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The Chance of a Lifetime

Friday, January 10, 2014

By Ellen Greenberg

In 2013 I took many chances; the best was the one of a lifetime. Not everyone was behind me on this decision at this time in my life—I was fighting a horrible cold and had just started a new job, and so my voice was pretty hoarse. However, with my go-getter attitude I thought if I don’t take this chance I would be doing ACHA and myself a disservice. I practiced, rehearsed, changed my song two weeks before, figured out the 90 seconds allotted, and with help, picked out my outfit the night before.

At 6 a.m. on November 17 my alarm went off, though I was already awake. I felt like a five-year-old getting ready for her birthday party and putting on the paper crown. Feeling like a princess—knowing something incredible is about to happen and that it will be like no other day before or after. I crept downstairs, made my tea concoction, and began to get ready. Everything was packed and organized, so with a new mug of tea in hand I was in the car, singing my heart out as if my life depended on it. I got winked at on the road as I sat in some Sunday morning traffic, weaving and changing lanes with confidence. As I got closer, my nerves began to kick in again.

At exactly 9:30 a.m. I walked over to the entrance and got my sticker. I stood in line outside in the cold for two hours. It started to rain on us. Yet, I didn’t care. I was standing outside the entrance to the “America’s Got Talent” auditions. I held my breath for hours, getting moved from room to room. My excitement came and went as I heard and observed other acts. I had to remind myself why I was there, because I thought I would leave. I was finally in an area where I could start to fix hair, makeup, and eventually another space where I could walk away and tune up and practice.

Five hours after arriving I got to the end of the waiting rooms. I was now the only person in the waiting room. I walked into a small room, placed my bags and coat in the corner and took my X on the floor. I acted like I audition for “America’s Got Talent” every day. I could not believe how comfortable I felt. I had my ACHA pin attached to my dress, which had a plunging neck and back line. I mentioned my health before my 90 seconds began. I told the judge that I had been evaluated for a heart transplant two years ago. I answered the usual “What are you singing today?” questions, opened my mouth and gave it all I had. I had an out-of-body experience. I could see myself singing and hear myself the way others could hear me; it was unreal, just fantastic.

When finished, I collected my things, thanked the judge and left to a packed waiting room applauding me. I got choked up and thanked them all with a little curtsy. I was also surprised because I had only been inside for a total of two minutes, tops. How did all these people get there so fast? Unaware of where the exit was, I then asked, “Where do I go now?” A young man waiting to audition answered, “To stardom!” Way to choke a girl up again! It was then I knew I had prepared and done everything right and to the absolute best of my ability. I went for me and to represent all of us as a community. In that moment I knew I had delivered, no matter what happened or happens from there on out.

I now wait to see if I get an email in early spring regarding a callback. I am scared so much about how badly I want this. I am, however, thrilled with how my big chance of 90 seconds went. All that mental and vocal preparation was over in 90 seconds time. I faced the pressure, handled it and treated it graciously and with care so I would not forget a second of a moment. Therefore, if I do not get a callback, I will be fine—no one can take my pride and achievement away from me. No matter what happens, friends, I can say I auditioned for “America’s Got Talent” an hour away from my house in NYC.

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The opinions expressed by ACHA bloggers and those providing comments on the ACHA Blog are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the Adult Congenital Heart Association or any employee thereof. ACHA is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the ACHA bloggers.

The contents of this blog are presented for informational purposes only, and should not be substituted for professional advice. Always consult your physicians with your questions and concerns.

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