from Jazimina MacNeil, mezzo-soprano
In the dress rehearsal for Fiddler on the Roof two years ago, the men's chorus was really struggling to bring the L'chaim song to life (pun intended). Jody asked them to put away their music, to trust in themselves and each other that they had it memorized, and explained to them that the task at hand was not to be perfectly correct, but to embody the joy and communion and wild jubilation of the musical story in that moment. I still get chills remembering the alchemy of what happened next: how the skill and focus of the professional singers mixed with the enthusiasm of the children and Jody's permission to be fabulous transformed these men from proper, inhibited, anxious adults, into shining, wild, exuberant citizens of Anatevka. In the performance they sang like they'd never sung before and that gift of freedom, Jody's permission to exceed our own expectations, still lives inside each of us who were there with them in Hancock that Sunday afternoon.
It's not just children who need this kind of encouragement, we ALL need to be reminded that our limitations are the stuff of our own imagination. We're making our world every day, consciously or unconsciously, and singing with Jody reminds us that beauty is an option.