On My Own: Why I Wish I Had a Camp Like Ours
I wish I had been able to do a camp like the Pop Star Camp we just ran when I was younger. I’m not telling you that because I run it. I’m telling you that because I wish I was able to attend it.
To be fair, when I was younger it was all about Broadway. I knew every role I wanted to play in every musical. I wanted to be Eponine in Les Miserables, Christine in Phantom of the Opera, Emma Goldman in Ragtime. I never had the opportunity to play any of these parts. By the time I got onto a stage, I was no longer singing musical theater. I have a full docket of performances coming up, and all of these are opera roles. Which doesn’t mean I don’t secretly want to sing “On My Own.” I did plenty of Broadway Camps, but they were always jammed full of of kids, each one vying for the attention of the director. They were songs chosen by the director. They afforded little in the way of solo opportunities, and a lot in the way of the disquiet of rounds of auditions. I still remember the audition round for “Castle On A Cloud,” getting more and more nervous as the group got progressively smaller. I got that solo, but also a mild heart attack.
And that is why I wish that I had a camp like the Pop Star Camp. A small camp that allowed time to work as a soloist on a song that meant something to them. An opportunity to have someone not just hear them sing, but listen to them sing. That would have meant the world to me back then; someone to not just see me as another mousy haired little girl in a gaggle of little girls, but to be acknowledged as “Anne.” A place to work on the songs that they want to sing with no competition in mind. No “I hope I am better than her so that I can sing that song,” but instead an environment where everyone wants everyone to do well because we are all excited to get to be pop stars for a day.
These girls might not become singers. Not very many people do. And that is okay. They still had the opportunity to get up in front of their friends and family and sing a song that they really loved. And not just sing it, perform it. The way they wanted to, in control of how they wanted that dream to play out. They got the chance to be brave and perform, use microphones, sing with a live band. This might be the only time for them. It may be the first in a long line of performances. That isn’t what is important. What is important is that the other performers in the camp were not their rivals, people to be jealous of because they got the solo instead, but friends who supported them.
Am I talking up the Pop Star Camp? Yes, of course, I am. Do I want your child to join us next year? Yes, of course, I do. Because I would have loved the chance to do something like this, and I would like others to have that chance too. So, I do hope to see you next year. And, if you ask very nicely, maybe I’ll sing “On My Own.”