|This isn't exactly how my male Cinderella tenor looked tonight-- for one thing, he wore a tux -- but it's an adequate representation.|
I made it very nicely through accompanying the tenor's recital tonight. My services ended up being provided free of charge. My buddy the cellist told me the tenor is not exactly rolling in dough. The tenor looked as though he might cry when I handed the envelope containing the cash back to him. I have three hundred fewer dollars than I had planned for expenditures on my upcoming Catalina trip, but I have a seldom-touched bank account that won't even notice if I raid it for an additional three hundred bucks.
Sometimes it's OK to do a favor for someone simply out of the goodness of one's heart. When the favor is unexpected and the recipient is genuinely grateful, the feeling one gets from being nice is sometimes worth more in the long run than the cash would have been, anyway.
The tenor did well in his performance tonight. I didn't cry during "Nessun Dorma," neither because the performance was unbelievably great nor because it was mediocre, but I did thoroughly enjoy the rendition. It would be blatantly unfair to compare the guy to Pavarotti, Bocelli, Domingo, or Josh Groban in his present state, as it would be unfair to compare any twenty-one-year-old who looks as though he is fourteen to such legends. He may not have been all that far inferior to Groban in his very early years, though. Will he one day himself be a legend? The odds are stacked against any entertainer not well-connected in today's world, but who knows? Will he make a living at his art? Quite possibly. His voice will mature, as will his physical appearance. With a little luck, one can never put a cap on his potential. Additionally, he very definitely has "cute" going in his favor, and I'm not particularly quick to classify a young man as "cute." I have high standards in that regard.
The tenor's adviser was carrying in his wallet nearly five hundred dollars in gift cards to a neighborhood pizza parlor, which he very generously donated for an impromptu post-recital reception. I doubt that the presence of the gift cards in the adviser's wallet was a coincidence. I suspect he purchased them this afternoon because he knew the tenor lacked the funds to provide a reception featuring anything more elegant than store-brand Oreos and Hawaiian Punch. My respect for the adviser grew exponentially tonight.
This young tenor is not from skid row, but neither has he lived anything resembling the ever-so-slightly-above-the-mean existence that I have taken for granted. Many of the male music majors by now own tuxes. The tuxedo the tenor wore tonight was rented. (It fit well, and he looked very nice.) I'd buy the guy a tux except that I don't think he's finished growing, and the price of a tuxedo is a lot of money to spend on someone who is probably still looking at a growth spurt. My brother owns a pricey and still stylish tux that he has outgrown that has seen only very light wear. Perhaps my mom will agree that we can have the pants and sleeves altered to fit the tenor so that his next appearance requiring a tux doesn't involve renting or borrowing. Perhaps we can even avoid pressing the ends of the sleeves and pants heavily so that they can be lengthened to accommodate the growth he'll likely experience.
I felt proud to be a part of this young man's performance on what may very well have been the greatest night of his life to this point. As a surprise, his parents flew in from the upper midwest to see their son perform his senior recital. It's good that he saw them initially a few hours or so before the scheduled start of his recital, because had he first seen them immediately before he was to perform, his emotions may have interfered with his ability to sing. His parents were able to accrue enough money to travel from North Dakota (he's here on scholarship) to be present for the recital. The entire extended family chipped in so that the parents would have enough money for the flight. They had saved enough money for five nights at Motel 6, but a music faculty member donated the use of her beach house, which will allow them to use money designated for lodging to experience some of our area's nicer restaurants, as opposed to subsisting on McDonald's and Burger King fare, which had been the plan. My parents are letting his parents use the car that Matthew and I drove before we each were given our own cars. It's at least as safe, reliable, and well-insured as a rental car would have been, but no one will be terribly upset if it gets a ding or two because all it's doing is taking up space in the garage and has to be parked on the street when Matthew or my cousin Josh are home. Josh went over it thoroughly yesterday to ensure that it is in perfect working order. The father of one of the viola majors owns several local gas stations, and she donated a gas card that will work for the time they're here at any of the stations owned by their family. The tenor's parents will not be able to see him receive his fake diploma, but having them see his recital was much more important to him and to them.
The tenor has received enough scholarships and grants to continue his education here, and plans to pursue a vocal performance master's degree. Only time will tell where the future will lead him, but for tonight and for the rest of the week, he's experiencing a male version of a Cinderella-like existence. It was gratifying to see so many people pool available resources to make this a memorable experience for the young tenor and for his parents. You may know of him someday, but I'm not divulging his name, so if he ever becomes genuinely famous, you can only guess as to whether or not it was he.
We in our campus community desperately needed something positive to happen. For me, this was it.