Main > Series > Chapters > Fame Book 1 > Chapter 8
There was a high turnout for the Festival auditions on the following
Tuesday. The roll-call of potential singers was a long one, but only eight
people had put themselves forward as serious contenders for the lead spot.
Coco was drawn to adition second. Ont the list in the main hall, she saw
that Troy Phillips had been drawn to sing seventh.
Bruno accompanied her, as before, and she stood on the bare stage in
the main hall of the School of the Arts and gave it everything. When it
was over, Shorofsky thanked her from the almost-empty auditorim; Coco shaded
her eyes against the working lights in the hope that she might be able
to get some idea of the music professor's reaction, but he was giving nothing
away. Up at the back, a few students were waiting for their turn to come
around. Troy Phillips was there, sitting a little way apart. He smiled
at her, and half-waved.
Coco let herself smile back,and then she and Bruno withdrew to the wings
to make way for the next soloist and her keyboard player. As soon as they
were offstage, she said, 'Well? What'd you think?'
'I think you're a wonderful singer,' Bruno said diplomatically, and
Coco could tell immediately that he was stalling.
'You think I'll get it?' she said.
'I can't tell you how glad I am that I don't have to make that decision.'
'I know, Bruno, but it's your song. What do you think?'
'I think you should ask Leroy.'
'Because he's a better liar than I am.'
'You don't have to lie. It was bad?'
'No,' Bruno said, 'it wasn't bad. It was wonderful.'
'I don't understand you.' Coco was starting to get angry. 'What are
you trying to say?'
They came down the backstage steps, and Bruno pushed open the fireproof
door to the dressing-room corridor. 'What I'm saying is that you're a wonderful
singer, but not every song is right for you. Yehudi Menuhin's a great violinist,
but when he duets with Grapelli he sounds as stiff as a board. I try to
write a cantata, and it sounds like a McDonald's commercial.'
'You think Troy's a better singer,' Coco said, getting right through
to the heart of it.
'For this particular song, yes,' Bruno conceded. 'For another song,
Coco sighed heavily, and didn't put up a fight. Bruno said, after a
moment, 'You okay?'
'I know. But can you handle it?'
'I'll find a way,' Coco said.
Most days before a class, Benjamin Shorofsky could be found setting
up the blackboard in the music room. It saved time during the lesson, and
time was one of the scarcest commodities in the drum-tight School of the
Arts schedule. Coco went along a little early, hoping he'd be alone. She'd
told Bruno that she was going to need some help. The results of the auditions
hadn't yet been posted.
She told Shorofsky what she'd done; how she'd gone down to Chase School
and spoken to Troy, urged him to come and give it a shot on equal terms
with the others.
'I want to be a performer more than anything,' she ended, confused at
the way her feelings clashed and offered her no simple and clear solutions.
'Am I crazy to give someone else a chance?'
'You're not being crazy,' Shorofsky said, putting down the chalk and
turning to face her. 'You're being a mensch.'
'A mensch? What's that?'
'A person. You're thinking about somebody else, instead of yourself.
You know, when you came in here, I thought you were going to try to pump
me for the results of the auditions.'
'I never even thought of it.'
'I know. Does that mean you're not interested?' Shorofsky's smile was
a study in gentle irony.
'No,' Coco said, drawing imaginary circles on the desk with her finger,
'I'm interested. But I guess . . . I guess I already know what the result's
going to be. Troy's got it.'
'Yes,' Shorofsky persisted 'but do you know why?'
'Because . . . ' Coco hesitated for a moment. Because he was the best.
On that day, with that song he was the best.'
'Right. That's what an audition is all about. And that's why I was wrong
to cancel the auditions and put Troy forward without giving the others
a chance. I was making allowances for other considerations, and Troy deserved
better than that. In fact . . . ' Shorofsky leaned towards her, lowering
his voice to keep his words private as the first of his class members came
in through the door. 'In fact, Coco, out of the two of us, you're the one
who gave Troy a fair shake. you're growing up, cookie.'
It felt good; even through the disappointment, it felt good. Shorofsky
turned back to the board to complete his copying, and Coco made her way
down to her usual place as the room filled
She was remembering a remark of David Reardon's, something that he'd
said to them in one of his first sessions when he'd come to the school
of the Arts as a newly-qualified teacher with six years of good stage experience
behind him. No matter what kind of an artist you're aspiring to become,
first you have to be a human being. All of the technique and polish in
the world is useless if there's nothing inside.
Well, Coco Hernandez, today you make it one step closer. Now it's time
to do what Danny would advise.
Look inward. Analyse it. Learn to use it.
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