Background: Ok, at one time I was one of 8 kazillion semi-employed professional singers living in NYC. I often got small “church gigs” which involved going to a church on a Sunday morning, singing some difficult choral music, and getting a nice little check. My moment occurred during a typical Sunday assignment. I put on my little black dress and pearls, checked the address and made my way to the gig.
The Scene: Hoity-Toity Upper East Side Episcopal Church
Supporting players: very cynical and incredibly talented professional choir, specializing in difficult medieval tunes. World-renowned organist and choir director.
Me: already sweating.
So we are performing---without rehearsal!---a heap of crazy music with no accompaniment to hide the errors. I make my way through the service, growing more and more cocky as the service progresses. I am a musician! I can do this! Take that, hoity-toity parishioners! Take that, snarky full-time professional choristers! The service ends and I, puffed with pride at my stellar performance, gather my hymn book and begin the procession out. Note to self: watch where you are going.
As the organ swells and we begin to file out one by one through the congregation, I think to myself… ” well Tara, you certainly made an impression here.” And then, as the sun glinted through expensive stained glass windows, it happened: I tripped on stairs in the front of the church. And not just that. I tripped on the stairs in the front of the church, and proceeded to do a full face plant in front of the entire church. And not just that. I tripped on the stairs in the front of the church, proceeded to do a full face plant in front of the entire church, and as I watched my hymn book fly out of my hands and sail through the air, I heard myself scream out, almost in slow motion, “JEEEESUUUSSS CHRIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIST.”
Needless to say, THAT made an impression.
And did anyone help this poor sap sprawled on the altar of their church? No. As I looked up from the cold stone floor of this very old church, all I was aware of were looks of horror and disgust. And the sound of all of the air being sucked out of the room in one collective gasp. I picked myself up, murmured a meek “ummm… sorry,” and processed myself right out the front door.