I’ve had this half-dreamed wish about performing here before I left the States. Not just on stage at Tomy church, but in a club or venue around Tomaszów or elsewhere. Doing standards or a jazz piece, something that suits my voice, right? So it’s funny that on Sunday of the teacher trip, I got to know this couple that is involved in just that.
Wojtek, and his wife (I think her name was Isa), are big jazz fans. Wojtek plays drums and has jam sessions often with other musician friends around town, who do gigs all around Poland. He’d been striking up conversations with me, curious about where I came from and sharing some knowledge about things in Poland too. We got on the topic of music when he asked if I sang or played anything after we were done walking Tężnie Solankowe, and were were instantly best friends. He was so excited to have someone else to talk about music and share different artists with, and equally so to have me over to their house to play and sing whenever we could. I might even do some music gigs around town sometimes with the right band members together (we need a bassist).
I totally believe God planned this out. I’d been feeling a little down that I hadn’t been able to sing on a stage yet. It’s only been a month since I’ve come to Poland. I know I have time, yet. But when I got sick and missed that Sunday service, it really did hurt. I love singing so much; it’s a core part of who I am and one of my best gifts that I want others to enjoy too. I’m always encouraged when someone says they love my voice or that they felt blessed when I lead worship.
A little background will help you understand. When I was in high school, I had been refining my singing voice on my own, listening to opera arias, ballads, whatever I thought would fit my soprano voice at the time. I was pretty confident because many people said I was good. The first disappointment was at a county-wide drama festival where I had entered a singing competition and didn’t win. I received a lot of positive feedback from other students, but that loss stuck with me. The second time was when I auditioned for a role in a musical in school my junior year and didn’t get a part. I had taken a risk and went for a more vocally powerful song. Well, those two experiences left scars of insecurity for me that still echo now. I decided to sing just for myself after that. It wasn’t until I wanted to do a special song for church one time that I got up in front of a public stage again. People were blown away, and I was too that they were so impressed. I sang for special services for a while, gaining more confidence, and when I changed churches and auditioned for the band at Mosaic, I felt like I really could do this.
Church is a little different from other stages. For one thing, the focus is worship. I’m not as self-conscious because it’s not about me in that moment. Normal performances still make me nervous and I’m very aware of mistakes (I think that’s any artist), but I feel more prepared mentally and vocally than I ever have to step out into a public arena. I’ve wanted to perform before in the States, but insecurity and feeling like I didn’t really know the business kept me from pursuing it seriously. I had plenty of musician friends who did gigs, but they usually needed other musicians instead of vocalists.
In Poland, though, I’m actually the missing piece for this music group. They need a frontman and I’m available.
I’m kind of in shock, in a good way. First, Travis with an event in Warsaw next month, then Wojtek and his crew locally, and I’m still pursuing worship leading at Tomy (they told me soon; working out the details). This is the start of some really cool adventures and I can’t wait.