My Good-Bye to the Metropolitan Opera Children’s Chorus

Yesterday was a tough day. It was not only the last Parsifal of the Met season, but it was also my last performance in the Metropolitan Opera Children’s Chorus.

As you know from my “About” page, I have been in the Met children’s chorus for seven years. I joined in March of 2006 when I was eight years old, and I can still remember my first children’s chorus class when my legs were wobbling singing “Happy Birthday” for my audition. From that same class, I also remember volunteering to sing the children’s chorus part of An American Tragedy, which the Met did a few years ago, alone in front of the entire class. After that class, I also remember going home and crying because I was not able to keep up with the children’s chorus part in La Bohème because of the rapid tempo. The director had not handed out the music, so I was sitting there going, “Parpignol..par..what?!”.

Photo: My first time performing on the stage of the Met as a communion girl in Cavalleria Rusticana, October of 2006.

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Last night, seven years later, I also went home crying, but in a different way. Those were tears of happiness.

When I first entered the children’s chorus studio last night, I was greeted with so many “Happy last performance”s , “Why do you have to leave?”s, and “We’ll miss you!”s. I even got a “We don’t even talk but I’ll miss you anyway”. Along with these greetings I received a ton of supportive hugs. We all sat down to warm up and the children’s chorus director not only announced that it was the last Parsifal, but that it was my last performance. He made clear that I had been there seven years, and that I would be leaving with a lot of Met history. He also wished that I would be able to sing on the stage of the Met again, and good luck for the future in vocal training. I felt so honored.

After warming up we were called by the stage manager to go up to the Dome. As usual, I brought my Parsifal score. I followed along for the entire second scene of Act one. The end of the act came, and my colleagues and I sang our last “Selig im glauben”, and I realized that I had tears streaming down my face. My friends saw that and gave me more supportive hugs. As if that was not enough, they gave me a very special gift. All of them had spent time in the Dome writing “We’ll miss you, Melanie” notes and preparing a scrapbook full of them. Some of them even drew pictures of me and Jonas Kaufmann because they know how much I love him. I was speechless.

I said my good-byes and gave more hugs, even one to the children’s chorus director, and left the studio. I had tickets for the rest of the performance of Parsifal. My dad and I watched Act II but I simply could not concentrate or stop crying. We left after Act II, and I had a big cry in the car. I was reminded that there are bigger and better things, and that I will go far. He also reminded me that every person I have talked to about leaving the children’s chorus, said I would be back singing on the same stage again some day. That made me feel better.

I want to thank my parents, my children’s chorus friends, my twitter friends, and all of you who follow my blog for your love and support. It was a tough evening for me yesterday, but it ended in happy tears, a thoughtful scrapbook, and the reminder that I have such supportive friends. Thank you.

Here are the thoughtful entries from the scrapbook:

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8 comments on “My Good-Bye to the Metropolitan Opera Children’s Chorus

    • That is so sweet, Ivis. Thanks for all the ways you are in touch with Melanie. I think her Twitter community is a big part of her realizing that she will continue to make music and opera connections for the rest of her life…not to mention some virtual shoulders to cry on at moments like these!

  1. You are very welcome for the love and support. You give it back in spades, Melanie!

    What a beautiful blog post and such eloquent writing–especially on a subject that has caused you so much pain. I loved how you “bookended” your writing with your Children’s Chorus tenure both starting and ending in tears.

    While goodbyes can be teary, the reason why they are is that that something in one’s life has been very, very special, treasured, and dear. And isn’t the pain of the inevitable goodbye to that something much less than the joy and treasured memories of having had the experience itself?

    “Better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all.”

    And now, my dear Melanie, “At- to Secondo!!”

    Love,

    Your Mom and biggest fan.

  2. Dear Melanie, I am sure that, if you take good care of your voice, you will perhaps join the adult choir of the Met. Who knows !!!
    But if you are so passioned about it, just go for it. Music is the only language that all of the world’s people know. It is universal.
    Kind regards from Belgium
    Andree Bosman

  3. Melanie, I know your days as a children’s chorister may be over for now but the closing of this chapter in your life means that you have already begun on the next leg of your musical journey. Your time at the Met has undoubtedly prepared you for whatever happens to be the next stage upon which you will perform. Take all these memories and experiences with you as you continue your musical education; they will both comfort you and serve you well as you continue to expand upon the glorious art form that is performing opera. Your passion and enthusiasm for for this ancient art form is rare and encouraging: you will most definitely pass on this enthusiasm to anyone who is lucky enough to get to know you and hear your many stories. I wish you the best on your continued success as a musician and I do hope that we keep in touch 🙂

  4. Hello Melanie,
    My 8 year old daughter auditioned for the Met Children’s Chorus yesterday. I was looking online for more info about the chorus and came upon your heartfelt post. Reading about your deep connection to this chorus provided me with better insight to some of what my daughter Amelie will experience should she be accepted. Thank you for sharing, and as your dad said, you are now onto great things!

    Best wishes,
    Carrie

    • Hi Carrie,
      I am so touched that you could connect with my post on my being in the Met Children’s Chorus. It became a part of my life, and I still have a hole in my heart from leaving in March. Your daughter will have a wonderful time in the children’s chorus. It is a unique experience that will give her an incredible view of how musicians work and prepare, and one that I will never forget. I wish your daughter luck, I know that she’ll have a great time 🙂
      -Melanie
      PS: I also joined the Met Children’s Chorus when I was 8!

  5. Pingback: A Look in the Met’s 2012-2013 Rear-View Mirror | Ms.OperaGeek

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