Saturday, August 20, 2011

Nauvoo Part one: The Audition process

I was released two weeks ago after serving as a missionary for the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I was called to perform in Nauvoo, Illinois for three and a half months as a Young Performing missionary. This three months changed my life.

Let me start at the beginning just under a year ago. I was in a choir at the Orem institute and was approached by one of the girls who I usually didn't talk to. She told me of this opportunity in Nauvoo as a performing missionary and thought that I should take a look at it. I didn't think it was for me, but for the reason of simply, "why not?" I looked up the information and then decided to scramble around to put my DVD together, get all the paper work filled out, and send it off in only three days time seeing as the due date was November 31st...I found out 5 days prior.

I sent the DVD off to Salt Lake City and waited for a no go email and then I would move on with my life. Quite the contrary, 7 days later I received an email congratulating me on being extended the opportunity at a call back in January, just over a month away. In the email it said that there were over 230 applicants and the call backs were inviting only 40, boys and girls to the call back. I was surprised to say the least, but I told myself I had nothing to lose. So for the next month I procrastinated every possible way to practice for this call back, seeing as I had talked myself into never possibly receiving this chance.

January rolls around and I still have yet to pick a song for the call backs, I scurry around mere days before and pick "Vanilla Ice Cream" from She Loves Me which I thought would be a mighty good pick seeing as it soars up to a high B flat at the end of the song. Basically I was winging this thing because once again, I had "nothing to lose".

The callbacks arrive and I am headed up the Joseph Smith building up on temple square, 6th floor at 8 in the morning, there wasn't an ounce of traffic on the road that day and I made it up there with flying colors. I parked the car in the parking garage underneath the conference center where I saw a young man carrying a guitar. There are very few reasons why a man would be carrying a guitar on temple square, dressed nicely, and a big smile on his face. We walked in together and talked about where we were from and how we had gotten to this point. As we were riding in the elevators my mind was all a mess, "What was I doing here?" was all that was coming to my head. Thoughts of turning around or pressing the fire alarm hounded me until the doors of the elevator opened and I took a step out saying in my head, "I have nothing to lose"

Everyone was to put their stuff in a closet and go sign in at the front desk where we received our number, photo, and instructions to move into the next room where we ended up taking the first two hours of the audition process to watch all 40+ people perform their solo song.

Everyone was amazing! There were all shapes and sizes, colors, talent, levels enthusiasm, experience and more. It was more than intimidating. I didn't go till about halfway through the list of people and by that time my heart was beating fast and my nerves were about shot. But I consistently told myself, "I have nothing to lose". I stood up before the judges and was asked to say a few things about myself before starting my song. I lost myself, I forgot that I was doing it in a room large enough to fit the titanic and just sang. I did actions and felt the character like I'd had never done before, I was not myself in that moment. I soared to the top of the high B flat and was happy with my performance.

Throughout the day we had a dance audition, and a group vocal audition. I felt that I messed up horribly in the dance audition and I felt I wasn't as near enthusiastic or character-esque as I should have been in the group vocal audition. 10 hours later at the end of the day when they were talking to us about how all of us had done a great job, all I wanted to do was book it to the car and cry. Yep, me cry. I didn't even listen to half of the things they were saying because I knew that I hadn't done the best I could have, I know I was more capable, but they wouldn't see that. One thing that I do remember Elder Camp the stage director saying, "We don't pick the YPM's (Young Performing Missionaries), the Lord does. If you are supposed to be there, you will be there. If you are there, you are supposed to learn something. We may not choose the best singers, the best performers, the best dancers, we will choose who He wants us to choose" Let's just say that after he finished speaking and let us all go, I ran to the car, and didn't talk to a single person on the way out. I could feel the tears welling up and they streamed all the way home. I felt I had lost an opportunity that would have changed my life.

One day later: We were told that if we were accepted that we would receive a phone call the following night around 7pm and if we weren't accepted that we would receive an email. I was waiting for the email all day but it didn't come... 6pm rolled around and still nothing. 6:30...6:45...6:50...6:55...6:59 RING!!!!! RING!!!!! My phone gets a call that is unknown, I quickly say to myself, "No way..." I answer the phone and say hello. On the other side is the voice of Elder Camp saying, "Hello Sister Pettit" My heart jumped inside, I was going to Nauvoo! I never thought about going to Nauvoo or even serving a mission. I was going to be a missionary, a missionary!!!! I was to leave on May 5, 2011 and my service would start May 6, 2011-August 18,2011. I was excited, scared, frightened, happy, wow'ed, screaming, crying, laughing, joyous, uncertain, hopeful, and all other expressions.

......Part two to come soon.....
Traveling to Nauvoo