I have a wonderful concert gown that I bought for last year’s concerts with Seattle Baroque. I bought it with CT the DT at a bridal shop in Wallingford, so it was my first gown that didn’t come from Nordstrom Rack or (C)Ross Dress for Less! (Two of my best gowns were less than $30, both at Ross!! Shhhhh…) This gown is beautiful cinnamon color, and is actually a skirt and a separate bustier. I instantly fell in love with the silhouette of the skirt; called a “souffle” skirt, it is gathered and tucked in mysterious ways and looks like an holiday confection. Since I’m on the thin side, I like a gown that gives me a bit more presence on stage, and this fits the bill. I wear it with a velvet bolero-type jacket (to cover my shoulders for sacred music) and a long black ribbon tied in a bow at the waist. (Hmm, I think I have a picture from last year's concerts at Benaroya around somewhere; I’ll dig it out and post it.)
The real story of this gown, though, is that I didn’t have time to wait for them to order my size, so I bought the floor sample – which was a size 10! My skilled mother-in-law took out an entire panel of the bustier and a few inches out of the waist of the skirt, and it fit like a dream! It’s probably a bit big for “everyday” wear (whatever that is), but for singing, it’s perfect. I have plenty of room to expand my abdomen and ribcage, but have no fear of the strapless bustier falling down! Thanks, MR, if you’re still reading. I think of you every time I put it on.
When I wear this gown, I have to be prepared to get as many compliments, if not more, about it as I do about my singing! On Friday night, I even had a seamstress come up to me, so I got to tell the story of the alterations. She was very impressed!
Last night, I got two other compliments that stood out from the standard “"great job/thank you/beautiful dress" crowd. One a bit bizarre, but sweetly delivered: “You are just the most delicious thing! I told my friend, ‘She could puke on stage, and it would be worth watching!’” Um, thanks? hehehe
The second was quite possibly the best compliment I’ve ever received. A tall gentleman who looked not a little like James Cromwell said, “I want you to know that I loved both your singing and your voice. I think you’ll understand what I mean.”
Yes, I do, sir, and thank you for the reminder. We all have a voice; it’s what we do with it that sets us apart. (And again, as with my previous post, I’m not just talking about singing…)