Learning how to stop

Anyone who knows me knows I keep a very busy schedule. Usually every day of my life has something going on. Some of this is a natural result of working full time in addition to a very intense hobby of opera singing. But much of it is also a natural internal drive I have to always be doing something.

Really, one has to do with the other. I sing because I love to sing, but I would not put the time and effort into the relentless number of rehearsals and practice time needed if I didn’t have this internal drive always driving me forward. And there are a relentless number of rehearsals as I close on a show! Generally the last two weeks before a show means rehearsals every night.

But on those days I don’t have rehearsals? I often pack in seeing friends, playing Ingress, playing board games, travel to other places, or going out to other shows. Even on the rare nights I spend at home, I end up planning something I need to do around the house to be done.

And yes, this internal drive means I get a lot done, and I do a lot of things! But it also means I’m too often exhausted and discombobulated. I do have a few routines that I do to ensure that I rest from time to time, but they often are far and few between. And some friends of mine might be really familiar with how I end up going to other locations so that I am out of my frenzied life and can actually spend some time resting! (Really, I think this is why I love going camping — I force myself to rest for a weekend.)

So this year I’ve decided that I need to work on STOP. As in, I need to take more time where I just stop and rest. There have been days where I’ve just said, “OK, this is a day off, and I need to not schedule anything.” I feel awful when I tell someone that I can’t see them because I want to do nothing, it feels like I’m telling them nothing is better than them, but that’s not really what I mean! Fortunately, my friends so far have understood when I say that though.

I am looking for other ways to really embrace this though, and so I do encourage y’all to leave me messages in the various forums on how I might implement more STOP time.


Two shows, TWO SHOWS!

So the first week of rehearsals for both the shows I’m in is underway, and so far it’s very challenging, but fun. Challenging because there are a lot of new things here!

The challenge of Eugene Onegin is that I have to learn an entirely new set of pronunciations for the Russian, and then use them while learning the notes. But once I learn them, the music is just beautiful. And the people I’m singing with in this are some of the best, so I am feeling daunted by the company. I hope I can live up to singing beside them!

The challenge of Patience is the words. The particularly and especially grandiloquent words. The overbearingly flowery words of magniloquent nature. The archaic words that were not oft-seen even for the times. Basically: the words of many, many syllables that I have never seen before, and now need to memorize. But it’s good to be back among the people who are like family to me. And both casts are great and will make you laugh.

Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin will be at Bellefield Hall in Oakland, one night only: Friday February 17th. This is not staged, but with orchestra and in the original Russian. I am cast as Larina, mother of Tatiana. Tickets in advance: $20

Gilbert and Sullivan’s Patience will be at the Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall of Carnegie, PA the first two weekends of March. I am cast as Lady Jane, singing on alternate nights as that role, the other nights as ensemble. Tickets in advance: $15



Orlando, and the reactions

I woke up this morning and checked the Twitterverse, and found something very striking. Of those posting about the attack in Orlando, my LGBT friends were all posting about how to support the LGBT community, but my straight friends were all posting about gun control.

I’m going to break a moment, and point out that I am very strongly pro-gun, and that may color how I viewed this. However, I have not chosen the guns’ rights issue as one of my fighting issues, and so I largely stay out of that battle. I understand why people have trouble with it, but my reasons are my own and they are private. I say this now so that you know my bias going in.

In any case, I thought this was an odd delineation of the groups, and while I thought both were valid responses, it still made me wonder why the delineation was so strong. A mention of this on the Twittersphere indicated that others saw the same delineation, but there were those who did not see this strong separation. Others also pointed out that they’re seeing strong anti-Islam sentiment in this as well, something I’m fortunately devoid of in my feed. So, this is all very unscientific and perhaps unrepresentative, but it did make me think today about the ramifications of this, and implications.

And then I realized what it was that made me feel so squishy.

Those that are posting about the community are because the LGBT community sees violence on their friends, their lovers, and often themselves frequently. It may be gunfire, but more often it is fists. There is a constant threat to people who are openly gay, trans, or queer, because there is so much hatred out there. Those who are in the community are asking for support because they feel very vulnerable this week.

Meanwhile, those that are posting about how guns are the cause are usually doing so without admitting that this is a hate crime. It’s almost a political statement, let’s remove guns from our world! That message supersedes the violence that is perpetrated on victims of hate every day. I know that’s not the intention, but when it’s the only message I see from straight folks, it starts to feel like someone has appropriated this heinous act for their political agenda.

Mind you, I don’t want to say, “Don’t hate guns,” because I do understand why you do (even if I don’t agree). But please, don’t let that guns were involved be the only thing you discuss in this. This is a hate crime, and if we don’t address the hate involved, we won’t address the many who are victims in similar (but less news-worthingly large) attacks every day. I do understand that guns exacerbate the hate, and escalates its outcome, but remember that the hate is the real cause here.

And then those that hate on Islam for this? You know what, I’m not even going to discuss that. It’s answering hate with hate, and that’s not going to solve any problems, K?

The LGBT community really does need our love and support this week. Remember that they are hurting because friends and loved ones were victims of this event. And friends and loved ones have been and will be victims of other hate-related violence.

Holy Cats changes!

I know it’s been a while since I’ve updated this site, it’s been a very busy time!

First off, I got a new job. I now work for Wombat Security. It’s a great place to work, and growing so fast. It’s hard to keep up with the work! That’s kept me super busy during the day.

We also just finished Don Giovanni. It was amazing, the singers were so talented, great acting, and we even got a great review! I was actually on the libretto team for this production, and even got interviewed in-house by Undercroft Opera.

This show was the end of a long run of shows for me, starting with Iolanthe, then into RCC’s Holiday Concert, then to Giulio Cesare, then Pirates of Penzance, then Don Giovanni — always preparing for the next show before the previous one was done! I am looking forward to a break this summer.

That is not to say I am not preparing for things. I did have one audition recently (and am awaiting its results) and I am looking forward to two more over the summer. I’m also looking into other auditions as well! So….. not really a full break, I’ll be singing through it!

In other news, I have been reorganizing my house. And by reorganizing, I mean extreme rearrangement of stuff and furniture! I’m super excited to get this done, the first floor is almost there, but the second floor has so far to go. Plus, the backyard is getting a makeover as well….

Anyway, hopefully this summer I’ll have more time to post these updates to my life! Until then, thanks for checking in on me.


Pirates of Penzance!

Who doesn’t love singing pirates?

Seriously, that’s what got me singing with the Pittsburgh Savoyards in the first place. Pirates of Penzance was the first show I ever did with them in March of 2012, now 4 years ago! I adored the show so much, I decided I had to do it again. And this time I am cast as Kate! It’s a minor role, which is very much a relief after playing Nirena in Giulio Cesare.

This is a fantastic production too, full of incredible talent, including so many of the folks who were in Giulio Cesare with me, and also others I’ve known from previous Savoyards. It’s great seeing Liz Rishel and Deborah Greenstein reprise their roles as Mabel and Ruth, respectively, as well. The incredible Sean Lenhart is directing.

As always, I have tickets for sale! $15 a piece if you buy from me, and I do take paypal and can leave them at will call. The show runs Friday March 4th-Sunday March 6th, and Thursday March 10th-Sunday March 13th. I am Kate on the even dates, and ensemble on the other dates (the amazing Sarah Perconte is playing Kate when I am not!) My tickets are good for any of those nights, no need to know which you’re going to in advance!

I hope to see you there!