Thursday, July 20, 2006

Stamps-Baxter - Day 3

My blogs seem to be getting later and later. The days are getting longer. By tomorrow the day will be 26 hours long!

Today started with skipping breakfast and getting some extra sleep. Not my favourite way to start things, but sleep is just so precious right now. I'm in danger of over-extending myself with extra lessons and extra rehearsals. (Gerald, don't say a thing!) So I'm trying to be very conscious of finding quiet times, especially for my voice.

Theory continues to be a challenge. Writing parts was fine until we were "allowed" to use inversions. (For the non-musical, this is when you take a chord and sort of mix up the order. If that doesn't make sense to you, don't worry. You fit right in!) I am at a disadvantage in the class. Because I'm in a class of keyboard players, most of these people can look at the chords on the page and know what it will all sound like. I'll know what the tune is like, but I can't read the whole thing and hear it in my head. Finding it a little frustrating. Sticking to it though ... at least til some tiny part of my brain explodes.

Had a great songwriting lesson with Daryl today. A few months ago, Gerald gave me a hook for a song. He would have used it himself, but it just screams 'gospel', so he thought I'd enjoy it. The chorus came easily, but I haven't been able to get any verses out of it. I told Daryl about it yesterday, so he asked me to bring it in today. This morning, I worked out a structure for the song and scratched out a first verse and a bridge. I brought it all in, and Daryl really liked it. I'm going to keep working on it over the week, with a goal to have it finished by the end of school. Sleep? Ha!

This afternoon brought another voice lesson with Glenn. So awesome! Today he brought me up to a high E. And not just any high E, but an easy high E! We continued to sing through "He Touched Me" in several keys, working on tone and vowels and easy high notes. Really great work!

Every afternoon, you can take an elective. Most days I want to do Allison's class, but today I did career development with Nick Bruno. Nick is a pianist, producer, and just all around gospel music man. I have his book, so I went in with lots of questions. The class was packed and we hardly touched the list of questions we all had, so we're back at it again tomorrow. I took this class last year, but this year, with our move to Nashville impending, I feel it is critical for me to take it again.

We have 30 minutes of free time a day, after supper. Tonight I took that time to practice our duet, "I've Just Seen Jesus". It's such a huge sing, so it's going to take a fair bit of work. We'll do little things this week, but I think we'll do some hardcore work on the weekend and present it next week.

Group singing continues to be a great time of joyful noise. We're now learning songs from 2 books. One is classic southern gospel, like "Where Could I Go?", and the other is full of new convention songs from contemporary writers, including some of our faculty. I continue to become a brilliant shape-note singer.

Our concert tonight was a real treat: Stephen Hill and Reggie and Ladye Love Smith. I'd seen Stephen's concert last year, and I was really excited about seeing it again. Partly because I really enjoy his music. But also because he plays guitar. His show is a mix of tracks and guitar songs, and includes a lot of his own originals. I figure his show might be a good model for me. (I actually sat there with my notepad taking notes all through the show. I am my father's child.) Stephen played 30 minutes, and then Reggie and Ladye Love came on and did 30 minutes. If you've never seen this duo, you're missing out. Reggie and Ladye Love are a married couple who sing in amazingly strong and vibrant harmonies. Their individual voices are beautiful, but together they are just magic. I'd seen them in the Gaither shows, so it was a real treat to see them in this setting. Lots of energy, and great song choices. They also have a wonderful on-stage chemistry that's just infectious. Why, yes! I did get rid of some of my American money tonight!

After the concert, I rehearsed "Moving Up To Gloryland" with the quartet again. One of our members has written a very funky ending, so it took a bit to pound that out. But it's really starting to come together. It's such a fun song that you can't help but get all worked up over it. And all our members are some degree of crazy, so it's all good!

Oh, and I forgot to tell this story yesterday. Since getting here, I have seen the weirdest sight: Americans going crazy over Coffee Crisp. Now, Canadians reading this will say, "Who really cares about a chocolate bar?". But apparently, you can't get them here, so some of the other Canadians brought down a boxes of them to give out, and they're like gold. I swear you could use them for currency! Funny, wha?

1 comment:

Allison Lynn said...

Hi Susan,

Thanks so much for posting the link! Please feel free to pass it around. I'm sorry you had trouble emailing me. I've recently revamped my email server, so please try again, and let me know if it doesn't work.

We're using 2 songbooks:

"Convention Hallelujahs", from Degenhart Music, and "Together", from Gospel Heritage Music.

If you have trouble finding them, I'm sure you could contact Ben Speer Music in Nashville.

Thank you for your kind comments, and I'm so happy you've enjoyed my blog!