The fabulous trio of John McDonald (piano), Scott Woolweaver (viola) and myself (girl singer). We perform mostly music written for us–all 21st century–and also do improvisations at the end of most concerts. Since 2004.

I have a lot to be thankful for these days.

photo credit (c) Charlotte Fiorito Photography 2012, All Rights Reserved

In no particular order:

I recently sang and taught at an amazing  event in San Jose, CA.  The Tech Awards give innovative folks who are doing great works to benefit humanity  a chance to be seen and heard and to get monetary awards.  I got to give a workshop for these engineers and scientists, to aid them in presenting their projects in public.

From a Distance, video of The Tech Awards ceremony with my new friend Dolores

Bonus: Did you hear the embedded melody in the piano?  Our arrangement.

That weekend I also had a visit with my wonderful 89-year old voice teacher in Berkeley, Lilian Loran.  She gave me the confidence to pursue solo singing and to “sing classical music the way you sing your Carole King songs.”  Well, I now give the same advice to my students.  I met my colleague from long ago, Susie Morris, at Lilian’s, and we sang “Sound the Trumpets” of Purcell for her.  I believe we last sang that duet in 1979, and it was like we had never parted!

Eleanor Cohen and I visited that weekend.  Although she was never my piano nor voice teacher, she was a mentor to me: she told my dad I had one of the few true contralto voices and he should stop bugging me to stop doing music and try for medical school.  She’s “only” 86 and still stands on her head every day.  Thanks, Ellie!

We’ll be recording John McDonald’s The Budbill Seasons in December, Elizabeth Bennett and I.  Elizabeth is a Shakuhashi player, and the poet, David Budbill was a student of hers.   In Winter: Tonight: Sunset, the speaker expresses appreciation:

“…I pause in this moment  at the beginning of my old age and I say a prayer of gratitude for getting to this evening…”

www.davidbudbill.com

Once home in Boston, I saw Ann Moss, a delightful colleague who took my graduate level classes once upon a time at Longy.  She is launching her own solo CD project and we were there to encourage her. You can check out her project of new works (and Joni Mitchell songs–I’m glad she learned that lesson well to combine art songs of all genres) at http://annmosssoprano.tumblr.com/currents

Dana Maiben is writing a piece for our Mockingbird Trio, The Green House, to be premiered on February 3 at Brandeis University, and the early drafts look wonderful.  Story by Martha Collins.

We have been awarded another grant to teach Singing to senior citizens–in my home branch of the Boston Public Library.  It will begin on Fridays in March.
Hooray for MetLife and Creative Aging!  Platinum Singers continue as well…

And finally, I’ll be performing a set at the Lily Pad in Cambridge, MA  on Sunday February 24.  Special guests to be announced.  Improvisation and original songs are sure to be part of this mix.

Officer O’Hare is not so sure about Mrs. Ringwald and her bunnies Newsflash!Thursday’s performance of 334 Bunnies January 26, 8:00pm EST will be web streamed from the Longy School.  Go to www.concertwindow.com/longy for details.

There will be a talk-back after both performances.  The entire opera is less than one hour.

Thursday, January 26, 8:00pm at Longy School of Music, Cambridge.
http://www.longy.edu
Saturday, February 4, 4:00pm at St. John’s Episcopal Church, Jamaica Plain, MA.  http://www.jpconcerts.org

We will also be hopping to Shirley, MA on May 19, 2012 at the Meeting House.

I’ve been hearing from friends and former students this past while, and it is such a delight to hear that folks are continuing to sing and create.  One has had a TV pilot accepted by CBS in Hollywood, another is singing in Germany, others are continuing their pursuits in Tokyo, Cleveland, and the Bay Area.

What a delight to be part of these lives and to remember how my teachers influenced me–all the voice teachers, choir conductors, English teachers and my yoga instructor, who said “You think you know your limitations but I can see your potential.”

I learn so much from my students, sometimes I think I should pay them!

Enjoying the quiet time by exercising while memorizing the Bunnies opera.  Such beautiful music and fun–I so rarely get to be funny onstage.

This character is a hoot and I am having a blast learning about her as I try out her lines on my walks,  It also keeps strangers from approaching me, because I am reacting to the music in my head.

So, our set designer, Lisa French, has asked for help with sewing bunnies.  We don’t need 334 of them but could use some help.  Anyone out there handy with a needle?  I’ll send you a patter and you can have a close-up on some rehearsals and our eternal thanks.

334 Bunnies, the opera

Thursday January 26, 8pm Longy School, Harvard Square

Saturday February 4, 4:00 St. John’s in Jamaica Plain

334 Bunnies by Lisa French

334 BUNNIES

This fun, clever and tuneful opera will be seen and heard                      (world premiere!)

Thursday January 26, 2012, 8:00pm at the Longy School of Music, Cambridge MA www.longy.edu

Saturday February 4 at 4:00pm at St. John’s Church in Jamaica Plain, MA www.jpconcerts.org

and Saturday May 19 in Shirley MA at the Shirley Meeting House www.shirleymeetinghouse.org

Francine Trester wrote the words and music.   A charming story about a woman who has too many bunnies and the officer of the law sent to shut her down.  Their musical sparring touches upon a variety of themes: individual freedom, civil disobedience, and the nature of love itself. Appropriate for adults and children, approximately 1 hour long. www.FrancineTrester.com

I play the rather, um, eccentric woman with the bunnies; Donald Wilkinson is Officer O’Hare (get it?) and our orchestra is the Mockingbird Trio with Fran Trester on violin, Scott Woolweaver on viola and John McDonald at the piano.

Sets by Lisa French (a taste of her art, above and at www.lfrenchillustration.com), directed by Brenda L. Huggins

Today I led  260 Senior Citizens singing  “My Girlin harmony at the Elder Expo in Boston.  Can’t get better than that, or can it?

Upcoming:  Classes start soon at Longy, NEC and the United South End Settlements (where the hip Seniors find me on Wednesday afternoons).

High Holidays on Cape Cod–I am the cantorial soloist and cannot resist this chavurah (not a congregation, but a great group) that does NOT CHARGE ANYTHING for High Holiday seats (or even to belong).  How 60’s is that? http://ahycc.org/

Just finished a wonderful conference for singing teachers–New England NATS–where I learned even more about singing cabaret style and using my “non-legit”  voice.  Even (especially) singing teachers want to be able to be non-legit…

Upcoming:  A new piece by John McDonald on Elizabeth Bennet’s shakuhachi recital at Tufts onOctober 16 (3 PM at Tufts)…come to this free concert and find out what a shakuhachi sounds like.

334 Bunnies in January, February and May (Longy School, JP Concerts and Shirley Meeting House, in that order).  More to come!

Saturday, May 7, 4:00 pm,

Mockingbird Trio, St. John’s Episcopal Church, Jamaica Plain

Corner of Roanoke and Revere, near Green St. station.

$10 suggsted donation

I am so delighted to revisit the song cycle, Songs of Time, of Love, of Wonder, for this concert.  Douglas Johnson, a long-time friend and colleague from California, wrote this 5-song cycle in 1995 for me, on texts chosen by Aina and me–May Sarton, Emily Dickinson and a Latvian folk poet.  We have recorded these songs professionally (see recordings page if you’re interested).

Now, Douglas is reworking the songs to include a bit of viola in some of the songs, which make it even more satisfying to include on a Mockingbird Trio program.

And we are revisiting Eric Sawyer’s Levertov Songs, along with songs of other composers from our original Poet Power concert.  Because May 7 is Brahms’ birthday (don’t you all celebrate your favorite composers’ birthdays?), we’ll include some of his works as well.

And John McDonald will likely play some of his fabulous solo  piano pieces.

Come join us for a lovely hour of chamber music and still have enough daylight to take a walk in the Arboretum!

please note we have postponed the opera, 334 Bunnies to next year.  It will be a hoppin’ production when it arrives…