I have always had an admiration and interest in Oratory. In a BBC News Magazine article, titled “The Art of Oratory”, it was said that “Oratory is as much about the performance as it is about persuading others of the merits of one’s argument.”
As one who has been a student of oratory for decades now, I agree with that statement, and I do so without cynicism. However, I did not start off as an Orator.
My first “professional gig” earned me $5 cash paid from the Dallas Zoo. (In specific, it was a “Lincoln” bill peeled off the PR guy’s money clip.) I was five years old back then. I sang a jingle with these words:
“All the animals in the zoo are jumping up and down for you,
Asking you to be sure to plan to visit the zoo as soon as you can.”
Twenty-something years later: After I (a “workaholic” at the time) had completed three college degrees in Performing Arts; trained to sing opera and musicals; and won that year’s Metropolitan Opera “National Council” Auditions — I traveled around North America on a six-month concert tour as a featured vocal soloist.
Yet, late-night ground & air travel circuits — from one distant city to another for the next evening’s performance — left me with a palpable sense of loneliness, and a longing to discover a greater purpose for living Life beyond my momentary displays of celebrity.
In a cathartic moment early one morning, I grabbed my personal diary and wrote this:
“Whereas I have been so privileged to perform the music of some great composers, lyricists, and other singers — I earnestly ask You now, O Universe, to guide me toward actuating whatever is my destiny.
“My intent is to author, compose, perform, and produce my own original artistic creations. In return, I pledge to live, work, and artistically serve in each and every facet of ‘my world’ on Earth.”
Resulting from my passionate launching of those sincere “rockets of desire”, a remarkable sequence of events began to occur smoothly and quickly. And, along the way, I found myself nurturing a respect and a sense of protection for the art of Oratory.
Oratory calls for precise communication by which one can conscientiously express one’s own unique, self-governed thoughts with crystal clarity and powerful intent. An historic example of someone who nurtured the specific rationale and practice of self-governed thought and compelling public speaking was the 19th-century orator, Susan B. Anthony.
Due to her highly developed ability to put forth iron-clad, logical and reasoned thought, and then powerfully present it, she advanced the course of women’s voter rights from the entrenched past to her present day. Her legacy remains a tribute to the power of Oratory.
I believe that we follow in the footsteps of tremendous orators. Why does that matter? Because each of us is, by our very nature, capable and hence responsible to bring forth our own individually specific, self-governed thoughts, as voiced through our own unique forms of expression. Those are essences that can and will steadfastly center all the unique facets of our own individual worlds.
And, while at it, as a matter of course, we can and will persuade others — to do what? … To, in turn, focus their own logical, self-governed thoughts, and express themselves by way of their own one-of-a-kind creative voice.
As the ancient voices have always intoned, with each and everyone of us in mind — “So Let the Eternal Word Be Spoken; So Let It Be Done …”