We were cleaning out the basement this weekend, when… jackpot! I found some old Great American Songbook sheet music, photos and records. As I was looking through everything, it really got me thinking about the connection I have with this music.
My dad’s father, born and raised in The Bronx, loved Vic Damone. Evidence of this is in the collection of his records passed down. In fact, just recently my dad said that growing up, he didn’t even realize “On the Street Where You Live” was from a show. He thought it was just another “old crooner’s song”.
Mom’s side is just as connected with this type of music, beginning with my grandpa. He has been teaching my sisters and me Jazz History this year via Skype, since he’s in Kansas and we’re in Indiana. In one of our sessions this spring, he mentioned playing with Ella Fitzgerald, and how those charts were the best he ever played. WHAT?! Even my mom didn’t know about that, though she remembers watching him perform with Andy Williams, among others.
My parents are both musicians and have performed music of the Great American Songbook. My mom played cello with Barry Manilow in upstate New York during his tour following the release of “Singing with the Big Bands”. I got some weird looks when I would ask my friends, “So, what’s your favorite Barry Manilow song?” It didn’t phase me when they had never heard of him- I just played the CD, expecting them to love it as much as I did. Not everyone did, but that’s OK.
As with all other good music, Great American Songbook music can span generations and create experiences and memories that entertain and inspire.
What a great week!
On Wednesday, I got to be a part of an online masterclass through the Carnegie Hall Musical Exchange! I had my video of "Different" reviewed by Leslie Stifleman (Musical Director of Chicago), Roger Rees (Tony nominated director of Peter and the Starcatcher), and Tara Rubin (Tara Rubin Casting). They had such valuable feedback for the video, and were so nice and fun!
Then, over the weekend, I participated in the Michael Feinstein Great American Songbook Regional Competition. Saturday started very early on the campus of The University of Michigan. The day was comprised of masterclasses ranging from phrasing to mic technique. That evening, all of the regional finalists performed at the Kerrytown Concert House in downtown Ann Arbor. All ten finalists did a fantastic job, but only three of us would be sent to the finals. After the Judges deliberated, they had us all gather on stage for the winners to be announced. The whole day, I had ended up being first to do things (which rarely happens!): I was the first one to sing in the masterclass, I was first up in the performance, and I was the first person to be announced as a winner! I will be participating in the finals at the Palladium in Carmel, Indiana on June 15th! I am so excited to work with Michael Feinstein, Sylvia McNair, Sandi Patty, and all the other amazing instructors at the four day boot camp prior to the finals!
For more information on the Finals, and to puchase tickets online, go to: http://www.thecenterfortheperformingarts.org/tickets/production.aspx?PID=1668 (Price: $25-$50)
The best part of the weekend was the fact that my family was there, including my grandparents from Kansas. They saw the performance and then stuck around in Ann Arbor for Mothers Day. It was so neat to be able to share that with them!
Later this week, I'll be in NYC! I'm so excited to head back to the city and possibly see some shows! More on that soon!