The end is the beginning

Well, Fall is not officially here yet, but the darker mornings, cooler nights, and students on campus are showing me how close it is. In the natural world Fall represents the end of the summer, harvest, the end of the growing season. But culturally, it is also tied to beginnings as children begin a new school year.

That back to school feeling of potential and possibility is in my bones. I begin to look ahead. Our chorus season follows the school year and I’m looking forward to the possibilities ahead for us.

For the first time ever, I’m not recruiting new singers. This is a little sad for me, since I love to meet and get to know the women who come to sing. But we are a full house now and our current group of singers is really fab. If you’ve been contemplating joining Sing! and haven’t yet done it, unfortunately you’ll need to wait a while longer as we see what develops for the chorus.

Last year was a very outward focused time for the chorus. We did a ton of performing in a wide variety of locations and got to meet some really great audiences. I anticipate that this year will be more inward focused. I’m preparing new music and hope we can hone our skills. Beginning a new era of Sing!

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Time off

The chorus usually takes the summer off. We all do this as an “extra” and need time in the summer to rest, refresh, travel, garden, visit, get outside, and all of the rest of it. This year we made an exception and extended our season into July with a few performances.

It’s been great fun to find some new places to sing and return to some we’ve been to before. Following our big Homegrown Festival performance we’ve sung with sixth graders, at a donut shop, for residents at an assisted-living home, the Rhubarb Festival, and we have one last performance for the Benedictine Sisters of St. Scholastica.

What’s really been remarkable for me is the level of quality music-making the singers are achieving. At many of these performances we’ve been only a small group, 12-15 singers rather than 30, yet whoever happens to make it sings their part beautifully and it all comes together. I’ll say it, I’m proud.

Enjoy what’s left of the summer, it slips away so quickly. Myself, I’m looking forward to some strawberries.

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Sweet the evening air of May

When I first started the chorus we met in my home. I always taught this round in the spring, “Sweet the evening air of May, soft my cheek caressing, Sweet the unseen lilac spray, with its scented blessing.” Out the window I could see lilacs and apple blossoms blooming in the neighbor’s yard, in June. This year I’m seeing the start of the apple blossoms right now, and I can hear this song in my mind.

Sing! is beginning to wrap up our yearly season; we’ll be extending it with a number of additional performances, so keep your eye on the calendar page here and our Facebook page to see what we’re up to.

This has been a remarkable year. I combined Wednesday night’s Sing! 1 and Sing! 2 groups into Sing! 2, a two-hour weekly rehearsal, and just about all of the women from Sing! 1 decided to take the leap. We have worked really hard and it shows. We’ve done a ton of performing, added some new and challenging music, and just overall stepped up our game. I can’t believe the sound we are getting. Take a look at the music page here, I’ll be adding some new videos of recent performances.

This year I added a new Sing! 1 group on Monday nights, designed to be a less intense experience, with less focus on regular attendance and performing. It turned out to be quite a small group. I have really enjoyed working with the women in the Monday night class. It was a little bit of going back to my roots – it is truly challenging to put music together in a small group, it requires each singer to stand on their own. I’m glad I tried this out, and am really happy with the singers who’ve come into the Sing! fold through the Monday night group.

After a year of twice a week rehearsals I’ve decided that schedule is just not sustainable for me. This means that Sing! returns to a single, Wednesday night group. It also marks a small change for us. While our focus remains on enjoyment and openness to new experiences, we’re no longer a casual “come when you can” group. Now we’re a bona fide band with an audience who wants to hear us.

In the early years we did one performance a year, asking our friends and family to join us in our choir room for an end of year “recital.” It’s astounding to me that we have been able to expand so far from that beginning. Here’s a little portrait from our Spring Concert in 2008. More than half of the women in this photo are still singing with us, I’d say we’re now a family of singers.

Spring concert 2008

Spring concert 2008

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Happy Homegrown!

Duluth’s Homegrown Music Festival kicked off on Sunday with a truly memorable performance by Mayor Don Ness. I’ve been doing my best to scurry around and see as much music as I can. What a great week this is! All thanks to everyone who does the work that makes Homegrown happen.

Sing! will be performing
Friday, May 1st
7:45pm,  The Underground
at the Depot, 506 W Michigan St

We’re second of three bands performing at that venue. The whole show starts at 6:45pm. It looks like a great line up, starting with Holy Hootenanners, then Sing!, then Nordic Angst. The shows keep going on Friday night until after midnight, so plan on a nice long evening.

Back again this year we’ll be hosting a Sing! Try It session. So if you think it looks like fun, you can sit in with Sing! Group 1 to stretch out your singing voice. Group 1 is the smaller, more casual singing group, this one’s more for fun and skill building than the larger, performance-heavy Group 2.

Sing! Try It
Monday, May 18 and June 1
2 meetings, no class May 25
5:30-6:30pm
$10
Ordean East Middle School
Registration Information (see Adult Enrichment)

See you out and about this week!

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Snow day??? No!

A year ago we started our spring session with a snow day. Not this year!!! I saw a robin this weekend. Spring has sprung early, and I’m soaking in the sun.

The chorus is preparing for our show at Duluth Homegrown Music Festival on Friday, May 1. We go on at 7:45pm at The Underground at the Depot, 506 W. Michigan St.

A few of us have begun work on our very first recording! These things take time, so don’t hold your breath, but sometime this year we’ll have something to offer for your listening pleasure.

This week myself and a few of the singers will attend rehearsals with the Ordean East Middle School 6th Grade Choir. Sing! meets in the choir room at the middle school in the evening, so it will be fun to meet the other singers who sing in “our” space. We’ll be collaborating with the 6th graders for their spring concert on May 18th. I’ll be teaching a few of our songs to the students this week, wish me luck.

See our calendar page for upcoming performances.

Here’s a view from our March 25th concert at Tycoons.

Sing! Tycoons March 2015 - 2

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When it’s late in the winter…

Spring is never the same twice. Some years we wait and wait and wait and wait, and shovel snow, and slump our shoulders under gray skies. Not this year!! Sunshine, melting snow, jackets open…. Ahhhhh

Sing! welcomes spring with a performance Wednesday, March 25 at Tycoons at 7pm. That venue is great for us, the sound is really nice, and the Tycoons people treat us right! It’s a free show, so here’s your chance to hear what we’re currently working on. Enjoy a fabulous Brewhouse beer while you’re at it.

We’ll be wrapping up our Winter Session that same week, then we’ll take a couple of weeks off. The Monday night class – Sing! Group 1 – is open to new singers for the Spring Session. See the Join page for more info. We welcome any interested woman to sing with this group. It’s a pretty laid back atmosphere, an excellent place to just see what your voice can do.

Sing! Group 2, the Wednesday night class is working hard on music for our performance at the Duluth Homegrown Music Festival, so this is not a time we can take on new singers.

One of the giants of the Duluth music scene experienced a serious health event this past week. We all send our love and best wishes to Eric Swanson, the heart of Sacred Heart Music Center, and recording engineer superstar for so many musicians. Help out Eric and his family when you pay for a download of  this year’s Homegrown Mix, or attend this benefit on Sunday, March 22 at R.T. Quinlan’s.

Hope to see you out and about as the sun turns to the north.

March Madness Poster

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Swept Away

I love to hear other singers who are working with similar sounds. Thanks to a friend who brought this beautiful version of “Darling Clementine” to my attention this week. The Sweptaways are a Swedish choir; twenty women who sing mostly pop songs while dressed in “color coordinated or themed costumes.” What a great sound they get and I absolutely love the “Clementine” arrangement.

Enjoy!

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Around the corner and back again

We’ve turned the corner on the shortest day of the year and are heading back into to the light and back to rehearsals for the chorus. Singers welcomed in the new year at Beaners as a part of their all day New Year’s Eve bash. We sang early, at 8:45am, but we weren’t the first. Thanks to all who sang and especially to our friends and family who came out to listen at that early hour.

Our December performance at Tycoons was really spectacular. The sound in the room was just perfect for us, the crowd was enthusiastic, the singers were pumped. It was a night to remember. Best part: we got to linger afterward and socialize with each other and our audience. I think we’ll be returning for another performance there some time this spring.

Classes start up again in just about a week: January 14 for Group 2 and January 26 for Group 1. If you have been thinking about singing with us, now’s the time. Group 2 will accept new singers on January 14, then not again until next fall. Not sure what you want to do? Contact Mags magsdavid2 @ gmail.com

Details and links to registration are on the join page of this site.

We hope to play at the Duluth Homegrown Music Festival again this year, and to fit in a few other performances as well. We’ll be adding some new music, so there’s lots of work to do. But remember, if you just wanna have fun check out Sing! Group 1 for a casual music making opportunity.

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Night comes on….

The sun gives in
Dusk sweeps it away
When night begins
Dark swallows day.

Well, it’s that time of year again. The sun takes its low path in the sky towards the shortest day of the year, December 21. Let the count down begin.

These dark days are always a little tough for me. I find that all I really want to do is lay low and be still.

With that in mind, Sing! brings you our Hibernation Kickoff show on at Tycoons on Monday, December 8, 7:00pm. Make this your last night out before the long winter nap.

Following the concert, the chorus will take a break from rehearsals until mid-January. If you’ve been on the fence about joining the chorus, take these few weeks to convince yourself that it’s a good idea. We accept news singers in January and then again next fall. Find out more about joining the chorus.

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A Rich Life

Our performance at the Superior Public Library was truly enjoyable. The audience was very appreciative and even sang along when I taught them songs. I always love that feeling. The acoustics in the Library were great, and they provided refreshments for us afterward. I’m still feeling awed every time I hear the power that this current group of singers brings to the songs.

The opportunity to go out in the community and share music is always welcome. It’s so good to meet people, to give us all a moment of peace and happiness, and to pass along the good feeling we get from singing. This is a richness that flows easily from the time we spend singing together.

We have another concert coming up this fall (or winter, as you wish). Monday, December 8, 7:00pm, we provide a “Hibernation Kickoff” at Tycoon’s Alehouse in Duluth. Thanks so much to Tycoon’s for the invitation. It’s a great spot for settling in on a dark evening and gearing up for the heart of winter.

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