Saturday, April 19, 2014

Silent Singer

I am not quite sure who said “The Music is in the silence”. I often say to my voice students, look at the “rests” in the music. Those silent breaks can allow for your deepest emotional expression. Singers, unlike instrumentalists have the responsibility of text or poetry on most occasions. For me that means I have the delightful task of making those words my own, while also incorporating the composer's musical expression.

A few weeks ago, I attended a Meditation retreat, with the purpose of having a bit of a break from a busy life. The idea of learning more about Meditation certainly was a draw for me but I guess, I did not fully comprehend the word “silent” when it came to a retreat....Not only was the Meditation silent, but so were the meals and the walks – mindful and quiet! I like a challenge but as a Singer who makes her living making noise, this was a tall order. I also happen to enjoy meeting new people, talking with them and getting to know who they are – no such luck. After short introductions, we were asked to be silent.......can you feel the pause? Of course, there were moments when I got the giggles and had to suppress them (well I tried!). Then finally, a calm came over me and I got into the grove, I did not want to speak, I did not want to sing, I just wanted to breath. In that quiet I found a deep expression of myself, a place to go to reconnect my mind with my body, a space to listen to my internal instrument and give it a meaningful voice. Meditation and quiet are now a daily part of my life. It is the “rest” in the musical poetry of my existence that allows me to find my deepest emotional expression.

There is a striptease in the forest
If you stand witness for many moons
You will see the birch
Shed her bark
As she waits patiently for death. 

Friday, December 27, 2013

Carnegie Hall, Kent Tritle, Musica Sacra
Photo...Richard Ten Dyke

Messiah 2013 at Carnegie

One of my favourite places to be is on stage at Carnegie Hall with Kent Tritle standing beside me!  We met a number of years ago and it was as if I had known him my entire life.  Kent is a bountiful musician.  He makes room for every other being on the stage to make their contribution. He guides the musicians in a skillful dance of panoramic emotions.  Kent is a great dance partner!

Musica Sacra Chorus out did themselves...their ability to caress a phrase or mightily declare is astonishing.  We all would be no where, if it was not for the orchestra.  Many of these people have worked with Kent for years and know how to play when he gestures a long phrase from the sweep of his left arm to the tip of his right toe.  They listen to the text and play sympathetically, they are supportive musically and as people.  The synergy on the stage this past December was palpable.  If all of that was not enough - it was a full moon!  There was magic in the air.

One cannot write about singing at Carnegie Hall, without talking about the New York Audience.  I love them!  If they like something, they clap and stand up and cheer and even yell!!!! Our evenings were akin to rock concerts....yes, there was magic in the air.

Saturday, December 14, 2013


I am spending this week in New York at Carnegie Hall with the fabulous Maestro Kent Tritle and his Musical Sacra Chorus and Orchestra. I have shared this famous stage with these incomparable musicians previously and it remains a humbling and exciting experience. We are in rehearsal for Handel's Messiah and it is as if we are seeing this music for the first time - a fresh discovery. There is a reason that it has survived for so long - the music provides something new to learn at each visit.
Soloists Ian Howell, counter-tenor, Sidney Outlaw, baritone, and Colin Balzer, tenor are stellar - I am blessed to be a part of this quartet. The Orchestra Rocks - Sensitive musicians who support and at the same time play with delight and empathy.