Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Stamps-Baxter - Day 2

This morning started early, if not exactly bright. After devotions and announcements, I spent the early part of the morning helping set up the product table. All the large group events happen in the same auditorium, and in that lobby, there's a central area which serves as home base for staff and all things info. There's a large product table featuring CDs and songbooks by faculty members. Students can also come to the table to purchase water, drop off lost and found items, and just find answers to any questions. Between classes, things can get very busy, and working that table is part of my job this week.

Things overall were a little more relaxed today, so I got to sit in on both group singing sessions. I thought I was doing okay on the shape-notes til we got to a fast song. Still 8 more days to master it...

But the highlight of my day actually happened this morning - My first voice lesson with Glenn Wilson! I was sooo excited about this! Glenn was my teacher last year, and I just loved him. I've had a lot of training, so I'm pretty picky about teachers. I want someone who is positive, but I also want someone who will challenge me. I also want someone who is able to pick out those little details and just work them til they're beautiful. That's Glenn! He really knows the voice, and he loves great singing, and it's just such an honour to be his student again.

After lunch, I finally got my eye medication! Yay! There was actually more drama around it, because the pharmacy had forgotten to order it for me and wanted me to wait another day, but all things worked out in the end, and I'm hoping to see a difference soon. It really started to hurt today, so I'm glad it all worked out.

Allison Durham Speer was back today. Each day, she will teach a 30 minute vocal technique class, basically covering warm-ups and all things related to the voice itself. I decided to stay in for her performance training class as well. Since it was her first class, she did a lot of overview, which was mostly review for me, but completely valuable none the less. We also had some great performances by Ben, Michelle, and Jordan, all of whom are singing in the concert on Saturday night.

This afternoon, I had a bit of a magic moment. We found ourselves with a few moments of quiet, so I got my guitar to squeeze in a little practice. I thought I would find an empty room somewhere, but everything was full. So I found a spot outside, on a bench swing, under a willow tree. There was a gentle breeze, and no noise at all. I sat there for half an hour, just playing and singing. Maybe saying Hi to a few people who walked by, but just sitting there, in the cool of the day, making a little music. Heavenly!

After the evening's group singing session, we had our first concert of the week - Stephen Hill. I offered to help with his product table, and as we were setting up, he asked if I had any requests. Of course! I asked for "Lo and Behold", a funky Christmas song about the possible reactions of the Bethlehemites when they found out an unwed girl was pregnant. It's so smartly written, with a great melody. After the show, he told me he never does that song live, so I felt honoured that he would play it for me.

Stephen's solo show is great. He started with a few songs with tracks, and the rest of the set was a mix of hymns and original songs with just voice and guitar. I really didn't appreciate Stephen's talent til I saw his solo show. His writing is great, and his guitar playing is wonderful, and well matched with his soulful voice. But, now that I've seen him a second time, I think what I appreciate most is his patter. He talks about the wonder and reality of God's love, but never in a way that's preaching or churchy (and you all know what I mean by that!) He just talks about it in a way that let's you know it's cool to be Christian and it's cool to be overwhelmed by God. Love it! He encourages a lot of interaction, and with a singing school, you know that's going to be good. Every singalong becomes a harmony exerience!

I missed performance opportunity tonight because I was out at the product table. We were there til close to 10. After, I wandered out to the bluegrass jam session for a bit. It was great! There must have been a dozen musicians and twice as many singers. At one point, I counted 3 fiddle players, 3 on guitar, one mandolin, a double bass, a harmonica, and even a saxophone. (That's less than a dozen, but you know what I mean.) I stayed as long as I could, but I wanted to drive home before I dropped from exhaustion. That's the only rough spot about commuting - you can't just crawl back to your room!

Tomorrow will be my first songwriting lesson with Daryl Williams. Can't wait!

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