December 15th is when the list of the accepted students for Scott Alan’s Master Classes comes out. A full month. And there is plenty to do between now and then…
I am officially working at the Christmas Tree Place on Route 1 in
. In fact, I’ve been working there for the past week and a half now getting it all ready for the way too fast approaching holiday season. Picture me, with my grundgy clothes on, with one of these on my back: Guilford
Oh yeah… I am the master of leaf blowing now. Among this newfound talent, I’ve been helping my new boss, Dale, get everything set up, nailed together, screwed in, and placed around the property. Every single spec of square footage is taken up by a display area or walkway; nothing is wasted. I’m at the point now though where I just want it all to be up and put together. It’s hilarious, Dale will sometimes just assume that I am an expert at using a screw gun or wrench, aka that I’m competent straight man. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am competent and can hammer a nail in when need be, but let’s just say I’d rather have a needle and thread. I’m definitely not as polished as this hardy, burly man’s man I’m working with.
I am learning so much from him though. And Dale is so patient with me, seeing that I’m willing, just not as skilled as others.
Soon I will be learning the trade/art of sales… I think it’s going to be one of those experiences that I’ll just have to learn with time. All I’m going to do is go in with the knowledge Dale provides about certain types of trees and greens, a big smile, and a little song in my heart. So come start your Christmas season with me down at the Christmas Tree Place, right across from Big Y and WalMart on Route 1 in
and we’ll have a grand old time. I’ll sing you a song. J Guilford
November and December have all of a sudden been filled with choir work for me. I sang with Rob Mathes’ encore performance of “At Night A Song Is With Me” a few weeks ago, I just got a solo in Shoreline Soul’s Fall/Winter concert coming up on December 5th, I’m singing with Guilford’s Congregational Church choir on December 12th for their “Lessons and Carols” service as an extra first tenor, and then finally with Rob Mathes’ again in his Christmas concert on December 18th. It is SO MUCH fun to be singing again in a choir. The workout I get from sitting down with a piece of music, learning the tenor part among all the other parts is so refreshing for me. I love the puzzle work of it all, fitting my voice into the tenor line as well as into the specific choir I’m singing with. I’ve learned that all choir singing is not the same. I’m required to sing differently between Shoreline Soul, a much brighter and louder sound, and the Congregational Church choir; a more covered and classical feel. Learning how to change my voice while also still needing to blend from group to group has been a fun challenge and I cannot wait for the concerts to come this next month!
Along with all these choirs, I have been working a lot on my cabaret that I plan on doing here in
before Christmas as well as another showing up at Middlebury during JTerm. The process to find songs has been difficult only because there is so much that I want to sing. I kept saying, “Oh yeah, and that one - Ooooo, I want to sing that too - That would be great for me!” Connecticut
My overall goal in putting this piece together is to bring in concert a mixture of musical theatre styles, honoring the old and the new, and using this compilation to see - through song - where I’ve come from and where I’m headed.
I wrote all the songs I would ever want to sing down and separated them into traditional (anything before 1960), contemporary (anything after 1960), and modern (mainly the musical theatre composers I’m finding on YouTube like Scott Alan and Pasek & Paul). This complete list of all styles totaled to 29 songs… WAY too many for a single cabaret. But I didn’t cull any out yet. I separated these 29 into four more categories: guy, gal, gay, gray. I did a little arts n’ crafts and cut pieces of blue, pink, green, and gray paper into thirds. I then took these colorful papers and organized the songs by who they were sung by: guys got blue, gals got pink, gays got green, and the “other/any” got gray. Each song title was written with its style respectfully. THEN I went to YouTube and listened to each song a couple of times and linked them to me, sometimes very specifically to my life experiences, sometimes not, and wrote my explanations on each specific slip. A lot of the songs told my exact story while others I just wanted to sing because I love the song itself. AND THEN, I laid them all out in the hallway outside my room according to style of song. It looked like some sort of rainbow vomited all over that rug. From there, I would sit amongst the vomit-like slips and switch things around, organize them into different groups pertaining to my life or to the show, continuing to see my relationships with each song. Through this I made cuts, seeing where certain songs said the same thing or signified a similar experience, then choosing my favorite of the two. All of a sudden from 29, I’m down to 13, which I think is a good number. There may still be a few cuts, but I’m going to go with this for now.
If you follow this link, you’ll be transported to my YouTube channel where the playlist of “My Cabaret” is so you can listen to and see what I’m hoping to sing. I wonder if you can see the trajectory I’m going for without the little dialogue I’m planning on writing to link them and tell my story.
Now I’m just looking for accompanists for both the
and Middlebury versions of this. I have feelers out, but it’s always hard to get people’s schedules to work in sync. Hopefully things will come through. Once I get the accompanists, I’ll then look for spaces. I’m thinking about my church for here in Connecticut (amazing acoustics) and really wherever there is a piano at Middlebury. That all needs to be happening soon, I just want to make sure I have someone to play for me before that all comes together. Luckily my parents agreed to helping me pay for a pianist when I was planning on doing my cabaret my last semester at Middlebury. So I’m just hoping they will still help me out. J If not, this is an investment in my career, one that I’ve wanted to do for a really long time, so I’ll make it happen however I can. Connecticut
This space before Christmas is definitely chuck full of opportunities and things that need to get done. It’s amazing though; this is one of the first times in my life when I actually feel I have the time to get done what I really want to do. This is ironically terrifying for me being a person who is used to being so busy that I can barely breathe in between activities. I’m now learning how to schedule my life, schedule what I need and want to get done, and make my very own busy-ness.
Being a real person in the real world is fun. Scary, but fun.