By Morgan Gelber ’20
Editor’s note: Idol Finals are sold out, but go here to find a link to livestream the event, which takes place Friday, March 1, 8 pm!
Since coming to Dartmouth, I’ve distanced myself from the stage. I thought that because I wasn’t studying theater or music or wasn’t in an a cappella group, the stage was no longer a space for me, and I grew to be okay with that.
My freshman spring, I took a position at the Hop as an usher. I tore tickets and helped with the front of house (I also learned what “the house” meant). Then in my sophomore year I became a House Manager. Through this role I had greater interactions with patrons, production, performers and the Hop community as a whole. This past year I also decided to be the Hop Fellow for Student Engagement and Events Operations. I was diving further and further into the arts and arts administration. However, there was always a part of me – as I would turn off the lights and lock up the doors – that would wonder, “I could be on that stage, right?”
This past winter I took that leap back onto the stage by auditioning for Dartmouth Idol. However, don’t be fooled, I did not have an incredible audition which led to my return to the stage and ultimately becoming the Idol winner. In fact, I was so nervous I was literally shaking in my boots.
But it worked out, and Walt Cunningham (director of Dartmouth Idol) and Joshua Kol (Producer) gave me some great advice, and I left the room encouraged to continue to try to be involved. Thankfully, that came sooner than I thought and I joined Dartmouth’s pop ensemble doing the background vocals for the Idol Finals.
It was hard, to be honest. We rehearsed once a week leading up to the performance. I used the learning aids Walt created to practice my part. I practiced swaying left to right in my mirror, and before I knew it there were only a few days left until the show.
As I write this, I am lying in bed, completely exhausted from a sound check that I only had to be at for two hours (going over two songs) while others in the production I know may still well be Spaulding running through numbers.
Tomorrow, I will go to my day job, then go home and get put together for the dress rehearsal. I’m not going to lie – I’m tired just thinking about it. But I know it’s worth it. That feeling on stage when everyone hits their sweet spot and the time and pressure all come together in the feedback from the crowd, the smiles on their faces, their applause, and my own sense of accomplishment. That’s what’s going to get me through dress rehearsal and on to Friday’s performance.
I’m glad I decided to participate in Idol, because for once I won’t be standing in the doorway holding my keys, giving calls to production, or counting tickets. I’ll be on stage, and Idol has given me that privilege.