Wednesday, December 31, 2014

February show

Turns out I'll be doing Harvey.  I get to play Veta Louise Simmons, sister to Elwood P. Dowd (played by Jimmy Stewart in the movie version).  I get to play ditzy, with dashes of hysteria and steel thrown in for spice - this is gonna be fun!

Goodbye, 2014

2014 has hardly been the worst year of my life - I finally sang a principal role with a company I'd worked in the ensemble with for years.  (Now if only I'd been more ready for that opportunity...)  I also got to spend the year laying a good, solid vocal foundation with my new voice teacher.  Designing hair and make-up for The Arabian Nights was a blast - very talented cast, who were willing to go where I pushed them, and the crew were equally talented.  The new neighbors who bought our late, lamented neighbor's house bid fair to become friends, which is always good news.  We learned at Christmas that two nephews will be receiving degrees in May, and that there's other good news due in late summer or early fall.

We also buried a neighbor, a church friend, and a former stage-manager friend, and Dad's health continues to decline.  I know I should focus on the good, but losing loved ones, or watching them hurt, definitely casts a pall on things.

C'mon, 2015 - you can do better than 2014.

Monday, December 29, 2014

How on earth did I manage that?!

Yesterday I got home from a week spent with family.  The Chief and I stayed in a hotel, which meant eating out a lot.  (We did have a supply of cereal, milk and bananas in the room, so at least breakfast was reasonably healthy.)  And of course we ate the usual holiday fare, though perhaps not quite as much as usual because the food was at Sister3's house and we were at that hotel.  Still, I ate nearly all my WW points and was very sedentary.  Despite all that, I actually managed to lose weight!  The last time that happened, I had two wisdom teeth extracted a few days before Christmas and couldn't chew much of the holiday food.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Big year ahead

When I go back to work next week, I'll contact my HR rep and start talking seriously about starting my retirement paperwork!  I'm actually looking at setting a last day at work; currently May 1st.  I've been working for the same company (though in many different capacities) for over 35 years -  I can't believe this "retirement" thing is soon to become something more than an abstraction, a "someday, when I retire..."

The Chief has already started teasing me about accompanying him when he drives out to the Midwest for family functions.  "We can bond in the car, and sing camp songs!"  He didn't object or protest when I responded "And I can teach you some G&S so we can sing duets!" (he insists he can't sing; he can, he just doesn't wanna), so I'm not sure how serious he is about those camp songs. :D

My list of "when I retire" things is very ambitious, as it includes:
  • taking piano lessons (I don't play a note, but would like to learn at least enough to plunk out new songs I want to learn);
  • taking music classes, maybe even getting a degree - voice lessons haven't taught me music theory, for instance;
  • volunteering - SO many desperately deserving causes!
  • auditioning for a local community theater company which has a very heavy performance schedule - up to 6 nights a week!
I'll also continue to do community theater, in addition to the odd costuming, hair & make-up assistance, for which I may have more time (if I'm not practicing scales or serving food at a soup kitchen or traveling with the Chief). 

The Chief is looking forward to my retirement because I'll then be able to take back grocery-shopping duty, which he took over when he retired 6 years ago.  I tease him that he'll miss out on seeing all the babies shopping with their parents; apparently that's a sacrifice he's willing to make. :)

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Crazy vocalist tricks

I sometimes tease my voice teacher about the tricks and exercises she has me do in order to achieve
various goals - releasing tension, improving breath control, changing voice placement or what-have-you.  Some that come to mind off the top of my head:
- sticking my tongue out as I sing vocal exercises (vocalises);
- singing vocalises while holding a drinking straw crosswise under my tongue;
- singing vocalises while holding the straw in my teeth but in front of my tongue;
- dancing around "like a ballerina" while singing whatever piece we're working on at the time;
- draping myself, stomach down, over an exercise ball and rocking on it while singing vocalises;
- thumping myself on the chest while singing vocalises.

Pretty wacky stuff sometimes, but we have fun with the silliness.  Better, it's working - I'm releasing vocal tension, improving my sound, boosting my breath support, and generally singing better than ever.  Still much room for improvement, of course, but I'm feeling a lot better about how I'm singing.