Recently, I was in NYC for a one-day business trip. Since I had just finished my meetings for the day, and had almost an hour before the taxi would pick me up, I decided to see at least one Big Apple landmark that I had not already seen on previous trips. On my way to the Russian Tea Room, I passed Carnegie Hall … and that gave me an idea.
You see, my daughter has been taking singing lessons – and she’s doing really well. In fact, she’s one of a very few people who can sing up to and actually hold a ‘C’ note, four octaves above middle C. That’s a stratosphere I’ll never visit personally, but I admire her talent. (Let me assure you, it came from Angela’s side of the family, not mine.)
So, as I was walking in front of Carnegie Hall toward the Russian Tea Room, I wondered what it would feel like to perform in what many consider to be the most prestigious, legendary landmark of the music world. Hmmm … assuming there were no performances that night, why not see if I could talk my way into the auditorium – if nothing else, just to see the Hall from a performer’s viewpoint?
I decided to try it.
After a few minutes of friendly negotiating with a security guard, I found myself being escorted down the aisle to the stage. Something about ‘Hey, I’m from North Carolina just visiting big ‘ole NYC’ and my Southern accent may have had something to do with it. While I was admiring the beautiful ornamentation and stately decor, which reminded me of the interior of the Paris Opera House, the guard commented, ‘Since you’re here, why don’t you sing?’
What a good idea!
After belting out a rather uneven rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’, the guard said, ‘Now you can say that you performed at Carnegie Hall’.
And so I can.
Who knows now long it will be before I receive a letter from Carnegie Hall asking for an ‘encore’ performance, but I certainly enjoyed the opportunity for the first one. And, I have no idea how long my daughter will pursue singing. Kids at 10 years old change their minds often. What I do know is this; there is something about seizing your opportunities and doing your best that will always bring great rewards and personal satisfaction – regardless of one’s singing ability.
Venue: Carnegie Hall
Performer: Mel Johnson
Music: Happy Birthday, a cappella
Audience: One security guard
What opportunity can you seize today?