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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Sometimes…

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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Sumer is Icumen In

Well, summer is in full swing and the chorus is out and about doing non-chorusy things like traveling, gardening, partying, hiking, sittin’ in the sun. It feels good to take a break.

But, a person’s got to keep singing. Often the chorus has a reunion toward the end of the summer to get back to singing and catch up with each other. This year, we’ve inviting you to join us. And by you, I mean all of you. Yes. You.

We’ll be presenting an Open Sing with Sing! at Amazing Grace Bakery & Cafe on Wednesday, August 3rd, from 5:30-6:30pm. Think of it as a singing happy hour. Then stick around till 7pm to socialize with the women of the chorus.

This was a very popular suggestion with the chorus, we all really want to share this singing experience. And we’re especially inviting our men friends to come and take this opportunity to sing with us. If we get a good turnout and it’s a good time this may become a more frequent event.

Thanks to Amazing Grace for hosting!

Note: We had to cancel the Amazing Grace event, but hope to revisit the idea sometime this year.

 

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Let the music move you

The chorus had an outstanding time playing for the Homegrown Music Festival. Love and thanks to everyone who came out to hear us and to all of the hardworking people behind Homegrown who make that marvelous week’s worth of music happen. Oh, and did I mention that the chorus sounded ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS!!?? We have really put the time in this year and I’m feeling pretty proud.

I took in a few shows for Homegrown, and, as usual, I’m awed by the gifts our musicians bring to our community. Music is both work and pleasure, pastime and vocation. Every musician who performs in public works hard to bring their songs into being. The actual community building that happens when someone decides to make music with or for others is a quiet, but powerful force.

As a teenager I wrote a song to sing with my friends. That was my entire purpose, to make something we could sing together. As it turns out, it really rang true. I taught the song to my friends at Girl Scout camp, and wherever I went for a couple of years, and it fairly quickly spread to camps around the country. Today, I was reminded of how our songs reach beyond us and work in other people’s lives.

In my email inbox was a message from a woman who sings my song. She said that she began singing it to her daughter as soon as she learned she was pregnant, and has continued to sing it to her everyday since then. I can’t quite describe how it feels to know that my 15 year old self is singing to a child who lives today.

This connection between myself and the mother who wrote to me cannot be brushed off as small and irrelevant. The song lives in her enough to hunt me down and send me a message. I’ve been singing the song a lot myself lately as I work on some new musical skills and anticipate some future music making. In those moments we breathe the same air, even though we are half a continent apart.

Hear the chorus sing my song.

Hear me sing my song.

Homegrown 2016 - 2

 

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It’s that time of year again!

It’s almost time for the Duluth Homegrown Music Festival! When it comes to Homegrown it’s just as exciting to be in the audiences as it is to be on the stage. Don’t miss out.

We’re working hard to get our set together. We’ve got our first-ever song in five part harmony and a nice little surprise at the beginning of the show. So be on time!

Sing! performs on the final Sunday of the festival. Sunday, May 8 is Mother’s Day, we’ll perform at noon at Tycoons, 132 E Superior St. in Duluth. Come on out and have little brunch, recover from the week’s activities and enjoy spending some time with the women from Sing!

Find the Facebook Event here.

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