I'll Make A Man Out Of You

I almost talked myself out of trying out for Ira David Wood's A Christmas Carol this year. The girls and I all mustered up the courage to give it a go last year, and we all got in! My wife's family were all in it when she was a kid. It was a dream of hers to participate again with the kids. I figured that was something I could take on. And it challenged me in many, many ways!

Although it's a ton of fun, it's a whole lot of work too. It takes some people years to learn to waltz like I did last year.

I'll have to say that I got caught up in my kids' full and utter excitement about the potential of performing again. But more than being on stage, reconnecting with their play buddies.

My hesitancy began with my incredible fear of being judged. If they would have just mailed me an invitation inviting me to rejoin the cast, the decision would have been much easier. But no, they make you work for it.

Each of us had to prepare a solo to sing in front of a friendly, yet ominous, panel of judges. Michelle and Stephanie went with Disney favorties, Zip-a-dee-do-dah from The Jungle Book and Part of that World from The Little Mermaid. DJ sang a hymn she learned last spring when a group of former cast members gathered to perform at a rest home.

I pondered a plethora of melodies. Perhaps I'd go with an Elvis tune - maybe a thrust of the pelvis would sway the mainly female judging panel. Johnny Cash is a favorite, but I don't own a black shirt, and I wasn't investing in clothing without assurance that I was going to be chosen. I considered I'm Bad by Micheal Jackson, but I couldn't figure out what he said after "I'm bad, I'm bad." Is it jamone? What does that mean, jamone? That doesn't make sense - "I'm bad, I'm bad, jamone..."

No, I needed something I could clearly enunciate. The choral director of the play is all about articulation - something about wanting the audience to be able to understand what we're singing. Clearly the King of Pop did not study under her.

Finally, after much strife, I landed on a favorite from Mulan. It's another Disney movie about a Chinese woman who is supposed to get married and honor her family by having babies and staying at home. Instead she dresses up like a man and goes to war - oh, and incidentally, she saves the entire country. The song is entitled I'll Make a Man Out of You, and the commander of Mulan's army sang it when he cast his eyes on his pathetic new recruits.

Let's get down to business, to defeat the Huns.

Did they send me daughters when I asked for sons?

You're the saddest bunch I ever met,

But you can bet before we're through,

I'll make a man out of you.

I can't quite figure out why that song resonated with me.

Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't trade a daughter for a son. Nah, I'm very happy with an all female Ham cast. But, there are times, you know, that I might want them to act a bit more like a man. A little dose of suck it up.

So we sang. No one cried at tryouts like last year. No one passed out. There was no vomit, although I was so nervous it wasn't past the realm of possibility.

They video the tryouts, wouldn't that have been a nice thing to catch on tape? I wonder where that video is...

I believe we all did fairly well. And like last year, I was by far the least talented in our clan.