Posts Tagged ‘conducting’

looking back, looking forward

Friday, January 11th, 2013

Hey there.

So it’s 2013. Where did last year go?

2012 brought so much live music into my life, and I drank it all up like a thirsty man finding water in the desert. I have two young kids, so getting out of the house at all, let alone seeing tons of live music, is nothing short of manna. I went to Hillside Festival in Guelph, and to the Edmonton Folk Music Festival, in, well, Edmonton. Got to see Merill Garbus and the incredible tUnE-yArDs (watch this video for a sample of her crazy/raw/fun aesthetic), and I fulfilled a life-long dream of seeing kd lang perform—my expectations were high and she blew them away. Oh, and Leonard Cohen! He was unbelievably amazing. It’s been a big year for seeing live acts. And so much of it was so inventive, I felt really fired up listening to these exciting boundary-crossing kinds of musical works and performances.

Professionally, I was also extremely lucky to conduct Echo Women’s Choir in the Spring of 2012—a fantastic group of 80 women from various backgrounds and professions, all coming together to sing some pretty wonderful and at times pretty challenging songs from many singing traditions. The honour of conducting Echo was one of the two professional highlights of my 2012.

The other was the growth of my singing studio—some new students came in last year that have just been incredible to watch and work with. And students who have studied with me for longer all seem to have found newer and deeper growth in their vocal journeys this past year. I’ve learned so much from my students, and am so proud of what they’ve accomplished, and inspired by their willingness to risk and put themselves out there.

So in many aspects a good year for music. But still.

I miss singing.

Watching all that music and watching the work of my students gave me lots of ideas for some musical projects moving forward. Now that I’m in the throes of my dissertation work, I hesitate. Do I have enough time to take on another project, in addition to being a student and a teacher and a mom? I’m not sure but I think I have to try. I think my first order of business is upload some clips from my 2010 cabaret ‘Undone’ with Jen Cook. I was proud of that work, and I think I’m ready to share it, or at least pieces of it, with the world.

Next, deciding which musical project to start with. Stay tuned…hopefully by summer I’ll have something more to say here. I guess this is my New Year’s Resolution, though it feels like more. A commitment to singing, my own passion. But here it is: in 2013, I’m going to work towards more performance.

And may I be so bold as make a request of you for 2013? Go see live stuff. See some live music. See a play. See a dance show. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on big ticket concerts and broadway-style plays. In fact, it’s in many ways better to see the band at your local pub, or see the innovative work of your local theatre companies. Nothing compares to the live experience, not even in the digital age of facebooking and tweeting and youtubing. You have to be there.

OK, 2013. Bring it on.

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Echo/Mariposa Fundraiser March 26, 2011

Monday, February 14th, 2011

David & Goliath Earth Hour Arts Celebration Fundraiser
an Evening of Music, Song and Story
to support the Echo Women’s Choir and Mariposa In The Schools

Saturday,March 26, 2011 7 to 10 p.m.

Church of Holy Trinity, Toronto

Such an exciting line-up:Ken Whiteley, David Anderson, Michael St George, Njacko Backo, Marylyn Peringer, Chris Rawlings, and the Cuban Percussion Ensemble. And of course, Echo Women’s Choir (the wonderful choir that I serve as a guest conductor this season).

Come join us! Silent Auction plus  Nibbles and Cash bar.

Tickets $25 Sponsors $100

Proceeds support 2 great organizations: Echo and Mariposa in the Schools

For more info: www.echowomenschoir.ca

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Performance Echo Women’s Choir: Dec 12

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

Come to Holy Trinity Church in downtown Toronto on Sunday December 12 at  7:30 pm to see Echo Women’s Choir perform our concert “Gardens of Song.”  It features songs from Margaret Atwood’s latest novel In the Wake of the Flood and new choral arrangements for songs written by the Juno-award-nominated Jennifer Foster.

And it featurs my conducting debut with Echo. This is a totally fabulous group of women from all walks of life and all corners of Toronto.  I’m so honoured to sing with them, and thrilled to conduct.

And Margaret Atwood may ACTUALLY ATTEND THE CONCERT.  At least, she tweeted that she was planning to come after she heard us sing at the premiere of the film In the Year of the Flood in October, Ron Mann’s documentary of her carbon-neutral, around-the-world book tour for The Year of the Flood. One of the first essays I wrote in my undergrad was on her novel Surfacing for my first class in Canadian literature.  Her books are a part of my life. And now I may actually get to meet her.

This is one of those moments in which I feel so lucky to live in Toronto.

Full details about the concert are here: http://www.echowomenschoir.ca/

Hope to see you there!

poster for Echo concert

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conducting myself accordingly

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

I just got back from my first rehearsal of the season with Echo Women’s Choir. I’ve sung with Echo for many years. I love the world music and community-minded, loving atmosphere.  Plus, it’s really amazing to sing with 80 other women in the incredibly resonant Holy Trinity Church in downtown Toronto (yes, this is the same Church of the Trinity Session by the Cowboy Junkies!).   I haven’t been able to sing with Echo for the last year because of school, so it feels even more lovely to be back. Like reuniting with an old, dear friend.

But this year is a little different.  Becca Whitla and Alan Gasser, the choir’s co-directors, are taking a hiatus come January to study conducting in Cuba.  They’ve asked me to lead the choir for the Spring session.

Yep.  I’m conducting an 80-voice choir for 2011.

Are you surprised at this turn of events?  I am, a little.  Oh, I have some conducting experience, and I’ve worked with many groups as a song leader, but this, I’ll admit, is pushing my experience and ability to a whole new level. I’ve considered myself more of a singer and voice teacher than a conductor.  But the  series of events that led to this opportunity unfolded  like the stars aligning. And so this opportunity is here for me now.

I am totally scared and excited. That seems like the right place to be.

At the rehearsal tonight, I was warmly greeted by many choir members, who all seemed excited at the news of my role in the new year.  It’s reassuring to have their faith.  And I’ll be conducting a few of the pieces for the Winter concert in addition to singing with the sopranos. Sort of an apprenticeship. So hopefully that’ll ease me in. Get the choir and me a little bit used to each other.

Looks like it’s going to be a big year.

oh, yes, and the spring concert is on the theme of work. The concert’s on May Day.  So if you have any suggestions for songs about working, particularly for women and work, let me know.

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