The Way it Was

Is there someone in your life who made a strong, positive impact? Someone who motivated you to step out of your comfort zone? My answer is yes, and this is my story:

The year is 1970…and tonight’s special performance takes place in my home where the center of the living room is my stage and an antique mahogany chair is my podium. A small cassette tape recorder rests on the floral cushioned seat. I wear a powder blue dress and my shoulder-length brown hair usually worn down is swept up into pigtails. I press play on the recorder and sing my heart out. My parents and aunt and uncle cheer me on from their seats, and following my curtsy when the last melody is sung, they tell me the show was phenomenal. That night remains as glowing as yesterday’s sunrise. I was nine years old but already knew I wanted to be a singer. Barbra Streisand became my vocal idol. Her voice wowed me the first time I heard it, and regardless of how often I listened to her, my arms would get goosebumps. During those years, I fell asleep each night with one of Barbra’s albums spinning on my record player, lulling me to sleep. Unbeknownst to the amazing singer, many a night we would perform a duet using my special hairbrush-microphone. I had a wild imagination and wanted to be just like her.

Whenever I had the chance, I held concerts in my room, imagining sold-out crowds. As a teenager, I joined school choirs, but it was not until my junior year of high school that I truly found the self-confidence to pursue my dream. That year, the music department welcomed a new teacher, Ron Perry. He was in his mid-twenties and became more of a friend to his students than a teacher. He treated us as equals, and over time, it was natural for us to call him Ron. During his first week, he focused on listening to us individually to determine what part we would sing. I was nervous when he called my name, but I managed to echo the notes he played on the piano, and was surprised when he praised my singing ability. I knew I could carry a tune, but to hear these encouraging words from the new teacher boosted my self-esteem. 

I became part of the alto section and the choir soon began working on a Christmas repertoire for the December concert. The solo offered was a jazzy version of “Silent Night” and I was one of several students who auditioned. I was thrilled to be chosen – this was my first solo. The concert took place in the school’s historic Louis E. Plummer Auditorium; with the plush red seats and bold red curtain, I felt privileged to perform a solo in this iconic building. Little did I know then that another big solo opportunity was on the horizon.

Ron continued his teaching outside of school as the director of his church choir. In the upcoming summer of 1978, the choir was going on tour to the east coast. He was generous to invite the high school choir to tryout if they wished to join the road trip adventure. I auditioned for the rock gospel solo but had not planned to, believing I only had a voice for ballads; the song was “Hallelujah” by the group, Seawind. Ron wanted me to tryout; he felt my voice would be good for the solo. My feelings were opposite. I told him that I couldn’t sing a rock song! I probably couldn’t even reach that high note! Despite my can’t-do attitude, I auditioned, executing that high note! I was one of three contenders, though – not a shoo-in, but the solo was mine. I was ecstatic and thanked Ron for nudging me. 

With auditions complete and summer approaching, the choir prepared for tour. Excitement bounced off the walls. Mostly teenagers, we traveled in a classic yellow school bus, leaving Southern California and heading across country. What a crazy, fun time that bus ride was, laughing and singing and getting to know each other while blazing through state lines. We had several performances on the calendar and we stayed in the various churches where the concerts were held. I performed “Hallelujah” in each concert and was exhilarated by the positive reactions.

When the tour ended, that rock solo led me to perform for a convention with an audience of more than 2000, and what an experience singing for so many people. Before I walked on stage, Ron told me that if I get nervous, to look above the heads and don’t make eye contact. He said that a smile makes you feel good, but a negative look can affect your singing. I must say, the far wall of the concert hall needed a paint job! Afterwards, the event planner praised my performance, and I held onto her words for what seemed like eternity. 

“Hallelujah” also paved the path to winning 2nd place in the senior talent show the following year. I have tucked vivid memories of that exciting evening into a corner of my mind. I opened up the second act singing the rock song. My pianist, Kathryn, started playing the introduction as the red velvet curtain rose. In spite of the butterflies in my stomach, I walked on stage into the limelight and began belting out the lyrics. Hearing the audience clap after I sang the last note whirled me into euphoria. I closed the act by singing Barbra’s “The Way We Were,” and the audience’s reaction was even more passionate than the first. So this is what it feels like, I thought. 

Lauren talent show 1979

Even though singing was my ultimate passion, my priorities shifted after graduation. I lived with my parents at the time but was ready for a taste of independence; however, the only way to make this happen was to quit college and begin earning a steady paycheck. I made the choice. I put this plan into action, placing my dream of a singing career on the back burner. Several years passed when I met the man who soon became my husband, and in the years to follow, our family grew when our daughter and son were born. But this life trajectory did not stop me from singing. My husband and children stayed entertained with my serenading around the house. I even joined local choirs. Eventually though, my time was devoted to family and less and less to singing. But I was proud when my daughter developed the same passion, adding harmony to those years.

Memories of listening to Barbra – becoming mesmerized by her beautiful voice and even her quirky, yet classy Brooklyn personality – remain a dynamic part of my youth. She inspired me to pursue something I truly loved and my high school experience was better for it. I was also fortunate to see her in concert at The Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim. When she strolled on stage in an elegant black gown, opening the concert with the song “As If We Never Said Good-Bye,” my eyes welled up. It was an evening of pure magic.

I believe most of us have a favorite teacher who made a great impact on our lives. Ron was that teacher for me. To say that he was influential sounds minimal. His way of encouraging me to try for those seemingly unreachable solos, jolted me into stepping out of my insecurities. Because of his faith in me, I danced into a world where if we try new things, pushing fear aside, there is a good chance for positive outcomes.

I had my moments in the spotlight. I felt the excitement and anticipation of walking onto that stage, listening to the inspiring buzz from the audience when I sang those first few words. I am grateful for this time in my life and I will always offer the sincerest appreciation to Barbra and Ron. If it were not for them, my passion would have fallen by the wayside without the chance to crescendo into such a memorable musical past.

Lauren Scott (c) 2020

I hope you enjoyed my walk down memory lane, and if you answered yes to my question and feel like sharing even a snippet of your story, I’d love to read about it. ❤

 

 

 

 

72 thoughts on “The Way it Was

    • I’m glad you enjoyed this, Barbara. It’s nice to acknowledge those who support us and leave such a lasting impression. It’s also fun to stroll down memory lane once in a while. Thanks for your kind words!

    • Thanks, Rene, and it’s so nice of you to pop into WP. Your presence is dearly missed, but I’m glad we have FB. 🙂 Hugs to you, too, my friend…💗🌷

    • True and it was a blessing, Charlene. I’ve actually remained friends with Ron, but I can’t say the same for Babs. 🙂 I’d love to meet her though. Thanks for chiming in with such a thoughtful comment. It’s nice to see you here, but glad there is FB. 💕

    • What a wonderful comment, Ian, and yes, when we’re young is the time for positive reinforcement, encouragement, and even nudging if we seem to be stuck in a rut or locked in chains by fear. I’m grateful for those years and experiences. Thanks again!

  1. I didn’t know singing was that much of a passion for you. It’s nice that you were able to have those performing experiences when you were young.

    • It’s not something I mention often because it was so long ago. But my singing passion back then was as strong as a robust coffee. 🙂 I’m beyond grateful for those experiences. Thanks so much, Binky!

  2. I loved reading your fabulous story Lauren, I’ve only sung one Barbra song Don’t Rain on My Parade she is fantastic. You should record Hallelujah I love that song. Best wishes Charlotte

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed, Charlotte, and I’ve sung that song a million times – one of my favorites of hers, too. She is iconic and I’m glad I was able to see her in concert, something I never thought would happen. I lived in Anaheim at the time and she was performing in town. So some girl friends and I went and we were all in tears when she walked out on stage. No joking.
      By the way, the year I toured with Ron is the first year they didn’t cut an album due to budget cuts. My luck. That would’ve been SO exciting! But I had recorded my solo on cassette tapes that sadly have been lost over the years. My voice isn’t the same now, so no recording for me. Just great memories to hold onto. Thanks again! 🎶

      • I’m sad to read about your recording, my parents always say, if I’m too over critical about mistakes in recordings, that I must keep them and share them and not to worry especially if it’s a live recording because it’s more authentic and is just a moment. But I’m glad you have those exciting memories 🙂.

  3. I love the descriptive style of this story Lauren, seems so fresh in your memory. I too took pride in singing once upon a time, music has been very close to my heart. Thanks for sharing a beautiful memory.

    • Thanks, Balroop, and even though it was many years ago, the memory is still vivid as ever. It’s great to hear that you sang, too, and it sounds like music will always be an important part of who we are today. I appreciate your lovely comment.

  4. What a fab trip down memory lane!
    Love your tale! I hope you still sing.
    I got to meet Barbara many years ago. I was bottom of the totem pole in the Wardrobe department on a movie “Sing” – made in 1989.
    Barbara was a friend of the director and came to set to visit him.
    I was introduced to her, properly. She was so classy. She wore a black cashmere pullover (turtle neck, I think) and a black beret.
    I think I was a bit of an idiot… you know… mouth agape, eyes like saucers!
    LOL!
    Thanks for the memory!

    • Omg, Resa, those goosebumps are back! Wow, I can only imagine getting the chance to meet her. What an experience for you and I’m sure I’d act the same way. I’m not surprised to hear that she was classy because she’s always seemed so classy and elegant. Can you see my face? It’s green with envy! Though I’m genuinely happy for you. And no, I haven’t sung for many years now, so just like anything that isn’t exercised, my voice is out of shape. But it’s memories like these that sustain us. I’m so glad you enjoyed this musical tale. xo

  5. I love this line: “I was proud when my daughter developed the same passion, adding harmony to those years.” My aunt loved singing too, but didn’t have the time after having five children. She began performing in her 60s and she’s still out there singing at 80 so it’s never too late!

    • Thanks, Sheila. I was happy she loved singing, too, when I put it on the back burner. What an amazing story about your aunt. You’re right; it’s never too late for anything. That’s how I feel about some writing projects on the horizon. No more singing for now, except for around the house. Thanks for stopping by and it’s good to see you.

  6. This is fascinating! I’m envious, I must admit, because I love to sing, but my voice does not follow my inner passion of beauty and love. When I was young, from the ages of 7 to 12, I had a beautiful alto voice and I discovered it when I joined our church’s choir. Oh how I loved singing with all of the adults (I was one of only two children who were part of this adult choir). I grew to absolutely love the hymns. One Christmas I was even given a solo – oWe Three Kings. There’s something about singing that really lifts us – our soul – out of our bodies, don’t you think? And when that happens, your singing can lift the listener’s soul also.
    Alas, when puberty set in, my voice disappeared. The only thing I can be grateful about that is I now sing with my written words, instead. xo

    • Hi Pam, I’m glad you enjoyed this musical piece of my past and it’s nice to “meet” a fellow alto. I’m happy that you had your chance at singing, too; sounds like a wonderful part of your youth as well. And I definitely agree that singing lifts our souls, and in turn, lifts the listener’s soul. What a special talent for anyone to be gifted with. Each time I sang “Hallelujah” it was a magical experience and I’m thankful for Ron’s motivation, and of course, for Barbara’s amazing voice that launched my dream. My voice isn’t the same, though; just like anything we stop exercising. 🙂 But I still vocalize around the house and the shower wins for best acoustics! You do sing beautifully through your written words and writing bumps singing off the bench now for me, too. It’s all good and no regrets, just lovely memories. 💗🎵

  7. What amazing experiences you had singing. I didn’t know you ever sang solo, and in front of so many people! I bet you still have a great singing voice. Wish I could’ve heard you. Do you have any of your performances recorded by chance?

    • Hi Betty, my singing isn’t something I mention often because it’s part of the past. And my voice has changed just like anything that stays inactive. 🙂 Every year, the choir was able to cut an album. But the tour I went on was the first time they didn’t due to budget cuts. I was so disappointed because I had a solo! But I did have some recordings of Silent Night and Hallelujah on cassettes. Sadly, those have vanished over the years. When I couldn’t find them years ago, I was bummed, to put it mildly, because I wanted to share that part of me with my husband and kids. Of course, they’ve heard me sing, but it’s not the same. Oh well, C’est la vie. 🙂 Thanks for your lovely comments, as always, my friend. Take care and stay well. Sending lots of love…❤🎵

      • Lauren, sorry to hear the tapes with you singing were lost! I think it’s wonderful though that you have so many good memories. Glad you shared them with us.
        Love and hugs back to you. 😊❤️

  8. What a lovely post, Lauren. Now I want to hear you sing! I’m so glad you received encouragement from your family and teacher. I wish all people knew how much their support and kindness means to kids and young people. It can make or break dreams.
    I dabbled in theater for years and eventually chose family over pursuing a career, which probably wouldn’t have supported me anyway. I still act (just ask my husband. Lol). I’m glad you kept singing!

    • Thanks, Diana, and I don’t think you’re going to hear me sing. 🙂 My voice has changed; it’s not what it used to be in those days. I only wish I had the cassette that my solo was on, but it disappeared years ago. Bummer. And I agree about children needing encouragement, how it can make or break dreams. I’m saddened to think of the children whose parents or families are anything but kind and loving.
      It sounds like you did the same thing as me, chose a different path. No regrets, though, just awesome memories. Thanks for sharing a little bit of your dream, too. Those parts of us when we were young will always hold a special place in our hearts and minds. So keep acting and I’ll keep singing in the shower – best acoustics! 🙂 🎶

  9. What a beautiful story, Lauren. ❤ It is uplifting to read about you following your passion and how it made your soul sing. ❤ To you, my lovely and wherever you sing, may it still bring you joy. I love the thought of your bus rides….yellow, of course! Your daughter adding harmony to her growing up years. ❤ This is such a lovely share. ❤

    • Aww, thanks so much for such a beautiful and loving comment, Jane. I’m really glad you enjoyed. I’ve been writing more memoir snippets and wasn’t sure if I wanted to share them here but decided to…Everyone has a story, don’t they? And I love reading about other’s adventures and dreams, so I’m pleased that my story has been so well received. The last thing I want to do is put my readers to sleep. Anyway, thanks again, and I wish you a wonderful weekend, my friend. Love to you! 💗🌷

    • Thanks, Scott! This part of me is from so long ago that I don’t really talk about it. But a friend inspired me to write about someone who impacted my life in a positive way and Ron was that person. And of course, Barbara. 🙂 It was a special time and I’m grateful for those experiences. Yep, Steph loves to sing, too, so that was the icing. Enjoy your weekend. 🥰

  10. Beautiful memories, Lauren, too bad you don’t have recordings of those moments! Of course, you do have the most precious recordings… in your mind, but it would have been really nice to share. I can relate to those butterflies from the time I was solo in my school’s choir and my first school concert. My parents and friends used to place bets on how many glasses my high pitch notes would break! 😂🤣😂🤣 …and Barbra… what a voice and what a woman! [I too envy Resa! 😉 ]

    • Thanks, Marina, and I was so sad years ago when I couldn’t find those tapes. But, I can’t cry over them forever, right? 🙂 That’s awesome to learn about your solo, also, and too funny about the bets. Oh my gosh, when I read Resa’s comment, I got goosebumps!!! I have always dreamed of meeting Barbra, but good thing I didn’t hold my breath! What a memory for Resa! Thanks again, my friend, and have a wonderful long weekend. xoxoxo

  11. Thanks for sharing your story and experience with us, Lauren. What a blessing your music teacher, Ron was and I am sure still is for you. For myself, I had a few teachers who were instrumental in my upbringing. In the first grade, I remember breaking down in tears after a frustrating time with math. My first grade teacher said to me, “Don’t you know, you are one of the smartest kids in the class?” I remember feeling encouraged to try again. It is a beautiful moment when another person can see something in us, we cannot yet see. Many blessings to you! xoxo

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed this tale, Lisa, and you conveyed the bottom line so eloquently, “It is a beautiful moment when another person can see something in us, we cannot yet see.” I didn’t have the confidence back then, so Ron’s reaction to my voice was not only a surprise, but definitely a motivator to keep singing. And then his ongoing support gave me the drive to try for those seemingly unreachable high notes. I’m so happy that you had a similar positive experience. In our youth, it takes a village, and these people who offer encouragement, help shape us into the adults we are today. Thanks again for your lovely comment and many blessings to you! 💖💖

      • It does take a village. We are blessed to have these positive supports lighting the way. It is my pleasure, Lauren. I enjoy reading your blogs. I usually post every two to three weeks now. I am happy to stop in and see how things are going in your world. Blessings, Lisa

      • Thanks for taking the time to pop in here when you’re not posting, Lisa. I appreciate it. I’m posting once a week right now; that’s all I can manage with family, work, dog, etc. And you’re right about being blessed to have positive supports lighting our way. Take care and stay safe and enjoy your weekend. 💕

  12. What an amazing story to share with us here, Lauren! You were really lucky with such an inspiring and encouraging teacher like Ron (and of course the amazing Barbara Streisand!). 😄💕🌸💕

    • Thanks so much, Sarah, and I’m so grateful for those experiences that have transformed into precious memories. Poor Barbra has no idea, though, about our duets or just how inspirational she was. 🙂 Have a wonderful weekend! ❤🎵😊

  13. Your story blew me away Lauren. Why? Because I was there! I was the girl who grew up inspired by my idol Barbra too! I sang with her too – still know all the words to every song on Star is Born Album – Queen Bee, my favorite, lol. And Funny Girl my alltime favorite movie with The Way We Were a tight second. I too followed a musical career and eventually got vacuumed into ‘real life’. Now here I am 🙂 Great share! ❤

    • I got goosebumps when I read your reply, Debby. It is so great to know that someone else was on a similar path as mine. Oh yes, A Star is Born, Funny Girl, The Way We Were…so many classic songs in those movies. One favorite is Don’t Rain On My Parade. I’ve sung that many times with verve just like Babs. It’s nice to also learn that your path took you elsewhere like mine did, but all turned out just fine. No regrets, just wonderful memories. Thanks so much for your lovely comment and I hope you’re still singing, too, even if only in the bathroom where the acoustics are always awesome. 🙂 Love and hugs! ❤🎵

  14. Hi Lauren, Thank you for taking me back to that moment in time as if I was there. I think many/most of us knew our strengths and passions at a very young age. Are you referring to Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah?” Great advice on the smile versus the negative look. A very heartfelt thank you to many people in your life, especially Barbra and Ron. Wonderful how your daughter has the same passion.❤️

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed this blast to the past, Erica, and the Hallelujah song was from a Christian rock band, Seawind, back in the 70’s. So it’s not the same as Leonard Cohen’s, although his song is also one of my favorites. It was a great time in my life and I’m sure you have someone who made a positive impact on your life, too. When we’re young, we’re impressionable, so encouragement is absorbed deeply that it helps shape us into the adults we are today. Oh, and yes, my daughter and I have sung many duets, also. 🙂 She chose not to pursue a singing career, but is currently working at The Opry because of her love for country music. It’s been a fabulous experience for her. Thanks again and have a great day. 💗

    • Beautiful comment, Kavitha, thank you. And I’m glad to know you had a similar angel in English. Aww, and to read that your Dad encouraged that path. Touching memories…xoxo

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