I have always loved singing. According to my mother, I started singing in tune as young as 3 years old. She associated my inclination to music to that time when she would play nursery rhymes through the headphones in her belly. Growing up, I listened to the radio more than watching cartoons on TV. Most of the time, I don’t know the title of the song, but I know the lyrics by heart, so I would sing along.
My parents and grandparents were my fan base. They egged on singing for them most especially on special occasions (i.e., Christmas and birthday celebrations). It was the Christmas season in 1996 when I had my first singing gig. My paternal grandfather, who worked in the accounting department of a pharmaceutical company, asked me to sing in their company’s Christmas party. I have never performed in front of an audience of more than five people, so I was hesitant at the beginning. Mom, being the stage mother that she already was, encouraged me to accept the invitation upon finding out about it. Had it not been for my favorite grandfather, I wouldn’t have agreed at all.
I had two cassette tapes of Disney movie soundtracks such as The Lion King and Pocahontas, and Mom thought Colors of the Wind would be a perfect song piece. I spent an entire afternoon repeatedly playing, rewinding, and playing again my cassette tape to memorize its lyrics and melody. Mom didn’t mind this because she knew I had to prepare for my stint.
I wore my gala dress—that special uniform we wear on special occasions in school—to the party. My parents couldn’t come with us, but my favorite cousin tagged along. Ah, talk about support system; however, looking back, he may have joined only for the sake of free food. Everyone was already enjoying their dinner when the emcee called me up on stage for my intermission number. I gave them my cassette tape earlier on, already rewound to the beginning of my song, to save them the trouble of doing so. I stood at the center of the stage—a mini platform—and silently prayed I don’t forget the lyrics of my song. The lights were dimmed, so it was easier to shrug off any stage fright I may have.
I sang with my heart’s content as if I were only at the comfort of our home with only my mother as my audience. When the song was over, the lights were back on, and the crowd—my grandfather, my cousin, and a hundred more people—applauded. I might have teared up from that overwhelming experience. My grandfather’s big boss immediately followed me to our table, and handed me a crisp 1,000 peso bill. It was my first ever talent fee! Mind you, a thousand pesos cost more then than it does today.
Whenever I hear Colors of the Wind, it takes me back to that time when one of my dreams was made to reality. Had it not been for my supportive family, I wouldn’t have plucked up the courage to sing to more than just my family as my audience. That was enough to honor God for the gift I have been bestowed, and I will forever cherish that wonderful experience.
I think this line best describes that feeling: How high does the sycamore grow? If you cut it down, then you’ll never know.
P.S. What are the odds—Jules posted an entry that had something to do with Pocahontas, too! Go, check it out!