Raquel Cepeda, Jazz Singer
Courage In The Midst Of Disability
A Behind the Scenes Anecdote From Jazz On Valentine's Concert 2022
Dear friends, I just published a video of last year's Jazz on Valentine's Concert, the one form 2022. You may notice in the video that I was bare-footed and that I had a wrist brace. The reason is because I had injured myself just 2 weeks before the concert.
Pulling Jazz on Valentine's concert up in those conditions was a test of strength, will and patience, and one of the most physically demanding things I've ever had to do, because I was severely limited in my ability to move around and type on the computer, two aspects that are essential to make a concert like this happen as it involves emails, coordination, rehearsals, social media, errands.
Washing and styling my hair for example were uphill tasks, because I had to operate my hair with only one hand while keeping balance on one foot in the shower. I could not drive either.
I had my left wrist fractured, and the right foot sprained. All at the same time.
The doctor recommended that I had surgery on the wrist right before the concert, but in spite of his positive reassurance, simple common sense told me that the post-surgery recovery could put me in dire risk of not being in the right conditions to perform. Some people close to me understandably suggested that I should cancel the concert altogether.
But I couldn't imagine cancelling Jazz on Valentine's. To me it is a sacred appointment with everyone, not to mention that I like to deliver what I promise. And as long as I could sing, I thought to myself, I would do anything in my power to be there, even if I had to drag myself onto the stage, literally.
Luckily my husband moved swiftly and was able to find another doctor to get a second opinion, the day before the scheduled surgery. The new doctor ensured me that I could heal with the use of a brace and that I really didn't need an operation, so I cancelled the surgery the evening prior.
The days that followed were painful, though. I don't like to use any kind of medications, so I faced the pain eye to eye at all moments.
The concert was only two weeks after the injury. Fortunately I was able to find a solution to my entrance other than dragging myself onto the stage: to drag instead the curtains open or closed to reveal the band and with them, my steady position under a spotlight. Then to keep on singing while balancing on one foot to the concert's Latin moves. Voilá. After I started singing all my afflictions went away, even if just for the moment.
I share all this after the fact because it's always better to talk about your battles after you've won them. I think it's also interesting to know the things that happen behind the scenes. You probably didn't have any idea that this was happening if you were in the audience, except for the fact that I mentioned it briefly during the concert. And in reality, my job is to ensure that the show always goes on. I would gladly do it again if I have to.
But it was difficult, I admit, and the experience helped me understand and appreciate more the people who have any kind of disability and still choose to go out and face the world. After about 9 months I was able to heal and resume my normal pace, balance and ability, but they, who continue fighting and smiling in the midst of their limitations, those are the real heroes, and to them, my respect.