If I Had My Way

Scenic City Chorus.
Second Place Mid-Size Chorus Division.
THIRD PLACE OVERALL.

Last year, we were a “C” grade chorus. This year?

A “B”.

SCENIC CITY IS A “B” GRADE CHORUS.
Region 23 better watch out, because Scenic City is on the rise, baby!

Me, just before our chorus competition.
Yes, I have a lot of makeup on.
Yes, it’s on purpose.
😉

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A Very Glittery (Not So) Wordless Wednesday

Route 41 – Dress Rehearsal

We are going to kick butt and take names.
We’re going to lock and ring our chords.
I am not going to forget my words or my notes.
I am going to take deep, calming breaths and use plenty of air to support my singing.
I am not going to be nervous.
I am going to be covered from head to toe in blue glitter.

We are going to knock ’em dead and make the other quartets realize that we’re gonna be a force to be reckoned with next year when we compete!

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Nerves and the Art of Singing


I’ve got less than a week until my quartet takes the stage at our Sweet Adelines Regional Competition. We are not competing against the other quartets but are singing for evaluation only. I think it’s less nerve-wracking than it would be if we were competing but I’m nervous regardless. There are apparently going to be around 30 judges-in-training in the audience this year. So in addition to the four actual scoring judges we have 30 others who will be watching us with critical eyes and ears. Awesome.

I’m not nervous about the chorus part of the competition. I’ve been there and done that. Sure I’ll have butterflies before going on stage with them, but I’m downright anxious about the quartet part. Mostly because if I make a flub in my singing there are no other women who sing my part to cover up my mistake. I am fully accountable for my tone.

For anyone who thinks that singing is merely opening your mouth and having sound come out, you are very, very wrong. There are so many things that go into singing and singing barbershop is very unique. You’ve got to think about the stance of your body when you sing. Have to make sure that your upper body is straight but not tense. Breath from your diaphragm. Use your air wisely, and put more behind those notes above your vocal break. Don’t forget to form your vowels correctly and in the exact same fashion as the other three members of your quartet (or, in a chorus’s case, the other 33 or so members) or your chords won’t lock and ring. Think about what you’re singing. Make sure you are smiling, that your eyes are bright and you are putting a character into your song. Don’t forget to flip those diphthongs! P.S., are you making sure to use dynamics to make sure the Cone is upheld?

Those are just a few of the things one must think about while singing barbershop. You have to constantly remind yourself of all these things without looking terrified and like you’re in a battle of concentration, because this is supposed to be fun! It is fun. But it’s also a lot of hard work. Anyone who says differently is mistaken.

I’m really excited for this weekend. I’m also really ready for it to be behind me. I am looking forward to a weekend with my singing sisters and to be perfectly honest, I am looking forward to a weekend where I get to be a full-time Sweet Adeline and pass Baby Duty on to someone else (my mother in law has graciously accepted to take Nellie for the duration of the contest to make things immeasurably easier on me). I get two entire days with no spit-up, bottles, diapers or hunger meltdowns…. Unfortunately this also means I have to endure two entire days of no gummy little grins or contented sighs and snuggles. No adorable little coos, grunts or idle baby chat. Two entire days without the company of my sweet baby daughter. It’s very strange how I can be simultaneously looking forward to the break, and feeling anxious at the separation. Such is motherhood, hmm?

I have a lot to do this week, including a dress rehearsal on Tuesday where we will be in full costume and makeup. I’ll be covered in blue glitter and pancake foundation. Everything I own will also be covered in the same blue glitter.

Such is the life of a barbershopper….. And I really and truly love every second of it.

I Was On TV, Ya’ll!

If you’ve been following for a while or know me in real life you know I’m a barbershopper.

No, I don’t cut hair.. I’m a Sweet Adeline, which means I sing 4 part a capella barbershop harmony! To read more about me and my love for music/barbershop, check out this post.

ANYWHO, my quartet Route 41 was on the local news this morning. Check us out! I’m the one on the far right – brown hair, brown shirt.

Enjoy!

Route 41 On the News

Being Showered with Babies

That’s what a baby shower is, right?

Right?

Har har. I kid. I know what a baby shower is. And I’m excited to say that my first one is THIS SUNDAY! I can’t freaking wait. I know things are going to get that much more real for me at the shower. I’m also looking forward to eating delicious food and hopefully, cake.

Speaking of baby showers, I’m a terrible person. I have been sneaking peeks at our baby registry for weeks now seeing if anyone has bought anything from it and I am vowing not to do it anymore. Seriously. I promise. Yesterday I looked at it and saw the usual three items that have been purchased for about two weeks; a set of baby caps, booties and a onesie… Plus one more item.

Now, it’s not an extravagent or fancy diaper bag, it has no bling and no bells or whistles but it’s cute as hell and I’M SUPER PSYCHED THAT SOMEONE BOUGHT IT. I think this officially makes me a mom; the days of longing for a Coach purse are over and the days of celebrating over a diaper bag have come.

We also have our ridiculously belated Halloween party tomorrow night. I know, I know. If you don’t know me, or my family you’re wondering why in the hell we are having a Halloween party two weeks after the fact. Any explanation you may need is at this post.
We are also moving closer to Moving Day; which is actually two weeks from today. I cannot wait to get into our new space and get started on Nellie’s nursery. I feel like a runner who is eager to begin a race but hasn’t heard the gun go off yet. I’m ready and raring to go, but we can’t get started on anything for her until we get into our new home. So I’m just standing at the starting line, wiggling my butt like a cat getting ready to pounce on something unsuspecting. Revving my wheels. Chomping at the bit. ….Is that enough puns for you yet?
I’m always in a good mood on Fridays for obvious reasons. It’s also a great day because I get paid today, and having money in the bank makes me shake my tooshie in celebration. And I have a sizable tooshie, ladies and gentlemen.
I’m also practicing with my quartet at some point in the next few days, we have to get ready to audition for our chorus on Tuesday. SO EXCITING. I’ll be sure to announce our name and everything once we pass our audition… You know, for anyone who might care a little bit about my quartet, hehe. For those of you who may be new to my blog and don’t know about the “musical side” of me, check out this post to get up to speed.
Okay friends, it’s time for me to get to work and feign productivity until 5:00.
I kid, I kid. I’m going to do some actual work.
…Maybe.

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Queen of Harmony

I think I’m breaking the rules of Wordless Wednesday by posting this. I don’t really understand if there are rules to WW. But screw it, I’m posting this anyway.

Contrary to popular belief, there is more to me than being a pressure cooker for a human being right now. It may not seem like it, as it is practically the only thing I blog about anymore. I guess that’s because it’s the biggest thing going on in my life right now; something that’s with me every day!

For those of you who have been reading my blog for a while or know me in real life, you know that I love music. I love a lot of different kinds of music; not all of which are very popular. My favorite band of all time is the Beatles. I’ve been a Beatles fan since I was 12 years old; when the Beatles Anthology aired on television. I fell in love with the band. My mother was an authentic Beatlemaniac, screaming and crying during concerts and all. I know ridiculous trivia facts about the band and the members that make it up, I know all the words to all the songs and have seen their movies more times than I can count. Another favorite band of mine is Nickel Creek, who are much less known than the Beatles. They are a…. Well, kind of a bluegrass/folk band, I guess you could say. I found a video of my favorite song of theirs, Helena, on YouTube. It’s not an official music video so if you’d like to hear their music, click on the link and try and ignore the weird cartoon drawings that make up the drawing. Helena

Another love of mine is musical theatre. I adore musicals. I have loved almost every single musical I’ve ever seen with the exception of two. I don’t care for Rent, and I don’t care for the Sound of Music. My favorite is Jesus Christ Superstar which technically isn’t a musical at all, but a rock opera. My favorite “musical” is West Side Story. I own several musicals and will build my collection through my life.

I also have a passion for performing music, which not many people know unless they know me well. I love to sing, and always have. I have a particular affinity toward choral music, and being in musical theatre. Ever since moving south from my hometown of Chicago, I have looked for an outlet for this. We have a Theatre Center here, but they do more comedy and dramatic plays than musicals. I searched high and low for a choral program without success….

Until September of last year.

Last year, I was at karaoke with my husband and two out of town friends who were visiting us. I sang a few songs when I was approached by a few women who said they were members of a chorus and thought I sounded good, and asked if I’d like to check out their chorus. Of course I didn’t hesitate to say yes, and they told me that what they did wasn’t for everyone. Their chorus sang nothing but a capella four-part barbershop harmony.

Well, my heart damn near fell out of my chest. WOMEN doing BARBERSHOP? I was raised on barbershop harmony. I love barbershop quartets. My husband even SURPRISED ME with a barbershop quartet on our wedding day. I was so excited that these women deemed me worthy enough to check out their rehearsals, I visited the very next Tuesday.

I passed my audition with the Sweet Adelines one year ago today. Ever since, the musical void that had been in my life has been filled. All of a sudden, I instantly had 30 musical friends who all loved to sing a capella harmony with me. My chorus has been a huge part of my life since then.

The Sweet Adelines do barbershop a little differently. When someone thinks of barbershop, they often think of

Our organization is more like

We definitely do things with style, flair, and panache. When we compete, our hair is big, our makeup is loud and our costumes are glittery.

I have sung several different types of music in my life, and I have never had as much fun as I do singing barbershop. Ever since I joined last year, I have been dying to be part of a quartet. Almost instantly, I hit it off with the two other youngest members of the chorus – Stephanie and Christina. Fortunately for us, all three of us sing a different part. Steph sings lead, which is the melody. Christina sings tenor, which is the highest harmony part and I sing baritone, which is all the other leftover parts that make no sense. The only thing we’ve been lacking for the past year… Is a bass. Well, we finally have one and we are now officially forming a quartet. We don’t have a set name yet, but we all love to sing together and have our first song set that we want to learn. We’ll be learning some material and auditioning for the chorus soon… I can’t freaking wait.

So, anyway, that’s a little bit of insight into who I am aside from being a first time mommy-to-be. Being a Sweet Adeline is something I’m intensely proud of. I didn’t just waltz into the chorus and said, “I’m here! Put me in, coach!” I had to audition to get in. Performing with the chorus is a thrill like no other. Even if we’re just out singing at a nursing home and not on a stage, it’s a rush that I can’t resist!

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If That’s Movin’ Up, Then I’m Movin’ Out!

I got a great phone call yesterday.

WE GOT APPROVED FOR THE APARTMENT!

We will be moving November 27th into a 2 bedroom apartment. I am so psyched! It’s a nice place and not far from where we live right now. I’m just so happy that Nellie is going to have her own nursery; her own little space. DH is already talking excitedly about custom decorative things he wants to make for her, it’s so adorable. The new place is larger than the 1 BR unit we are living in now, has 2 FULL BATHS, ample closet space and best of all, that 2nd bedroom. And we are only paying $10 more a month for it than we are for our current 1 BR place. Crazy! As much as I love our current apartment (we’ve been there for almost 4 1/2 years), we just can’t afford a 2 BR in that complex so we had to move on. I am just so excited. I need to get to packing!

Last night after chorus, the girls I’m starting a quartet with and I stood outside and sang a few songs together. I always get so giddy when I get to sing with my quartet. Singing with a chorus is great, but singing in a quartet is so much more exciting. After we sang “Chattanooga Choo Choo”, Nellie started kicking like crazy. I don’t know if she was approving, or dancing or what but it was really awesome. It made us all laugh. I love that she’s already with me when I do something that I enjoy so much; my excitement and enjoyment has got to filter down to her.
Halfway through the week! Just a little bit closer to that 3rd trimester. WOO HOO!!!!!! Here’s a belly pic I took last night. I feel huge already, though I know that I haven’t seen ANYTHING yet.

Have a happy Wednesday!

Anniversary, Barbershop, and V-Day

We’re broke right now, so our anniversary celebration consisted of bringing home some food from the grocery store, eating at home and watching Queer as Folk. It was great. We spent good quality time just the two of us, snuggling and being cozy together. I managed to get off work 3 hours early so that was a nice little treat, too!

Saturday night my chorus held a little mini “show”. It was free admission, we provided food and had a silent auction to raise money for the chorus. We performed a few times throughout the evening. The turnout was amazing, and we ended up raising almost $1500 for the chorus. I was blown away by how many people came, and how much money we were able to raise! The food was fantastic; my singing sisters sure do know how to throw a party!

After everyone had left, me and the three ladies that I’m forming a quartet with snuck off for some practice. We sang together for about a half an hour, and were all really excited with how we sound. The game plan for now is to learn and perfect a few Christmas songs and once International competition is over in October, audition with them to become an OFFICIAL quartet. I’M SO EXCITED. We sound so good together and it feels so awesome to be finally singing in a quartet! I’ve officially been singing with the girls for a year. I went to my first Sweet Adeline rehearsal in late September and became a member on November 4th, 2008. So not too much longer ’till my one year “official” anniversary!

Yesterday I hit 24 weeks. VIABILITY! Baby girl can now make it on the outside if she has to…. Which, of course, I’m not hoping for but it’s nice to have that little sigh of relief that if something terrible were to happen she’d as least have a chance at making it. I started feeling all sorts of movement last week. From Weds-Fri, she was kicking me regularly; every day around lunchtime and then every night around 6-7. Pretty good, strong kicks, too. Saturday and Sunday, however, were more quiet. I DID feel her, but just not as regularly, as often or as strong. I’m a little worried and am hoping that it’s normal at 24 weeks to still feel irregular movement and variations in strength. I’m sure it all has to do with how she’s laying, which part of the body she’s using to nudge me with, etcetera. I have another appointment on Wednesday so I’ll be able to see her again. I know I’m just being a worrywart. I kept poking and prodding at her yesterday to provoke her to move and DH kept swatting my hand away going, “Let her sleep!” He’s so cute.

She poked me this morning with a foot, or something so that makes me feel a little better. Like I said, I still feel her but it’s not as reassuringly often or as hard as it was last week.

Ah, motherhood. The first of many, many years to come of worry.

Turn Around

I’ve mentioned the barbershop group that I admire so called The Buzz. My budding quartet and I are wanting to learn a song that they have performed so I was flipping through their CD and came across a very pretty intro to a song I hadn’t really paid attention to anymore. The song made me cry, and my daughter isn’t even here yet. It’s sweet and beautiful, and you may have heard it before. Here are the lyrics.

Where are you going, my little one, little one
Where are you going, my baby, my own?
Turn around and you’re two, turn around and you’re four
Turn around and you’re a young girl going out of my door

Turn around, turn around
Turn around and you’re a young girl going out of my door

Where are you going, my little one, little one
Pigtails and petticoats, where have you gone?
Turn around and you’re tiny, turn around and you’re grown
Turn around and you’re a young wife with babes of your own

Turn around, turn around
Turn around and you’re a young wife with babes of your own

Turn around, turn around
Turn around and you’re the young girl going out of the door
Where are you going, my little one, little one
Where are you going, my baby, my own?