Back in the saddle

Happy autumn! Though I must confess: this season always throws me for a bit of a loop. It’s partially due to the diminution of daylight and having fewer opportunities to enjoy sunshine. It’s also partially due to the end of summer singing hiatus in September, so by the time October rolls around, I inevitably feel like I’m careening down a mountain road in a car with no brakes. A friend shared this wonderful piece on why October always feels dire, which I’ve been holding in my heart as a shield against the usual anxiety and grief I associate with this time of year, not to mention sorrow for the continuing pandemic and other larger-world concerns.

Despite feeling a bit emotionally delicate, things are going quite well. I’m deeply grateful that all of my choirs have vaccine mandates, require masks, maintain distance when possible, and keep rehearsal and performance spaces ventilated. We’ve been fortunate so far, and we hope to remain so, since local vaccination rates are high and case numbers are low. The only music I’ve been making unmasked outside my home has been with my wizard rock trio, and that has been such a wonderful space where it’s okay to be a beginner figuring out how to do stuff like make songs from scratch. Watching my bandmates doing amazing things up close has been so inspiring to me creatively that it’s reignited my large-scale lyrics project, which was stalled for a few months. I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to figure out if it’s an oratorio, an opera, a musical, or some mix of all of those things in the next weeks. My current book-devouring research phase has also been really fun!

As implied by the subject of this post, I’ve got a lot of nifty things coming up, so please do enjoy this list of coming in-person singing attractions and a few links to other musical hijinks! For those in and around San Diego, I’m singing for the following:

And then…. ALL THE ADVENT AND CHRISTMAS MUSIC, starting with San Diego Master Chorale’s Messiah Sing on December 5th!

I am still trying to figure out where the summer went. Heck, I’m still trying to figure out where 2021 went. Also large swaths of 2020. It’s a weird time, y’all, even now.

And now for some fun things that anyone anywhere can enjoy!

First up, fans of sacred music who are also on Facebook are here encouraged to check out our choral offerings at the Music at All Souls’ Church page, which include a couple of recent US premieres of pieces by awesome young female composers!

And secondly, my wizard rock band Potterwatch has released three new songs since my last post (you can hear our first three here)! First up, we were delighted that our song The Love You Seek Is All Around You was selected to be the featured track on the 2021 Wizard Rock Sampler! This was an awesome project to be part of, we’re thrilled our song went over well, and that the wizard rock community has been so welcoming and supportive to our trio of perfectionist wrock newbies!

We also submitted a couple of songs (one serious, one very much NOT) for she sea shanty compilation album Hut on the Wrock Vol 2: Shanties From the Shack (listen to Vol 1 here!). Our primary entry, The Ballad of Odo the Hero was very much a group project, from concept to story to the overall shape, and we even had a dark-night-of-the-soul period where we worried that our concept, a rock cover of a folk ballad, didn’t fit the sea shanty/drinking song brief. Rejiggering the opening to be a pub sing-along solved that problem, and my cackle made it into the pub muttering at the beginning! I’m particularly proud of the ABC/ABC rhyme scheme on the verses, and I’m so pleased with how the song turned out, especially since I know I had to work through some of my own fears of inadequacy when working out the vocal harmonies.

Our second “bonus” entry, which also features my cackle at the very end, is The Beater Song, an exceedingly irreverent musical joke based on The Fireman Song, a popular party tune at Spouse’s music fraternity. Fun fact: in order to translate the setup and payoff of the song to the wizarding world, I made a spreadsheet of wizarding-world-specific job titles to construct the joke, and ultimately settled on the titular Beater for the Holyhead Harpies. When spreadsheets are involved, you know you’re only getting the finest, most meticulously-researched puerile humor!

I’m not quite sure what’s up next for the band, since all of us are church musicians, which means we’re up to our ears in music through the end of the year, but we have five original songs and two covers that are pretty much ready to record when we have time, plus a ton of other ideas in the hopper. Despite our bonkers schedules, we’re still planning to get together regularly to plot, enjoy the fruits of our local breweries, watch things for “research,” occasionally make music, and dream big dreams.

Oh yeah, and make puns. AWFUL ones.

Sending good thoughts to all and smooches to them as wants ’em!

Libby

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