Tuesday, December 4, 2012

In Which I Go Onstage and Choke. Literally.

So there I was.

A sold-out show of 1300.

On a rainy Friday night in Orange County.

The place was packed and we had just come through our 5:00 performance with only a few noticeable errors.

(Thankfully the audience didn't notice most of the 10,000 little issues that happened along the way.)

We just had one song left. The encore. A big, cheesy, kind of awesome rendition of "Go Tell it On the Mountain"--

(Which is one of the songs available on our MCO Christmas album O Holy Night and if you click here you can enter to win a copy.)

--and we were ready. The conductor was at the podium. The orchestra started to play.

Without warning, the mother of all coughing attacks strangled my throat. I fought against it. I was, after all, onstage in front of hundreds of paying concert-goers and they really didn't need to see the big encore number ruined by a coughing fit.

So I held that cough in and tried my best to mouth the words since singing was most definitely not an option. But the more I mouthed the words, the worse the struggle became. Until I started...um...well, basically convulsing. Right there in front of my entire choir and a whole full concert hall.

Tears stung my eyes and I knew I was about to lose the battle.

And then, just like at the end of Back to the Future when Marty's parents finally get together and Marty stops disappearing and suddenly jumps up and is able to play his guitar and finish "Earth Angel," my cough vanished and I was able to sing again.

(Was that the longest run-on sentence ever?)

But as soon as I started singing, my throat closed right back up and I died.

Okay, not exactly died, but I thought I was about to. There were white streaks blurring my vision and brilliant exploding black stars and oh my gosh was this song EVER going to end?

And then it did. Finally, mercifully, the song came to an end, the concert was over, and with the crowd on their feet, we made our hasty exit where I proceeded to do absolutely nothing because my cough had completely gone away.

Until halfway through the second concert when it came back with a vengeance during the Hallelujah Chorus.

My mom said she didn't notice.

I wasn't sure how to take that.

You are awesome. And if you share this post, you'll be even awesomer!


  1. I swear this happens to me every single band concert for my kids that I attend! Ok, not really, but when it does happen if FEELS like it's every time.

  2. I feel ALL the sympathy for you! I was at a theatre show last month and at the very beginning I started having the worst coughing fit and yes, keeping coughs in just make them grow in strength, like giving a reality star a microphone, and it builds and then you start crying and it's horrible. Plus, I was in the middle of the row. Though not on stage in front of a crazy ton of people, so... clearly you win. And Fabulous job looking awesome through it!

  3. I'm sure no one noticed. At least you didn't actually pass out, which is what happened to some poor girl at the last choir performance I attended.

  4. That sucks so bad. Here you've worked so hard for months and then this happens!

  5. I would take your mom's comment as a compliment. It's better than passing out and taking some people out with you when you hit the floor.

    I hate when I feel a sneeze coming on and keep having to catch my breath. Then, out of nowhere, it stops. All that effort for nothing.

  6. Oh noes! You are certainly a trooper- I'd have made a hasty exit to hack it out backstage. I've never been able to hold a racking cough in (last time was at the funeral service of a friend who had committed suicide. While the priest was preaching. Talk about embarrassing!)
    You rock for keeping on with the show, though it sounds like you were close to fainting. Yipes!

  7. Oh wow! the most awkward of times to get a cough like that!! I think you handled it pretty darn well!!


  8. I seriously hate that feeling so much, but wow - talk about bad timing! Poor thing!

  9. OMG, that's awful!!! I can't imagine... especially being on stage in front of so many people. It sounds to me that you handled it like a champ though :)

  10. Hahah! I'm sorry, I know it's not funny, but you tell the best stories. I can't believe it came back at the next show!

  11. So not funny!
    Except this part:
    But as soon as I started singing, my throat closed right back up and I died.

    That was kinda funny. Sorry! :/


"You know what they say. If you don't have anything nice to say about anybody, come sit by me."

~Clairee Belcher, Steel Magnolias

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