JenSop: The Singing Traveler!

Idealist. Dreamer. Singer. Explorer.

Audition number one – trip to Germany

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Okay…. so the good news is that I was able to sing my audition early!  And I am writing this from the last train to Vienna!  This train is QUITE full – even in first class, and I was afraid there for a few minutes that maybe I wouldn’t have a seat.  Even though I was the first one on the train (yeah, I was worried so I overcompensated by being super early) I did not reserve a specific seat.  So as this train got fuller and fuller, I started to worry a little that I might have to not only give up, but maybe have to get off the train.  But I could see that there were still seats in 2nd class, so I’d be a-okay.  So here I sit – me and a whole bunch of German businessmen.  Haha!

So, I thought I’d talk a little bit about my journey to my first audition here.  I got the email Friday night inviting me to sing this audition.  It was in a suburb of Frankfurt called Bad Homburg – a little north of the city.  I reserved a cheap hotel room just outside Bad Homburg, and planned to take the train from Vienna the day before.

I got the 10:40am train out of Vienna on Tuesday.  The day was incredibly long.  I didn’t get to Frankfurt until almost 6pm.  Then, I realized that I had not written down the address of my hotel in Bad Homburg.  And I had a hunch that the train that would take me there from the Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof would drop me off at a little platform kind of stop.  (I was right.)  So I went to the Train Information desk – first to ask about return trip to Vienna the next day.  That’s when I realized that the last train to Vienna was to leave around quarter after 4pm the next day.  And my audition was supposed to be at 3pm.  Eek.  Okay, I would worry about that later.  My next order of business was to find some wifi so I could get into my email and see my hotel confirmation for the address.  But everywhere I tried, I couldn’t get a signal.  This was a major train station – what the heck!  I went back to that info desk, but I got a different person.  Let’s not sugar coat it – she was kind of bitchy.  She said she could not tell me where there might be wifi, because she was only there to help people with trains and nothing else.  Sorry.  Fortunately, I was able to find a Tourist Info station, and they were SUPER friendly.  She told me there was no free wifi in the station, but there was a Starbucks just outside across the street.  So that’s where I headed.  I quick checked my email and facebook, and not only wrote down the address, but also the walking directions to the hotel too.  (And had a chai latte too – haha!)

I then grabbed the next train out to Bad Homburg.  This reminded me of the commuter type trains that we have back at home.  Bad Homburg is north of the city – about a 20 minute train ride.

I was lucky to find a VERY helpful woman when I got off the train who was able to point me in the right direction to start my walking directions.

So I walked.  And walked.  And walked.  It felt like forever.  I’m usually okay with walking a LOT, but I think it was just made worse by how exhausted I was already.  Even after a few weeks of being here, my sleeping schedule is still horribly messed up.  (I basically can’t fall asleep until 4 or 5 in the morning.)  So I had only gotten maybe two or three hours of sleep the night before, AND had been traveling ALL day.  I was tired and really cranky.  For some reason, exhaustion turns me into a whiny toddler.  More like a cross between PMS and a cranky toddler.  Lovely, right?  Haha!  Each time I came to another intersection and didn’t see my hotel, I felt borderline like crying.  After almost 45 minutes, I finally got to my hotel.  The guy at the desk says to me, “Frau Graf, ja?”  (I was the last one to be checking in, so there was no question who I was I guess.)  WIfi was going to cost me 2 Euro, but I needed it.  So he printed me out a code to log in and I was off to my room.  It wasn’t anything fancy, but it would do!

But then I tried to get on the wifi….. and was not getting a signal in my room.  I went into the hallway because that’s what we had to do in Salzburg – I was able to sign in out there, so once logged on, I went back to my room.  And the signal dropped.  Out to the hall again.  Picked it up.  Back to my room.  Lost it.  Ugh.  So I found a seat in the hallway and had to go online from there.  I spent about two hours checking email and chatting with people.  I’m a social person, and it’s hard for me to be away all by myself for such a long period of time.  It helps to talk to friends and family to keep me feeling less lonely.

Then it was time to try to sleep.  I needed help unwinding, and fortunately I had some movies on my iTunes – so I pulled up “Room With a View” (one of my faves) and got about half way through before I felt sleepy.  But this was good – it was before 2am and I was going to sleep – yes!

The hotel was letting me have a late check out, so I didn’t have to be out until noon.  I got up around 10am and got ready.  They also had given me permission to practice in my room.  So around 11:00, I warmed up and sang through some of my rep.

Then it was time for the walk back into town, which was SO much easier to handle now that I knew where I was and that the sun was out!

But I had awhile before needing to get to the theatre, so I walked around hoping for a cafe that had wifi…. haha – um no.

I got to the theatre super early – closer to 1:30 and checked in.  (At first I couldn’t figure out where to go, but there was a german girl walking around in the same situation, so we found it together.)

They were incredibly nice and told me I could sing early so I could make my train.  I then ended up chatting with the guy at the check in desk a bit – turns out he was an American too, but had been living in Germany since June – trying to do the singing thing here, and the guy running this company was also American and was helping him get going.  So I got a little more info about the group and the singing scene.

This particular group was casting for “Rigoletto” (Verdi) and “Manon” (Massenet.)  I brought Caro nome to sing.  When I walked on to the stage, I was a little surprised at the size of the audition panel.  There were about seven people sitting out there in the theatre.  My audition went alright.  Wishing I had warmed up again after walking around outside for all that time, because I felt a little extra gunky in my throat and thought that the first half of my aria was a little vocally stiff.  I was able to channel my floaty-ness as I got more into it, but first impressions are SO important.  After the aria, the head-guy asked if I could sing something else from the role of Gilda in the opera.  I did not have anything else.  (Let me say, there was NO mention of bringing anything else from the role in my email or anywhere else.)  Alas, that was it then.  I guess it’s good that he wanted to hear me sing more from the opera?  Anyway, off I went to the train station!  And after transferring at Frankfurt, here I am – on my way back to Vienna!  Now I have a few days to relax before my audition for an agent in Vienna.  That one should hopefully be really cool, as he asked for something early music in my rep.

Then after that, I’m off to another side trip come Sunday….. more on that later, but the hint is that I’ll be visiting a country I’ve never been to before!

Part of Bad Homburg

Part of Bad Homburg

Okay…… it’s now four hours later….. still on the train.  (Obviously I don’t have wifi on the train – I’m typing this into a document for copying it to my blog later.)

I’ve gone through several “seat mates” since we left Frankfurt.  I’m sitting at a chair that faces a small table, but there’s a chair facing me on the opposite side of the table.  I started with the older business man, then went on to the older woman who looked like she had been having an outing for the day with her husband who sat a row back.  Now the seat is nice and empty.

Most of the people got off at Nuremberg and Regensburg.  There’s a few of us left…. with a few more hours to go.  But a long trip like this gives you time to do stuff, and relax.  I’ve gotten much farther into the “Game of Thrones” book and I was able to do all this writing now, and not back in my room.  I also did some organizing of stuff that needs updating for the Olde Towne Carolers website.  (That’ll be coming your way soon, Jennica – haha!)  And I’ve done some organizing and cleaning up of stuff on the desk top on my computer.  I’ve also been practicing my Boggle skills on my iPhone.  Even though I can’t play the Scramble version without wifi, I actually have just the regular Boggle game app on my phone…. ‘cause I’m cool like that!

We got a little delayed for some reason at one of our stops – maybe because of a problem with one of the connecting trains?  So instead of getting back around 11:20pm, I guess it’ll be a little after 11:30pm.  Originally, I thought that I would walk back to my apartment from the Westbahnhof like I did the other day….. but after my walk last night to the hotel, I’m thinking no – haha!  As long as we get back before midnight, I should be good (that’s when the Ubahn stops running during the week.  On weekends, it runs 24 hours.)

…..and now we stop at Passau…. almost back in Austria!

…..9:45pm….made it to Linz…. seems everyone is getting off that’s sitting around me.  Am I the only one going to Vienna? Oh wait – I can see two other people nearby.  Less than two hours to go!

Got back to my apartment in Vienna at midnight.   Long day and super tired!  Bye for now!

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Author: JenSop

One of my favorite quotes is, "If your dreams don't scare you, they're not big enough." I guess I've been a dreamer all my life - I set my sights high and then I try to reach the sky. Some might call me a naive idealist, but that's just the way I am. I believe in always taking the high road, I believe in true love, and I believe in treating people the way you want to be treated. If you put good out into the world, good will come back to you! Being the dreamer that I am, I pursued singing as my primary life's calling - I've got two degrees in classical voice under my belt, and I sing just about anything under the sun. I also love a good adventure. Over the past few years, I've done quite a bit of world traveling, and have even lived abroad for stretches at a time: mostly in Vienna (Austria) and Croatia. A few years ago, I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time, and I became a travel agent who specializes in Disney vacations. (Seriously, I KNOW Disney - I've been going regularly since I was a little girl - and I LOVE it!) And with all my experience traveling and living in Europe, I'm becoming quite the specialist in that travel category as well. (And last year, I started working as a Tour Director in Central Europe!) As to the other juicy details of my life - I'm originally from Pennsylvania, I'm married to an awesome Croatian man named Miloš who is the BEST adventure partner a girl could ask for. (He's also an expert on knowing how to make me smile.) He's truly the love of my life! I've also had all kinds of other jobs along the way, besides singer and travel pro. (Which is pretty standard for those of us who went to school for music.) I've worked part time weekends as a Disney Princess look-alike for children's parties. I've been teaching for almost 20 years, and have lots of experience in retail and customer service. Oh, and I should also probably mention that I'm a huge Lord of the Rings/Star Trek nerd! :-) Let's all go along for an adventure, shall we?

One thought on “Audition number one – trip to Germany

  1. What an adventure! Glad to hear it went well and that you’re safe and sound!
    :0)

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