Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Kiss Me, Kate It Is

I just received a call from the director of Garland Summer Musicals. I have been extended a contract for their production of Kiss Me, Kate, which runs July 21-30. I was so excited to get the call and take down the rehearsal schedule that I completely forgot to ask whether I would be in the chorus or in a role, but I feel confident in assuming I'm in the chorus. My contract should arrive in the next week.

My, it's going to be a busy summer!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Administrative Professionals

For those of you who may not know, Wednesday is Administrative Professionals' Day f/k/a Secretaries' Day. If you happen to work in an office and have a secretary, you should thank her (I use the feminine since I'm speaking of myself but certainly don't intend to exclude all of the great men) for the hard work given throughout the year. Being a secretary for seven bosses, I can tell you that it's not always as easy as it looks. And even though your secretary may know that she's appreciated (because you tell her often), it's nice to acknowledge her hard work with a token of thanks.

Today, my office staff presented me with a huge bouquet of flowers (hope to post photo later), a bag of Bath & Body Works goodies, and a sizable gift card. It was way more than I expected, but it was nice to know that the staff thinks highly of me & my work.

If you appreciate your secretary, let her know. You'll be glad you did!

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Early Fruits of Garden Labor

Part of my weekend of fun included getting new plants for the backyard garden. Last weekend, I purchased and potted some summer annuals, including periwinkles a/k/a vinca major, wave petunias, and salvia. But I decided that I wanted to buy some perennials to put in the ground in hopes of having as much luck as I have with reseeding herbs & some lantana from several years ago. I decided on two shrubs - a hardy hibiscus and a Texas Star rose - and new lantana. If all goes well, I'll post photos of the garden throughout the season.




As a little preview, my new hibiscus graced me with several blossoms this morning. Aren't they lovely??





This is a new variety of lantana that I found - 'Pink Caprice.' It may have been around last summer, but I missed it. I have a pink theme in my flower garden this year. Lantana is perfect butterfly food.






Dori wanted me to tell you that she helped. She was very diligent in carrying off all of the weeds I threw out of the flowerbed. What a good helper!

Friday, April 21, 2006

I Love State Holidays

On a day like today, I'm thankful for State holidays. Today is San Jacinto Day. If I had retained any of what I learned in Texas history, I might recall exactly what that means & why it's a State holiday. I suppose I could look it up, but I'm satisfied just having the day off without understanding why. That's the great thing about being out of school! {After looking up the holiday, I should be ashamed to call myself a Texan. Of all days, San Jacinto Day should stick in my mind as the most important day in Texas' history - the day we gained our independence from Mexico in the Battle of San Jacinto. Well, now that I've refreshed my memory & completely shamed myself as a Texan, you can read more about the battle here, if you're interested.}

Anyway, I've enjoyed a day to myself. I got my car washed; it was such a dirt bomb. Now it's all sparkling clean. I also got my oil changed and ran various other errands. It's amazing how much you can get accomplished when you're not at the stores with everyone else after work! Now I'm in the process of doing my housework so I'll have the entire rest of the weekend to do whatever I please, like make cards or scrapbook (and definitely get some time in the practice room). I'm looking forward to it already, and I'm not even halfway finished with my housework. Funny how a free weekend is a motivation to get moving.

It's supposed to be a beautiful weekend, and I'm looking forward to it.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

It's the Little Things




Today's comic gives us an excellent reminder that love really is made up of little things: a kind word, a smile, a little note of thanks, a card out of the blue. Consider sending someone a little love today.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Callbacks

No word from Into the Woods, so I'm making the assumption that I will not be called back for a second audition. That's okay, the audition was great experience and taught me that Sondheim pieces should not be sung as audition pieces unless you have a proficient accompanist (i.e. bring you own).

So, I prepare for my second audition for Kiss Me, Kate tonight. I'm planning to sing "Summertime" rather than singing my Oklahoma! piece again, since they've already heard it and "Summertime" exhibits my full range much better. I don't think I have to dance again, at least I hope not. I hope to be able to leave work early so I can rest before my evening audition. "Summertime" requires a fresh, rested voice.

I'll let you know when I hear something about the second audition.

Thought for the Day

Today's calendar quote is "Unconditional love is the most noble gift one human can bestow on another." How appropriate that this particular quote falls after Easter. It is important for us to remember that love is not earned, it is - and should always be - freely given, just as Christ freely gave of Himself for us and for our salvation. May we never forget to love unconditionally as God loves us!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

The Waiting Game

I'm almost finished with the long string of auditions. Yesterday was my Into the Woods audition. I wish I could say that I feel I knocked their socks off, but unfortunately, I didn't feel that confident leaving the audition.

We were required to bring two prepared pieces, one of which had to be a Sondheim. I chose "Out of My Dreams" and "One More Kiss" (which met the Sondheim requirement). Because they had to hear 250 singers yesterday, they limited the audition to just 16 bars. So they asked us to choose our strongest piece. I chose "One More Kiss" because it shows off the best parts of my registers. Sadly, while I feel I did alright, my accompanist butchered the piano part.

Understand something very important--I'm not usually critical of audition accompanists. I know that I am not capable of sightreading the music they must see. However, in this instance, it was no surprise that Sondheim pieces would make appearances, and none of these would prove to be easy to play. That being said, if you were conducting the auditions, would you not make certain your paid accompanist was proficient enough at sightreading so as not to completely butcher a Sondheim piece? Would you not make certain that your accompanist could play any Sondheim presented? If it were me, the answer to each would be a resounding YES!

Sadly, this was not the case for me. It was so terrible, in fact, that I didn't even recognize the accompaniment part that I've heard played a zillion times in lessons and rehearsals. I may be a confident singer, not easily flustered by screw ups by accompanists, but this went too far. I was instructed to sing an important key change in this piece, and I'm certain that the panel wanted to hear how competently I could make the key change. I stopped singing at the key change...that's how WRONG it was. I couldn't find my next note because the chords being played were not right...SO not right. They weren't even on the page!!

I think my panel is astute enough to realize the accompaniment was completely butchered...to the point it compromised my audition. I hope I get called back despite the missed keychange and clearly unsolid audition. I really am a competent singer.

It's frustrating when things beyond your control affect your audition. This was definitely one of those times. Now...I wait. Callbacks are Tuesday.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Holy Week Blues

It's interesting that Rachel's post this week reflects many of my own feelings about Holy Week. While her frustration is with the distractions of juggling a job and school with her deep desire to reflect upon her faith, mine stems from being a part of worship. I know that sounds strange, but allow me to explain.

As a church musician, and particularly one upon whom many depend to lead, I find myself stretched thin during Holy Week. From Palm Sunday to Easter, the life of a church musician revolves around preparation for the next service of worship. By the time Holy Week has concluded, I will have sung at least three rehearsals and in at least six services. Don't misunderstand me, I love being a part of worship, and I particularly enjoy the liturgy and music that accompanies this season. However, I do find that the preparation and participation in worship can sometimes detract from my own enjoyment of each service. I find myself more concerned with what comes next than with the meaning of what comes next. I don't allow myself to truly contemplate the season and service but rather simply provide that contemplation for others through the music of worship.

So as I prepare to sing the Maundy Thursday/Good Friday service this evening, I hope to do so more with an attitude of reflection than one of responsibility. I pray that you will do the same--lay responsibility aside and truly worship.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

I Suck at Dancing / Callback #1

Well, I think it's safe to say that today was the most humiliating day of my life. But honestly, I find it quite hysterically funny. Today, I had the dance & vocal auditions for Kiss Me, Kate with Garland Summer Musicals. First was the dance audition.

I got there at the appointed time only to have to sit for well over an hour and watch the tap auditions for Singin' in the Rain. Mind you, I am not a dancer. I've never had a formal dance lesson a day in my life, and I hardly think the years of swing dancing in college count toward anything other than recreation. Boy, did this become evident when we finally got called to learn our number...in twenty minutes. Ever heard the phrase "lost as a goose in a snowstorm?" Yeah, well, that was totally me. We had this lady choreographer who clearly was born with dancing shoes on her feet and started "talking shop" with a guy who had been with both the Dallas Ballet and Dallas Black Ballet. "Oh boy," I thought, "I'm way out of my league...maybe I should just leave now, tell them thanks but I can't dance...nah, I'll stick it out. Maybe it won't be too hard. Maybe I'll be able to pick it up like I did the swing dances back in the day...." It was clear in the first ten seconds that I was NOT going to pick up this little number very quickly, particularly since she started speaking a foreign language (i.e. yelling a bunch of dance moves that made no sense to me) and moving on sequence-to-sequence like we all had a clue. Well, maybe 99% of the room had a clue, but I did not. After 20 min, yep just an abysmal 20 min, we were asked to dance for the artistic director of the production.

Lovely. I'm clueless and now have to actually audition for the "big kahuna." I decided just to laugh it off. What else could I do? I clearly was not going to get a role based on my dance audition, so I might as well not even worry about it. Two times through the number and "thank you." We got our paperwork back to take the vocal audition. "Please feel free to fill out your form. Tell us your strengths or something about yourself that might give us some insight into who you are." Well, buddy, I can tell you I AM NOT A DANCER!!! But I can be taught...in a lot more than 20 min.

Got to go home at 4 p.m. to rest for my vocal audition at 7 p.m. I decided that I would go back for 6:30, just in case I could get worked in early. Sure enough, I got to sing just a few minutes after checking in. I sang "Out of My Dreams" from Oklahoma! and was then called before the panel. I got called back! So I plan to sing my other piece (and perhaps prepare another one, just in case) for that. I highly doubt I'll have to dance again. Let's just say I highly hope I don't have to dance again at my callback.

My one relief with the next audition (for WaterTower)...I don't think it involves dancing, thank God!!!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Off to the Races...no thanks

I am enjoying a weekend home alone while Derek is "off to the races" at Texas Motor Speedway. Mind you, he's not even a NASCAR fan. But we have a friend who rents an RV every year and buys all the tickets and then invites his friends to join him. Price of admittance: whatever's on the list Neb gives you. Derek's list: beer, grill, chips & BBQ sauce. Derek's called and given me the skinny. Apparently, it's quite the sight to behold down there. He said the people-watching in itself could be entertainment for the entire weekend. But he's already taken advantage of his pit passes and may now be a NASCAR fan.

Last night, I enjoyed cooking something just for me, watching what I wanted on TV, and surfing the web without interruption. It's nice to have "me" time every once in a while. Today's agenda--cleaning. After that, well, it will just depend on how the mood strikes me. The weather's lovely, though windy, so Dori and I may go for a walk. I have weeds to spray, but I think the wind is going to keep that on the "to-do" list. It's nice to be free to do whatever I like...or not.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

My New Office/Craft Space

Well, it's almost finished. The desk is done. All I lack is the large wall unit that will serve as additional light-item storage. Since it's a tedious item to build, Derek has abdicated that job to me & dad. Just having things in the new space is a relief, even if everything is still without a permanent place to call home.

Here are a few photos of my new space.







This is before we undertook the big task of moving all of the electronics (computer, monitor, scanner, printer, external DVD burner) and the multitude of wires that go with them.




And now








Everything's in the room. Once the wall unit is built & file cabinets move in, things will find more permanent homes.

Congrats to Derek

A big pat on the back is well-deserved. March was officially a record sales month for Derek. Not only did he make his number, but he almost doubled his number. (According to Stryker sales online he doubled it, according to Stryker corporate payroll, he was about $3300 short.) Way to go!!! I'm very proud of you. For someone who was an "iffy" hire, you've more than proven yourself as a valuable asset to the Stryker sales team. May you see many more months of record sales!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Whew

Well, the audition went. I think it went alright. I actually don't know what to think about it. Read on.

All singers had to prepare three pieces for the audition, as well as sightread. In case I haven't already mentioned it, I took Bester J√ľngling, Batti Batti, and I Love All Graceful Things. I sang for the chorus master and general director of the opera company.

I introduced myself and my two pieces of choice (Batti and Bester, in that order). The general director said, "Let's start with the Batti, Batti." This was somewhat of a relief since I wanted to work out my nerves on the easier piece. When I got finished, both thanked me and said that would be all. No sightreading or request for a second piece. I was a little baffled that I only had to sing one piece and didn't have to sightread. And I really wanted to sing Bester J√ľngling since it shows off my best abilities.

So that's why I say I'm not sure what to think of the audition. I'm hoping that I did well enough that an additional piece and sightreading was not required. They knew from that piece whether I was company material. I certainly felt like I did alright on the piece, despite a little flub on the words in one place. My two friends who were listening said I did a great job, and they're honest gals.

So now...I wait. It could be a few months before I hear anything. I'll keep you posted.

Today's the Day

Well, today's the day of the big audition--Dallas Opera Chorus. In my mind, this is the most challenging audition namely because I find opera to be much more challenging than musical theatre. There are so many more things to think about while I'm singing; musical theatre just comes more naturally.

I have today off so that I'm well-rested and in top voice for the audition. I have a million things I could be doing, but I'm going to do my best to do non-taxing things that will leave me well-rested come day's end. My audition is not until 4 p.m., so you can see where it would be easy to do house-related things and tire myself out.

Thus far, I've worked on my two vocal resumes and read email. I'd say I'm well on my way to a restful day. I would love to finish varnishing my desk pieces, but I fear the harsh chemicals might do more harm than good. So I'll finish those when I get home from my audition. I'm excited that my office space is almost ready to be put together.

I think I'll go tackle some laundry. That shouldn't be too taxing. Then I might tackle the mound of filing that's stacked in Derek's office. I'll let you know how the audition goes.