Wednesday, October 26, 2005
On a lighter note, it was a fun trip! I got lots of quality time with SL, my oldest friend (we’ve been friends for over 20 years!) and her lovely, lovely little boy Ty (who at 21 months knows that “Uncle Alec plays drum set” and that he loves his “Auntie Meliss” – how can that not melt your heart?). I also saw two colleagues at the audition. It’s a small world we singers live in!
Onward and upward!
Monday, October 17, 2005
- All this is to say that it is wonderful to see the kids at camp, all music geeks in their own ways, all getting along, making music together, and finding a network of support and friendship among people who share their passion for music.
Those who know me, or have been reading this blog for a while, know that I have been working at the same music camp every summer since I graduated from high school, and had been a camper there for a few years as a child, as well. It has been a constant in my life. Wherever I was going to school, as I was starting life as a professional musician, as I was transitioning from pianist to singer, camp has been part of my life through it all. Some of my oldest and dearest friends are ones I made working there. I met my husband there. It has helped me become who I am today, in many ways. It's a magical place, and I'm always touched by how accepting the kids are of each other, and how kids who just "don't fit in" in their regular lives can come to camp and totally come out of their shells. They come in shy and self-conscious and leave with confidence and a new circle of close friends who love them for who they are.
This was a particularly poignant summer for me, as I realized that camp is a chapter of my life that is coming to a close. I was able to fit it in to my schedule this summer, but while I was there, I felt like it was pulling me away from singing, and it didn't feel quite right. Hopefully, in future summers, I will have direct conflicts with apprentice programs, or roles, or concerts. But even if I don't, I can't take a month off of singing in the middle of the summer. It's not that I really felt like my voice suffered because of it, but I can't stand to be away from it for that long. As hard as I tried this summer, I realized that it is impossible to focus on learning a role or practicing without feeling like I was ripping myself in two. Camp is basically a 24-hour a day job, and the things I do there definitely do not relate to opera. People there do not know me as a singer, which is fine, but the more time I spend there, the less I feel like a singer, and I don't like that at all. So, as much as I love it, I think it's time to say goodbye. Some of my friends from camp will stay in my life in other capacities, and I will still get to visit (Alec still works there), but I'm fairly certain that this was my last summer of working there. Change is hard....
.... and now, acb, it's your turn!
So, what do y'all think?
Friday, October 14, 2005
Once that element was added in to what was already destined to be a stressful rehearsal last night, I was grateful when I woke up this morning and remembered that my sister and I had a date to come here this morning to unwind and relax. It was just what the doctor ordered, and it's only 10 minutes away from my house! I'm currently sitting in their free internet lounge, drinking a melon-pineapple-mango juice from their juice bar, and basking in the residual warmth from the hot therapy rooms and whirlpools. Aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh........
Thursday, October 13, 2005
According to my sister, there are literally thousands of forms of shiatsu, variations stemming from several original masters and dating back thousands of years. This particular method is known only by Mike (my sister's Sensei), and his brother, who has a practice next door to Mike's in Seattle. Mike has chosen three students --his nephew, my sister, and one other woman -- to pass on his knowledge to and ensure that the tradition will continue. Pretty cool. All I can say is, if the Seattle area is accessible to you and you suffer from this problem, you should go see them!
Monday, October 10, 2005
My sister, who is an amazing massage therapist, is currently being trained by a shiatsu master. (I imagine it to be a Mr. Miagi/Karate Kid kind of relationship.) She has regular lessons with him, and since she's begun her training, her outlook on many things, particularly diet and medicine, has changed drastically. She was giving me a massage the other night, and briefly rubbed my jaw. I winced in pain and she asked if this was a normal occurence. Then, she said, "After your massage, I'll work on that a little. I can make it so that you won't clench your jaw anymore." I was extremely skeptical. Apparently, clenching my jaw is a manifestation of stress (big surprise), but the reason I clench my jaw as opposed to any other physical manifestation of stress is that my circulation (which seems to be at the center of the theories behind shiatsu) around that area of my body is not good, and I clench to try to move blood through. After my 80-minute, heavenly, relaxing massage, as I was ready to drift off in to blissful slumber for the night, she told me to sit up on the table, and rubbed my jaw in quick, half-moon motions. I tell you, it was perhaps the most excruciatingly painful experience of my life -- for about 5 seconds, and then the pain disappeared. We repeated this, her rubbing, me whimpering, in three different places on each side of my jaw, and then around the back of my head. OUCH! But, afterward, I did feel better. The muscles all the way down my neck had released, and my head moved freely from side to side in a way that felt slightly foreign to me.
She told me that it would take a few more sessions for me to stop clenching entirely, so I'm going to see her again on Thursday. Already, I've noticed that I've all but stopped clenching during the day, and I can tell by the way my jaw feels when I wake up that even the night-time clenching has been greatly reduced. If this works, it will be a miracle -- I've actually bitten through night guards! I'll let you know.
Thursday, October 6, 2005
Tuesday, October 4, 2005
In other news, I booked my flight today for my Merola audition later this month. I love booking flights -- there's something about the feeling of being at the beginning of a journey that appeals to me. It's so full of possibilities. Plus, on this trip, I will get to stay with Sandy, my closest friend from 4th grade, and spend some time with her and her family (including cutie baby Ty!). Hopefully, this will be the first of two audition trips to San Francisco this season, so I'll get to see them again soon.
I also got a call for a new gig this weekend -- a Messiah in December. It will be my first full Messiah (I've done all the arias in concert, but never in the context of the entire work), and there will be three performances, so I imagine I'll feel very comfortable with it by the end of the weekend. The timing worked out perfectly around my audition trip to NYC in December, and it will be the second of three (so far) concerts that ACB and I will get to sing togeteher this season. It's always nice to be able to work with good friends that I also highly respect as musicians and colleagues.