Thursday, July 19, 2007

Stamps-Baxter - Day 3

I can't believe this first week is now half over! How did that happen?

Today was long and full and wonderful. The morning was just very busy with running errands. Nothing glamorous, but exciting for me to know that I'm contributing to the school in this way. It's nice being in a different position this year. I'm getting to make friends with people that I've just met in passing before. And I'm gaining a new respect for the amount of effort it takes to organize the school.

After lunch, I had my first songwriting lesson of the week. Daryl Williams is a patient and generous teacher, always ready with a simple but powerful thought. We started by chatting about my writing over the past year. I was very glad that I've picked up on my writing discipline lately so that I could tell him about my Song U classes and my solo writing time. I played him "Wedding at Cana" as an example of a completed song. (I actually wrote that song a few years ago for my choir, but after learning a few new things this year, I did a rewrite and ended up with the version I play now.) He really liked it, and then asked to see what I'm working on now. I sang the new one, "Do You Wanna Be My Neighbour in Gloryland?". As soon as I started, he said "That's a Stamps-Baxter song!". Yes, it's peppy! He liked the lyric, and gave me a few ideas for polishing the verses. It was a satisfying lesson, not just because he liked the song, but because the things he criticized were the things I knew needed work. I'm taking this as a positive sign towards my growth as a songwriter - the ability to look at my own work with a critical eye. I mentioned that Gerald and I are co-writing a lot, and we're going to look at those songs at my next lesson.

For this afternoon's elective class, I decided to stay with this theme and attend the songwriting workshop with Dave Clark. He talked about raising the bar, not just as individual writers, but also as a songwriting community. We made a list of great song attributes, such as tltles, structure, etc. Dave then encouraged each of us to make our own list of things we think make up a great song. We are then to work on each subject on the list, and as we improve in each subject, we will be able to chart our progress as writers. I can't get over the number of writers here this year. I wish we could do a whole songwriter night here some night.

Supper was very rushed for a great reason. I ate quickly and jumped in my car ... to go home and get Gerald! For the first time ever, a member of my family got to visit the imfamous Stamps-Baxter School of Music! I was so excited!!! We got back just in time for group singing. Gerald decided not to join the group, but he did get to sit back and listen to our voices in harmony. (Of course, we're still learning the songs, so there was the occasional moment of un-harmony!) Next, we ran over to Wakefield House for my private voice lesson with Glenn Wilson. Gerald squished into our hot little rehearsal room to audit my lesson. Then we ran back over to the auditorium to watch the last part of the Reggie and Ladye Love Smith concert. I really wish we could have seen more of this. Since they're a husband-wife duo, I thought the concert would be a good learning tool for me and Gerald. Reggie and Ladye Love have such a natural onstage energy, and their harmonies are just incredible. Their blend is so easy, even down to their effortless phrasing.

After the show, I jumped out to the lobby to help out with the product table again, and Gerald got to visit with people. When the rush of CD-buyers slowed down, we went back in the hall to see some of the student performances. When the singing stopped and the bulk of the crowd had cleared out, we just sat and visited with people. It was so awesome to share that part of my life with Gerald. For the past 2 years, I've been a part of an incredible world that my family has only experienced through photos and a blog. It was just so wonderful to finally bring my family into that world - literally!

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