Step in let’s go for a ride…

The chorus spent the last few months preparing our first ever recording and music video. Whew! It’s been a whirlwind, but we had a blast! We recorded four of my original songs, and included instrumental accompaniment on three of them. Huge thanks to our musicians Darin Bergsven, Jeremy Craycraft, Mark Glen, and Nancy MacGibbon, and to the recording crew Jake Larson and Eric Swanson at Sacred Heart Recording Studio.

A big factor in keeping the chorus interesting and vital is to keep pushing the boundaries of what we can do. I don’t let the singers get too comfortable. The more we try the better we get. Recording was especially challenging. We were not only singing with a band, we were singing with recorded tracks. That is so much more challenging than making music with a person who is in the same room. There are no visual cues to help keep you in. Also, the tempo was quite a bit faster than my usual laid back style.

Because it was so difficult, the first recording session didn’t seem so fun. But, we could feel how hard we had worked, and how able the singers are to stretch and grow.

The video, on the other hand, was pure fun! Our videographer Daniel Oyinloye was so upbeat, funny, and kind, and we got to just play around. I can’t wait for this to hit the street, it’s a fun and funny concept, no big themes here.

Make sure to join us for the CD and video release concert, Saturday, November 4, 7:00pm, at Sir Ben’s here in Duluth. The concert is free and you can buy a copy of the CD for $5.

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If it wasn’t for the women

The chorus was very happy to lend our voices to the women who produced FEmn FEST, Duluth’s own unapologetically feminist music festival. We had a great time. Congrats to the organizers!


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Coming true

It’s happening… Sing! is in the process of making our first recording! It’s my first recording too, if you don’t count the live recording of my senior honors project that the Minnesota Composers Forum gave me a grant for. And that was a long time ago.

This, though, it’s really exciting. Especially working with the band. Yes, that’s right we’re leaving our a cappella versions behind on a few of the songs. It’s really fun to have that accompaniment. Easier too, in some ways. I’m so grateful to the musicians who are joining us: Darin Bergsven, Jeremy Craycraft, Mark Glen, and Nancy MacGibbon.

I think you’re gonna like this recording. It will be a four song EP; all my original songs. We’ll be including a brand new song I wrote this spring that I am really liking. It’s a slight departure for us into an almost country-tinged sound. We had a great time working on it this spring, I brought it to the chorus before I had finished the words and the singers had some great thoughts about the content of the last two verses that helped me put those together.

Expect the CD sometime this fall. Don’t worry, we’ll put the word out when the time comes. Wish us luck!

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Homegrown and other thoughts

We had a really super show for this year’s Homegrown Music Festival. Despite a late-breaking change of venue we filled the house! It is still surprising to me to discover that we have actual fans. Thanks to all of you who like to hear our music. It is such a sweet experience to get out there, sing our songs, and have people enjoy hearing us. Best part: The audience singing with us.

Thanks go out to the Melissa LaTour and Adam Guggemos from Homegrown and to Josh Stotts from Sir Ben’s for working out our time and place. Oh, and, props to Darin Bergsven for some last minute percussion assistance.

We usually take the summer off, and we’ll wrap up our spring session with a party in a couple of weeks. Always great food at our potlucks, let me tell ya. But, we hope to be doing a little summer school this year, getting into the recording studio with the ambition of releasing an EP sometime later this year. Wish us luck!

I love everything about Sing! and our audiences. It is a great pleasure to have this opportunity to make music and meet people. So glad you could come along for the ride!

White Limousine
“Limousine” by Angelo Amboldi is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0
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Sing! Rehearsal Cancelled Wednesday, April 26

Duluth Public Schools are closed Wednesday, April 26.

Don’t forget our Homegrown show Tuesday, May 2, 6pm at Sir Ben’s!

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Homegrown Venue Change

If you’re planning to take in our Homegrown show, note that we have had to change our venue, still the same day and time, but now we’ll be at Sir Ben’s.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017, 6:00pm, Sir Benedict’s Tavern, 805 E Superior St, Duluth. Free Admission! Facebook event

The Homegrown staff and board worked with me to craft a fantastic outcome to a difficult situation. I can never say enough about how much I appreciate the people who put so much effort into making Homegrown happen. When you see someone at Homegrown walking around in one of those super-fashionable red track jackets they are the people making this happen. Make sure to yell out “Thank You!” as they run by you.

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When it’s late in the winter

Nothing to complain about this year as far as slogging through the end of winter goes. Still, the promise of spring can lead a girl to dreaming. There are so many things that the chorus could do, but the voices in the back of my head, and the ones in front of me in rehearsal, are whispering about recording our music.

Recording is something I just have never done. I’m all about the experience of music making, the here and now, the people I’m with, and I put my energies toward those experiences. The truth, though, is that I would love to have a record of how we sound right now. The singers, and I, have grown a lot in the last couple of years, and there are times when I am astounded at what I’m hearing in rehearsal.

Don’t hold me to this, but do tell me if you’d like to be able to listen to us in your home or car or office.

And, don’t forget to join us at Homegrown!

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With the flow

One of my primary jobs as director of the chorus is to respond to the inevitable changes we experience. I’ve been leading Sing! for almost 18 years now, and no two sessions are ever the same. People come and go, and come back. Rehearsals are well or sparsely attended. Songs come together quickly and slowly. Things go as I expect them to or not at all as I expected. There’s something I really like about that. It keeps me on my toes.

This winter brought some surprises. Brand new singers, returning singers, and a song list that’s about 30% longer than usual. Don’t know how that happened. The ebb and flow of life means that singers who are faithful attendees find that now is a good time for a vacation in a warm climate, or they have a new baby, or a new grand baby, parents require care, loved ones pass away. And then, the group of faithful attendees is transformed and the faces in front of me from week to week are a slightly different collection.

One of my favorite surprises this year was a big first for the chorus. We were slated to perform at the Duluth People’s Inaugural. Two days before the event I came down with a nasty respiratory virus and completely lost my voice. Eight brave women stepped up to sing at that event on their own. I had complete confidence in them, and heard afterward that they did a stellar job! I hope all the singers may start to think about singing at other times and places on their own.

Our long song list is a welcome challenge this year. Usually I like to have up to about 11 songs that we are currently able to perform by the beginning of April. There are 14 songs on my list this year, the result of many singers who have returned to Sing! over and over and are able to sing many of these songs at the drop of a hat. It’s a challenge to the new singers and myself to get everyone on board with all of the songs.

A short note on new singers: Technically the chorus is at capacity and I am not accepting new singers. In actuality, there will always be someone with a deep connection to a singer or singers in the chorus who is really motivated to join us. I can’t say no to those exceptions. I enjoy the energy we get from new singers and it adds to the whole ebb and flow of the chorus.

Our events this spring will include an appearance at a women’s art exhibit on March 16, an all day residency with the Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin Lakes and Pines, and we’re back for another Homegrown! (Schedule should be up soon.)

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life overtakes you, and you don’t update your blog. Shit happens. It’s been an interesting year for me, but the chorus kept on singing and I’m so grateful to have these women in my life, lifting me up.

We got a late start to rehearsals this fall, and only one performance before the first of the year. I’ll be lining up some more for the late winter/spring. So far, I have one for a Girl Scout event, but I hope to have at least one or two for the public. Sometimes… we only sing in small spaces for the people who ask us. I actually love those shows at assisted living centers, social groups, and other private spaces. It is a privilege to enter someone else’s world and share our music with them.

Check out our newly (finally!) posted pics from 0ur 2016 Homegrown show. The amazing and wonderful Caitlin Dettman did a superb job of documenting our day. We look gorgeous! And, it’s so fun for me to have a record of the singers’ happy, hardworking faces.

Bundle up and find your comfort for these dark days ahead.

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and Friends….

Sing! has been invited to participate in the Duluth tradition of music and mayhem known as Todd Gremmels and Friends. Thanks Todd for thinking of us, we’re stoked to be a part of this colossal performance!

This year’s edition is billed as Todd Gremmels and Friends: 10 Years After and 57 Years Before. Thursday, September 15, 7:30pm at Weber Music Hall.

Tickets, $15, available through the Weber click here and search for Todd Gremmels

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