Matthew Lickona 5 p.m., Dec. 4
I was thrilled to hear that perfect, clear tenor voice echoing to me from the canyons. It was vibrant, perfect . I had been pruning a succulent on the little patio of the Hillcrest apartment I had recently rented, wondering how I would survive leaving New York City, the cultural mecca of the universe. I was quite prone to musical outbursts and had released my creamy smooth Streisand , in all it's glory, into the echoing hills, only to find myself egaged in an impromptu duet with a faceless , musically gifted stranger...a tenor of the highest caliber. As our duet continued, I wondered if I was having an hallucination, brought on by theatre withdrawal. I wondered, worried for my mental health, could Ilive anywhere besides New York City and still remain intact?
The unusual configuration of little canyons, with cottages and condos strewn about, prevented me from distinguishing, based on acoustics, exactly where the voice was coming from. But I continued with the song, ..desperate for musical theatre as I was."With one person..." He chimed in with a highly emotive, "...One very special person.." Like pure silk! I was home! This Hillcrest had welcomed me with a serenade...quite literally! The next morning I dropped suggestive hints to the neighbors, hoping my singing partner, the mysterious tenor, would reveal himself to me. He did not. Each night my musically amorous and eager partner joined me in a steady stream of fabulous Broadway showtunes..he knew them all...and Streisand and Celine. He even knew Motown like the back of his hand...I was his Supreme and he was my Diana Ross. (Now, truth be told, my Diana was a tad more creamy and solid than his...tenors tend to struggle that way, becoming slightly pitchy on higher notes, , relying almost entirely on falsetto...at least my tenor did on occcasion. But I digress...) The hills were alive, quite literally, with the sound of music. And we assured that it was so as we sang "Just a Spoon Full of Sugar" and " Supercalifragilisticexbealidocious" in our best Julie Andrews. Not a single neighbor, not a one, ever called the cops. Not once. We were good, very good. I was no amateur and my tenor played me like a fiddle, lilting harmonies dancing around my high C's like fairy dust about Peter Pan..... If the mysterious tenor could make it here..there was a chance, albeit small I too could survive in what I feared was a cultural wasteland. I unpacked the last of my boxes, grabbed a feather boa purported to be worn by Liza Minelli in Cabaret, and my collector's edition Green Tambourine and tap danced my way out to the patio for a little Dnt Rain On My Parade, while weeding the cactus garden...It was then that he revealed a startlingly accurate, never before shared version of Ethel Merman's 'There's No Business Like Show Business". I can't be certain of exactly from whence it came, but a boulder with a note tied to it was hurled onto my patio, just barely missng my lighted ILove New York Statue of Liberty Garden gnome. I hurriedly untied the note, thinking it might be a message from the mysterious tenor at last. "Shut the Hell Up!" it read. That was the last night my tenor and Ishared our musical talents, though there is a chance we sang duet together unknowingly at the Caliph on 5th during a drunken karaoke party. I cant be certain as I have never actually seen him. I still live here in Hillcrest, nestled in the green chaparral covered hills...and sometimes, in the deep of night when it seems just a bit too quiet, I wonder what the mysterious tenor is singing these days...and if he too, had almost gotten hit by a flying projectile on the last fateful night when we sang our hearts out under a clear San Diego sky.