I recently made my début as a church soloist, singing "He Shall Feed His Flock" from The Messiah. [Thank you, thank you!] I was substituting for the regular soloist and it was fun to do and good experience. Of course, actually doing it was the "real" audition.
The scheduled audition took place following their regular service on 16 December 2007 and I had presumed it would be private -- just a handful of people including the accompanist and members of their music committee. But no. One of the regular soloists (who has a wonderful, Wagnerian type voice) sat down, most of the congregation was still milling around, my father was there (I'm his taxi), plus someone who knows the lyricist personally and who also knew the composer.
The audition piece was "Prodigal Son" by Martin Broones with words by playright William Luce ("Belle of Amherst"). Broones was MGM's first music director -- and the dance connection is that he was married to Charlotte Greenwood, the great musical comedy star who made immortal [and rightly famous by her turn as] 'Aunt Eller' in Oklahoma (movie version) and who was kicking her legs over her head at 65.
And the pianist was in a hurry: "Come on, come on; let's get started!" So off we went! Did I mention that the guy who knew Broones was also the head of the UW's Professional Actors Division? He stood and watched me as much as listened, I think.
It's a good thing I don't get nervous at these things! No pressure of course. Went well and I did get to fill in this recently, as I mentioned.
However, the strangest audition I EVER participated in was the time a fews years ago I auditioned -- as a ballet teacher -- for a studio south of Seattle. The manager called me up and wanted to sign me up right away. While I was certainly interested, I suggested that perhaps they wanted to see me teach first. So we arranged for me to give a "company" class and one class for the next level down.
AD said hello and that was about it. Gave my two classes. Accompanist and I got along fine. However, no one -- not one -- person came to watch either class. Nor did I have a conversation with anyone (neither the AD nor the manager) about teaching -- what were their goals; what were they looking for; how might I fit in; etc. The manager and I did talk on the break in between classes but mostly about their space headaches (they had to move).
Heard nothing for two weeks, and then the manager informed me that the teacher I would have replaced changed his mind and was coming back, so I wouldn't be needed after all. Well, I know his person and so asked him if it was true. (It wasn't.)
I wouldn't have minded so much had they been up front and said something like "We are not a match." or even "The students didn't like your class!" Then we'd have some basis for conversation. Honesty for and to me IS the best policy! Probably I'm better off, as we may not have been compatible -- artistically speaking. Who knows? But a weird audition experience never the less.
Speaking of weird, the strangest thing that happened to me during company class (modern dance company; Graham Technique), was that during the floor exercises, the AD got up on the piano to teach but if that weren't enough, she decided to come over and stand -- on me!