Two Sopranos (formerly titled: Don’t Even THINK About It!)

I was a music major (see my bio for confirmation) and it’s highly competitive in college in order to get distinction on your comps.   I just got “dis-stink.”  Actually, I’m a pretty decent musician.  Functional, anyway.

This story is based on something that occurred several years after I graduated.  Reprinted from January 10, 2013.

Thanks to Bjorn Rudberg for this picture because you know it’s “all about da-bass/ ’bout da bass/ no treble.”


When Aunt Wilma called Mom to ask me if I knew Donna Manners from my college days, I wondered what “Prima Donna” Manners wanted with my aunt.

Said she was an aspiring country singer. Could she stay with Aunt Wilma and Uncle Bob for awhile in Nashville while she worked it out?

I remembered her full of talent AND herself … making me look stupid in front of the music instructors who said she clearly had the superior voice.

“Tell Aunt Wilma no!”  Being late, I headed for the theater.  Gotta get there fast!  They can’t start La Traviata without “Violetta.”

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47 Responses to Two Sopranos (formerly titled: Don’t Even THINK About It!)

  1. Sandra says:

    Doesn’t sound like Donna is very welcome in the narrator’s life at this, or any other time. And thanks for the ear-worm, I’m going to be singing that all day now.

    • wmqcolby says:

      I like to call it “jingle virus” because it has that tendency to spread. The only way to get rid of it is to force it out with another catchy song. The worst case I ever got was Al Jolson’s “I love to sing-a/ ’bout the moon-a and the June-a and the spring-a …” A worthy one, but stayed in my head for WEEKS (eight I think).

      As for the story, the narrator is based on soprano Joyce DiDonato, an award-winning soprano. She’s from the Kansas City area (Kansas side) and she was a guest on our Morning Show. We got to talking and she mentioned that she really had no ambition to be an opera singer, it just “happened” by getting noticed by the right people. So, I took an incident from my past of this guy I knew in college who was quite talented and knew it (the five-foot six-inch little wretch!) and got distinction on his comps. He called my aunt and my aunt called my mom. Where is he now? I was just happy to get out of college and pursue what i REALLY liked — television!

  2. neilmacdon says:

    “Full of talent and herself”. What a wonderfully acid put-down, William. I saw her in this line.

    • wmqcolby says:

      Great! Thanks, Neil! I remember feeling the same way when I read Bjorn’s story about Zara and thought, “Wow! I wonder what else she does?” Thank-you very much, sir. 🙂

  3. Iain Kelly says:

    Glad she stuck with it, part of her I’m sure would like to see Donna again now that she is a success, just to get a little revenge! 🙂

  4. Sounds like it’s better to be the biggest fish in the smallest of ponds, than the sidekick in a lake.

    • wmqcolby says:

      Yes, I’m very familiar with that saying. It’s exactly how we see things in TV here. You can be a star locally if you can’t be one nationally. Thanks for the photo Bjorn!

  5. OMG! Oozing with oodles of puns and fun!
    I giggled all through, right from the “dis-stink”!
    Love the other title too!
    Nice to have you back, Jester!

  6. Dale says:

    Yes, exactly! Big fish, little pond…

  7. Rowena says:

    I enjoyed your story and then got caught up in the comments. So much to respond to in this story.
    Where I live, most people are pretty down to earth and it’s n ot cool to go on about your talented kids and you soon get knocked back down to size. HOWEVER, I recently watched my daughter’s school dance group where they had one girl being the star at the centre of the other girls and the rest fawning over her. I immediately saw red. My daughter is a good dancer and I really felt she was getting crushed by this strident character and the school staff who thought the light shone out of her proverbial. I later spotted a photo of this girl on the class web site standing in front of a fire engine with her leg up in the air and I was like what the???
    While there are those strident performers, many musicians and creatives of all sorts are very sensitive, introverted and shy and performing is a real struggle and yet they truly convey the emotions and that sensitivity allows them to really move the audience in a way that’s beyond theatrics. Dance isn’t just about what you can do with your body but even more so about emotions..the story.
    Moving onto the big fish in a small pond, I recently entered a local short story competition and was really pleased with my contribution but failed to place. I was devastated. Not a good feeling when you can ‘t even make it in a small pond. However, I re-read my piece and realised it had glaring structural problems and really was better suited to a novel than a short story.
    So, thank you very much for stimulating my brain cells here. It’s been a very hot day here and the air-conditioner is pumping hard. Surprised I can think at all.
    xx Rowena

  8. wmqcolby says:

    Wow, Rowena! Looks like I struck a nerve. Thanks for your input. Keep up the good work! 🙂

  9. rgayer55 says:

    I realize there are people who made it to the top by stepping on others, but it always comes back to bite ya.

  10. wmqcolby says:

    Indeed it does. I saw a clip of Charlton Heston’s acceptance speech for winning Best Actor in Ben-Hur and he said he wanted to thank everyone from the first secretary on because they were the ones responsible for him being there. My dad always told me to always be kind to the help, you may be working for them one of these days.

  11. draliman says:

    “Donna” is an unfortunate name for someone who’s both in the performing field and full of herself 🙂

  12. Lizy says:

    The narrator missed her chance to lord it over her former rival! Well told tale of deep-seated jealousy.

  13. HonieBriggs says:

    Aunt Wilma assumes a “take no boarders” attitude toward bad Manners.

  14. I think we’ve all had a similar moment, and you got it here! I love the back history here too, Kent.

  15. Dear Cuzzin Notnek,

    So you and Junior are competing for the most engaging intro? Love it. By all means do. So many went dark this week (herself included). Someone has to be the court jester. As for Donna…Full of herself can turn to full of gas. Five out of five windbags.


    Cuzzin Shelley

  16. Thanks for a lighthearted story! Sometimes come-uppins’ work out just right. Well done. Thanks for the smile.

  17. plaridel says:

    it looks like she still needs some growing up to do.

  18. wmqcolby says:

    Oh, yes. Quite a LOT of growing up.

  19. Lynn Love says:

    Ooh, Prima Donna Manners – nice put down. We all know exactly what she’s like … Great, spiky tale

  20. wmqcolby says:

    Well, I’ll take that as a confirmation then. Mucho apreciado. 😉

  21. Still laughing at your title…

  22. We all remember those people, don’t we. I never went to my high school reunions as there were too many clicks and people I didn’t care to meet again. Good writing, Kent. 🙂 — Suzanne

    • wmqcolby says:

      Thanks, Suzanne. I’m the same way. I liked reunions, but people have changed so much that is just isn’t the same. I grew up in a small town and they either changed too much or they never did at all. Frustrating when you’re trying to grow as a person in your endeavors (namely, writing). Right?

  23. I look forward to your stories, cause you manage to bring out a ray of light and a smile.

  24. Michael Wynn says:

    Sounds like she’s born a grudge a long time but now it’s her time so good luck to her

    • wmqcolby says:

      Well, for her, it depended not on whether she was better, just whether she played her cards right. But, stuff like that can spur people on to doing great things as well.

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