In My Own Words

I recently had the pleasure of reconnecting with a student who had been a part of my studio at the college where I teach.  She’d been away from singing for a while and wanted to invest again in training her voice.  I could understand her ache to sing very well.  That calling haunts us until we choose to feed it.  I surprised myself by getting emotional as I told her of my own experience– classical singing brings me a joy and a connection to myself that no other person or circumstance can match.  It is a unique joy by which my life has been tested and enriched.

The relationship to one’s voice is as deeply personal, cyclical, and rich as our relationships to our spouses, family and friends.  I’ve worked with peoples’ voices for many years in a variety of settings:  performing, teaching and directing.  Along the way, I’ve definitely gathered some insight!  As artists, we give…we use our art to bring more beauty to the world.  How often do artists allow themselves to receive?  How do we continually fuel ourselves so that we bring the best version of ourselves to the table?

I’ve spent the last several years studying opera and classical art songs….. learning to sing other people’s words!  On this page, I will share some of my own.  Scroll down to read my most recent posts!

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Artistic Recharge!

I was quit2017-01-26-19-07-16e content to be in New York City late last week.  I have been working on all new opera literature and was excited and honestly, slightly nervous, to present it to my teacher. I took a two hour lesson and wow……..came away with a great deal of information.  I love visiting Rosa – she is a font of knowledge and inspiration!

I saw two operas at the Metropolitan Opera while I was there– Gounod’s Romeo et Juliette…….gorgeous production………quite wow.  I was quite amused at the Las Vegas themed setting of Verdi’s Rigoletto.  I am always amazed not only by the high level of artistry, but the creativity and imagination of the sets and costumes as well.  I never tire of going there.  I have seen many, many productions at the Met and it always lifts my spirit just walking up to Lincoln Center, seeing the fountain and the opera house all lit up….it’s just magical!

On Friday I visited the Guggenheim Museum and treated myself to a fancy lunch.  I happened to be in the city during Restaurant Week.  The exhibitions were changing out at the Guggenheim but they still had some interesting avant garde installations by Chinese artists that I found quite entertaining and thought provoking.  I love art museums. I experience the same sort of giddy energy at museums that I feel walking in to a concert hall.

Going to New York and immersing myself in the arts always recharges my battery.  I can sense it in my singing and I could see it in my teaching this week.  I even played tennis well today!  Needless to say:  I heart New York.

Words may hurt, but love can heal.

“No person has the right to rain on your dreams.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

An old memory recently haunted me.  I recall being a child, standing in the driveway of my parents’ house with my father.  A man that many held in high esteem had come to pay a visit.  I can still remember the sadness and humiliation I felt when he sternly lectured me.  He was telling me to take the piano less seriously.  His own daughter had tried to “make a go of it” and had failed.  And given his daughter’s lack of success, it was obvious to him that I should give up.

Years later, at age 18, I was confronted by another man who was held in high esteem.  He and his wife discouraged me from continuing to take voice lessons.  Apparently they’d discussed it and decided that I was “nothing special.”  That I should focus my energies elsewhere.

I am lucky that my spirit was stronger than the hurtful words that were hurled at me when I was a child and young adult.  I am a sensitive soul and honestly, remembering those experiences is still brings forth tears.  Those were damaging moments.

Those wounds have informed who I am as a person and as a teacher.  When a new student stands before me at whatever level of development, those wounds have taught me not to judge a book by its’ cover.  If a student has the desire to sing, it is up to me to give them the best tools I have in order to help their voice blossom, not to judge how far they will go.  I am real with my students. I do not sugar coat.  I push, prod and encourage.  But never will I say anything to demean them or make them feel like a lesser person.

Today I am a professional musician and have been so since graduating with my first music degree.  Depending on the time of the year, I play for between 1,500 to 2,000 people per weekend at the church where I am the Director of Music.  At times, I have the opportunity to sing for those people as well.  Tomorrow I will have the distinct pleasure to teach voice lessons at the college where I have taught for ten years in August.  I continue to perform and have released three recordings as a singer that have been heard in all corners of this fine planet.  I can say with a great degree of confidence that many people are very glad that I did not give up on being who I was supposed to be.

Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” Love is what encouraged me to stay on my path.  I had wonderful teachers who showered me in positivity, saw my potential and nourished it.  I received love in the tougher forms as well through pushing, prodding and the continual raising of bars.  I continue to study and the work continues.

Looking back at what I’ve just written, all of the words filter down to this one sentiment.  No matter what anyone says, follow your heart.  It really does know best.

 

 

Watch my Wisconsin concert online

I was tickled to find out that the concert I did in the late fall in Wisconsin was broadcast on television three times over the weekend of November 9th.  I created a program and transcript of the text in case you want to watch and follow along.  Sometimes the sound cuts in and out randomly, so apologies for that.  But at the very least, you’ll get a taste for what Christy’s music is like!  There are twelve songs total.  All pertinent details are in the PDF below.  Enjoy!

wccs

Click image to view “Lopez Sings Talbott.”  Video opens in a new window.

Lopez Sings Talbott Program and Song Texts PDF

What happened with the 6 Week Challenge & how I spent my Christmas.

So several weeks ago, I challenged my students at SCF to a 6 week practicing challenge and told them I’d be posting my results each week.  Well, after week 4, I stopped posting my results because my own participation in the challenge got derailed!  I got hit with what the doctor called a stomach “bug.” Honestly, it felt more like a stomach monster.  It knocked me out for a week and took at least another week for my body to stabilize and for my stomach not to feel sensitive.  It was not fun at all.  While my challenge derailed, two of my students at SCF did indeed complete the 6 Week Challenge.  And as a result, they came over for a lasagna dinner on Tuesday, December 13th.  Fancy china as promised!!  Congratulations to Emily and T’Nia for a job well done.

The last few weeks have been hectic, but well spent.  The electronic release of my latest recording, It’s for You…for Christmas, dropped on November 29th.  So happy about that!  On the work front, I was the main organizer and choir conductor for a beautiful Christmas Concert at Our Lady of the Angels on December 10th.  The following week,  I enjoyed Christmas Caroling at an assisted living and memory care facility along with the adult choir.  And this last weekend, I directed five Christmas Masses along with several cantors, string quartet and choir.  I got to sing for one of the Masses myself.  In fact, one of my favorite moments was getting to sing the Alleluia from Mozart’s motet, Exsultate, Jubilate.  That is one of my favorite works and it was incredibly fun to sing with the string quartet.  (On a side note, it’s my dream to sing the whole motet with orchestra.  It suits my voice very well and I’m really good at it!  I’m putting that request out there, Universe!)

I am quite proud of everyone at OLA who helped make all things Christmas successful.  The young people who played in the string quartet made Christmas extra fun, not only with their lush, beautiful playing, but the sense of humor they brought along with them!

So much planning, coordination of many people, tremendous outpouring of energy…….wow.  In these last days of 2016, it is indeed time to reflect and recharge.  Hoping you have enjoyed the holiday season.  Wishing you all the best in 2017!

 

From conception to completion…nearly 6 months.

The idea for this recording happened on a full moon in mid-July.  I remember it vividly, because I was up until very late working on my own personal projects.  And even when I did try to sleep, I just couldn’t. My mind was replete with ideas.  And this CD was one of them!  I celebrated the electronic release last week but with the arrival of my physical CDs it all feels extra complete now. 

It feels very gratifying to see a project like this through from conception to completion.  So many details to ponder and beautiful creativity to embrace.  

Feeling extra proud and accomplished!  More details right here!

Available today: “It’s for You…for Christmas”

It's for You...for Christmas!Tuesday, November 29 marks the electronic release of my holiday recording with pianist Lurray Myers, “It’s for You….for Christmas.”  While the album releases today on CDBaby, Amazon and iTunes, a limited number of physical copies of the CD are in production as well.  I wrote these notes for the CD insert and thought I would share them here for anyone who may be interested.

Notes

Pietro Yon composed the Italian Christmas carol, Gesù bambino, in 1917. The melody and lyrics of the chorus are easily recognizable as the carol O Come All Ye Faithful. Mariä Wiegenlied, or The Virgin’s Slumber Song, is a German Christmas carol published by Max Reger in 1912. The lilting melody and accompaniment sets the tone for this lullaby as Mary rocks her Jesus-Child.  Alphonsus Maria de’Liguori composed the melody and lyrics for Tu scendi dalle stelle, or You come down from the stars. Liguori was a prominent Neapolitan priest and philosopher who was later canonized. Tu scendi dalle stelle is a widely popular Christmas carol in Italy. Originally published in 1853, Ave Maria was a collaboration between Charles Gounod and Johann Sebastian Bach 137 years in the making. The melody by Gounod and Latin text were superimposed over the Prelude No. 1 in C major, BWV 846 from Book I of Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier. Irving Berlin wrote White Christmas in 1940 for the movie Holiday Inn, which starred Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. For the movie, Berlin was to write a song about each major holiday of the year. However, as Berlin was Jewish, he found it most challenging to write a song about Christmas. It paid off, as according to the Guiness Book of World Records, White Christmas, sung by Bing Crosby, is the best-selling single worldwide, with estimated sales of over 100 million copies. Composed by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans, Silver Bells is a popular Christmas song. It was first performed by Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell in the motion picture The Lemon Drop Kid. It is also the first song that Martha sang with her first grade class in public performance.

Special Thanks

The creation of this Christmas recording has been made possible by nothing less than a web of friendship.  I have been very lucky to continually work with amazing professionals who are also great friends.  Thank you to pianist Lurray Myers for her masterful skill, kindness and steadfast encouragement.  Thank you to Matt DeSear for his expertise and for creating a fun and supportive atmosphere in which to record.  Thank you to talented artist and illustrator Julia Guthrie for her beautiful depiction of my young friend and model for the front cover, Hannah Nichols.  Special thanks to shining star Hannah as well as her mother Jamie, who has been a sister and constant friend despite having lived with me for three years as my roommate in college!  My gratitude to my dear friend Vanessa Targino.  A woman of many talents, her skill as a graphic designer graces this album.

It’s for you…for Christmas was recorded in the spirit of fun.  It is a hybrid of both classical and popular works that I hope will bring some cheer to your home this holiday season.  Special thanks to my family, friends, and supporters – I appreciate your kindness and encouragement.  Thank you to every person who has provided fuel and inspiration for me as an artist.  Lucky for me, there are too many of you to name.  Just know– this one’s for you.  Merry Christmas.