I flew out Tuesday, and after a restful night back in the room that was mine for 9 years, my crazy adventure started early Wednesday morning rehearsing with my friend, Joe Noelliste, a pianist with whom I really enjoy collaborating. First we worked on "Fascinating Rhythm", which is what Michael had requested that I sing on Friday night in Indy. The arrangement was one that Marilyn Maye had helped me with when I sang at 54 Below. We just needed to get it set and notated so that I could take a chart to the pianist for the weekend. After working out the notation, we worked on a couple of pop tunes.
Wednesday night, I headed to Indiana University to see their production of "Swing" in which my dad was playing clarinet/saxophone. There were lots of people I knew in there, and it was fun catching up with everyone.
There was a local media outlet that sent a crew to the recording studio. They filmed footage of the recording and editing process, as well as interviewed me. I'm not sure when that will air, but talking through everything with them put it all even more into perspective. I've been very blessed in the past year, and am so appreciative of all the opportunities I've gotten!
Friday morning we had rehearsal at the Palladium. It was so neat to be back there with Nick and Tori for the first time since the competition last year. We had time to hang out in the Great American Songbook Archive and Gallery, where in addition to seeing their new exhibit on the Roaring 20s, Nick and I learned the Charleston from a diagram on the wall. Then, after a quick lunch break, we headed to the Indiana Roof Ballroom for a sound check. What a beautiful venue!
There is actually an interesting feature at that Indianapolis landmark. A door, just off of the stage, has a listing and a rating system of performers who played the room in the 1930s. Here is what the plaque says:
After dinner, there was a live auction, which was my cue to head backstage. As soon as the auction was over, Michael spoke and introduced Tori Anna (who was the 2nd runner up last year), and then it was my turn to sing. Michael introduced me as "part of the Palladium family", which is so special, then I sang "Fascinating Rhythm". It was amazing to look out at the sold out crowd of @900 people, with Liza sitting up front and getting into the performance. In the middle, when the music went to the verse, she actually called out and cheered. I felt great about the performance, after which I headed back to my seat to enjoy the two singers after me- Michael Feinstein and Liza Minnelli!
Sunday morning, I said goodbye to everyone, as well as my home state of Indiana, flying back to the Big Apple, inspired and ready to start the next chapter of my life.