baritone

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 My brother will be performing on some of Phoenix’s most prestigious stages in the Baritone section of the Phoenix Metropolitan Men’s Chorus with rehearsals starting September 24th.

MAY I JUST SCREAM FOR ONE SECOND???

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I knew he had a good voice.  And I knew it was still a long shot.  This is a big men’s chorus in town but of course not anyone can just come sing because they want to.  You have to audition and audition my brother did.

Tonite at 5pm we set out in a crazy storm toward North Phoenix where the auditions were being held.  Without a doubt I was more nervous than he was.  We were singing in the car the whole way.  We were told however that he didn’t need to have any kind of song prepared; he would be tested on range, voice matching and the ability to hold a note.

 

 

We arrived drenched in uncharacteristic Phoenix rain while leaving my umbrella in the car.

My brother was filling out the initial form with water droplets all over his glasses.

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The President of the organization, Capone, met us cheerfully.  He’s the guy we’d been corresponding with for a period of months setting all of this up.  What a nice cordial fella.

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he’s in the back row third from the left

We visited for a bit then the chorus Director, Mark, arrived and very quickly whisked John in to a small anteroom for the audition.

I was doing my best to play it cool conversing with Capone but I could hear through the door and they were doing scales and Alfonse was hitting every single dang note.  Even Capone remarked “Wow he’s doing a lot better than I did at my audition”.  He shared about how nervous he was waiting for days to hear if he’d made it and how utterly thrilled he was to hear he got in.  “It changed my life” he said.  He shared about how warm and welcoming this community is.  “John will be welcomed with open arms and he will be taken by the hand every step of the way”.

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Music to my weary worn down by the mental health system ears.

They emerged from that side room in a matter of minutes and I overheard Alfonse saying as they walked out “I’m in a program for people with mental illness”.  Uhoh I thought.  I’m sure they asked him what he did for a living and that’s what he answered.  He didn’t skirt it but just owned it and put it out  there.  Ok, well there it is.

Mark swiftly slapped the paper right down on the table saying one word, loudly and crisply, “Baritone”.

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I wasn’t quite sure what that meant so tried to play it cool just going along as I noted he wrote something else on the paper.  He pointed it out as I said that John had lots of flexibility in his schedule and is very prompt and reliable so can be a great asset like that (still thinking I was selling it).  He then directed the writing on the paper to Capone “see, volunteer” in a section of the paper reserved for special skills.

I thought “oh maybe they are designating him as volunteer” which actually would be ok.

We talked a bit more, I heard something about an orientation being discussed and then something about introducing John to the leader of the Baritone section but didn’t say anything for fear of being pushy presumptuous.

I shortly then said “ok what’s the procedure now?  When will we know if he’s in the chorus?”.

Capone smiled this huge romantic smile and said “oh he’s in”.

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I gasped!  Chills ran all over my body and tears sprung to my eyes.

“Oh I’m sorry that wasn’t clear.  Yes, he’s in.  He will start rehearsals in September but you’re welcome to stay tonite and watch our rehearsal for the September show”.

OMG OMG OMG

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He made it!  Right then and there!  HE MADE IT!!!!

Deep breath.

There was about a 40 min. break until rehearsal started so we decided to go celebrate and went for some amazing Mexican food at  Ajo Al’s and margaritas.  OMG HE MADE IT!

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My brother’s life is getting ready to change big time.

Now the September performance is at the historic Orpheum Theatre in downtown Phoenix.  This is a HUGE theatre.  One where I saw Bobby Caldwell and the Jersey Boys touring show.  I also saw Riverdance there once.  It’s a big stage that gets big names.  They said something about Susan Boyle performing after them (are they opening for her maybe?).

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OMG OMG OMG HE MADE IT!

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We came back after dinner and watched rehearsal.  When we walked in the Director stopped for a moment and introduced us and all of the members applauded.  OMG!

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I asked and right now they have about 60 members but it can go up to around 100.  They are doing constant auditions this month for the upcoming season.  I went back to Facebook and looked at my original post–I’ve been reaching out to this organization since last April.

We heard them rehearse a very complex song that was so interesting and haunting…like mystical and angelic.

They took a little break and many of the men came up and introduced themselves to us…what a friendly group.

The leader of the Baritone section, also named John was super friendly and said to my Alfonse “Mark told me you have some amazing note matching skills”.  Alfonse was so humble about it as usual and said “well I can hit the lower notes”.

OMG!

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I’m still so overwhelmed.  We left at the break and most of the men waved goodbye to us…such a friendly, healthy environment.

My schizophrenic brother is the next baritone in the prestigious Phoenix Men’s Metropolitan Chorus.  He led with his voice and his voice carried the day.

Phoenix Metropolitan Men's Chorus

Now doesn’t that just make you feel something?

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12 thoughts on “baritone

  1. Kat

    Wow!! Super!! The goose bumps just keep on going through my body ripple after ripple. I am beyond what I could echo to what you voiced and felt. Congratulations is not even a big enough word but your brother deserves the very highest of accolades. Bravo Alphonso!! “Break a leg”, Alphonso!!

  2. Sally Velarde

    Ms. Kathy,

    A big congratulations from one who sail the same boat (ship) as you are. I am one of five sisters whose only brother we need to worry about – for 40 years. Though unlike you, we have been on calm waters the past fifteen. So I totally understand when you write about your bro.

    Sincerely,

    Sally

    >

  3. catgee53

    Congratulations to Alfonse, and to you Katie. This is a really remarkable accomplishment, for ANYone. He sounds like he really kept his cool, and did a tremendous job at the audition. No easy feat. Singing is such a vulnerable endeavor…one can feel completely exposed and so hopeful for validation. Good on him!!

    Catherine

    • Hi catherine! I so need to reply to your email…it’s been a busy last few days but I’m thinking of you and so glad we found each other again! Yes, vulnerability, no kidding!

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