Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Back to School!

I can't believe it - it's already September! Kids are back, lots of wild noise is echoing through my hallway and I'm getting ready for teaching kindergarteners and second graders today.

As St. Matthew's expands, I am excited to see the potential in this school and these children. They are all enthusiastic about learning and bring a lot of energy to the campus.

King's Mountain kids started a few weeks ago, with new classes and a handful of new friends. The kids there are so fun and calm. The new school principal, and former site director, has amazing methods for keeping kids focused and learning. I love watching the teachers work there. Our school theme will be environment! I'm stoked to learn science songs for the kids.

Church is great. It's definitely one of my favorite parts of the week. The choir members will be meeting up for the first time since Memorial Day this Thursday evening. I am really glad I have the opportunity to develop my conducting skills with this choir. They're growing so much - it goes to show you that you never stop learning and improving. We have members from ages 20 to 80!

I'm also proud to announce I'm going to be a music director for a show in Pacifica! It's been ten years since I performed in this particular show, and it's a blast to be working on it from the other side - Seussical the Musical! I have many fond memories of being a Sour Kangaroo and Bird Girl with my old friends, many of whom I am still in close contact with! A reunion party may be in order.

- LM

Thursday, April 16, 2015

My Life in Music

As this season draws to a close, and as I continue to spend my working hours engulfed ENTIRELY in music, I only begin to take my journey of self-discovery.

I have been blessed with an amazing life. I can't say whether it was divine intervention, talent, gumption, or amazingly supportive friends and mentors who got me here (and most likely, it has been the combination of all of the above), but I finally feel like I am beginning to have some security with myself.

As some may know, I just turned 27. As my best friend put it "I always thought I'd own a washing machine by the time I turned 27." This made me laugh, however, it falls into the lines of not knowing what we will have. I thought I would be on a very different track at this point, if you had asked me one year ago. But I'm not. I found this path, and for now it's leading me somewhere I have yet to see!

I am overjoyed to be joining SongFest this year, on the teaching development track. I will be making my official debut with Pocket Opera next month. I sang for a donor party that was absolutely fabulous. Sometimes, I have these moments in my life that are SO glamorous, so exciting, and quintessentially "diva," and other moments where I am spraying organic toy cleaner on an egg shaker because whatever nanny brought the baby to music class was too busy texting on her cell phone to watch that the child put it in his mouth. Alas - we must all find balance in our lives.

I am incredibly lucky to have an amazing group of friends. All around the country and world, too! I have amazing mentors who do incredible things and pass on incredible stories and knowledge. I live in one of the world's most influential places - smack dab in between San Francisco and San Jose. The tech boom makes cost of living a "little" outrageous, but it is worth it. And hey - FOOD is way cheaper than Jersey and SO SO SO good here. Makes up for everything. Not to mention the amazing outdoor adventures I can have. Never did I expect to be able to study my opera scores at the beach every Sunday. Hell, I never expected to be conducting a church choir (yes, I used "hell" ironically).

But I DO. And I LOVE it.

Okay, Okay, I don't get real "weekends" anymore. But do I need those? I mean, I still had a wonderful time Saturday evening celebrating into the wee hours of the next morning and made it to church on time, and sang an aria well for wealthy folks, and I'm not dead yet. And more importantly, I haven't been fired! Yay!

Like I said, I am blessed with wonderful friends. If I ever gave any advice to young singers starting on the college music journey - don't forget that the bonding you will do through those years. My friends and I are so close because we have had amazing choir tours, retreats, crazy performances, mishaps, loads of classes together. And although college was a few years ago, those kinds of bonds last forever. The people you work with in an opera production or for a year in a chamber choir become your brothers and sisters. You look out for each other. You go through every crisis together and pull each other out. You bond together to make fun of your director, but you also love your director like family. Papa Bear, Crazy Uncle. These are your people. They will always be your people. Never rise so far into "diva-dom" that you forget where you come from. I even wish I had been in more choirs! Granted, scheduling gets a bit crazy... but the experiences you share are invaluable.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Back in 2013...

On October 24, 2013, I made a statement. I am going to quote the last paragraph:
I don't want to sing at the Met. I don't care about YAPs. I don't want to sign an album contract. I want people to hear music. I want to touch people's souls. I want to bring a part of HUMAN HISTORY to PEOPLE. Because THAT'S what it's about. Singers, performers - I beg you: Go somewhere that you can share your art, no matter what level you are... It's not about making $5000 per show. It's not about flying to Milan or Paris or New York City every week. It's about sharing YOUR MUSIC with the WORLD.
I had a dilemma today. It wasn't the end of the world. It was my own lack of a contingency plan for something I had really somewhat expected, however, I wanted to assume it wouldn't happen. Regardless, I solved the issue, and it's going to be fine. But had I been holding a sharp object, someone may have gotten stabbed... Thank you Yogic Breathing Exercises for pulling me out of that one. But the moment I stepped into that practice room, and started working on the songs that I have planned to share with everyone at next month's recital, I was relieved. Because you know what? Something may have happened, and maybe it won't be perfect, and maybe I had to freak out a little to kick my own butt into gear - but this recital is about sharing the music I love with my friends and family whom I love. It's about bringing you a little piece of me. It's about opening up my heart and my story to all of you.

I had a fantastic lesson with my teacher - she loves the selections, by the way - and it was only my second lesson with her, but I know that it's going to be a good relationship. She loves art song the way I love art song. I told her I'm trying to streamline all these pieces into one cohesive, beautiful story of love, and loss, and change, and heartbreak. I need this. This has been a period of growth for me.

The more I look carefully at each and every selection I have made, the more sure I am of the piece. The love of God, in Laudate Dominum, which I have recently embraced as a part of my being, and as a musician. The forbidden love with someone you know is wrong for you in the poetry of Verlaine, the pleasure of guilt (is Lent not the perfect time for these amorous confessions?). The abandonment of Ophelia: her heartache, her sudden loss, her eventual demise – is reminiscent of my shock of an ending engagement with no forewarning. I won't leave out my hilarious American song set - finding love in the place you live, in the life you lead, and being a modern woman!

And Konstanze. Before 50 Shades of Grey, we had Die Entf├╝hrung aus dem Serail and the aria "Martern Aller Arten." Yes - Konstanze gets her own paragraph. I need her. I have fought with this character. I have had more vocal issues working on "Ach, Ich Liebte" than any other piece in my life! Not because the music was so difficult, but because I couldn't go THERE. If my singing was completely removed from my acting, what kind of artist would I be? When I worked on that piece, I truly was MADLY in love. I won't get as personal as to tell the whole story, but that person I KNEW was wrong for me. When that ended I found someone I thought was kind, compassionate, a complete change for the better - only to find that, once again, I was wrong. As soon as my engagement with Drew ended, I began working on "Martern Aller Arten." Her last line "Zuletzt befreit mich doch der Tod/at last I will be freed by death," became my liberty. The heartache is over. I have climbed that mountain and made it to the other side. I am alive, and well, and you can do what you will to me, and I still stand. Konstanze still stood. She found her beloved again in the end, but I am ready for a new beginning.

I'm excited to be preparing everything to share with you all, loved ones. I look forward to seeing you all at 4:00pm on March 15th at Church of the Advent, Christ the King, 261 Fell Street, San Francisco.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Yesterday...

was AMAZING.

I had a great lesson (after about 6 months hiatus from the traditional "voice lesson") with New Teacher, who is GOOD FRIENDS with Previous Teacher! And Previous Coach! I love it, love it, love it. I felt like I got an opera "check-up" with a clean bill of health. She and I worked on rethinking my support. I replaced some tension areas with new thoughts on breathing. I hadn't realized how tight I had been getting in my jaw until it was UN-TIGHT. It felt wonderful...



I had a really lovely audition in LA for SongFest (for which New Teacher teaches). I'm hoping and praying for acceptance (and maybe scholarship?) to the teaching track program, which would be fabulous. 


CoOperative also offered me another spot this year. I need to hold my breath for a little while, until I hear from SongFest. I think it's best if I only do one summer program, though I would love to be in musical workshops for the WHOLE summer. If only, if only... (sheesh, and Westminster has choral conducting and Kodaly workshops I would also love to attend... hmmm).

The good part is, I am still young. The bad part is, I am young, and therefore not a millionaire (yet? eh...).

On my audition trip last week, I saw THREE of my best friends, how exciting is that! And a crazy FOURTH best friend drove all the way down to LA from Sacramento to sneak off to Disneyland on Saturday. Heeheehee. But I had to wear my glasses because I LOST MY CONTACT ON SPACE MOUNTAIN!!!!

I have been offered a position directing a church choir in Half Moon Bay. I'm embarking on a VERY new journey with that one... I'm trying it. Dippin' my toes in to see what happens! I feel like I know NOTHING, and yet, I know that (oh, gosh...) 15 years of experience singing in choirs must do something. The two voice degrees shouldn't hurt, either. And it's Half Moon Bay... not the worst place to work every Sunday!




Monday, January 26, 2015

January 2015

Really.... it's January 2015!?! When did that happen?

I auditioned for the CoOperative program again. Next week I will be auditioning for SongFest in Los Angeles. I'm very excited to get to go down to the Colburn School and view their facilities. I'm also very excited to say I am going to try to start lessons with a new teacher very soon. It is needed...

I have met some wonderful people in the past few weeks. I have also reconnected with a lot of old friends. While I don't want to neglect my singing, the social life I have been living has definitely been a welcome distraction!

I am happy to say that I am blessed with amazing friends, and that I am incredibly joyful to be doing the work I am doing here in the Bay Area.

My kids are all becoming so musical. They have a very good grasp on singing, and what it means to interpret music. Children are often underestimated as artists, but we need to find ways they can bring their own view to the music.

Utilizing some of the skills from the last CoOperative program into my lesson plans for children has been an interesting and exciting endeavor. They love doing the Dynamic Presence activities that I learned from Sean McCarther. It was even more exciting to learn that my friend and colleague at University of Wisconsin is teaching these same activities to his college music students.

As more information comes my way, I shall update this blog. Until then, au revoir!

Broken Heart and Raspy Voice: The California Fires

I am so so heartbroken for all the people who have lost their homes this month in the California fires. The flames were visible from my pare...

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