21 June 2007

Sailing Out of Safe Harbors

A ship in safe harbor is safe, but that is not what a ship is built for.
~ William Stedd

As I said yesterday, the real purpose of the trip to New York was to check out the Catholic Underground. My friend Diane is a parishioner at Our Lady of Good Counsel, where CU meets in Manhattan. Having attended their monthly evening concerts and being a fan of my music, Diane suggested that this might be a good fit for a future gig. So I went up to check out the venue.

CU is on break for the summer and will start up again in September. But it was still a good idea to get a look around and get comfortable with the setting. I’ll be heading up that way again in September, and hope to get a better feel for the energy when it’s packed.

After Adoration, Diane, Eric and I went to Fetch for drinks and dessert (very good Margaritas and cheesecake ~ mmmm!) and that is when my life took a dramatic turn. Both Diane and Eric took turns kicking my acreage regarding my music and my hesitancy to share it with a larger audience. The conversation can basically be summed up this way: God has given me the gift of music and if I don’t share it with a wider audience, than that is burying my talent and I will be held accountable for that when I die.


Never thought about it quite in those terms. I have been complimented, asked if a CD could be pre-ordered, told consistently that my music is good and that I have what it takes. For whatever reason, it never made a dent ~ those negative tapes that kept playing in my head drowned them out. I do not know what it was that spoke so clearly to me this time, but that night, I finally got it. And believed it. Believed in the gift and what I need to do with it. The energy produced by this new self-knowledge and acceptance of support was incredible. It was as if I were staring at a train, and the conductor was holding out his hand, inviting me aboard.

No one but another artist understands the interior battles that I live with every day in regards to my art. Self-doubt is a constant companion. One of the lines I tell people at a concert is “Come on ~ clap! Musicians need love!” It always garners a laugh, but I am serious! The soul stands naked in the spotlight. If the audience gives verbal affirmation to the art, then the soul is not as conscious of its nakedness. But if there is no feedback, or (the ultimate slap in the face) bored indifference, then the soul is made painfully aware that its beauty is not appreciated and feels that its art has been cheapened.

So though I now realized that I really had no choice but to continue to grow my talent, and to share it with more people, I was still painfully aware of the risks such sharing entails. This fear has dogged me all my life.

So I kept staring excitedly at the train, but I did not get on.

The next day we met Imelda for lunch. Lovingly, but firmly, she pushed me on to the train, which turned out to be an express! I found myself saying yes to performing a benefit concert near her home in Connecticut. And she really didn’t allow me to say no by graciously offering to act as my agent in the area, as I have never performed outside of the Washington, D.C. area and am unfamiliar with venues. That will all change in September when I premiere my new show, The Edge of Love: Finding My Voice.

Thank you to all my wonderful friends and fans who have always believed in the music. The journey is far from over, but I know I could not have come even this far without your love, support, prayers and tough talk! Thanks for joining me on this wild ride ~ y’all are a blessing!!

Oremus pro invicem,

20 June 2007

NYC: The Southern View

One doesn't discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.
~ Andre Gide

I have been meaning to write about my recent trip to New York City for a couple of weeks now. It was a life changing weekend for me and I needed a little time to process everything that happened. As such, I will do a couple of posts to cover the trip details. This first one will focus more on the city itself and the food.

I had been to New York City once before, my junior year of college, on a weekend trip with a group of friends to hear the Tallis Scholars perform works by Tomas Luis Victoria at the Church of St. Ignatius in Manhattan. We arrived at night, in time for the concert, but not in time to get a good walk around downtown. So I count this last trip as my first real look at New York City.

Sullivan grew up in Brooklyn, knows his way around and had friends we could stay with, so he came along to act as guide. And thank goodness he did! This little Southern Belle would have been completely lost! I am not quite a country bumpkin, but close enough to warrant and be exceedingly grateful to have a Yankee city slicker around. ;-)

The main purpose of this trip was two-fold: 1) to check out The Catholic Underground as a possible future gig and 2) to scout things out for the big New York trip with about 5 to 8 friends in mid-July. We took the bus from Chinatown in D.C. ~ for $35 roundtrip, you really can’t beat it! We would have spent more than that on gas alone! And our driver must have had NASCAR dreams as a child ~ we made it in under 4 hours. Even with my own mad NASCAR-esque driving skills, I could never have made it up that fast!

One of the first things we did once we arrived was meet Sullivan’s old family friend, Carl, who I immediately fell in love with. Carl is a stereotypical Brooklyn-ite ~ Italian descent, retired NYC cop, accent, attitude and all! He was a real gem whose wry wisdom and dry humour kept me in stitches practically the whole weekend. He picked us up and we went to meet my friend Diane for a late lunch at Katz’s Deli (where apparently Harry met Sally ~ never saw the movie) and I had my first taste of New York City: the biggest hard salami sandwich I have ever seen and half-sour pickles. Half-sour? Yes. I thought it was weird too ~ but they were delicious! It was almost like eating a cucumber fresh from the garden, with just a slight pickle taste to it. I also ordered fries and they were the best fries I have ever had…anywhere…period.

But what impressed me most was the friendliness of the people! I was surprised to find that the stereotype of New Yorkers being grumpy and not talking to anyone is not really true ~ and yes I do live in a Southern cocoon. The guys behind the counter at Katz’s were sweet, funny and acted like we had been friends forever. It was a breath of fresh air. I felt like I was back in my hometown. It was a lovely experience and one that tickled Sullivan to no end. He and I are forever having lively yet playful debates on North vs. South. ;-)

My next foray into New York cuisine was on Sunday. We met my other friend, Imelda, for lunch at a downtown Manhattan pizzeria. More than once Sullivan and I have debated pizza as well: he insisting that New York pizza is far superior to any pizza we have in Virginia. To which I would respond with rolling my eyes. No more! My apologies, Sullivan. When it comes to New York pizza, I am in complete agreement with you ~ no pizza I have ever had in Virginia comes close! I now find myself longing for another slice and I think driving 4 or 5 hours for a good pie is not unreasonable! :-D

After lunch, we strolled down Broadway for awhile, where I bought the most sweet-smelling roses (Janet, you would have appreciated them!), posed in front of Juilliard and then Imelda made me close my eyes and then led me to the front of the Metropolitan Opera House. When I opened my eyes, it was the most glorious scene: the beautiful fountains in front of the Met were dancing lightly, almost in time with the strings playing Pachabel’s Canon in D in the background as a misty rain began to fall. It was a magical ending to an epic weekend.

Tomorrow: Sailing out of Safe Harbors

Oremus pro invicem,

08 June 2007

Musica Sacra: June 2007

Why waste money on psychotherapy when you can listen to the B Minor Mass?
~ Michael Torke

Mea culpa! I was in New York City this past weekend (a visit worthy of a future post) and did not have a chance to post the music list for Saint John the Beloved. Here it is for last weekend and for the upcoming Sundays. The choir will go on break in July and August and resume singing at Saint John’s in September.

This week it is not the b minor Mass, but the g minor Mass by Ralph Vaughn Williams. Truly a thing of beauty! Hope to see y’all there!

Holy Trinity (Cycle C) ~ June 3, 2007

Opening #201 All Hail, Adored Trinity / Introitus
Offertory Offertorium / Motet: Duo Seraphim – J. Handl
Communion Communio / Motet: Jam Sol Recedit – M. Franck
Recessional # 343 Holy, Holy, Holy

Missa Tertii ToniCostanzo Porta

Corpus Christi ~ June 10, 2007

Opening # 213 Alleluia, Sing to Jesus / Introitus
Offertory Offertorium / Motet: Caro Mea – F. Guerrero
Communion Communio / Solo: Panis Angelicus – M. A. Charpentier
Recessional # 345 Holy God, We Praise Thy Name
Motet during Incensation: O Esca Viatorum - Isaac

Mass in G – R. Vaughan Williams

Ordinary XI ~ June 17, 2007 (Father’s Day) (No choir)

Birth of John the Baptist ~ June 24, 2007

Opening # 247 By All Your Saints Still Striving / Introitus
Offertory Offertorium / Motet: Jesu Dulcis Memoria – T. L. Victoria
Communion Communio / Chant: Ut Queant Laxis – Gregorian
Recessional # 617 Ye Watchers and Ye Holy Ones

Missa St. Joannis de Deo - F. J. Haydn

Oremus pro invicem,