Saturday, May 26, 2012

Kristin Chenoweth - Who Can Do This?!?!

Kristin Chenoweth at the beautiful Winspear Opera House

We were a little worried...
we knew she could... but, would she "really" deliver?

it was a night of GREAT EXPECTATIONS...

And, yes! Yes, indeed... this little, tiny, bundle of enthusiasm did just that!

(the beautiful Winspear Opera House taken from our seats)

This was DLW's birthday gift from me...
 to see Kristin at the Winspear for his birthday celebration!
We were more than a little excited as we arrived.
As we sat down beside a nice couple from Dallas,
we discovered that their cousin is a long time friend of ours!
What fun! And the night had just begun!
It's a small world...

They captured this pic of us before the concert - 2nd row from the stage!
Terrific seats, indeed!

This concert was a crowd pleaser from the start...
personalized with Kristin's southern smart-alecky charm.
Not a single style of music did she leave unsung.
From classical to jazz to country to pop ~
she delivered it all..
succinct, articulate diction...
manipulating her voice from belt to lyric...
from gritty guttural to graceful glissando vocal technique!

And her comedic timing was superb...
we laughed until we hurt!

She sang her opening number, "Should I Be Sweet"...
(here is the end of it from another concert
forgive the sideways video, but the sound is splendid)

after which she picked up an extra large styrofoam SONIC drink
which was sitting on the sleek, black grand piano on stage.
Then, sipping from a straw,
Kristin smiled sheepishly at the audience and said...
"I just LOVE TEXAS..."
(grinning and spoken with a deep southern drawl)
"You just can't get SONIC in NYC or LA!!"

The audience burst out in cheers... for this tiny dynamo had already
connected to her audience   
and a splendid rhythmic flow continued
throughout the entire concert...
with Kristin's heart directing the beat!

Here is a rogue video from her tour -
 I found it on youtube.
"Maybe This Time"
the third song she sang at the Winspear...

Kristin told personal stories... related each song to something in her life:
Her shoes, her men, her broken hearts, her country roots, 
her Christian faith, 
her mother, her daddy, her Broadway endeavors, 
her American Idol Finale "bump" which happened the previous night,
her voice teacher's depth of song interpretation,
her GCB show's cancellation!
She called the creator of GCB from the audience for a hug and thanked him publicly.

There were times... she acted nuts... and the audience LOVED every minute of it.
She donned a mumu and bedroom slippers with flower in hair...
and sang the song "I'm Tired" with an asian accent.
I laughed until my innards hurt!

She was not afraid to speak her mind...
she spoke about her own non-profit for doggie adoptions.
(and two pups were being adopted in the lobby per her request)

She spoke of her love for ALL people regardless of their beliefs...
her respect for old-time composers like Gershwin, Bernstein, and Kern...

Kristin gave a tribute to Dolly Parton...

"WWDD" (W-W-Double-D)
(this is her singing it on the 
Grand Ole Opry stage)

One of my favorite moments was when she sang
a Christian number
"Upon This Rock"
In my early years, I sang this song 
a gazillion times!
The crowd cascaded into applause for Kristin,
because, of course, she brought the house down with her rich vocals and high notes.

And, there were times... she acted sensitive and serious... and the audience LOVED 
every minute of it, too!

She invited a 14 year old girl from the audience
to sing "For Good"  as a duet.
She swore this young talent was not a plant.
The girl was from Westlake.
She appeared shy... not confident on stage.
The audience went WILD 
when this precious teen sang with Kristin.
She had a voice... sang on pitch, with a good strong connected instrument,
and a gorgeous timbre.
Kristin was visibly blown away by this talent...
as were we all!! 

At this moment in the show,
we were enchanted with a "what are the odds" kind of moment!
The audience teared... a community "awe"...
something special had happened!
(I hope her mommy got a video!)

And as Kristen began to sing "Popular" from Wicked,
the crowd anticipated it's familiarity as one of their favorites.
She sang it in German and Chinese...
intermingled with English.

It was so funny!!
(the element of surprise, I guess!)

Here is a recording of "Popular"  from last night's concert.
It's an iPhone recording someone put up on youtube from this concert
so it's a little tinty... but, she sang it with much more color than is heard here...
I hope it's okay to upload... 
you can probably hear me cackling from the second row as she switched from 
German to English to Chinese... etc!

So the evening went on and on...
hit after hit...
high notes... low notes... country twang... operatic technique...
all completed with precision.

Now, you tell me... 
how does an artist, after singing for 2 1/2 hours 
... run back on stage for her SECOND encore...
and sing "Glitter and Be Gay" as fresh and clear as if she had sung it
first on her line of repertoire? 

(here is Kristin singing "Glitter" from a previous concert)

Who can do this?!?!

Wow! This evening was terrific...

The energy...

The talent...

I have to tell you, this soul singer was totally amazed...
because I respect the manner in which Kristin Chenoweth
courageously crosses all music genres
exhibits dramatic and comedic expertise
connects ~ totally connects with her audience.

There is simply not a better entertainer, in my view!

If she comes to a city near you...
you don't want to miss this!

La - Ti - Do!
(and Kristin would sing those to an E-6!!)


I hope you enjoyed this blogpost... 
If you have heard Kristin or would like to share your thoughts, please comment below.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Graduation in Beautiful Minnesota! Double Degrees and Family Fun!!

Graduation in Minnesota!

Family memory moments are my favorite times...

It's rare that we get all of our children together at the same time,
but, it's such a thrill when we can get most of them in the same place if even for a day!

They are all productive, busy adults...
out in this world doing good things, making the world a better place.

I think it's really great the way they support each other through 
these special life transitions.

So, when they come together to celebrate 
the BIG deal moments of their lives..

I experience JOY!

Last weekend...
our family met in Minnesota for Lauren's graduation... 

Here we are just sitting and waiting for graduation to begin...

Lauren and John had a party with friends and 
their families the night before...
we had fun times in their warm home...
They are terrific hosts!

These are Laurie's awesome friends...
Beautiful, amazing girls.... 
we got to meet their parents and siblings...
such a fun time!

After graduation.. 
this is pretty typical of our three girls!

And a crazy family pic!

Erin and Tyler came all the way from Salt Lake City...
and it looks like she and Tyler are moving to "near" Dallas...
fingers crossed...xxxxxx!!!

I love my girls... how fortunate for me that they are all
beautiful inside and out!
They give me so much love... so much joy!
And they are good friends!
That is the best.

Two proud dads!  Pops and Leroy...

Lauren and John...
his unending support has been amazing!

Our daughters and hubbies...
Tyler, Erin, Lauren, John, Kelsey
My heart is full!

We went to a reception at the student center...
more pics...
(note the graduation dress on Kels...)
she wore it for her graduation at Baylor last year...
then Lauren wore it to Erin's graduation 
from dental school last year...
and then Kels wore it AGAIN for Lauren's graduation this year...
it's had some miles... don't ya think!?!!

We met two of her professors from the Music Dept.
Lauren will be joining the faculty next year.
The one on the left is the chair of the department... he is a bassoonist!
The one on the right lives in NYC all summer each year...
how cool is that?!!

This is Dr. Kimm Julian... her voice prof... 
Some people come into our lives for a reason...
to teach us something we must learn...
Dr. J did just that!

And then we met the Dean of Fine Arts...
He came to all three of her operas while at MNSU...
You can tell by his 
that he is a terrific mentor!

Afterwards, we went to a coffee shop (to warm up)
and then settled in at a really cool restaurant for lunch...
Laurie's sweet  friend Rachel joined us!

Master of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre
Master of Music - Voice

More parties?!!!?!!!

Sara (in the pic below) hosted a party the night after graduation....
Here are four of the Musical Theatre grad students...
There were tons of people there...
I have discovered that theatrical people 
are celebratory by nature!

After a good night's sleep we had a big breakfast...
more family time... more food...
Kelsey flew to TX with us...
she was a little stressed when her flight got cancelled...
since a Dental School final was the next morning...eek!
AA got her rerouted and thankfully she made it home in time!
(she even got bumped to first class...)
That girl!

This soul singer's heart is full!
Daughter with two music degrees...
surrounded with family love...
seeing my children all making a difference...
that is a good day!

I leave you with this tribute of love...
Michael Buble crooning... for his grandpa..
This is one of my favorite songs 
to sing!
So to my kiddos, my family, my friends...

"You'll Never Know Just How Much I Love You" medley..

La - Ti - Do!


Thursday, May 3, 2012


(some ramblings from the counselor's chair...)

Today is a good day to resurrect the old cheer:

who do you appreciate
YOU  -  YOU  -  YOU!!

After all, 
if you don't believe in yourself and love yourself first...
you have no basis for loving others... right?

Some of us have been taught that Jesus said,

"Love thy neighbor AS thyself..."
but, He did not say,
"Love thy neighbor INSTEAD of thyself..."

We must love ourselves, and be kind to ourselves FIRST
or else we might end up having
that dreaded diagnosis...


Junior High Disease is a coping skill which
manifests fully in early adolescence.
It is when someone takes delight in putting others down... 
or makes remarks at someone else's expense 
that appear to be funny, but aren't really...
aren't very funny at all!
It is when someone uses words to encourage others 
to feel "LESS THAN"

Okay, it's safe to say we've all done that at some time or another... right?

In fact...
These coping behaviors are sometimes considered 
adaptive in childhood and adolescence
because at that age, they serve a healthy purpose 
for the individual...
they help them through some difficult moments.

These behaviors may calm an adolescent's anxieties 
and fears of not being accepted...
help them deal with not being good enough.
Unfortunately, when these coping behaviors are carried into
adulthood, they become maladaptive.

The real destructive thing about these behaviors 
(at any age) is that
they destroy intimate relationships...
you know.. the kind of relationships we all long for...
those which are long lasting, and fulfilling,
and bring us peace.

People with Junior High Disease carried into adulthood
operate out of the fear of not being good enough.

 They go to great expense to subtly or not so subtly discourage others.

Sometimes they tell lies to paint others in a negative light.
Often they are jealous of another person's life, 
their achievements, their successes.
Instead of focusing on their own successes, 
 they concentrate on defeating someone else's spirit.
They are not honest.

How do you know you are experiencing the effects of
a tremendously maladaptive, disingenuous relationship 
with a JHD person?

Oh, you know these people...
they are crafty with their words...
they use words as weapons.

These are the poor folks who readily offer criticism...
they throw you "under the bus"
to gain superiority.

Interestingly, however, people with Junior High Disease
appear to be self-confident... 
But, beware... that is just a facade... 
Appearances aren't always what they seem...

People with Junior High Disease 
can never have true intimate relationships
until they learn to be REAL.

So if YOU encounter 
a person with JUNIOR HIGH DISEASE...
here is another cheer for you:

Push 'em back
Push 'em back
Way............. back!!

You may ask, just what are we pushing back?
Why, it's the slimy, sneaky, destructive behaviors
used by a JHD personality to cause harm.

Push the behaviors back...
which means to keep a safe distance...
without withdrawing our love.

The key is to
find a way to love and interact with JHD types
giving them power
over our own happiness!

The second key is to
live in the truth of every moment.
Sometimes this requires us to lovingly address the behavior when it happens...
which requires entering conflict...
which is difficult to do without causing more harm.
Most of us like to avoid this.

In our Christian walk we are taught to be careful 
with other people's hearts.
Jesus taught and modeled this, for sure...
He also set an example of self-care...
and self-care sometimes requires conflict...
and when dealing with a JHD behavior, self care is primo!

Conflict is not always easy... but it is a healthy goal... 
if done in the spirit of good will.

So many of my clients with dysregulation of mood
identify Junior High as the time of life
when they lost hope...
so I thought it worth a blogpost...

Thanks for listening to my ramblings!

La - Ti - Do!


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The TONY Awards!! - And The Winner Will Be... "Once the Musical"

The Tony Awards - 

Nominations streamed live this morning with Kristin Chenoweth announcing...

Having just seen three of the new shows last week... I was anxious to hear what the Tony nominations would bring. Not surprisingly, "Once" was nominated for almost every musical category. I must admit, it is much different than any musical I've ever seen - never before have I seen a show with this masterful artistic bent... crafted with clear vocals and a fulfilling dose of relationship tension. This is the kind of show where you find humor throughout, yet are  surprised when you discover tears streaming down your cheeks at the end. It's the culmination of beautiful poetry encased in song and a script that draws the audience into the drama as if intimately acquainted with every character. 

The characters of the musical each play an instrument... and they play them well! They all sing well, too! The music takes place in an Irish Pub where the characters revolve back and forth between simple instrumentals to being specific characters in the show.

"Falling Slowly" draws you in first.  Listen and enjoy from the musical version:

The first time I heard this song was when my daughter Lauren conducted her A Cappella 5.1 group at Western Wyoming a few years ago.  I love the intricate message from depression to hope.

This music grabs my heart! Tug...tug...tug...

Interestingly, "Once" was first an indie film in Ireland. It took years to produce. The two main actors were first chosen to compose the songs for the movie. After budgets ran thin,  the composers (who had not acted before) also became the main actors and singers in the movie. This movie took off and became a cult hit. "Falling Slowly" became a hit, too and won various awards.  The male actor/songwriter/singer, Glen Hasard, was from Ireland and the female actor/songwriter/singer, Marketa Irglova, was Czech. They were were drawn together through their music and actually fell in love during the production of the film.  

Here is another beautiful song from "Once" - "If You Want Me" - from the movie version:

The chemistry between Cristin Milloti and Steve Kazee (the main characters of the musical) is phenomenal. The audience is so quiet you can hear a pin drop. It's as if they are mesmerized by each and every moment, every word, every breath, every little glance on the stage.  As it came to a close, the audience leapt to their feet in applause and shouts of affirmation! If you ever get to Broadway,  don't hesitate...  go see "Once" and join the experience of theatre at it's finest! 

I could not help but think how my parents (who are in a bluegrass band... Mom on the mandolin and Dad on the harmonica) would love this music... the foot stomping and playing, the great vocals and lyrics, the raw sounds from well played strings! 

Someone once said..."The road to success is always under construction"... 
This great quote describes the new and creative approach "Once the Musical" brings to the Broadway stage. It is masterfully constructed, has successfully gained the attention of the Tony nominators, and truly brings insightful nuances to Broadway.

The Tony Awards are coming up soon... and I (along with all the critics) predict "Once" will take the evening by a storm and take away most of the awards! We'll see...

La - Ti - Do!!

From your Musical Theatre Lover... Soul-Singing Blogger,

P.S. feel free to leave a comment - I'd love to know what you think about the music!