Eden Casteel Music Studio

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The Seven, Vol. 9: Let It Go

1. Have you heard that song "Let It Go", from the Disney movie Frozen? Of course you have. Note to pop culture: Let it go. Give Idina her big moment at the Oscars, and then let's all go listen to something else. (Am I being too much of a curmudgeon about this song? Perhaps. As a voice teacher, I've heard it a lot this winter. I enjoyed seeing the movie with my daughter. It was fun to hear Broadway voices sing a good score, and I enjoyed the story. I'm over it now.) 2. Me, I'm letting it go on Sunday, March 2 at 7pm, as part of the Composers' Collage Concert at the University of Rhode Island Fine Arts Center. I'm singing two new compositions by Eliane Aberadam, with Alexey Shabalin on violin and Hyunjung Choi on harp. We got together at Hyunjung's house to rehearse:

SopranoCam view of rehearsing with Alexey and Hyunjung

The first song, "Ocean Of Forms," is by Rabindranath Tagore: I dive down into the depth of the ocean of forms, hoping to gain the perfect pearl of the formless/No more sailing from harbor to harbor with this my weather-beaten boat. The days are long passed when my sport was to be tossed on the waves. And now I am eager to die in the deathless. . . .  

And it has a high D!

The second song, "Winter Dusk," is by R.K. Munkittrick: The prospect is bare and white, and the air is crisp and chill; While the ebon wings of night are spread on the distant hill . . . 

Hyunjung's chocolate lab, Randy, had nothing to add but tacit approval.

Randy the musical lab.

3. This Friday, I'm off to the Chorus Of Westerly to enjoy their Charitable Auction And Soiree. For the past two years I've served as a waitress at these swank chorus events . . . this time I'm going to dress up and enjoy having my son will wait on me! I've seen the auction items and they are fantastic, and there are great deals to be had at all price points. I'm available at auction too  -- I've offered two one-hour voice lessons. We can sing anything you want. . .even "Let It Go."

4. This Saturday, I'm spending the day with scores of young singers at SongFest, the annual voice competition sponsored by  the Rhode Island chapter of the National Association Of Teachers Of Singing. Yeah, that's a mouthful -- so that's why we call it RINATS. Three of my students are participating this year -- good luck to Morgan, Jessica, and Sarah! Morgan's roommate Daniella is a film major and will be producing a short "documercial" about the SongFest, following Morgan as she performs and finds out the results.

5. About competitions. Yes, it can be scary to sing in front of strangers. But, SongFest is not an audition, so it has a slightly different vibe. SongFest's judges are all voice teachers who have students competing in other divisions (we never judge their own students). They are invested in your success, and they make deep, educated observations about your performance -- what works, what you can do to make it even better. Another bonus: All of the SongFest first prize winners perform at the awards ceremony, giving all participants a chance to hear a winning performance. This is a great way to evaluate new repertoire, and to see top talent in action. And, there's moolah! SongFest awards prize money not only to the first place winners in each division, but to an overall winner at the conclusion of the winners concert -- a special prize for the "first of the firsts." The whole day is open to the public. Even if you're not competing, come to the URI Fine Arts Center (yes, that's where I'm singing on Sunday night) and take a peek.

6. Until I find that rip in the time-space continuum, I can only be in one place at a time. Here are two events I will be sorry to miss this Sunday. But, you should know about them all the same. The Arts Commission of Christ Church Westerly presents a lecture by writer Dorothy Andries, about famous movie composers from the golden age of Hollywood. 4pm Sunday March 2 at Christ Church, 7 Elm Street, Westerly. Free admission. Delicious reception to follow. Pretty sure Dorothy won't be talking about "Let It Go." You've been warned.



7. The Anglican Singers present a concert with the adult choir from the famous St. Thomas Church, Fifth Avenue NYC. The concert is at 5pm Sunday at St. Thomas Episcopal in New Haven. The highlight of the program will be the famous and rarely-performed Spem In Alium, a 40-part (yep! 40!) work by Thomas Tallis. I'm guessing Thomas had a lot of sopranos in his choir. For you non-musical folk: Many choral works are considered difficult if they have more than four parts. (Or at least that's when the singers start to complain.) Forty parts is  . .well . . . challenging. I'll be sorry to miss it, but La Voce must be rested for her concert at URI. I have to live like a nun before I sing -- no dairy, plenty of rest, avoiding everyone with the slightest sniffle. But after the show, it's milkshakes and sundaes. I don't let it go . . .I let 'er rip!

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Eden Casteel Music Studio, 81 Post Road, Wakefield RI 02879. Phone: 401-932-5589.