Born and raised outside of Carbondale PA. Not popular in school but I dealt with it, I guess, and I graduated with a really great group of people, nearly all of whom I'd be glad to run into.
The first experience I remember singing in front of a large group was at Johns Hopkins CTY in the summer of my 8th grade year. I opened the talent show singing "Cherish" by Madonna to absolutely awesome piano accompanyment I was so lucky to get from a TA. There were 500 spectators, and a peach light in an octagonal hall... I fell in love with performance.
I still may have never sung as well as I can it if it weren't for Ed and John Kerber. I was practicing for a school show with them, and Ed heard me, and then took me off into a side room to work on vocals. He was the first one to really get me to project. I hear he's got a local morning show here in Scranton.
I went on to do several local musical theater shows during high school, as well as the school shows. I didn't get bitten hard enough with the acting bug, but at UBMS at PSU during the summer, I still did the talent shows. Mark Toci was an English teacher for the program and is still an absolutely excellent guitarist. The one year he played... something he knew or made up and I just used an Edgar Allen Poe poem and improvised a melody. My first foray into sort of original music. Last I heard he had a doctorate and was running a charter school in State College.
Graduate of Lakeland High School and I still have all of my track and cross country trophies and my plaques from drama and FBLA (one each). I don't know if I have memorabilia, but I went to District Chorus and had a load of fun singing Soprano I. Spent a lot of time with my old buddy Carl V J Shinko. The coolest "band" experience I have had to date, I got to drive him every weekend to Dallas, PA, to sing and sort of play keyboards with him, Mike Trosan (a district band trumpet player) and... ummm... shoot, a really awesome drummer, Bob Humphries (thanks for the email, Mike!), and another trumpet player who sang at district chorus as well. We ended up playing one show at one of Carl's Lackawanna Trail School dances. It was cool. We went for Pizza at Grotto's in Harvey's Lake and drank loads of soda, and one week we sang "Rubber Ducky" to every single rhythm in the keyboard's tone bank. These guys were the first ones to let me sing Candlebox. I still love "Far Behind".
Somehow in here I was in Crystal Band for a semester or two and ended up playing pitched percussion with Tom Frew at Scranton Prep for their drama club's performance of "West Side Story". Kind of an odd feeling to me, as I very nearly attended Prep and could have easily been on the stage in a different life. I've sung some shows that Tom has played at Diva theater since then, and he's always great. Somewhere else in there I did a truly horrible production of something calling itself "Phantom of the Opera" that was NOT the one of which you are thinking. The bright spot of this production was working with Bob Bolitski and Pat Marcinko. I also got to do "Hello, Dolly" as Ermingard with the Corner Bistro.
I heard that in the first revision of the class prophecy I ended up accidentally nuking the eastern seaboard but I hear the vice-principal nixed it. Too bad, I actually thought it was funny by that time. I got some wierd complements when our time at Lakeland was winding down. One girl told me after the senior play that she "really could believe you were someone else". Another girl apologized for being mean to me in elementary school. I hope I was gracious, but I already knew... The girl she was would never have apologized to the girl I was.
I wrote "Might Have Been" before one of the events that truly shaped it had happened. Kind of funny, feels like I do that a lot. Immediately after I thought it was finished... I asked somebody to listen to it. He said no. I wonder if anything would have been different if he had. He didn't have another chance to hear it. I tried to tell that story in my Dale Carnegie class and broke down in tears. I got the "breakthrough award"... Really for telling something that I didn't tell anyone until then. Here, I'm kind of telling the world... except few people will see it.
Let's see... I let what everybody else thought I should be pick my major in college and I didn't even try for music or acting, I just went for engineering, and to be with my boyfriend. Hard way to learn some lessons, but I always was a bit stubborn. I really ended up majoring in depression and sleep-deprivation, with the help of a friend I more than half suspect is a psychic vampire. Sometime during this time I tried some music courses at PSU Main. I went out for Women's Chorus and the director taking the audition walked me down to D Douglas Miller, a superb director who took just one listen to me and moved me to Alto II and Concert Choir, the touring group. Ouch. I was right in over my head. I could sight-read for piano but I couldn't sight-sing. I had to learn quick. I learned so much, but I truly regret not having the technical prowess to take his direction where it needed to go. He got me on the path, though, and I realized the importance of regular choral work. I got to sing with Concert Choir on tour of Toronto, and I got to sing on stage with the group and Kenny Rogers. I got to shake his hand and he said, "It's not Christmas until the Choir sings".
During this same time I was cultivating a deep love for music in foreign tongues. My friend Andrew Sucheski came to the rescue when, before I tried out for chorus, I was deeply needing musical expression. PSIDE, Penn State International Dance Ensemble, was such a familial experience. I learned a lot of international music by rote. Andrew was a member and got me in. Clay Robeson, may he rock forever, along with Steve Hall, and Rog and Val and Heather... much rocking. :) Much ruling.
State College saw the beginning and ending of my LARP addiction, as well as my MUD addiction. Heh. If you don't know, don't ask. I also officially became an RPG Geek as well as a Comic Geek.
Eventually I ended up home and seriously began composing. Inspired by Dave Neubauer, I took up guitar. I found myself a crappy job with lots of overtime, left it, found a crappy job where everybody hated me, had issue with management who knew I wanted to transfer to State College (again, I still wouldn't admit it was a bad place for me). Found a crappy temp job that led to a job in the file room of a bank. This I was fired from, but I won the unemployment hearing because they didn't have valid recent grounds.
During this time I joined Singers Guild, did some local opera with NPO, did some shows with Diva theater and practiced with several bands that didn't get off the ground. I played some open mic nights. After I was fired from the crappy bank job, I answered an ad looking for a female vocalist for a metal band. I thought, "what the hell". Well, they'd already decided the guitarist was gonna sing, but they tried me out on keyboards and I suited. Dave Kenderdine and his girl Jenn, (and they have such a cute baby now!) they play play play, and one practice I was sitting around, lamenting that I should get a job, and he said, "Come to the Shack". I told him I was going to the job fair the next morning and I'd hit his store on the way back. Of course, it was September 10th, 2001. To make a long story MUCH shorter than I should, now I'm an ex-Shack manager!
I'm still writing. There's a lot of stuff around me. I want to get past lyrics and into fully realized stories... But there's a lot less hiding on fully realized stories. A lot less. And I'm not comfortable to make that step yet. The only reason I made it to here is that I can still just let this sit. Nobody needs to know this page if I don't want them to... Of course, that's just a good way for me to make myself leave it as is.
Did I tell you I over-self-analyze or did you pick that up yourself?