ALL ABOARD: The real reason I’ve not auditioned for ‘American Idol’

My earliest recollection of being on stage is fourth grade, singing with my fellow classmates at Wickliffe Elementary in Columbus, Ohio.

My earliest recollection of being on stage is fourth grade, singing with my fellow classmates at Wickliffe Elementary in Columbus, Ohio.

Back then we didn’t have to be any good to be on stage. We just had to show up, stand up and smile, singing patriotic songs for our parents. The big hits not heard on “Your Hit Parade” like “This is my Country,” “Shenandoah” and “The Erie Canal.”

In ninth grade, I recall my first solo experience on a real stage.

Being coerced by our music teacher Jack Woodruff to sing the chart-busting tune “I’m the Kid Who Built the Pyramid,” I remember my skinny-legged knees knocking, exposed below my khaki shorts while wearing Dad’s oversized Ramar of the Jungle hat, while Mom sat in the first row smiling and clicking pictures on her box-shaped Brownie automatic.

Mom probably missed her best photo op when the oversized flimsy cardboard pyramid behind me was dropped by stage hand Randy Walker.

I am certain to this day that Randy, the fastest boy in school, did it intentionally to upstage my solo stage moment.

Because of that emotional experience, I spent the next 20 years in fear, every time I was on a stage, looking down at an audience.

It was no big deal for me to be in front of a crowd as long as I was on the same level.

Yet, being above the crowd, looking down on all those faces, gave me pause.

And a whole bunch of jitters.

Mom encouraged me to take every opportunity to be on stage so that this fear would disappear.

Why didn’t she tell me it would take a lifetime?

My favorite acronym for the word “fear” is False Evidence Appearing Real.

Some folks will tell you to imagine the audience naked to eliminate your stage fright.

All that vision does for me is add embarrassment to fear.

Who wants to see any school superintendent nude in a school auditorium?

Or a vice principal or the maintenance crew?

This Friday we will be setting up the stage for this weekend’s Loganberry Festival at the glorious Greenbank Farm.

Our stage was designed by Tom Kennedy, a Vermont carpenter who relocated to Whidbey in the ’90s.

The Loganberry stage specifications were guided by the needs of that year’s headliner, Swamp Mama Johnson.

These five gals needed a minimum 12-foot-by-16-foot space to rock without rolling.

Thanks to Tom Kennedy and Bob Brandon and the volunteer team who built these six 4-foot-by-8-foot modules, connected by 9/16 inch bolts, we’ll be sharing free fun in the sun again this year.

And with only a two feet height, this stage offers me an opportunity to be almost fearless from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. this Saturday and Sunday.

Care to join us?

Between acts we will be offering free stage fright classes.

With our clothes on, of course!

More in Life

Photo by Theresa Farage
A photographer captured the Northern Lights over North Whidbey Tuesday night. Theresa Farage went to Dugualla Bay Heights Road looking toward La Conner armed with her Nikon D5200 camera and iPhone 12 Pro Max.
Northern Lights over Whidbey

The dazzling northern lights appeared in the skies across the state this week.

Rob Schouten's "Skyfall" oil painting is inspired by the San Juan Islands.
His etchings and paintings explore the mysteries of nature

You can Rob Schouten’s aquatint etchings and oil paintings at his gallery and art garden in Langley.

Photo by Karina Andrew/Whidbey News-Times
Will Hawkins and Dawn Smith officially took ownership of Rainshadow Nursery on Oct. 1.
Rainshadow Nursery welcomes new owners

Dawn Smith and Will Hawkins of Greenbank officially took ownership of Rainshadow Nursery on Oct. 1.

Penn Cove employees serve customers during the brewery’s grand opening celebration of its new location in Freeland over Memorial Day weekend. (Tyler Rowe / Cold Pizza Creative)
Drink This: Penn Cove opens its 3rd taproom on Whidbey Island

Brothers Marc and Mitch Aparicio opened a new Freeland taproom at The Barn over Memorial Day weekend.

pumpkins
Halloween happens on Whidbey

Spooky season is back in swing and there are plenty of events that promise a ghoulishly good time.

See caption
NBA star Isaiah Thomas travels to South Whidbey

South Whidbey teenager Jacob Ng recently got to live out a hoop dream.

Gabrielle Robles at Sunnyside Cemetery in a block house.
Coupeville woman offers haunted history tour

Gabrielle Robles is taking guests on a Haunted History Tour of Whidbey Island on Oct. 29 and 30.

Audubon is holding birding class for beginners Oct. 19

Master birder Whitney Neufeld-Kaiser will be teaching the online Zoom class 7-8:30 p.m. Oct. 19.

See caption
Mr. South Whidbey reigns once again

After a two-year reign, a new king was crowned in the male pageant world of Whidbey Island.

Most Read