. What good is a field on a fine summer night, if you sit all alone with the weeds. Or a succulent pear if with each juicy bite, you spit out your teeth with the seeds. I hated singing alone in front of people, but I remember singing well that day and reaching a high note while still in my chest voice--that rocked! Then I had to act out the monologue for that role, but as you'll recall from last week, I can't act, so I'm sure that sucked. And then another part of the audition was to improvise a scene with a classmate. That sucked too. And then, we had the dance audition. Ohmygoodness, I cannot learn steps quickly, that was a hot mess. After all that, I was cast as (drumroll please) part of the chorus. I had one line (or rather two words: "and merriment") and one singing line as part of a trio.


At the rate I'm going, this is post is going to be a mile long. Fast forward to the show itself. Our last dress rehearsal was in front of middle school students who were bussed in to see our show, like a field trip. That first performance, I fell in love with theater--oh the applause, the energy. I was jazzed! The next night, we did it all over again and I was like, this is just like last night. The next performance, same thing, lame. There ended my short affair with musical theater! LOL


Meanwhile, Concert Choir. {The choir I never would have been in, had there not been that letter mishap.} I LOVED Concert Choir! I loved the music we sang, I loved Mr. Smith (the director), I looked forward to that class period every day. {That is why I credit Mr. Smith and Concert Choir for saving my high school experience. I can't imagine what a depressed girl I would have been without that to look forward to each day. And Mr. Smith cared about each one of us in that choir (80-100 kids) so fervently. I felt loved. Thanks Mr. Smith, I'll never forget you!!!}


What else happened junior year? For classes, I had Mr. Rehage for English and I remember him telling us the story of his going to Woodstock. I had Mr. Maddox for History. I really liked him and that class. He encouraged my growing interest in Native American stuff {I'd read the book Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee in 9th grade and that turned my world upside down. Go read it, it rocks!}. Thus, I did my "junior theme" (big paper) on Native Americans and Education.


I had Ms. Thomson for Chemistry. I hated science. Actually, I sometimes liked science, like in 7th grade and Biology in 10th grade (when we weren't dissecting), but chemistry was not my thing. I botched every lab. Ugh, I hated labs! I remember at the end of one grading period, I had like an 89.6 average, and Ms. Thomson wrote down as my final grade "A" with an enormous minus after it. Very kind of her to round up!


I had Madame Erbmann for French that year and she was the first french teacher to catch on that I didn't get it. I think I got a D on her final and a C for the class. My BFF Karen moved up a level and joined my class and she really struggled too. That was not a good class for us.


Ugh, math. 11th grade presented my only real (up to that point) personality conflict with a teacher. Mr. Miller. I hated him, he was an idiot (in my teen-aged opinion, and come on, the guy was hired to direct band, how did he end up teaching pre-calculus?!). One time I managed to get a D on a test while doing all the math right but making careless errors. How do you get a D from careless errors?! And he was a jerk. This boy and I (actually it was Brian, you can read more about him in this piggy tale) aced this class (that one D notwithstanding) and yet he wouldn't recommend either of us for calculus the next year. Jerk! It didn't matter. Brian and I both opted to take Calc anyway and we aced that too. So there, Mr. Miller. Suck it. (Yeah, you can see how all these years later, Mr. Miller still leaves a bad taste in my mouth.)


Boys. I haven't talked much about boys in high school yet--because I never dated. Nope, no guys were interested in me in high school. :-( So I just went from one unrequited crush to another. My main crush for a long time was still Cory from junior high, if you can believe it. Oh the pathetic-ness. Finally, junior year, I developed a new crush on bad boy Chris from my English and History classes. He was cool and had long hair (but smart too). Cute! He started dating Jane, but I still lusted from afar. So no dating and no Prom for me. I can say "whatever!" now, but at the time, this was a huge cause of stress and worry and "what is wrong with me? why doesn't anybody like me?"


My BFF, Karen, and I had a slumber party the night of Prom and watched movies and pigged out and it turned out to be a fun night.


Also that year, I was Assistant Business Manager for the student-produced musical. My good friend, Janet, was Business Manager and she recruited me to be one of her assistants and I was looking for a "leadership role" to put on my college applications. It was fun to be behind the scenes of a musical like that. And Cool Chris was on the board as well. ;-)

Finally, at the end of the year I auditioned for the next year's Swing Choir (the small, elite, best choir) and didn't make it. I didn't think I would, but I was still disappointed, especially because girls I'd sung next to for years did make it and I thought I was as good as them. Meanwhile, I auditioned for Advanced Intermediate Dance (so I could get out of regular PE my senior year) and woohoo, I made it! No more gym for me!!!


That's it for junior year. Just for fun, I thought I'd add some youtube links for any musical theater buffs {these clips are from the 1981 movie with Ben Vereen and (Greatest American Hero) William Katt}. Here's the song I auditioned with--No Time At All. {Check out the saucy dialogue or fast forward to the 2 minute mark to hear the song.} My favorite Pippin song, Corner of the Sky, and Magic to Do {our production did the same thing with the hands in the lights}.


Okay, next week--senior year. Go to Mommy's Piggy Tales for more strolls down memory lane!

2 comments:

Janette@Janette's Sage said...

This is great because it opens the other side of high school that I wasn't involved it. I do have that I went to one of the high school plays and we go now.
Love the teacher stories, my memory is weak on those.
Love the No prom...didn't do that either.
And to have something on Youtube...wow, since my high school year were before computers.
I have a 45 of my senior year, which I can't play on anything
Enjoyed...you did a great job...two more to go!!!

Jenny said...

I think the majority of kids at my school went to prom without a date, actually.

Ever since I can remember, my dad has always recited lines from Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee to us. :)

Wow, poor Mr. Miller, you really let him have it, ha! :)