Remember that.

1 Jul

By the time this post publishes, I will probably be running around a yet-known Philadelphia train station with two large suitcases in tow, attempting to figure out how to get onto the right train to take me to New Jersey. Regular SEPTA patrons, I ask that you treat me with compassion and kindness, as I am inevitably bound to look like a COMPLETE AND TOTAL IDIOT. Just smile and nod and pretend like you agree that navigating the transportation system is hard. I’m a Girl Scout, y’all, and I can tell you how to get back from the middle of nowhere with nothing but your fingers and a stick, but… put me in front of a train schedule and my eyes go sort of go wonky and I feel like I’m taking crazy pills. Let me give you a little glimpse into what I’ll look like:

…I’ll figure it out. Anyway.

New Jersey. My first summer program.

I’m pretty much totally alone, horribly excited, and a little bit terrified, but, ready or not, I begin tomorrow and here I come. I could write in depth about the myriad feelings I’ve got, being away from my voice teacher, my mom, my friends, my cat, my school, my safe comfortable musical womb, etc. I’ll spare you that and let you know that I’ve got to remember:

“The youngest you can ever be is when you can sing and enjoy it.” – Leontyne Price

“I want to sing like birds sing: not wondering who is listening and what they think.” – Rumi

“He who sings scares away his woes.” – Miguel Cervantes

“Singing is a form of admitting I am alive.” – Alfredo Kraus

“Why are you stingy with yourselves? Why are holding back? What are you saving for–for another time? There are no other times. There is only now. Right now.” – George Balanchine

“Do not fear mistakes. There are none.” – Miles Davis

And, perhaps most of all:

Time for an adventure. Here we go. Wish me luck.

Fishing for Compliments

20 Jun AvypTGZCQAAFn59.jpg_large

We’re not going to discuss the Thunder losing last night. Nope. I don’t want to hear it. All I want to do is look at this amazing photo, created by my good friend Nathan:

In case you LIVE UNDER A ROCK OR SOMETHING, BECAUSE WHO DOESN’T WATCH BASKETBALL I MEAN REALLY, that’s Derek Fisher (the Rainbow Fisher!)… and yours truly as a cat.

After last night, I need a little bit of a pick-me-up. Let’s go, Thunder!

On My Plate: FRIED PICKLES Edition

17 Jun

I’m still cooking up a storm… here’s what I’ve been up to the past few days:

Following my stuffed chicken excursions last week, I decided to try Jalapeno Popper Stuffed Chicken Breasts from Skinnytaste. I substituted serrano peppers for jalapenos (they were out of fresh ones at the supermarket [TRAVESTY]).

I also tried my hand at skillet-sauteeing some pork chops– I made pork chops with mushrooms and shallots. If you haven’t noticed, I’m minorly obsessed with sauteed mushrooms. I’m not interested in seeking help for my addiction.

And because I can’t be ALL FANCY SCHMANCY GOURMET ALL THE TIME, for Game 1 of the NBA Finals (IF YOU’RE NOT ROOTING FOR THE THUNDER GET OFF OF MY BLOG) I made oven fried pickles and baked chicken nuggets! My mom had never had fried pickles before, and though oven fried doesn’t exactly mirror the taste of DELICIOUS PICKLES FRIED IN GREASE YUM YUM YUM, a world without something resembling fried pickles is not a world I wanted my mother to live in. She liked them a lot! SUCCESS.

And we won.. Game 1. Let’s not talk about Game 2.

This post is Kevin Durant Approved. (okay not really but a girl can dream)

Winner, winner…

15 Jun

One of the really cool things about the Internet is that I get to interact with people like me. And now you’re thinking:

duh

Seriously, though, it’s pretty sweet. Since I don’t live in one of the major opera metropolises (that day’s a-comin’ soon), I have to stay updated on all the Great Operatic Goings-On somehow. And given the recent Opera News/Metropolitan Opera debacle, it’s safe to say that I feel¬†mostcomfortable getting my information from THE PEOPLE. You know, the people whose butts are actually in the seats.

the people, who occasionally look like this

The “people” in this case being other musicians, music-lovers, and bloggers like myself. All jokes aside, I don’t merely read other music blogs to get an unfiltered idea of what’s going on in The Business, I read them to learn about other singers’ journeys in this admittedly wacky, beautiful, and sometimes horribly unfair world. So, yeah, I get something out of it. The path to success in the music world is as individual as a fingerprint, and I’m grateful to be able to shake hands–if only virtually–with others.

BUT SOMETIMES, I WIN THINGS, AND IT’S EVEN BETTER.

My name was chosen at A Liberal’s Libretto for a nifty little Naxos America prize package, pictured here:

I don’t particularly have the money to buy opera DVDs.. or opera CDs, let’s be real, so FREE STUFF! FREE OPERA! FREE ART SONG! is welcome. Thanks to James (and Naxos America) for hooking me up with Simon Boccanegra (featuring Placido Domingo and Anja Harteros), a Szymanowski opera I’m excited to dig into (King Roger), and baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky’s Rachmaninoff album.

So.. today, I’m a winner. Pardon me while I clutch my trophies.

Creature of Habit

14 Jun

Habits. As a singer, I spend a lot (and I mean A LOT, you guys) of my time attempting to rid myself of the bad ones.

Still, there are some habits–singing and otherwise–that I embrace fully. One of these is the lunch I’ve had every day this week. Turkey salad sandwich, ten saltine crackers, and a nice big glass of peach tea. No, I don’t get bored. I added the fresh strawberries today for a FUN TWIST ON AN OLD FAVORITE.

Hate on me, haters, but this is one habit I will not be seeking to break any time soon.

Down at the Rock and Roll Club

10 Jun

I know what you’re thinking.. I’m an opera singer. YOU DON’T KNOW ME LIKE THAT, THOUGH.

I can’t stay away from rock and roll for too long before I start to get a hankerin’ for smoky bars, taverns, and getting my eardrums blown out by something other than high soprano Db6s or the nine tenor high Cs in “Ah! mes amis.” LUCKY FOR ME, I’ve got some pretty talented friends who let me have my fix.

I’ve known the boys of Ezra Lbs (clever, ain’t they?) since.. well, I don’t know if I really want to publicly admit how long. Let’s leave it at “a really long time.”

I remember some of their first shows, where it was just us, a few other people (usually there to see another band), and maybe a couple of stragglers. Compare that to the other night’s packed CD release show at Whitewater Tavern and you’ve got a study in contrasts, y’all. Their album release has been getting some exciting reviews from local press:

“…Ezra cuts an impressively wide, gloriously amateurish, sonic swath across the 20-plus songs here, and they always, always keep you guessing.” – Arkansas Democrat Gazette

“…this Arkansas crew is more restless, adventurous and willing to take those familiar touchstones in weirder directions.” - Rock Candy of the Arkansas Times

Not bad for some hometown boys.

If y’all are smart, you’ll head on over to Ezra Lbs’ website (http://ezralbs.com — who knew?) or their Facebook and see what I’m fussin’ about.

Thanks for the fix, boys.

On My Plate

9 Jun

I’m a big fan of the cafeteria at my school (despite my occasional complaints otherwise), but it’s always nice to come home to delicious, homemade food. My mom spent eighteen years making food for me, so I’ve been trying to pay her back as much as possible by making food for her while I’m home for the summer. It’s great to just let her sit back, relax, and wait for ME to put some food on the table.

I love cooking. I like being creative and coming up with things. I love playing with my mom’s huge spice cabinet… I never really measure much when I’m coming up with my own stuff, I just eyeball to my heart’s content! My guests and I haven’t been disappointed yet.

Anyway, for the past few weeks, I’ve been doing most of the cooking, alternating between our traditional favorite options for meals and then my own little creative experiments. Here’s some of what I’ve been up to recently:

Chicken breasts stuffed with cheddar cheese, breaded in seasoned bread crumbs; saffron rice and beets!

Smoked sausage sauteed in oregano, garlic, and hot sauce with sweet bell peppers and onions.

Not bad, huh? I’ve got some awesome stuff planned for next week, too.

What’s your favorite thing to make for dinner?

Vittoria!

7 Jun

For little baby sopranos like yours truly, singing in TOSCA is a pretty far away dream. However, thanks to the magic of university (and a very ambitious vocal coaching graduate student, Corie Melaugh), I was lucky enough to get a taste of what performing this masterpiece will be like when I’m ready. I had the immense pleasure of singing as the soprano chorister for Ms. Melaugh’s vocal coaching project–Act II of TOSCA.

This is a staged reading–thus why you see scores! We put this together in an incredibly short amount of time, mind you. I don’t think we had the full cast and orchestra together until the day of the dress rehearsal.

In case you were in the mood for a little opera today, check out what our Scarpia (baritone Kasey Yeargain) uploaded to YouTube:

It’s great to be able to learn from the work of your peers. I hope you’ll take some time to enjoy the work of Kasey Yeagain (baritone, Scarpia), Phena Hackett (soprano, Floria Tosca), Matthew Brooks (tenor, Mario Cavaradossi), Joshua Hughes (baritone, Sciarrone), Christopher Layton (tenor, Spoletta), and the lovely cantata chorus of which I was a part (myself, Bridget Skaggs, Kathryne Overturf, Tevyn Hill, and Erick Rivera). Thanks to Corie for the opportunity.. and the sweet TOSCA score!

You don’t get to see me (I’m in the balcony, y’all!), but tune in for some high B action and just a glimpse of one of Puccini’s masterpieces.

Enjoy!

Working for the Weekend

4 Jun

In case y’all didn’t know, I love Arkansas. I love Little Rock. I love (almost) everything about them. I love being able to say that this is where I’m from and this is where I live.

I spent the majority of my weekend in one of my favorite spots of Little Rock–down at the River Market. Specifically, down by the Arkansas River at the amphitheater. Luke Bryan played on Saturday and Bon Iver played last night. Talk about your contrasts in subcultures.

I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

sellin’ tickets.. or prison bunny? you decide.

The Tixqueen and the Tixprincess! A ticketing dynasty.

DEEP FRIED CHEESECAKE, y’all, that’s all I’m sayin’.

Bon Iver.. or #bonnybear?

Honestly, I’m a bit disappointed that I can’t sit and eat deep fried cheesecake forever. Instead, I’ve got a stack of music staring at me, begging to be learned and memorized. Back to the trenches, I guess.

Who knows where the time goes?

2 Jun

Well, y’all, 2012 is half over and I haven’t written a single post. I’m three-fourths done with college, I did a recital, I was in a show, I said goodbye to some of my best friends, I’m getting ready to apply to grad school, I’m going to a summer program.. I’d say an update is in order.

JANUARY:

I DONE GAVE A RECITAL, Y’ALL.

I gave my junior vocal performance recital on January 27th, 2012 with my one of my best girl friends and studio mates, Nicole Leigh Hood. I’d say that we gave our audience its money’s worth.. but it was free. It is worthy to know that my recital was broadcast LIVE VIA THE INTERWEBS and in addition to every live body sitting in Petree Recital Hall, I had 27 unique people watching me across the country. It meant so much to me that my friends in Oregon, New York, Tennessee, and Kansas could hear (and sort of see) me sing, but it meant the most to have my grandmother, uncle, and cousin watch from her hospital room in Rockford, Illinois. Technology is pretty cool sometimes, huh?

I also found out that I was cast in THE MOTHER OF US ALL at school!

FEBRUARY:

February is a weird month. It always feels like it isn’t really there, but I promise you guys, it totally is. Highlights of February include:

- Seeing Sarah Coburn perform Great Moments of Opera with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic
- Beginning rehearsals for THE MOTHER OF US ALL

MARCH:

I found out I was accepted as a Young Artist at the CoOPERAtive program of Westminster Choir College for July! I was more than thrilled. I’ve been wanting to attend a summer program since I began my undergraduate degree. It was tough giving up camp for the summer, but I know I made the right decision.

I also had the time of my life portraying Gertrude Stein in Virgil Thomsson’s opera THE MOTHER OF US ALL.

It’s Constance Fletcher and Gertrude Stein!

March also marks the beginning of recital season.. and if you know anything about me, you know I was at almost every one of them. And at most of them, I was a puddle.

Told you.

APRIL:

As soon as the opera was over, I was in Full On Coast Mode. There was no pressure to learn a certain number of pieces for a repertoire requirement.. thank you, recital jury. That being said, I began work on a few new arias and some really amazing art songs, so let it be known I COULD HAVE TOTALLY DONE A “REAL” JURY AND BEEN JUST FINE. Basically, I’m a music magician.

All coasting side, I was a busy girl. Recital season was in full swing, and you could see me in Puddle Position at any number of junior recitals. Weeping. Ugly crying. I was (and am) so proud of my peers and can’t believe I get to say I go to school with such forward-thinking, spontaneous, honest, passionate performers.

Later in the month, I had the most amazing opportunity. John Bucchino, musical theater composer, came to OCU and gave a masterclass.. and I got to sing. Though I’m pursuing opera, I have loved and will always love musical theater. All singing is communicating and I do not consider myself solely an opera singer. What’s even greater is that as part of the masterclass, we were asked to sing one of Mr. Bucchino’s songs.. no pressure, y’all. Just sing one of the composer’s pieces. Needless to say, it was humbling and awe-inspiring. I sang “Sweet Dreams,” one of my favorite Bucchino songs. I learned so much from both Mr. Bucchino and my fellow masterclass participants. Imagine my surprise when Mr. Bucchino sat down at the piano and played his song for the second time around:

DAT’S ME

MAY:

In university, May is the time of goodbyes. We’re only there for about a week and a half, so everyone tries to cram in as many “goodbye” events as possible. I have never been one for goodbyes (I’m sentimental as enough as it is,¬† I don’t need to invite more sentiment into my existence), so I avoided them like the plague. Some of them were inevitable, though:

My big sister, Bonnie, and my best girl, Alyssa, the day of Baccalaureate!

I don’t have any siblings, but I do have a big sister. Her name is Bonnie and she’s been my role model and guiding star since I came to OCU in 2009. She’s been my good friend since I moved to Little Rock. I know that she’s gotta be a big bird and fly away, but I’m going to miss her more than anything. Thank goodness that you don’t stop being a sister when college is over.

And then.. junior year was over. All of a sudden, I have only one more year left at OCU. T-minus 28 days until I head to Princeton, NJ for my summer program. I plan to update FREQUENTLY, so.. get prepared, y’all. Now you’re all caught up, so I have no excuse.

Who knows where the time goes?

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