ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
CURIOSITY & CULTURE
The author gets into character (above) amongst her props.
I Thank You, Patsy — Always, Laura Photos by K. Wilkins Photography / Story by Laura Martier “At the time I needed you most, you came through with the flyingest colors.
You’ll never know how happy you made this ole country gal.”—Patsy Cline “A Portrait of Patsy Cline” has come to me at a time
when I really needed it most. Like the first signs of spring after a long Outer Banks winter, taking on the role of Patsy has sprouted something new within me that I have yet to understand; but the feeling is there, a tender shoot that breaks through the prepared soil to blossom and grow.
Like Patsy, I am a country girl cut from humble cloth,
brought up in rural Wisconsin and raised on the fruits of our family’s hard work, love for each other and the Lord.
My singing began sitting around the kitchen table with my father showing me simple guitar chords and teaching me his favorite songs. My family of eight moved on to the local churches from there, blending our voices in harmony from the balcony in the back of our country church. I never once thought about my future or aspired to be anyone great or famous; I just loved to sing and as Patsy said, “I guess it worked out OK.”
My initial attraction to Patsy Cline was of course, her
voice. My voice has been my livelihood for most of my life. Opportunities have come and gone. I’ve had the fortune to play with many world-class musicians on stages, large and small, all over the world, and I still continue to find joy in expressing myself through song.
I looked at playing the role of Patsy Cline as a vocal challenge and wanted to try on her style, her tone and
FALL 2013 When I’m singing her songs, I imagine what she would
technique. As I delved deeper into the role, which for me meant integrating each and every note that rose through my body and out of my mouth into my being—my cells, I began to care about Patsy and to think and wonder about her in a more familiar way.
“I think I’ve found out who I am and what we’ve been looking for…This is it—we’re doing it!”—Patsy Cline
Fifty years ago Patsy Cline died tragically in a private
plane crash at the age of thirty. By then she was already a master of fresh starts, having survived two marriages, mothering two children, two car accidents and a myriad of professional adjustments. She knew who she was and what she wanted to do, and she was doing it.
With all of the obstacles that were in her path, it’s hard for me to fathom how she accomplished all that she did in such a short period of time. She was a tough cookie and never stopped working. She referred to herself as “The Cline” and at the time of her death she was in complete control of her career.
The opportunity to play Patsy has reminded me that no matter where I am in my development, as long as I keep working, keep doing it, I am capable of learning something new, traveling to new places within myself and expanding the way I express myself artistically.
have been like in her older years had she lived. I imagine she would feel a lot like me, grateful to be on a stage in front of a microphone singing for an audience.
Sometimes when I am feeling particularly vulnerable and connected to her while I’m performing, the sadness of her songs overwhelms me and brings tears to my eyes.
Sometimes when I am feeling particularly vulnerable and connected to her while I’m performing, the sadness of her songs overwhelms me and brings tears to my eyes. Maybe she had a mentor or someone ahead of her who gave her inspiration during the times when inspiration and passion wane, like she does for me. Did she feel young when she sang, like I do? Did she feel butterflies before each performance even after all the years, like I do, too?
“I got a rush as I walked onstage and heard this mob
cheering. I could feel the good vibes as I moved up to the microphone.” —Patsy Cline
The good vibes that “A Portrait of Patsy Cline” has
bestowed upon me are infinite. From the extremely hard working production company, Elizabeth R & Company, the amazing musicians, the beautifully receptive audiences, to Patsy Cline, I feel them every time I move up to the microphone, and I couldn’t be more grateful.
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