On March 10th, 2020 my first 2 gigs were postponed due to the swiftly encroaching Covid-19 pandemic. I spent the subsequent days throwing myself a lovely little pity party over the lost income and opportunity to shine, oblivious to the changes the world and I were about to undergo.
These days I find myself somewhat emotionally electrified, on the regular, when returning to spaces (theaters) and routines (auditions, rehearsals) that feel and look relatively the same, in deep contrast to myself who, for better or worse, is not the same person they were two years ago. I say electrified because it is initially shocking; the wave of emotions that rolled through me at the start of my first in-person audition in over two years; the emotion I felt returning to the BCA recently, and being met by the poignant memory of embracing my dad in the lobby three years earlier, after a performance of the last opera he’d see me perform in.
It’s a lot. ‘Overwhelming’ is an understatement. And yet the world has the audacity to keep turning and we have no choice but to go with it. And on March 19th and 20th, 2022, the show will FINALLY go on. I’ll be singing a featured duet, and with the chorus with Boston Baroque, performing Vivaldi’s Gloria and Handel’s Ode for St. Cecilia’s Day at WGBH Studios in Boston. The event will be presented both in-person and via live-stream and tickets are available here.
Two years later and I’m still excited to perform this duet, except the reasons why have changed slightly. To me “Laudamus Te” is about joy and gratitude. We made it! We did it! We're still somehow standing. I don't necessesarily think that a perfromance of this piece two years ago would have seen me delivering that same message.
So come revel in some joyful music with me. Hope to see you there.
This week I got to premiere a new work by composer Christopher Wicks; written in response to the January 6th Insurrection.
"After the insurrection of January 6, I was terribly shaken, and briefly nearly
despairing about the USA. Somewhat to my surprise, over the following two
weeks my thoughts coalesced into a poem, and then into a musical setting of it.
Early on the morning of Tuesday the 19 th , I emailed the piece to a friend, Bostonian
pianist and composer Julia Carey, and by that evening, she and her soprano
colleague Kelley Hollis had enthusiastically created a video of my music. My
poem is printed below, and also is available in the notes on the YouTube video."
The Mightier Word of Peace
by Christopher Wicks
(for hope for the USA, following the horror of the attempted coup in DC on January 6)
How can a word of peace be spoken
To men and women who behave
Like beasts in rage?
How does one speak
The word of peace?
How can a word of peace be spoken
When glass is broken
And lives are taken
And sanity itself has been forsaken?
Within these walls we once did nullify
Outmoded laws debasing women and men,
But ugly symbols of those laws are now unfurled again,
And cowards, for convenience sake, would idly stand by,
While reason is uprooted,
And a reckless tyrant yells lie after lie.
We will speak of peace, but not of yielding!
We will sing, we will shout it to the sky!
No, we will not leave the glass lying shattered!
We will work as those who remember that which mattered!
Without accountability, no one is free!
Let us sing,
Let freedom ring!
January 19, 2021
Check out the piece below. It was also featured in 2 simultaneous Sunday broadcasts on January 24th, 2021 from First Church in Boston and Central Square Congregational Church in Bridgewater, MA.
Just a wee Scottish ditty to say goodbye to the old and welcome the new.
Traditional Scottish Folksong
Text by: Robert Burns
Should auld acquaintance be forgot, And never brought to mind? Should auld acquaintance be forgot, And days o’ lang syne! For auld lang syne, my Dear, For auld lang syne, We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet, For auld lang syne.
We two have run about the hills, And pulled the daisies fine; But we’ve wander’d many a weary foot, Since auld lang syne. For auld lang syne, my Dear, For auld lang syne, We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet, For auld lang syne.
And surely ye’ll buy your pint‐cup, And surely I’ll buy mine; And we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet, For auld lang syne. For auld lang syne, my Dear, For auld lang syne, We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet, For auld lang syne.
Back in February I interviewed The Daffodil Perspective's Elizabeth De Brito for Castle of Our Skins BIBA Blog; a blog which does the extraordinarily important work of elevating Black Excellence in the Arts.
My unparalleled voice teacher Lynn Eustis invited me to co-host her virtual summer studio class this Tuesday to talk about my FAVORITE thing, which is NEW MUSIC! I spent the week agonizing over what I felt like best showed the depth, the demand, and the arc of Contemporary Classical Music and here she is! Some things to consider:
I know that I've left SO MUCH out, but I was given time parameters and tried to stick to them as best I could. There will FOR SURE be discussion of all the composers, operas, arias, and artists that I left off.
ALSO I was reminded by Lynn that the students attending the class probably know about the "Hits". She challenged me to find works that they likely never would have encountered previously, so I tried to keep it mostly deep cuts.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments!
Happy 53rd day of Quarantine! I've been making playlists since high school and on a whim started working on this one over a year ago, adding songs to it whenever I found myself listening to something a LOT, or whenever I heard lyrics that reminded me of someone or something in my life. I'm turning 32 in 2 weeks and can't help but CACKLE when I think about how different my vision of what life at 32 looked like even just a year ago.
31 has been a year of learning, growing, and letting go; of finding the positives that come with every negative situation and of realizing that I have everything I need.
Enjoy my musical scrapbook.
It's a brave new world and I've been spending my quarantine, among other things, getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. We singers are funny in that we don't like to do anything alone. 99.99% of the time we perform alongside SOMEONE, whether it's an instrumentalist or a fellow singer. So social distancing isn't exactly on-brand for our community.
My fellow Juventas New Music Ensemble musicians and I are spending the next several weeks taking turns performing and broadcasting free concerts out of our living rooms for a new series we're calling Stay Home with Juventas. I'll be broadcasting from my home in JP on April 29th at 8PM!
As of right now, I haven't entirely landed on a program. I HATE singing along to pre-recorded tracks, because your performance ends up being entirely focused with keeping in sync with the accompaniment. So I'm exploring some other options and thinking of stepping WAY out of my comfort zone and presenting a completely solo 30 minute streaming concert of voice alone.
It could be WEIRD; it could be UN-MUSICAL; It could also be kind of fun so...TBD on that.
These streams are FREE but Juventas would love your support at this time. They've been wonderful about making sure that all of us will still be paid for our canceled concerts and for continuing to create opportunities for us musicians. You can donate at Juventasmusic.org/donate-now
In addition to Juventas,I've also been keeping busy working with Boston's Opera on Tap. Last week we kicked off a Youtube and IGTV series called Pre-Opera Cocktails. These are short videos introducing each nightly Metropolitan Opera Stream and include a themed cocktail recipe and short synopsis.
Before you go check out the video I made for John Adam's Nixon in China.