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The sassy soprano with no talent.

The sassy soprano with no talent.

Most of us care what other people think; I would say it’s just human nature. However, some people are actually paralyzed by it. Are there people who really don’t care what people think and follow their dreams despite what anyone says? There seems to be one Florence Foster Jenkins, who fits that description.

Capital Repertory Theater in Albany, New York.

Capital Repertory Theater in Albany, New York.

Last night, we went to see “Souvenir, A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins.” Florence Foster Jenkins, she always went by the three names, was born in Philadelphia, in 1898, studied singing and piano starting at the age of 7. Her parents stopped funding her hobby (no doubt they realized she had no talent) but she eventually went out on her own teaching piano and voice.

Her singing was absolutely terrible; she didn’t understand pitch or rhythm. Despite this “handicap,” she believed she was gifted and continued to sing. When her parents died, she inherited sufficient funds to get her long-delayed singing career off the ground. She took voice lessons and became involved with many social clubs in Philadelphia, which she funded. She became director of music for many of them and founded the Verdi Club.

She started giving recitals in 1912 and was always the main character of any event. People cheered her on, most likely because of her huge investments in the club. According to what’s written about her, she was convinced she was brilliant. Her accompanist, piano player Cosme McMoon was quite talented and somehow stuck it out with her. If he  tried to correct her, she would tell him the piano was out of tune. Every time he wanted to quit she would remind him he would be a star if he stayed with her because he could publish his own works.

At the age of 76, her fans convinced her to give a public recital at Carnegie Hall. The tickets’ sold out quicker than any other events and more than 5000 people were turned away. Up until this time, no public critics were allowed at any of her concerts but this was a public venue and the reviews were scathing.

Florence Foster Jenkins was devastated but vowed to continue her career. Unfortunately five days later, she had a heart attack in her favorite music store and died.  She is considered to have a cult like following of young and old.

puppetHow can you turn off those voices inside your head?

  1. Stop over thinking the situation. Most of the time when you think, people are judging you, they probably aren’t. Really unless you’re a huge public figure or movie star, why would they care?
  2. What they think about you is “none of your business.” You don’t have any control about what they think about you so why bother? It’s more important that you get a grip on what you think about yourself and do something about that.
  3. Give yourself the freedom to be who you are. You can’t be liked by everyone. It’s your life, enjoy it. Be confident in yourself and stop second guessing yourself.
  4. Learn to control your emotions and respect yourself. Building confidence comes from setting goals and achieving them. Not everyone will agree with you or like what you’re doing. But really whose problem is that? We should all have a little of Florence Foster Jenkins in our head.

Lisbeth Calandrino has been helping businesses improve their sales and customer service for over twenty years. She believes it all starts with their employees and teaching them how to be more confident and better communicators. To schedule a consultation with her or have her speak at your business, she can be reached at Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com.

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