All of us know that life can get busy. Most of us, however, like to work on one project at a time. There’s only one problem with all of that for me: I’m a musician. My life is a continuous set of gigs.
The good thing about this is that I rarely do the same thing in the same place for more than a couple of times. Variety is the spice of life, and I love the challenge of taking on a new project, performance, or job. For a professional musician, life is a like a box of chocolates…and stuff.
The downside is that sometimes I don’t feel like a professional musician, but rather like a professional plate spinner.
Such a lost art!
Anyway, without further ado, here has been my life since my last life update:
West Michigan Homeschool Fine Arts
I concluded a wonderful season with my homeschool choir. They were a blessing to me, and I don’t say that lightly. The kids brought an enthusiasm and focus to choral singing that I have never seen in that age group. We learned a lot and made some wonderful music. I greatly look forward to conducting them again in the fall.
Branch United Youth Choir
We finished our season with a collaboration with the irrepressible Nancy Brown and the Union City Community Chorale. The chorale was excited to have us there, and we even sang a song with them, which is always fun.
We also recently finished our annual choir camp (June 18-21). I taught them how to sing and gave them some basic sight-reading skills. Our theme this year was Musical Theatre. The kids learned about the history of musical theatre (yay for learning stuff!) and how we got to styles that are used in musical theatre performances today. We did a scene from The Pirates of Penzance and sang some wonderful music from different musicals.
The Giftless Chronicles: The Vampire Conspiracy (Book 1)
A couple months ago, I had the privilege of publishing my first book. It’s a Young Adult novel and it’s about (hard to guess, I know) a vampire conspiracy. It’s a been an intriguing opportunity to learn about the self-publishing world. One of the best compliments have received multiple times is that readers “had to know what happened next.” To me, that is a sign of an engaging book. Please take a look at it and buy it!
I’m also excited to announce that I’m 14,000 words into a novella (17,000-39,999 words) set in the same world. This time, I’m focusing on one of the other characters, Corinne, and her adventures as she learns to be a Chronicler. Lots of exciting action, drama, and new characters to meet as I delve deeper into this rich universe!
It’s been a dream of mine to sing with a dedicated, talented group of singers. I formed an small choral ensemble here in Kalamazoo, and our first concert was on May 22nd at Bethany Reformed church. You can listen to some recordings and learn more about us at my Celebris tab. I’m working on next season, which should be some exciting performances. If you want to hire us for a gig, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Here's my ensemble singing Danny Boy, arr. by our very own Ryan Block! Come to Bethany Reformed Church at 7:30 pm tonight to hear the whole thing. #kalamazoo #choirnerds #choir #artistsoninstagram #singing #classicalmusic #vocaljazz #vocalensemble #puremichigan #irishfolkmusic #dannyboy
Detroit Symphony Orchestra Gig
At the beginning of June, I performed with a large group of professional singers (mostly made up of Audivi and Opera Modo) which sang in the DSO’s rendition of Puccini’s Turandot. It is some truly glorious music, and it was nice to sing in a mass choir of that caliber. The voices were powerful and resonant, and the musicianship of the singers was precise and focused.
I’ve already listed a few in my other sections, but here goes: My Detroit Choir Camp is the last week of July and the first week of August. If you are in the Detroit area and you want your kids have fun singing musical theatre, contact Noelle Stiekes here.
I made a recording of a folk ballad that I wrote, orchestrated, and produced. It’s based in my Giftless Chronicles world (one of the characters sings the first stanza in my novel), and it’s about a Hunter and his love who go into the woods to fight an evil witch. The song turned out pretty cool, if I do say so myself. If you want to get a sneak preview, sign up to my email list. You get access to behind the scenes stuff there!
I signed on to be the music director of a production of “The Story.” It’s traces the gospel through various Bible accounts. It should be a great time of collaboration and I’m looking forward to our performance in December.
In March 2019, I’ll be singing a gig with Sounding Light, a professional choir based in Oakland County, MI.
I think that’s about it. If you have any interest in voice lessons, hiring me for a singing or conducting gig, please contact me. The more work the better.