Thursday, December 15, 2011

Holiday Salon Hoopla!

The Holiday Singer's Salon made me proud. How happy I was to see my younger students, getting up there and singing in their sometimes solemn, sometimes silly, but always sincere way, sharing their talents and hard work for all to hear. Cynthia Lau sang "O Holy Night" with such quiet grace, as to be truly moving and Nicole Sotelo was heartbreakingly sweet in her version of "Silent Night". Kaylee Dellart shared her considerable talents in a lighthearted, lilting "Let it Snow".
How great was it to hear Erick Deshaun Dorris's hip and cool Nutcracker Suite? (Not sure how he titles it but fun times...)? Who did not enjoy Marie Cole Hunt's stunning rendition of Gesu Bambino? Yowsa! I was really gratified, as well, to see how far Omar Jano has come in his performance ability, with "Imagine". I hope he will do more then one song for us next time! And Andrea Ott regaled us with a lovely rendition of "That's Him" from One Touch of Venus, and the holiday Classic, "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas".
The Red Apples did a little swingin' blues for us, and Jaroslaw Golembiowksi and myself shared some of our original songs as well as a few Christmas tunes.  Maggie Dahlberg, was great as always, attending to all things Deagan Studio as well as accompanying students and first-comers on the keys.  What more could one want? Well how about a Chirstmas sing-a-long, featuring Jaroslaw on the baby grand and David Lenef on ukulele!? Wha???You got it. What fun that was. Never have I heard such an outrageous version of "The Twelve Days of Christmas"! Never.
The Singer's Salon is getting a good start but has plenty of room to grow. Some have come and observed and not yet performed. (But they will, oh they will!) Others have yet to actually show up-you know who you are- and still others have still to find us. I want to encourage everyone with an interest in the Art of the Song to come and share whatever their level of experience. The Salon is for music, merrymaking and camaraderie. It is for learning and daring and doing.
The January Salon has been pushed ahead to January 15, (normally we are shooting for the second Sunday of the month, but we need some holiday recovery time...) so put it on your calendar.
Quandaries, queries or questions? Give me a call at 773-474-8471 or hit me up here or on facebook.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Holiday Singer's Salon!!!

 Oh come all ye, faithful and un. Who am I to judge. Holiday songs and unholiday songs welcome! All ages show...check out the event on facebook with link below!

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Earth opens in me
Where is what was?

The ghost of a girl fades further
The unfamiliar ground
Rises to meet my body

I glean shining moments 
from my waking hours now

I press poetry 
from between my palms

I hear life singing
though sometimes far away

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Amy Winehouse dream

I had this strange dream about Amy Winehouse that converted itself into this poem. Also been having fun with my collage journal, so I'm including some images of that. It's difficult to scan the whole image. And I want to be sure to credit the image of the painting of the girl with the guitar I lifted from Blogging Artful Magazine. It's by Kelly Lish; her blog is kelly-loveis

Amy Winehouse came to me in a dream
She was small and thin
vulnerable akin
to a child a wild wild child
she was strange and
she didn't fit in

And there was a house or a building of brick
it was tall it was old
it was crusty and thick
it was old and
time to tear it down
and it wasn't the only one in town

I said "Tear it down now,
while the recession is on.
Tear it down before the new boom
comes along.
And I'll tear mine down
for a song."

Then two creatures were wrestling
two women someone said
though they looked like praying mantis's
with divided heads
and they wrestled each other
pinned to the ground

(Amy Winehouse never made a sound....)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

More about Singer's Salon!

SO much going on! Wendy Parman Voice Studio with Deagan Music (Maggie Dahlberg) will be hosting a new Singer's Salon on the second Sunday of the month starting Nov. 15 at 7:00 p.m.(I trust you saw the flyer on the home page). The idea behind the salon is to provide a safe and nurturing environment for singers of all kinds, genres and range of experience to come out and get in front of an audience to perform. It will be run somewhat like an open mic and will feature Maggie on piano accompaniment. (And who knows? Maybe The Red Apples will put in an appearance...) I will be featuring one or two singers as well, to get things going.
The atmosphere is one of encouragement and excellence. We all need more of that. The space is intimate and BYOB, some refreshments will be offered and a very small cover to offset the costs. ($3) Bring your friends and make some new ones! Also don't forget to bring sheet music in your key! If you like of course, you may accompany yourself on guitar, piano or whatever works. The studio will be set up for a variety of instrumentation, but the emphasis in on singing!
I would like to encourage folks to call (773-474-8471) or email (either from this site or and sign up in advance so we have an idea of who and how many are coming. But you can also just show up.
We SOOOO look forward to hearing the many interesting singers, actor-singers, singer-songwriters, scatters, rockers, classicals and what-have-you, share their talent with everyone!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Singer's Salon

Vocal Performance Workshop and Deagan Music are pleased to announce we are starting a Singer's Salon. This will be an opportunity for anyone to come and sing for an audience of their peers in a supportive environment. Stay tuned for more details! It's going to be fun!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

What kind of singer am I ? and other irrelevant questions...

Maybe I shouldn't say irrelevant, but sometimes I think we all worry about this too much. If you have good singing technique and a healthy pleasing voice, are you really limited to one (or two) genres of singing? Granted one needs a feel for any kind of music and it's pretty hard to teach that one. But many musical sorts of folks are fully capable of "getting" many and maybe even all types and genres of music. Different voices are clearly suited to different types of music, I'm not going to argue that one. Case in point, I am not a big fan of Rod Stewart singing standards. He certainly has a great pop/rock voice, but crossing over into the Great American Songbook is just not anywhere I need him to go. (Not that he cares what I think, I'm sure his bank account has more to say about that then any music critic). Same with many classical singers taking on pop songs-"Gag" say I, for the most part. Two totally different sounds, both of which I lovingly embrace as a listener, that sometimes just don't mix well.
However all of that being said, I myself am a genre buster. Two weekends ago, of a Saturday night, I sang a gig with my roots band, and the next afternoon, (!) I sang at a benefit for Jaroslaw Golembiowski's Chopin Society at the Chopin Theater. We performed several of our original songs which, seem to breach a murky gap between art song, theater song and European cabaret. I've only recently been back to performing this sort of thing, and I'm not going to say it isn't a bit challenging to go from one to the other in a given weekend. (The main challenge being that I was exhausted from singing a long couple of sets the night before into the wee small hours...) But I feel good about my ability to get inside of a  rockabilly tune or a Lucinda Willliams ballad one night, and switch to a highly cultivated art song based on very personal poetry the next day. Not to be braggin' on myself, just to be sayin' if I can do it, so can others!!!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The blog in blogger

I am trying the new blogger interface and not sure how I feel about it. I like the various views and interesting way that people can sort through stuff on your blog, but am missing my comments, followers and connections to my other web links, like facebook and my webpage and band page.Those all seem to be gone with the new interface....Wha??? Maybe they are still working on it, or am I missing something?
I am also struggling with the concept of the mishmash that is my blog. Singer stuff, singing teacher stuff poetry and song? Maybe it's all too much... But the thought of managing more blogs is somewhat daunting. What say you readers? Should I be separating this stuff? And how are you going to tell me without the dang comment box? HELP!
 In the meantime, stay tuned, for a discussion about diction in singing! So many vowels, so many consonants!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Diction and stuff!

I've been having an interesting discussion with some of my students about diction in singing. There is a great deal to discuss when it comes to this question! There are various points of view about diction for classical as opposed to "pop" singers, as well as recording versus performing live. I'm not sure I agree with some of the prevailing wisdom out there about this either. For instance, I have heard opera singers sing vowels, pop singers sing the consonants." Pish. All singers must sing the vowels first and foremost! Yes even pop singers. Why? You can't sustain a consonant (ok you could sustain a voiced consonant technically, like the sound zzzzzzz)! We sing ON the vowel. For singers, obviously the vowel is where sound is actually produced. Duh you say. 
Now what about WORDS? Yes yes yes!!!! What could be more important for a singer? We are the poets of the music world. We speak the sentiments that the songwriter wants to say...maybe we are the songwriter. Even more connection to the text in that case, but it shouldn't matter. Unless the singer is scatting or using sounds in a purely playful way (ala Bobby Mcferrin for instance) he/she is obligated to make herself understood. But how?
The tension that exists in the singer between singing on the vowel and making the words clearly understood is resolved by singing the consonants clearly but in a relaxed way. Overarticulation is not the answer. Often times in fact, when singers try to hard to use "good diction" they end up sounding just bad and the words aren't necessarily any clearer anyway. Befriend your consonants. Don't beat them to death with your tongue for God's sake. Clarity does not mean tension in the tongue lips or jaw. (OH NOOOOOOoooooooo!) Be thou nice to thine singing parts, and in turn, they wilt oblige you in singing with beauty and clarity.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Monday, September 26, 2011


I find myself perusing older poems:


I received you
Sweet mysterious unknown
Conceived in you
My own rebirth
For gazing into your heart
Full blown
And scampering out your eyeballs
Like stars cascading
Was your unique every-ness
Which signaled to me
My own

Being flesh of my flesh
Your purity cleansed me
Of filth that had deranged me

Being blood of my blood
Your beauty super-infused me
Until I could look even at myself
In all my fallible unquiet
And restless mirrors
That sold me short
And wrenched magic
From my tears
That laid me down
Like a slave
Staked to the ground
Even there-
In my reflection
Could I sensate
The blank goodness
Of Creation

Kneeling in harmony
With sky and sea
I touched your skin
Silken as the honey
Heard your utterings
Like the musing of the bees
Comprehended your deep core
Complex as the labyrinth
Of the honeycomb
Vibrating in time
Nestling in its stillness

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Awake Dreamer

I am awake and not awake
Asleep in my dreams
I awaken still dreaming
Wake inside waking
I dream in my morning
Streaming dreams
Spirit seeking Body quaking
I see the difference as very small
Or not at all 

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Thoughts on the Singer's Workshop

The Singer's Workshop in July was a very rewarding experience for me and hopefully for the participants as well. I'm sure I learned as much as my students did if not more! Here is a smattering thereof:
The more I teach (and in various settings) the more I realize that teaching is not just about disseminating information. In this workshop I really wanted to give students the opportunity to try out the material we were learning, to see it at work, to feel it in their bodies. I wanted to introduce concepts of performing a song, such as creating a character or onstage persona, how to do that and really fully embody it, using physicality as well as vocal techniques and emotional connections. Although we touched on it, there just wasn't enough time to fully flesh it out. I realize now that to fulfill my vision,  I needed more time for my students to be able to learn the new material and apply it thoroughly. Here it comes again that old issue 'o' mine. Old Man Time. I must learn respect for time, and how long stuff takes. In my mind (and in the minds of most I guess) things are going by at lightning speed. But in the real world (sigh) things take time. Moving the body through space can be  quite laborious.The full assimilation of new concepts, is a work in progress kinda thing. So the next go around will modify the amount of time available, and perhaps even pare down how many new ideas are bandied about.
Everybody did a great job of assimilating some of the material, as well as learning new songs, performing at the workshop regularly and doing a great show at the end of the 4 weeks. People got up and tried stuff out which can be challenging and scary even. I was proud of my talented students through and through, and their willingness to take on the experience fully! 
Students, and other participants or even audience members, I would also very much like to hear your feedback on the workshop. So feel free to post your comments and questions here or contact me directly!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Poem for My Mother

I wrote this a few days before Mother's Day this year.

Poem for My Mother

Oh Elemental Force of Nature!
Your face-
Still delicate and fine
Your eyes still laugh
Your voice steady
And like a child’s sometimes-
But hands can’t clasp
Nor fingers find

Your legs aren’t strong
But your mind is yet
You rival most
With wisdom and wit
Your Will is like an iron gate
To be crossed
Only by the Initiate

Your Love All-Encompassing
Your Spirit keen
Your Grace steeled by Fire in Faith
Your History a Book well worn
A Song of Songs, an Epic Poem

Your Beauty has not failed nor faded
Distinctly etched on Time
Each memory a Grain of Sand
Each Grain a Work
That you Created

You surround yourself in Light
Where’er you find your Way
And Light shall Encounter Light
On that blissful saddest day
Your fingers will be pressed in His
Your head on His Shoulder rest
As you gaze upon His Sweetest Garden
Amongst His very Best

Still some openings in July for Workshop

Click on the link for more details about the workshop. We will definitely be performing every week, and customizing the workshop to address each singers; individual issues.  Contact me for more information or with questions! 773-474-8471.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Singer's Workshop in July!!!!

A new Singer's Workshop is starting up in July. This will be a great opportunity to "perform" regularly in front of a group of supportive folks (other singers!) and see other's do the same. We will work on singing technique some, but the emphasis is on performing! Each week a different aspect of performing will be covered, with ample opportunity to apply what we have learned.  The workshop culminates in a live showcase where you can show off your new performance/singing chops! YEAH BABY!
Call or email me with questions: 773-474-8471
Above is a link to the online flyer about my Singer's Workshop starting in July:

Singer's Workshop
 See You THERE!

Monday, May 2, 2011

More Idol Thoughts and Beyond

True singing. What is true singing? I am referring to singing from the core of who you are, and thus, from your truth. I am referring to singing the song, the meaning of the song, it's essence. Not how much technical glop I can put on top of the song to distract you from the fact that I don't even know what the hell I'm singing about.
Technique, style, volume, high notes-none of this is art.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Oversinging!!! The American Idol Dilemma

I do watch American Idol, I admit it. It started off as great trash t.v. and 'cause my students all watch it.  SO I could start dishing on the Idols-but I won't. It is an interesting new year with a different set of judges. (More or less, but Randy has taken on almost a different personality this year anyway...) They seem to have chosen more of a variety of singers, and chosen singers, in general, who aren't as "pop" idol material as in years past.  Good, I say. But I do have a bone to pick with this season and with alot of contemporary "pop" singing in general: there is too much oversinging. What do I mean you may ask ?...Is singing about vocal pyrotechnics?  Is it about hitting high notes, screaming, belting, yelling or doing runs, a.k.a. melismas? Is that what moves the listener, tells her something she hasn't heard before, heals her or thrills her? Is that what makes someone listen to a recording over and over again?
I have a very different idea about singing, why I listen to a given singer, and what I long to hear.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Life Part (a fragment)

Squeak, shoot-
through the dirt
eek out your patch
sink deep roots
catch the sprinkles
of the green porous space
lift your face
to the sun's blaze of truth

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

possible new song....

 In fact Jaroslaw and I have been collaborating on this and it has turned into a tango! Velly far a challenging process, we are not done yet but it is getting there. Can't wait to have it done and perform it!

The Dance

Did you hear as I started my song
I looked up as you came through the door
The vista of your surprise
Left me lying sideways on the floor

But I picked myself up
Metaphorically that is
And I reached for your hand
Sardonically you grinned
Our eyes met in motion
We swayed round the room
And we danced till the dawn of the doom…

Did they hear as we started our dance
Did they know that it almost was done?
The silence of those all around
Left me hopelessly dizzy  and stunned

As we reached the crescendo
Some slight  innuendo
Left me sighing tremendous
The music was halting
The starstruck were waning
The reason was their
In the stuff of our dreams….

Sunday, March 27, 2011

More about process?

It occurs to me that I have been obsessing about my creative process for far too long. It wasn't always this way....there was a time, before marriage, before baby, before day job, second marriage, middle age ...when my creative life was just everything! Looking back on it, I was in such a different struggle than I am now. I guess when we are young we tend to take certain things for granted-especially time! Now time-finding it, managing it-is perhaps the greatest challenge.
But here I go, daydreaming about having more time...regretting the days gone by (when I was actually, for the most part, miserable) instead of just taking the time to make, do, be...
I think another part of this dilemma is that I want want want long days stretching into nights where my time is devoted to these various processes....instead of squeezed into an hour here, part of a morning there. The monster demands to be fed.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The rescue mode Negates neutrality Resulting in an ode To fatality.

When I look inside my heart
And see a clear path
 I think who is this?
And scurry into the brambles.

When I let my mind breathe it finds its own peace
Its own pieces of what is now
Instead of what was, what could be
And I release that that that
That which never was
That which can never be.
The rain comes and who can blame the rain.
Fall falls
Spring springs
Life lives
Whether we participate or not.

I can go alone to my execution
(As I have so many times)
Only to be resurrected once again
Only to be revived by the sweet taste of lips
Only to be stirred by the warm beam on my brow
Only to plunge once again headlong
Back to the abyss
The familiar the addiction
Of my neediness

Our similarity is paralyzing in its completeness
Each mirroring
The others wrongs and rights
A spiral of discontent

Can we still touch each other in the mirror
Can we see beyond the shadows?
Or is it just another reflecting pool inside
The inside thee inside

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Lesson of the week: Turning "play" into an obligation kills the fun.

What have I learned this week about "playing"? A big thing I have learned. I have learned that when you turn everything in life into an obligation, you take the fun out of everything. ! Yes, duh. So, if let's say I want to go out with a friend and I say, ok yeah let's do that this weekend, it will be fun and I put it down as a thing I am doing. But then, the night comes and whoops, I have a terrible headache. (yes, I get bad migraines, let's not even go there.) So now, ugh, do I really want to go? Not really, but I don't want to disappoint my friend, and not only that, I don't want to disappoint my own inner "I'm supposed to do something fun tonight dammit!" feeling. (OR is that a feeling? Maybe a judgement.) So now, I am going out cause I feel like I'm supposed to, thus destroying the fun of the initial plan, which I can't really experience anyway because I am feeling crappy! Any idiot could figure this out., but somehow it has eluded me.
In fact, posting a challenge on my blog about "playing" and creating new meaning in my life has lead to the same sort of feeling of, oh now I am not being successful enough at "showing" that I am doing this! Argh! Horrendous! So much self-referential angst! But this is an important breakthrough for me, cause I realize that I have been turning  everything into an obligation born of responsibility, whether it be family things, or work things, or creative things. Even the daily walk I was enjoying started to become ho hum, drab, a duty. Killed it. (Well this winter didn't exactly help...)
How does one keep the play in play? stayed tuned.

a week goes by...this is what I started to post...

And what has happened? Been busy of course! OH BROTHER! That wasn't part of the deal...the challenge, whatever.  Ok I picked a bad week for my "playing life" challenge. I did manage to have some happy moments. I started a book, and had a reading night at my hubby's behest. Awesome quiettime funness. I managed to drive my dear friend Michelle to Milwaukee to pick up her kitty, much meowing ensued on the trip back. Had a meeting with Jaroslaw about our possible new show.. which was stimulating....what else?
WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE? does it sound like I'm drowning?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Macky Messer

Nina Simone - Pirate Jenny

Teresa Stratas - Mahagonny - Alabama Song

Tom Waits- What Keeps Mankind Alive

In honor of Kurt Weill's birthday (one day late)

Anybody who knows me knows I am crazy for Kurt Weill, and have been performing his music off and on for many years. So in honor his birthday (a date late), here are some links to a few interesting and/or gorgeous versions of some Kurt Weill tunes. Maybe I'll get some old video of my own Kurt Weill stuff up here one of these days...Which brings to mind an entirely different issue. I will be performing some of my original collaborations with Jaroslaw Golembiowski sometime in the near future, and we'll probably throw some Kurt Weill in there for good measure as well. Details to follow.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Day two and already working too much for the challenge.

Well that's a fine kettle of fish..."play my existence" my ass. Oh well I am TRYING!!!! This morning was a load of prep for students, driving, teaching and stopping by the store. Now its' off to The Rock Academy for more teaching. AGH! But I'm not going to take this lying down. I am going to get some fun frolic time in if it kills me, dammit.
In the spirit of the concept I am posting this funky sketch from my sketchbook. NO it's not from today. So what? You gonna make something of it? It nevertheless speaks to this stay tuned. Smiley face.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Playing my Existence

Whereby I have discovered that I have an internal imperative that needs to be eradicated, i.e. to "justify" my existence by "earning" it, so to speak,  I have decided to give myself a challenge for the month of March and as a harbinger and a bringer of the Spring. Every day this month I most do something-SOMETHING by GOD, to play my existence. Who knows what this will yield? Perhaps a month full of brownies speckled with gummi bears...? Or maybe a mouthful of songs that cry to be buried alive? Stay tuned. I will try to post some or all of something. (Except the brownies...those I shall eat.)

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Stopped like a cork bottle
And infertile
With a turkey’s wattle
I peck about
The bits of interior chattel

The snow continues to fall.
There is distance between us.
Perfect snowflakes
A million of them
How can they exist in such numbers?
Their six symmetrical points
Swirling before their hasty decay
Into droplets

But we have no such fine filigree
Jumbled and muddy
We falter
At the thought of altering our space
Our room our air our shadows
We reach for the same sad bottle of stopped up
Hopped up happy juice
Yours is a bottle
Mine is you.