Tonight, I am singing as a member of the Dudley Birder Chorale, whose illustrious founder will be conducting his last concert as director. I have sung under Dudley's direction since I joined the church choir back in 8th grade! In high school I was a makeup artist and an usher in his summer theater productions- yeah totally behind the scenes- I have never been much of an actress! Returning back to Green Bay 20 years ago, Dudley invited me to sing in his chorale, and in 2005 Dudley gave me my very first public "non-church-non-wedding" solo as a part of the Gospel Mass that the Chorale was performing. I attribute that moment to kick-starting my career as a lead vocalist, something I had never imagined having the chops to even consider. Damn I was nervous!! Honestly, I still wonder who in the heck would want to hear me sing. But after that night, an offer came in from two women whom I now call my dearest friends, Barbara Vitchus and Pamela MacMullen, for a role in a professional dinner theater ensemble they were organizing. Through that experience I met John Contratto, my sweetest first pianist who in 2009 encouraged me to gig in our duo "Rhapsody." Through John I met Hans Christian in 2010, my dear first producer who encouraged me to record... through whom I met guitarist George Sawyn... through whom I met my "left-hand-man" and partner-in-crime bassist Mick Maloney who first encouraged me to write.... ahhhhhh and that only brings us to 2011! Just think of the relationships and experiences and music that I have been able to create and participate in since then. The moment of Dudley offering me that solo is a critical example in MY life of the Butterfly Effect: a minute localized change in a complex system that continues to have large effects many years later.
I have had to minimize my participation in choirs recently because so much of my time has been devoted to developing my new music and the skills to produce it at its very best. I have been studying with three intense and glorious vocal trainers, working out my voice to add new tools that aren't appropriate in the choral setting... oh boy... But seriously, you don't go to the batter's box to work on your golf swing. To record and perform electronic pop/jazz/folk/rock (that is what I am calling my genre today), a certain intricate control and "placement" are essential and very hard to achieve when your background has been singing classical music! And very different from the techniques that reinforce blending in a choir. Singing is a joy, but it is also work, and there are so many ways to color your sound! The quintessential Crayola 64 pack with a sharpener! That being said, I am so grateful to have the opportunity to join the choir, avoid old singing habits and dust off my best in *periwinkle blue* chorale singing this weekend to honor my treasured mentor, Dudley Birder. If you are interested in joining us, follow the link to the concerts below:
With love- oh and "May the Fourth be with you 🤓"
PS- I love my song "Moonlight" -this song probably best exemplifies my roots in loving classical music, with special appreciation to cowriter, pianist and producer Aaron Zinsmeister for helping it come to be- Here is a link to listen and or watch: