Platinum Singers begin the same day, at the Harriet Tubman House. A singing class for anyone who qualifies for the AARP, and a fun group to boot. Virtually free, and you can attend a dynamite exercise class just beforehand. USES Senior services
If you want to join the JP Jubilee singing group, the wait is until February 19, 2016. Contact me for further info about this group that meets on Friday mornings, and, like the Platinum Singers, is a class and a performing group. We meet at Curtis Hall in Jamaica Plain.
BUT wait, there’s more! Private lessons with me, of course, in JP and Cambridge, AND our monthly Circle Singing group meets Sunday January 10 at St. Mary’s Church in Central Square, Cambridge. Please contact Peter McLoughlin if you’d like more info. Runs 4:30-6:30pm, fun group improvisational singing à la Bobby McFerrin.
Come hear the Platinum Singers sing a few beautiful tunes, including Wachet Auf (with guest violinist Matt Hoener and his brother Drew on keyboard) at the USES Holiday Fair. Wednesday December 9, we sing at 2:30 and you can buy trinkets before that. Harriet Tubman House, 566 Columbus at Mass Ave, Boston’s South End. Always free.
Our concerts are fun, short and full of variety. Come enjoy this delightful group of neighbors. I conduct this creative (and wacky) group. Actually, I think I’m the wacky one, but they definitely follow me.
Getting back to regular exercise after colliding with an upright piano (don’t ask, and please do not try this at home*), I find myself torn between pushing and holding back. Yeah, that old conundrum. No pain, no gain and all that. Well, at a certain point we all have to listen to our bodies and heed what they say or they yell louder (“That HURTS, you IDIOT–can you hear me now?”).
I’ve always been a get-back-on the-horse as quickly as possible kind of person, so I’ve been walking and stretching. Today I tried an exercise class. I couldn’t do everything, but at least I went. I listened to my body intently as I moved, and feel pretty good now. It took a few years (okay, decades) to get the hang of how to garden for a short time and then stand up and walk around or do something different with my body. So now i have another reminder.
And so it is with singing. We push for the high notes, lift our shoulders, tighten our necks and jaws. We have all sung without warming up, pushed through vocal fatigue and colds and done a thousand other little things. My favorite is how we lean towards the audience as we sing to show we really care…
I was singing a recital with my wise colleague Francie Fitch after a bout with bronchitis. I was frustrated that I couldn’t get from 0-60mph as soon as I resumed singing. She reminded me that in the 19th century novels, heroines often had a “long convalescence.” How lovely, to give oneself such a gentle recuperative period. We don’t. I know. It’s even faster paced now than when I was a pup. I was anxious to be a good employee at every gig I landed, always showing up and singing full voice, never being a troublesome colleague. When I had vocal problems, I ignored them and the results were not pretty.
We are told not to listen to ourselves when we sing. I know how hard that is. But we can listen to our bodies–in a loving and respectful way. They tell us to take a sip of water, to rest the voice for a while, to take a nap or have a meal. There is an art to living in a body, and an art to having your instrument in your body. It takes patience. And practice.
*okay,I was trying to prevent a small upright from tipping over. I was moving said piano–as I have every week at the Harriet Tubman House for 6 years, mind you–to use it to teach my lovely class and the wheels froze (kind of like shopping carts, it felt like) and my helper gave that extra push…since I was holding the handle and I desperately wanted to right the piano, I held on too long. It had lost its balance on occasion before, but had never fallen on its back. The piano lived and only one note sticks–the low Eb that is the tonic for our Bach aria, by the way. I have bruises all the way from elbow to tip of fingers. The full mechanisms are slow to get back and to strengthen again. But it could have been much worse.
My student concerts are always free and always short. That’s how we keep the audiences coming. Oh, and audiences get to sing if they want, too.
The Platinum Singers are singing their OWN songs this week, plus our own parody of YMCA*, all in a 30 minute concert at 3:00 on Wednesday April 22 at the Harriet Tubman House, corner of Columbus and Mass Ave. Upstairs in the Lincoln Room.
*the letters of U-S-E-S (United South End Settlements, our sponsor and host for the wonderful senior programs).
JP Jubilee does their end-of-semester concert on Saturday May 9 at 12:30pm at the Jamaica Plain branch Library. Flyer below, by our members Lizi Brown and Estelle Disch:
And on Wednesday, May 13 at 8:00pm, the Bach Arias Class at the New England Conservatory of Music is giving a class concert. Just a few delicious morsels; 3 lovely singers, a violin, harpsichord and the teacher may even sing a bit with the group at the end…short, sweet and free. Room 367 in the main building.
And, as always, I am accepting private students in Cambridge and Jamaica Plain, long or short-term…inquire within.