Farewell, desert!

I started this blog two years ago as I was preparing to move to Arizona. Now I’m in the midst of another big transition: leaving Arizona to move to New York. My belongings are in a U-Box, traveling across the country via truck, and yesterday I made the 11+ hour drive to the Bay Area so I could drop my car off with my family. I’ll be catching a flight out of San Francisco tomorrow, destination: New York City.

Some of the things I’ll miss:

  • The very supportive environment at ASU. I had wonderful teachers and mentors there and also lovely peers to learn and work with.
  • Arizona Opera. They are going through exciting growth and changes, and their 2013-2014 season is going to rock! I was very lucky to be a study cover in their productions of Le nozze di Figaro and Orfeo ed Euridice, and there are several roles in next season’s line-up that I would have loved to work on.
  • My church job. The music director and choir were some of the nicest and kindest people I’ve ever met, and we sang beautiful music ranging from Renaissance polyphony to contemporary songs.
  • Friends. But they’ll be auditioning in NYC, so I’ll see them soon!
  • The weather. It gets to be really, really, extremely hot in the summer, but the rest of the year is quite nice. The sky was blue more days than not, and the sunsets are gorgeous.
  • My quiet little apartment with its dishwasher, washer and dryer, closets, and storage space.
  • The rent on my apartment.
  • The ability to drive myself places.

Sun, clouds, and palm trees. Tempe, 2013.

Taking stock of where I am and who I am compared to two years ago:

  • I’m a little bit wiser and a little more experienced after my time in Arizona. I wish I was even wiser and even more experienced, but I’ll just channel that hunger into making the most of my time in New York rather than having regrets.
  • I’m a better performer (at least I hope so). The direction and coaching I received at ASU helped me expand my concept of performing from what the character is feeling at a particular moment to how the past, the environment, and the present circumstances shape a character’s thought process in the moment.
  • I’m more realistic in my personal goals of where and what I sing, and more aware of how hard it is to be a professional singer. I knew there were many steps in the road to becoming a successful singer, but I didn’t realize how each of those steps were comprised of many other smaller steps … nor did I realize over how much time those smaller steps would be spread out. I’m getting a much better sense of that now.
  • I know a little more about the business of singing. I’ve come to see that sheer determination and lots of practicing — as important as they are — aren’t enough.
  • I’m more passionate about education and convinced of its necessity. I think singers should see themselves as performers and educators concurrently, not one before the other, or worse, one and not the other (our education system makes this difficult).

Two years went by so quickly. I wish I could stay another year and be part of more productions, take more German, do more with Arizona Opera, coach more, learn more, strengthen friendships and professional relationships. I almost re-auditioned for the Arizona Opera chorus with the hopes of getting another contract and cover studying a few more roles, but I decided to make a clean break. If I’m going to be serious about making the most of my time in New York, I have to be in New York.

A lot of people ask if I’m excited about moving to NYC. Of course I’m excited to live in a new city, to be with my boyfriend, and not have to fly to auditions anymore. But I’m also nervous, apprehensive, and worried about money, finding a job, being so far from my family, surrounded by pavement and 8 million crazy people, and trying to balance work and singing.

I am very grateful for the opportunities I had in Arizona and appreciative of the people who have helped me grow along the way. I’m very thankful to have graduated with a relatively small amount in student loans to pay back (otherwise my stress level would be 10 times higher). Part of me wishes I could stay in Arizona where I have friends and where I know people, but I have to be brave and bold. My apartment is empty and my keys are turned in. All my library books and CD’s have been surrendered. Who knows when I’ll be back … my secret (well it’s not so secret now that I’m confessing to it) hope is that the next time I’m back in Arizona it will be because I’m singing in some fabulous concert or because I’ve been hired to sing a role or invited to give a talk about what it takes to make it as a singer.

Everything happens for a reason. Every step leads you to the next. So, farewell, desert! You have been good to me, but now it’s time for the next challenge.

4 responses to “Farewell, desert!

  1. I remember arriving in New York in 1971, fresh out of college and trying to get my life started. Although I was not an artist, I found New York exhilarating and a great place to be as a young person. So I hope you do, too. I spent 7 years in New York, and met Ida there, before moving to California to join her in 1978. Don’t forget the joys of the parks (especially Central Park) when you feel overwhelmed by the crush of humanity. Your friend Bill

    • Hi, Bill! Thank you for advice and for sharing how NY was a good experience for you. I’m glad to have my boyfriend to help me through this transition, and although I’m getting used to the subway system and enjoying the bit of exploring I’ve done, it’s been a bit of a challenge to stay positive… I’m still job searching, and while I know these things take time, it isn’t easy for me to deal with πŸ™‚ We went to Bryant Park the other day but didn’t stay too long — I’ll make a point to get outside and enjoy nature more!

  2. Have a safe flight to New York, Joyce. Bill

    • Thank you, Bill! I am doing well and adjusting fairly quickly πŸ™‚ of course my main concern is currently finding a job! I’m searching and applying, so hopefully there will be more to post about very soon!

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