V-show preparation, nerves run high

By Heather Dove
Staff Writer
Variety show auditions were held Friday, Jan. 7, in the choir room after school. The hallway was lined with nervous students waiting to perform their act. Among them, sophomore Angel Kuikstra was waiting for her time slot to come up. Last year she wanted to audition, but she did not know when or where the auditions were.
“When I saw the list posted, the order of people posted — I was like ‘Ah, crud!’” Kuikstra said.
This year, that list has some different acts that are pushing the boundaries of previous variety shows. With senior Nick Haddad hosting and performing on ukulele and kazoo and dancers ranging from Bollywood to hip-hop, the line up looks a little intimidating.
It was disappointing for Kuikstra that she missed auditions last year, and despite the line up this year, she made sure not to miss her chance. She had prepared a song named “My Immortal” by the rock band Evanescence.
Her first performance was in a talent show in elementary school, and she participated in a church band as well as choir in seventh and eighth grade, but she has never taken voice lessons.
She also had auditioned for her variety show in eighth grade, but she was singing her own song acapella. This, however, is her first time auditioning for something at Prospect.
With that in mind, Kuikstra prepared by listening to her song a lot, getting the lyrics in her head, looking for a karaoke version of the song and practicing.
“I just was at home,” Kuikstra said. “I’d lock myself in my room, turn the music on, and sing to it constantly, over and over again, so the words embedded in my memory.”
Even so, Kuikstra felt excited, nervous and scared. She even brought a friend along as a “support system.”
Others auditioning were also nervous.
Unlike Kuikstra, senior Becca Sajbel was not new to the variety show auditions. This was her second time auditioning. Last year she made it into the variety show and sang “Dream” by Priscilla Ahn, but this time she was planning on singing her own song.
“Personal feelings are being displayed, so it’s a little nerve racking,” Sajbel said.
After the last variety show, Sajbel got pointers and worked from that. Choir direction Jennifer Troiano knew Sajbel and recommended that she perform her own song. Knowing that, Sajbel wrote a graduation song over the summer and has been practicing it since then.
While she is nervous, she knows she gets more nervous in small settings than big settings.  Last time when she played at the V-show, she wasn’t as nervous because the lights kept her from seeing anyone in the audience. Even so, Sajbel will pick a point on the wall to stare at to help calm her nerves.
But those auditioning won’t find a relaxed atmosphere once inside the choir room. Troiano specifically does not do anything to make the process less nerve racking because students need to have their act “polished an ready to go” because there are only a two rehearsals, and those rehearsals are more for the tech crew than the performers.
Usually, Troiano tries to make people feel comfortable, but for the V-show, the people who put forth the most effort in the beginning are more likely to reap the benefits.
“I try to keep the heat on people,” Troiano said. “It’s high-pressured.”
Troiano is familiar with auditioning. She would get really nervous, but she reminded herself that there os no luck involved. Troiano had to remind herself that performers can’t take rejections personally.
When Troiano did get nervous, she’d stay up all night thinking about the audition. She would be “really crabby,” and no one could talk to her before she auditioned. She had to focus to put “everything that I am” into that audition.
“It’s really grueling, and I know that it’s painful when you don’t make things, and I know how hard it is,” Troiano said, “but it is part of the process. You grow, or you feel defeated, but in general you pick yourself back up and go to the next audition and try again. So if you didn’t make it, by no means do you quit.”
Troiano has auditioned at many places, including the Marriott, and has not made the part.  Some of the reason she stopped being a performance major was because she couldn’t take the auditioning process emotionally. Her friends in New York audition five to six times a day for different roles, and throughout a whole year might only get cast for one. Troiano “couldn’t handle that.”
As students auditioning were waiting in the band hall, running over their acts again and again, Troiano was on the other side of the table, judging instead of performing. From her long history of auditions, Troiano has one piece of advice.
“I always tell myself when I’m done auditioning, and even with teaching,” Troiano said, “I want to know at the end of the day I did my best that I could do. And if I did my best and it wasn’t good enough for someone, then that’s all I could have done.”