Thursday, September 1, 2011
It's finally done! Three years ago, the lovely Serena Bartlett of GrassRoutes inspired me to finally DO something with all these t-shirts I had been collecting since I was little and couldn't part with. So over many sunny days in her living room she taught me to use a sewing machine.
The quilt has no less than 19 shirts sewn into it, many of them building blocks of my musical life. I think I have a whole other stash of shirts from which I could make another one!
Thank you so much to Serena and Elaine Turcotte for teaching me how to quilt and helping me through this process. This will not be my last, I'm sure of it. I'm so excited about sleeping with this gorgeous thing. So is the cat! She already loves snuggling with it.
The flip side of the quilt is this gorgeous orange and yellow embroidered fabric, totally changing the colors in my bedroom, which I'm excited about. One of the best things is that I can now display the flowered pillow my Grandmother embroidered for me. Now it matches!
The last couple nights I've been staying up super late, determined to finish this thing, hand sewing the binding, a nice fuzzy velvety purple fabric.
Earth Day - Elementary School Lorax t-shirt, tie-dyed by yours truly when I was really into that.
middle strip - From a bar in Aberdeen, Scotland that used to be a church and now has a haunted mansion theme. If you drank all 7 deadly sins cocktails, you won a deadly sin t-shirt. I did it in one night (oh, to be 22 again! They were actually pretty weak anyway) I, of course, choice the Gluttony tee.
NHSMI - Summer high school music program at Northwestern, met some of my best friends there, convinced me to be a music major. Got vocal nodules and put on vocal rest, didn't work (I was having too much fun), got in trouble.
Pirates of Penzance - How I spent my second semester of my fifth year of college. Realized I hated being in staged productions, still had a blast. Love Gilbert & Sullivan. Love this show.
High School Honor Choir - Yes, I was a high school choir geek. Did this program twice.
Leader of the Pack - Didn't get a part in this junior high production, based on the music of Brill Building's Ellie Greenwich. The music is AWESOME ("River Deep Mountain High", "Be My Baby", Da Doo Ron Ron". Worked as production assistant instead, building sets, etc. Wished I was in the show and was so jealous of those that were. They got to wear gogo boots!
Forever Plaid - A musical about a four-part harmony vocal group in the early 60s, was a total groupie, saw the show five times, know every word. It's been on PBS lately and I still love it.
Cabaret t-shirts - There are three of them on this quilt. We wore them during the shows. Cabaret was our High School musical Revue and I learned so much music being part of it. They were so much fun (but I still hate staging).
Ann Arbor Blues & Jazz Fest - I volunteered with my roommate in 2002 as my fifth year of college started. It was humid and rainy. I got to see Koko Taylor sing "Wang Dang Doodle".
Lori's Diner - In San Francisco. My grandma's name is Lori.
University of Michigan Women's Glee Club patch - Taken from the terrible, horrible button down long-sleeved shirts they made us buy. But I went on tour with them to Europe and had a blast.
Danzig Tour - hysterical t-shirt my aunt made for our clan when we went to Danzig/Gdansk in Poland, where my grandmother was born. Ten of us kids and grandkids went with her in 2002. It was in incredible experience.
I heart Ann Arbor - Well, I do.
Ben & Jerry's and the Great Harvest Bread Co. - high school summer jobs. Yum yum yum.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Yep, it's that time again: choir concert time! I have a short, but kickass tenor solo in the spiritual "Daniel, Daniel Servant of the Lord". I'm so in love with spirituals, these songs are in my blood. I love the Copland piece as well and the Thompson is totally growing on me.
The San Francisco Lyric Chorus has a concert on Saturday at St. Marks in San Francisco and on Sunday at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Orinda (East Bay). Let me know if you'd like to come.
The music is gorgeous and challenging. I thought it would be a breeze because we didn't have to learn any foreign languages, but because it's mostly 20th century music, and the harmonies are super difficult. The whole program is a capella as well, so at times I feel like we're picking entrance notes out of the air.
I love singing in choirs. Why? Yes, I love the sound, it's a very personally beautiful sonic texture I love. But I think it's more than that. I love that people can sing together with nothing else: no amplification, no mics, no instruments. Just voices. I also love that every person has a different voice, but when singing with other people, they all meld into one, creating a "choral" sound: a group of 20 people over here, might sound very similar to a group of 20 people over there.
I also love how one person (or more) can totally mess up, and it might be totally unnoticeable.
The choral community is HUGE in the Bay Area. I love what that communal idea of music making means about the area. It's very fitting.
Just last week I participated in the 826 Valencia project led by Camille Robles at One Red Delicious Press. The concept is to submit an audio recording of a story, any story, as long as it's personal. Camille is going to catalog the stories and create a book from them. I think there might even be music added to some of them.
This project will benefit San Francisco's 826 Valencia, a writing center dedicated to getting kids excited about the literary arts and fostering the writing skills of the youth. The classes they offer are free, and they inspire creativity, confidence, and a route to finding one's voice. Camille is still taking submissions if you want to get in involved. For more info, click here.
This is a story about the most personal, spiritual and emotional musical experience I've ever had. In a nutshell, I was moved to tears by the singing and acoustics of my high school choir while in France. I used this story for my college admissions essay and as soon as I heard about this project, it was the story that came to mind.
Here is the audio track, happy singing!
Grand chapel by Alwaysmoretohear
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Since I just spent 4 hours at the dentist this morning, I feel the urge to share.
You know how certain songs can remind you of a specific moment in your life? Well the Crash Test Dummies' "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" reminds me of getting high on laughing gas during oral surgery in high school.
Sparing you the gory details, I had a canine in an odd place and it needed to be attached to a chain and slowly pulled to its current position.
My oral surgeon Dr. Hertz (I'm not making that up) suggested bringing in some music to listen to while he performed surgery on my pie hole. I selected a mix I had made for the car (I loved my cassette mixes).
By the time the laughing gas set in, I was on the third song, "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" by the Crash Test Dummies, a song about freak children with embarrassing secrets.
Being that this was definitely the first time I had ever been "high," I remember specifically some of the bizarre things that passed through my mind, like thinking that I was inside a duck head: my feet at the bill and my eyes peering through the duck eyes. I also remember giving a little shout (in my head) when my short, hairy, bad-breathed orthodontist Dr. Collins walked through the door to contribute to the surgery. I had forgotten that he was stopping by and his presence startled me.
So now and forever more, whenever I hear that weirdo Canadian song from the 90s "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" and that deep, low voice, I will think of being totally off-my-nut high in the oral surgeon's chair.