Opera has been my passion since my younger days in China where I was born and grew up. During a total 10 years of vocal training and a few years afterwards, I performed with choirs, sang solo and my favourite time, with an orchestra. I sang all the time.
At work one day a colleague reminded me no to hum when visiting a client. I realized that singing at work is not professional behaviour, no matter how gorgeous my voice was.
In 1994, my company sent me to work in Italy. Once in a small town waiting for my train, I saw the empty station and platform as my stage and started singing really loud... All of a sudden, I heard footsteps. I stopped and tried to calm down. Then a man's voice echoed, "Canta! Canta!", "sing! Sing!" I didn't. But that experience became one of my many lovely memories.
From 1999 to 2000, unfortunately I didn't take care of my voice because singing to me was only a hobby. I used some wrong throat medicine and eventually lost my voice, couldn't sing high notes any more. My soprano time was over...
Except for a moment of panic, I didn't give much thought about my loss, not even a moment of grief. As my throat condition got worse, my interest in singing became less and less. The trained muscles that I built up were weakened.
During the following 7 years without even humming a note, I experienced some major life events and career developments, including immigration to Canada in 2004 and going through many transitions.
A significant moment that hit me and eventually brought me back to art was in 2007, when I took a Career Counselling program. During a practice session with my classmates, I stated I was not sure if I should signup a drawing and painting class in that intense study year. Joel, a caring black man, looked into my eyes, probed "why is art so important to you?" I had no answer, looked down, shockingly seeing tears splashing on my lap one drop after another. For a minute the air was frozen... I remember I started with "I lost my voice.... I need a new channel for the art in me...."
That became an important turning point in my life because for the first time, I started to search my soul and reflect on who I am.
I enrolled in the art class immediately and for two years, didn't miss a single Saturday session. It was pure therapy and made my study year easier.
(show a picture) This is one of my works painted during that time.
Since then, I have learned to make videos, created my own website, participated a photo contest and exhibition. In 2008 after China's devastated earthquake, I also produced a photo journalism exhibition in Nathan Philip square at Toronto City Hall to enhance awareness and encourage donations. Through all these activities I expressed my true self.
The first time I returned to opera was for a Live HD performance a few years ago. When the very first note hit the air, my heart melted. I was thrilled and felt like my soul flew up and connected to Angels.
Three years ago, My boyfriend took me to a live performance in the Met Opera House in New York as my birthday gift. The experience was remarkable especially when you have someone to share the beauty and most importantly, love. I didn't notice that I was singing again. we enjoy singing together, even when walking sometimes...
Reflecting on my past, life seemed to have much more sunshine with art.
Some of us realize how much it means to us when we lose something important. It's like a train, when it's gone, we won't catch the same one again. Our talent may not last forever, if I knew that would lost my voice, I would not have stopping singing in that Italian railway station. So recognize those important and close to our heart, hold them dearly and enjoy them before it's too late.
I'm grateful that on my journey of growth, I've had art to accompany and inspire me.
Ice Breaker - Growing With Art
Jan. 22, 2015