USA trip

Arriving in Winchester!

After a wonderful holiday with my husband John I am settled in to my little apartment in Winchester, Virginia. I will be here for around 10 months while I do my PhD research. I’ll be based at Shenandoah Conservatory, and I am very excited to be here. For the last few days of our holiday together (our first without children in four years!) John and I enjoyed New York, seeing musicals and catching up with friends, as well as watching his colleague Crispin swim around Manhattan to raise money for secondary breast cancer! Over 10 hours of swimming! he has only a bit to go to reach his target of 4000 pounds – if you’d like to donate go here. It was amazing to watch him battle the Hudson River, and to be there at the end (I was cheering like a maniac! There were 15 swimmers, and I think I managed to see about 12 of them finish!)

I hope all my students are going well with their teachers and keeping up the practice! I miss teaching – it’s been six weeks since I closed the studio and it feels VERY strange not to be teaching and living by my timetable. However, I did my practice this morning, and realised that I can take this time to sing, and I loved my practice. Now to find me a piano! I feel a little weird without one! And being without my sound system feels strange too!

I had lunch with the wonderful Brenda Earle Stokes on Friday and with the incredible Jeanie LoVetri and her husband Jerry Kaplan on Saturday. Brenda will be travelling with Jeanie to Toowoomba to present Somatic Voicework: The LoVetri Method at the University of Southern Queensland in January. I know lots of people have already registered, and I encourage those of you who want to learn more about the voice, or voice teaching and pedagogy to go along. You can get more information here.

I was so inspired to get backing practicing after seeing a couple of musicals (Anastasia and SpongeBob SquarePantsyes my second time for SpongeBob, but I truly love this show and I wanted to see it with John – thanks TDF!). Jeanie has been teaching the two leads of Anastasia, and Christy Altamore is a graduate of College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati where my colleagues and friends Pat Linhart and Wendy LeBorgne teach. The cast were wonderful.  I really enjoyed the show, even though I know it is not based on the real story, but it was gorgeous and I was right down the front and appreciated the amazing acting and singing, and the incredible skill of the whole cast. Zach Adkins was wonderful as Dimitry (Yummy voice! Fabulous acting!) and Max von Essen as Gleb was just excellent. I LOVED John Bolton as Vlad. Mary Beth Peil as the Dowager Empress was astounding – it was like watching a masterclass. And even tough I am mentioning just a few, all the cast deserve bouquets!

SpongeBob is really such an incredible, energetic, fun filled show, so bright and cheerful, and the cast are simply spectacular. It is so much fun. Ethan Slater bowled me over again, and I am again reminded of the high skill level of these music theatre athletes – they make it look so easy! Like all true athletes! Christina Sjous as Sandy Cheeks and Gavin Lee as Squidward are brilliant – but really, so are all the cast! And seeing and hearing  Jai’len Christine Li Josey sing the role Pearl is a moment. That voice. She is gorgeous onstage, and when she opens her mouth and sings, well, you know she was made to sing. Shivers down my spine. But again, the whole cast was just amazing.

Right now it is time for me to get ready for the data collection part of my PhD! Hope everyone is well, and remember to practice your singing! Vocal athletes are trained and prepared, just like olympic athletes! And remember, sing a song that makes you love singing EVERYDAY!