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Starting again

Singing classes which double as performing groups–what’s not to love?  Two groups start this week, plus private lessons in Central Square and Jamaica Plain.

The Platinum Singers at USES meet after an excellent exercise class on Wednesdays…see below for complete list of classes (and can you spot us in the little photo?)

senior-services-fy17

Red and Green

Make Music on the Longest Day

Leonard Bernstein quote on violence

I was happy to find this quote, because I’ve been thinking about it.  Come on Tuesday evening to the Boston Common and do a Circle Sing with us–it’s Make Music Day–Fete de la Musique since it started in France…

Lots of places to hear music, but here is the link to MAKING music with others.  participatory events  Website for the whole shebang Make Music Boston 2016

If you don’t know what a Circle Sing is, just come and try–nothing required, just listen and let us play together while making beautiful, new sounds.  We learned it from Bobby McFerrin, and we take turns leading.  How about that?  Parkman Bandstand, Boston Common, 6-7:30pm on Tuesday June 21, 2016.  All free. Come any old time, drop by after work…

 

A beautiful balance

Laurel and Hardy moving a piano over a narrow footbridge in the Alps

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…

Bob Dylan singing at a mic, neck forward with harmonica attached to his neck

Photo: © Sony

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.

 

Now it starts!

Lessons, Classes, High Holidays, time to sing!

describes the class and its goals, when it meets (Friday mornings at Curtis Hall, JP)

2. United South End Settlements’

Platinum Singers

Wednesdays, 2-3:30pm                                                 September 16, 2015 thru December 16, 2015

Location:  Harriet Tubman House,                                       566 Columbus Ave (at Mass Ave.), Boston’s South End

Elizabeth Anker, instructor/conductor

 Come learn to sing and share music with others seniors

In this class, we learn to use our speaking and singing voices in a healthy way, boost our air power, volume and expressivity.

 We sing together and harmonize, and have FUN!

 Pre-registration is required. Contact Heidy Viarruel at (617) 375-8114 or write: hviarruel@uses.org
A $15 donation for the entire semester is requested, however, no one will be turned away for lack of funds.

3. Private voice lessons in Jamaica Plain and Cambridge’s Central Square begin Sept 15.

4. I am cantorial soloist at a very welcoming Havurah on Cape Cod–no tickets required, no fees (kind of like my classes).  In Orleans:  Am HaYam Cape Cod Havurah