My husband would argue that I have
too many hobbies, but performing with The Chicago Red Line is the main one. I am beyond grateful that over the course of 11 years, three kids, two moves, and a career change, he has supported me, even when it was NOT easy.
Here are 11 ways in which performing with my friends "fills my mommy water bottle:"
- It makes me laugh. The comment I hear most from friends in the audience is, "It looks like you guys have so much fun up there." I rarely laugh more than I do at rehearsals and shows.
- It works my brain. Learning (sometimes teaching) choreography is my stronger suit, but I still have to review a lot. Reading music is quite challenging for me, but...
- It pulls me out of my comfort zone. I would never push myself to read music were it not for the Chicago Red Line. I'm really not that good at it. (This statement comes as no surprise to my fellow Altos.)
- It puts me in a mindful state of being. When we're on stage, I can't check my phone, or worry about chores. I actually stand so close to my friends that I can sometimes hear and feel their heartbeat. It's a pretty cool thing.
- It gives me affirmation/acknowledgement. You may not believe this, but my children rarely say "thank you" for raising them. Performing for an audience, however, I receive applause, whoops and hollers, and lots of smiles. It's quite gratifying.
- It exposes me to different people/music. As a person who spends her time with mostly families, it's refreshing to be with young people. :) And though I don't consider it music, I would never know Billie Eilish were it not for this group. (Does that make me old?)
- It takes me back. I've been performing with some of these friends for half of my life, since my freshman year of college. Before every show, we "shake it out" backstage (which is a lot less sexual than it sounds). This tradition is over 20 years old!
- It reminds me of who I was before "mom." This is super essential: to remember that I am more than just dish washing, diaper changing chauffeur. And, in every show, I'm a new character, so I truly get to play a different role than my day-to-day life.
- It forces me to listen. Quite literally, I must listen to others, or things don't sound right. During a performance, I listen to cast members' lines, to musicians cues, and to the audience's feedback.
- It begets more hanging out with friends. With these friends, I have run a marathon, participated in dinner clubs, traveled internationally, and stood next to them on their wedding day. It is so much more than a singing group.
- I get to spend time with some of the smartest, busiest, most creative people I know. Our directors continue to crank out new material after more than a decade. Many members are thriving in their careers, and several are moms like I am. Together, and with our significant others, we juggle many commitments to keep this hobby sacred.