Happy December!

I can’t believe it’s December. I knew exactly when it was coming this year because all Grad school applications were due today. I sent mine off to Cleveland Institute of Music yesterday.  I was actually a little strange because as I was preparing for it,  I sort of assumed I would get in, but then as I wrote the essay about how CIM would meet my career and educational goals I realized, I very well could be rejected! Who knows, that will make the decision easier for next  year at least! It was really good for me to write the afore mentioned essay. It’s great to sit down once in a while and put your goals and aspirations on paper, I found the exercise invigorating, and I appreciated the remind of why I spend so much time doing what I do. Overall I came away feeling like CIM could be a perfect match for me and my needs, as well as realizing my sincere desire to teach.
This week has been a very full and busy one, and I feel blessed that I was feeling so much better and that we had sun everyday this week! It was cold, but that doesn’t bother me if the sun is out. I loved it! I struggle with an incredibly stuffy nose all week. Then Thursday several singer friends told me to snort salt water, it reminded me of Sister Noble because she once handed me a little recipe for a similar remedy a few summers ago when I was ill. I decided to try it. And it worked superbly. I sniffed that briny stuff up so far it came dripping down the back of my throat and then I tip upside down and moaned in pain as my sinuses screamed in protest as their gooey contents were destroyed. I had a bit of a headache while the saline worked it’s magic, and my eyes were red and my nose dripped and ran for an hour. But ever since, I have only had to blow my nose about 10 times a day, which is about 5x less than the previous two weeks!
Things are starting to speed up. I am preparing for four big performances/auditions before I leave for Christmas. Two Messiah performances, 1 concert- I am a soloist in a recital composed of Elgar songs as part of the Oberlin Elgar Festival, and  an audition for Ohio Light Opera. I’m really excited about all of them.
I also decided that I am going to go ahead and get my own opera going next semester. Right now I think I want to do “Doctor Miracle,” Bizet’s first opera. It’s a one act opera, with 4 characters, one in each voice part. It’s a silly show but the music is nice, and the range is great for me. I’m getting more and more excited about it. There is this managerial side of me that excites at arranging coaches, rehearsal spaces, directors, costumes, and cast members, I need to pull it out full force in order to get this show going before the semester ends. So that the other cast members can start learning their parts over the break. I haven’t decided if I want to start the rehearsals over winter term, or just when the semester starts. (I just found tickets on Southwest for $99 each way so I am really excited about going home for a week!)
We continue to enjoy having friends over. Tuesday Erin, Brady, and Sister Stay were here for Institute. Wednesday Elizabeth and Orville came over to watch “Heros” with us.  Friday Mark and Larissa Jaster came over for dinner, Collegium choir and Settlers. They are some fairly new friends of ours. Though I met Mark my freshman year I haven’t seen him in years. He took Tom to tour the NASA facility in Cleveland and they found they had a lot in common. Tom was really excited to have an engineer over. I really enjoyed their company as well. They are both very friendly and social. They are both entrepreneurial minded, and they reminded me a lot of Brigette and Dave. When I asked what they do for fun, they couldn’t think of anything and then they said, “I guess we start small businesses.” Tom made an incredible pasta dish, it’s hard to describe it has bacon and tomato and crushed red pepper, when he told me what was in it I thought it was going to be sick, but it was one of my favorite pasta dishes he has made. We only had turkey bacon and turkey ham, so we used that and it actually tasted excellent.  The Jasters live about 30 minutes away, but we hope we can continue to get together with them once a month or so.
I started another new student this week. I really like her. She is 16, and very verbal and extroverted. He has a pure quite tone. The more I work with different voices the more I feel the importance of cultivating their own voice and style and not pushing everyone towards classical singing. While certain classical techniques, like breathing and resonance are helpful for all voice types, pushing everyone to sing robustly with vibrato doesn’t always seem like the most healthy option.  Oberlin is big on the idea that vibrato is essential for good singing. I think that is true with operatic singing, but people who just want to enjoy singing in their church choir, going caroling, and singing around the piano with their family don’t need to stress that they larynxes don’t naturally rock.
We added another item to our decor. A small three foot fake Christmas tree. Sam and Abbey Foster decided they were going to go ahead and get a real tree, and therefore said we could use their little tree. I made a little tin-foil star for it, and Tom took the lights from off the book shelf and strung them around it. It looks very simple but beautiful. It sits humbly in our living room, dwarfed by the overstuffed chair next to it.  It’s charming, like the runt kitten!
I was blessed to be able to help two people this week. Only after did I realize I really needed that. One of my students wants to audition for the conservatory so I helped her figure out how to arrange everything, and another dear friend had a major issue she needed advice on. It felt so good to focus on someone else’s problems and to in turn forget my own.  There is real validity in the statement that if you loose yourself in the service of your fellow men you will find yourself.

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