Tag: singing

Christmas Recital 2011

I’ve mentioned on this blog that I have taken voice lessons through Hale Center Theater Orem for over 5 years.  I love having a creative outlet each week and never get tired of the thrill of accomplishment that comes with mastering a new song.  Each month we have a Master Class which is kind of a mini-recital/lesson.  In addition, twice  a year we have recitals.  The first recital I did I was terrified.  I sang  Till There Was You from The Music Man (and easy song) and my hands were shaking  I was so nervous.  I even told my teacher I couldn’t do it but out I went.

Ever since then I learned to enjoy the recitals (It makes me wonder what other things I might excel at that I am avoiding? Hmmm…).  In fact, I always sing better in the recital than I ever do in practice (I am the same way with swimming. Always better at the meets than practice.  I guess I’m a bit of show off and the attention brings out my best… 🙂 )

For this recital I sang an arrangement of The First Noel by Mark Hayes (I try to do a Christ oriented over a Santa each year).  I was nervous because the second verse was different than the hymn version I am used to.  Since I liked the new words I really wanted to get it right but I kept jumbling it up.  Fortunately I said a prayer and the right words came up.  I was also very happy with my mixed tone and how I was able to perform the song.

Unfortunately my stupid camera ran out of memory with one line left-literally a breath away from the 2 high notes 😦 .  Oh well!  At least this will give you some idea.  Everyone had really good things to say. Its fun to see how the other students improve year after year in the recitals and to get feedback. Even some of their parents know me and came up to say I’d improved.

On  a funny note- I’ve had 2 people tell me ‘Thank you for being you’ today.  All I have to say is “You are welcome!”.  In all seriousness, its great to be appreciated for who I am and for being me.  Merry Christmas!

My teacher Amanda and I

My Favorite Things

As I have mentioned before tomorrow I am going to have my strabismus surgery on my eye.  As you might guess I am nervous and anxious for the entire thing to be over. Thank you in advance for the support and love during this ordeal and over the last 6 months.

At least today I had something else to focus on- my recital for voice lessons.  This year I decided to sing My Favorite Things from the Sound of Music.  I selected it because it is about finding the positive in negative situations- a theme I related to right now (Go figure right?).

It was a challenging song but I think it came out pretty good.  Not my best performance but given the stress and lack of practice I’ve experienced lately I am happy.

The song is more challenging than you might at first think.  (particularly the arrangement I used). The rhythm is tricky and perky acting was a bit hard, but I did the best I could.

For your viewing pleasure:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KA5RaLahDxw].

I don’t know when I will post next but I can promise you will get an update when I can see well enough to do it!

The Weirdness of Singing

Today I had master class for my voice lessons.  This is a monthly event where we prepare a solo to preform for our fellow students and teachers.  Singing in front of a crowd has always been difficult for me.   Acting and performing the song is easy its just trusting my voice that’s hard.  One of the many weird things about singing is that you don’t hear your voice accurately.  What I mean by that is when I hear myself sing I am having an entirely different experience then the audience.  Something that sounds  over-the-top to me, even shouting, sounds great to them.  Something that seems big to me, may need more emphasis to them.  Its almost as if you have 2 different voices- one the voice I hear, and one the voice everyone else hears.

In my lessons I often have to trust my teacher that my voice sounds good.  In my ear it sounds screeching or off but in her ear it is great.  Today at master class I sang “Good Morning Baltimore” from Hairspray.  For the first 2 verses I did pretty good (in fact my teacher said it was the best belt sound she’d heard in me).  Unfortunately once the chorus came I hit a high note weird and had a hard time fighting my way out of that bad voice moment. It was especially frustrating because I had done it right in practice just hours before.

By the end of the song I was feeling deflated and discouraged, almost wishing I could walk away for the feedback.  Amazingly enough the good job I had done for the first half of the song got very high praise and the weak 2nd half a few minor critiques.  They even said if I hadn’t made it such a big deal in my facial expression they would not have noticed most of the mistakes. My teachers were especially pleased with my performance and said I told the story well, and some of the best  mix/belt I’ve ever sang- even with the mistakes.

This scenario at master class is exactly why I am still taking voice lessons.  When I sing I want to be perfect.  I want to be a skilled singer more than almost anything else in the world.  It satisfies a longing in my heart placed there when I was just a girl.  Naturally wanting to be perfect I notice each flaw in the performance.  Does the audience notice- no, unless I make them notice by my facial expressions? Even more, my actual voice sounds better to the audience then it does in my ear.  Isn’t that strange?

I wonder how many times I criticize myself for something others find beautiful? I’m not sure I want to know the answer.  I have always been pretty open in complementing myself and have a high self esteem; however, with the singing, my voice actually sounds different to my ear.  In a way I have to throw out my ears and listen with other ears- not an easy task.  Once I am hearing myself through their ears then I will hear the beauty of my voice in a new way.  I’ve gotten better at this over the years but still have a long way to go.

I wonder how many other parts of my life I am hearing the wrong voice? I hear the squeaky nervous girl.  Everyone else hear’s the belty/mix girl with a lot of spunk?  Is there beauty within me that I don’t notice but others would applaud? Hmmmm. Makes you wonder?

This is kind of a rambling post.  Hope it makes sense.

By the way….exciting news!  I bought a piano!  It is a Samick SSP10 Digital Piano. It is very well made, looks gorgeous in my room and is drooling in anticipation for its inaugural jam session.  I love singing with my friends, and I hope the piano will make my apartment even more of a gathering place.   It will certainly help with my voice because I can at least plunk out most songs.  It’s awesome!  You should all come and sing/play with me!

My piano!!! Come jam with me!

I am going to continue working on Good Morning Baltimore and eventually I will post my performance online.  It will be awesome.  Tracy Turnblat never sounded so good!

Summer Recital

Today was the summer recital for my voice lessons and it was another success.  There were about 12 performers plus both of the Hale teachers Amanda and Dave.  Everyone did great!  We have 3 recitals a year and it is neat to see how each girl or boy improves during the intermittent months.

For this recital I sang “I Don’t Know How to Love Him”  by Andrew Lloyd Webber.  Like always, it wasn’t perfect but it showed improvement.  I think it was one of my best performances of the Broadway belty style of singing.  I can’t say enough about how thrilling it is to see my voice get better and better.  It’s a childhood dream coming true. I hope you enjoy the video.  It is a bit tough to hear in points, so turn up your computer!

ps.  I was wearing practically the same outfit in May and you can definitely see the weight loss!  Wahoo!

Sick and Worried about Guys and Dolls

So today I woke up with a sore throat.  It’s  a cold with a cough but still not my favorite thing! Everything is a little cloudy so I won’t write long. I just wanted to write this one question to the crowd.  Lately I’ve been doing so well with the exercising and eating right.  Suppose I get sick for a week.  In the past such an event has ruined my attempt to get in shape.  How do each of you stay committed to your fitness regiment while you are recovering from illness? How do you know when you are ready to push yourself and begin exercising again? I am hoping that by resting today and more tomorrow I will be able to exercise Tuesday even if it is for just a little bit.

Tomorrow is my recital that I’ve been working for.  I’m nervous that I won’t be able to perform.  The only thing that I have to hope for is that the song I am singing is Adelaide’s lament  from Guys and Dolls.  This song is perfect because Adelaide is sick when she is singing it.  The song is about how because her man Nathan Detroit won’t commit Adelaide  is getting sick. It is supposed to be done in a squeaky New York accent.  I’m not great at it but I have come a long way.  Here is a recording of me singing the song.  Please be gentle in your critiques.  A few of the notes aren’t perfect but I’m working on it.  One of the hard things about singing is there is so much to concentrate on- pitch, tone, words, acting, diction, vocal dynamics, correct breathing, posture etc.  At least I can honestly say I am improving particularly in my belty tone.

You won’t get the full effect of the performance by just the vocals.  I plan on wearing my fluffy bathrobe and having a box of tissues in my hands.  Plus I always get lots of praise for my acting ability in recitals.  I wish I could preform in a real play again (haven’t been in one since high school) but it hasn’t worked out yet.  The local plays in Utah are so darn competitive and I get super nervous in auditions (although I haven’t done one since high school so perhaps I am better at them now? Who knows?) Let’s just hope I am feeling well enough to be in the recital.  I will update the blog tomorrow to share with you what happens.

Here’s the original broadway version of the song.  Like I said, I know I have a long way to go but I am improving!

An Inspirational Video- America’s Got Talent

I know that shows like America’s Got Talent are built to tug at your heart strings, but in this case it worked.  What a beautiful voice and a hidden talent.  I have been on cruises before and the talent is a joke.  To think they passed up on this star.  It inspires me to keep on singing.  Think how much potential there is in all of us if we would just encourage one another, and believe in ourselves.  Amazing!

So often in life it feels like the good guy’s don’t ever get a fair shake- that only those with enough money or pizazz are able to make a difference.  Here is an example of a quiet, sincere woman who never gave up on herself, who never stopped trying.  In a world that rarely has room for the humble voice, that is inspiring!

Will write more later but I wanted to share this with all of you.  It made me cry!  Life is good for the moment.  I don’t know what exactly changed but I feel at peace with things.  I have done what I can and now I just have to let the situation develop.  That’s all I can do- work hard and pray. Thanks for all of your continuing support!

Cupcakes and Family

This post is kind of all over the place, but it has been such a crazy time lately.  Last week  was jam packed with everything including work responsibilities including yard work (yuck!) on the properties, check in’s and check out’s, entering payments, working on accounting, and making new reservations.  At the same time we had our family reunion at the end of the week, so my entire extended family on the Richard’s side was in town.  This was fun but also a lot of work.  Among other things, I took my nieces to the princess festival (so fun, even with the rain!),  got Anna’s 18th birthday party ready, make her a sweet present, got the slide show for the reunion set up, helped with other family activities, baked cupcakes and  a made frosting and toppings for an activity and more.  Like I said- it was a busy, busy week.

We also had a  wonderful visit from my college friend Emily Alvillar Whitman.  She made a great effort to visit us and Megan, Emily and I had such a good time.  Those that read my blog regularly might remember her from several posts.  I love all of my friends, but Emily is special.  I feel Emily was someone I was destined to meet.  We just needed each other during a difficult time, and I believe Heavenly Father knew that.  It was nice to see an old, wonderful,  friend.  It warmed my heart.  Plus, we got to see her beautiful baby Jackson.  So cute! Thanks Emily!

Finally on Saturday my body had all it could take, and I got a sinus infection.  It was like my body said “It’s time for you to rest, and I’m going to make you sick if needs be”.  Fortunately for my body I listened and rested for 2 whole days and by Tuesday I felt 95% better.  I am grateful it wasn’t one of those infections that lingers for months- like the kind I had last Fall.  Those stink!

For work it felt satisfying to see improvement on the yards (even if, to be honest, I don’t get what makes good grass different from bad grass!).  Plus, everyone who stayed at the properties was not only happy but glowing in their praise.  I know it isn’t good for the ego to get too much praise, but I needed it last week.  Havin the praise coming from the tenants made it all the more important and valuable.  After all, it is their feedback and happiness that keeps us in business!

It was a fun week even with the work-related struggles.  I loved seeing my family- particularly the extended relations that I don’t normally get to see.  Anna’s birthday  turned out great and the Princess Festival was a lot of fun.  I am fortunate to have such an awesome family that supports and loves me regardless of my marital status (or any other factor).

This is kind of random but I made a video of Anna singing and playing the ukulele.  Isn’t she amazing?

Also, here is the slideshow I made up for the reunion.  It had music when I showed it but youtube disabled it. Even so,  Enjoy!

So, here are the photos from the week.  I will include more as I get them from other family members. I couldn’t find a way to rotate photos in wordpress. If any of you know how then please fill me in!

Isabel and Lucy with Cinderella at the Princess FestivalGirls at Princess FestivalCIMG0073CIMG0064CIMG0070CIMG0062Belle and her princessesSnow White, Prince Charming and IsabelCIMG0059CIMG0067CIMG0071CIMG0072CIMG0069