Wrap-up of Amherst stuff

Saturday, August 1, 2009

I advertised my show, but didn't get into much detail about the Amherst workshop. It's taken some time to digest the experience, and figure out how to apply all of the information to normal life.

It was a one week workshop, where participants could choose up to 4 classes. In addition, there was some free-form music making (although one of my classes, the theater project, basically nixed any free time for those opportunities), and things like English country dancing (for the geriatric hippies) and concerts in the evenings. I, like many of the other younger people, paid my way by doing work-study jobs.

I took 3 classes: Vocal Masterclass, Baroque Gesture and the Theater Project (the Lute Song Extravaganza)

Masterclasses and gesture were both taught by a wonderful Early Music soprano. I worked with her before, 3 years ago, and I was very nervous about seeing her again. She had wonderful things to say at the time, and I got all scared that she would think that I hadn't progressed, or something.

(I was dealing with a lot of self-loathing the week before I left)

It turns out that the opposite was the case. She was very, very complimentary. She said that she was extremely impressed with the work I have done, and loved the way that my singing has developed.

That was great to hear, as I'm sure you can imagine.

My work study job was "bartending" (really just pouring wine and sodas at post concert receptions) and was actually pretty fun. I do have to say, though, that if I've got one criticism of the program it's that they expect work study students to make the work their first priority. That seems a little backward to me, but whatever.....

I got lots of good feedback from the faculty, and have a good sense of what needs working on and how to go about doing it. I'm also a bit more focused on productive work, instead of stressing about work without really doing it.

As you can imagine, there's also the let-down after these kinds of things. One has to go back to normal life, where it's not all theater and singing all the time. One has to figure out how to stay this focused while working a day job and getting sucked into job drama and frustrations, and that's never easy. Especially since for the first time ever, I'll have a full time job this year. Well, full-time in the school realm, which means 8am-3:30 (but really more like 3:45), every day. I do get more vacations than most schools (we get a week of in October and February--European style, as well as Winter and Spring breaks).

Truthfully, I'm very ambivalent about that. I signed the contract because I wanted the guaranteed income and the benefits, and because day-to-day subbing has gotten very frustrating. I was sick of never knowing where or with whom I'd be working. This way, I know that I'm working with a fantastic head teacher, and the new English teacher in our class is a friend of mine. I know that I'll have money, even if the musical scene is very sparse this season (which it looks like will be the case....damned economy). I also will be able to, you know, get an updated prescription, so that wearing my glasses actually accomplishes something.

The good things are all very good, but the thought of working all day every day is rather daunting. I always end up feeling like this after a summer of workshops and festivals, though. Even if I didn't have a day job, life wouldn't be like the programs, so I should probably just get over it!!

So there it is. I'm here for another week, then it's off to my next workshop. This one will be 2 weeks long, so the recovery will likely be even harder (which should be interesting considering that I go back to work the day after I fly home!!).....

I'll leave you with a photo from the dress rehearsal of our show. It was taken during my song "If Thou Longst So Much to Learn, Sweet Boy, What 'Tis to Love"

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