Soprano Jessica Lennick Hosts Philadelphia Music Makers on WRTI: Sept. 28, 5 PM
Still ascending the steep trajectory of a mid-career opera singer, Jessica Lennick feels compelled to keep at her craft. Why? Because it's her calling to do so.
A local singer with a growing stature, Jessica's next major project is the title role in a new opera about the sex life of philosopher and novelist Ayn Rand, composed by Melissa Dunphy.
Listen to Jessica's story, in her own words, and hear her perform on WRTI's Philadelphia Music Makers, Sunday, September 28th, 5 to 6 pm.
We asked Jessica to jot down some thoughts about why she sings. This is what she shared...
Why I Must.
By Jessica Lennick
No one in their right mind would ever try to do this for a living. This is why you’ll rarely find anyone in their right mind in the arts. Few of us make art because of the great material rewards (frequently there are none), we don’t even really do it for glory (because there too is precious little of that).
We do it because we are called to.
We can dress it up as cultural enrichment, as a way to unite people, as the continuation of hundreds of years of tradition. For these and all the other reasons I will give, all the other rationalizations I will invent, the simple truth is that I sing because I sing because I sing. It is how I have always been. It is how I will always be. If you put me in a cage right now with no light, nor food nor drink, I would sing. Music is my companion. In the dark I am my own lullaby, in pain it is my meditation. It is my incredible solace to sit down at a piano, have my fingers meet the keys and my vocal cords meet each other and fill the air with song. Pain is temporary when you have music. Song is pure focus, concentration, physical effort, and expression. Some days the focus doesn’t come—singing is blurry and unsatisfying—but then someone nearby will ask me Oh what was that? It sounded so lovely. On those days, it’s made clear that your gift wasn’t for me that day, it was for someone else.
So, in the end we create art because we have no choice. It is one of the mysteries of the human condition that we don’t feel truly ourselves unless we have something to express. All people create—we tell stories, we write computer programs and Dungeons and Dragons story-lines, we make bad paintings, good paintings, light installations, fan-fiction, internet memes and on and on and on. Professional artists are not unique in being called to create. Our special madness is that we must do it all the time.
We do not feel ourselves unless we are in the midst of creating.
And when we are, we are at the center of all creation.
Music is perpetually bountiful. It is the truest gift I’ve ever possessed and the truest gift I’ve ever given. There is a magic in being able to give someone what they cannot give themselves. And as deeply as I may sometimes fall into despair or sadness, it is always a heady thing to make a lot of noise.