The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow

We were all crammed into the music room of my new elementary school, waiting for our turns.

I had heard that there were going to be vocal tryouts this afternoon for the school musical, “Annie”.  I’d never heard of the play before, didn’t have a clue about it, but it seemed like everyone wanted to be a part of the musical.

This school’s spring musicals were apparently, legendary, and students there had years and years of watching the fifth grade students shine in the elaborate productions.  Only fifth graders could take part, so it was a real rite of passage.  My old school did nothing like this, so I was unprepared.

I’d never sung in front of other people before.  I had picked up the flute this year, getting sprung from my classroom once a week to learn the basics of notes, scales, and finger placements on rented instrument.  I loved making music, so I was all for being a part of the musical.

One by one, the teacher called us up to sing a few lines from the opening tune, “Maybe.”

Most of the girls trying out sounded pretty much the same.   Their quiet, unremarkable voices were hard to hear over Mrs. V’s banging on the piano.  Except for one.

Kathleen had a voice that stood far out from everyone else’s.  Her voice was strong, and sure, and she didn’t even have to look at the paper where the words had been printed.   She clearly was prepared for this moment and relished it.   Whispers started around me about how she had already been taking private vocal lessons, and how she was aiming to be the next Andrea McArdle (who had achieved fame in the Broadway version of Annie at the ripe old age of fourteen.

No one was surprised when, a week or so later, the cast list showed Kathleen cast as Annie.

I wasn’t really happy with my casting as “Business Woman”, which was just one step up from the chorus.  The competitor in me had wanted to at least score being an orphan, or maybe Miss Hannigan.  But it wasn’t to be.

Still, my tenure in the musical gave me lots of time after school to get to know some of the girls who weren’t in my class at school.  I discovered Sarah, who like me seemed smart and competitive; Dawn, whose sense of humor and red hair made me feel happy; and ultimately, Kathleen of the lead role, who was the only other person I knew living with just one parent.   They all lived in my same little townhouse community, all within easy walking distance across the main road, up the hill and across the way.

By the time I donned one of my mother’s smallest business suits to walk across the stage during the “N.Y.C.” number, I’d made three new girlfriends.    I liked them all, very much.

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