I recently had breakfast with a dear friend. Someone I’ve know for many years. He’s made an incredible career for himself, particularly as a playwright and an actor, with a gorgeous singing voice to boot. At breakfast, I told him how through college, I envied him his talent–he seemed to get involved in so many things. A whole bunch of opportunities seemed to fall in his lap. But as I watched him develop as an artist, I quickly realized that while, yes, he is a gifted performer, he works his ass off. He seeks opportunity. He creates opportunities for himself.… Read More »deanna’s got talent. or not.
So Pete Seeger passed away on Monday at the age of 94. I, like so many millions of people, have been deeply affected and influenced by his music and his commitment to building a more just world through music. I never met him, but I have had the pleasure of singing and teaching his music. I frankly don’t have much to say that could add to the many amazing tributes that have been published, from the New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, and the CBC, to name just a few. There’s a fantastic documentary on CBC’s program Ideas that lets… Read More »Pete Seeger: The Man of a Million Small, Powerful Actions
I’m in a ‘choir.’ I have a hard time telling people I’m in this choir without putting quotes around the word. Because you see, it doesn’t look anything like any choir I’ve ever seen or participated in. If your definition of choir is a group of people singing together, then yes. We’re a choir. But after that, us and most other choirs depart ways. You’re probably familiar with a typical choir: people arranged in rows according to voice type, facing a conductor and singing multi-part scored music. I’ve sung in these kinds of choirs, and I’ve directed versions of these… Read More »my ‘choir’ is performing tonight
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… Read More »looking back, looking forward
The vocal pedagogy that I practice and teach mostly draws from the work of Fides Krucker. I just got back from a lesson with Fides, and through my vocal and pedagogical training with her, I’ve come to understand singing as an integration of contradictions that demands the quiet but complete bravery of leaping off a cliff. In one of my first singing lessons with Fides, back in 2003, she was coaching me through a vocal slide, trying to get me to find air flow without pushing or straining the muscles around the vocal folds. She told me “it’s like you’re… Read More »it’s like falling off a cliff, over and over
last night I saw a documentary about an incredible group of singers: young @ heart. I was in the library with my kids, and my two-year-old pulled the DVD off a library shelf and handed it to me saying “der you go!” Seemed like a sign, so I took it out and watched it. I laughed and cried. I was inspired and challenged. If you’re not familiar with the doc, it’s about a chorus of seniors in Massechussetts that sings surprising repertoire. Surprising in the choices (80-yr-olds singing Sonic Youth? The Ramones? David Bowie?) and surprising in how poignant and… Read More »if i collapse onstage, just drag me off and keep singing
Last Saturday morning at breakfast, my 5-year-old was asking why my partner had to leave for the day. “I’m going to campaign school,” my partner said (it’s election time soon in these parts). My son thought about this. “Well,” he said, “if you’re going to school, there’s one thing you should learn first.” “What’s that?” “First, you should learn how to sing. Singing makes everything easier.” Singing makes everything easier! After I stopped laughing, I started to consider the implications of this. Do I agree? I’ve wrestled my fair share of singing demons. I’ve gone through long periods where singing… Read More »making everything easier
I’m thrilled to launch two summer classes! A class in solo singing that includes performing a solo piece, and an introductory class in the foundations of singing. Excite you? Scare you? Then read on… Summer Solo Salon Always wanted to sing a solo? Or want to sing solo from a different style, or from a new place within yourself? This is the class for you! A 6-week group class for 6 – 8 people. You will work on foundational singing technique and apply it to one or two solo songs of your choice. You will get the opportunity to work… Read More »Summer Voice Classes!