Singing with the Big Kids
April 5, 2017: BEFORE
The reason I called this post “Singing with the Big Kids,” is because in the second half of the program I have a solo! It's small but its mine and its beautiful! But can I just tell you how nervous I was the first time I sang it in the hall where we are having our concert; my hands were so shaky. Singing for my peers is probably the most nerve wrecking things I have to do, I get so nervous because of how highly I think of them, and I just want to make them proud. They have been so kind and so encouraging to me and I hope they know how much that helps me and how much that actually means tome.I absolutely love my school, I really do. I adore my colleagues and my teachers too.
April 8, 2017: The Performance: (well at least my solo :)
April 10, 2017: AFTER
There were some solos in the first half and they all did so good! I know they all worked so hard and it totally paid off! After short intermission we Headed back upstairs for the second half. I think the second half felt like it took 2,000 years because my feet were not thrilled with me and I was waiting to sing my solo. it was easier to enjoy the music at the beginning of the second half because I was really close to the end. when it was finally my turn I stepped down and walked out to the front, it took all of my strength not to look like a Weeble Wobble, oh my poor feet! I took my breath and looked at Dr. Z, and sang. I almost forgot the word, but I had my score so I looked down and the crisis was averted. I wasn’t shaky or nervous before or during my performance but afterwards my poor hands just wouldn’t stop shaking. After the concert I saw my voice teacher and if we are being honest his reaction was the one I was most worried about. But he gave a hug and said I did good! Everyone afterward was so kind and so sweet and even on my Facebook video I am just shocked with the reaction I’ve gotten, and I am just so grateful!
Florencia en el Amazonas
I am an aspiring opera singer, I am pretty sure that most of you are aware of this, however just in case it is an important piece of information for this post. Recently I made my operatic debut! I was in the chorus of my school’s winter opera, Florencia en el Amazonas. I absolutely adored being a part of this production, and I have to tell you, for me, the magic never left. If you have never been in an opera before let me enlighten you about just how much actually happens.
First there are music rehearsals where everyone learns their music, this is if you are in the chorus. You spend about 2 hours at a time learning what you have. I have to tell you one of my favorite things about being in Opera Chorus is that you get wail! It’s awesome, it is literally sing as loud as safely possible it’s amazing! Rhythm is very important in opera because you are working with an orchestra and everyone has to be together. Not only does your singing have to be extremely accurate, you also have to be involved in the story. Dr. LaCosse who helped lead some of the chorus rehearsals, and who Directs some of Piedmont Opera’s productions as well as works with School of the Arts said that the chorus can make or break a show: if they are not putting in enough energy, or the right energy, or they are not in the story enough, it definitely hurts the production. So you have to sing accurately and you have to move in a certain way, and act a certain way and be thinking about things that are not, “What comes next?”
Not only did I learn about what it is like to sing in an opera, I learned about wigs, and I learned how to do some really cool make up tricks, and I met some truly wonderful people. I absolutely adored working on Florencia. I loved the story, (Click to read more about the story!) and I loved getting to share the stage with some super talented singers. Every night in rehearsal or at the actual performances I was Totally happy. While I was at the theater nothing else mattered, it was amazing. It was a lot of work, but I cannot tell what a wonderful time I had, and how grateful I am to have been a part of something bigger than myself, I am so grateful for the opportunity I had, and I hope many more come my way!
I took SO many Pictures and even got a couple of time-lapses of me putting on my makeup, so I really want to share those with you all! If you have any questions about them, comment!
Opera Makeup Timelapse from Bonnie Blackwell on Vimeo.
Confession; I'm a Fan-girl :)
Before you read this, if you don't know who Florence Foster Jenkins is, watch this video.
Now, When I say that I want to sing like Florence, that doesn't mean that I want to adopt her technique, or her diction, or that I wish my tone matched hers. I am very grateful for my Instrument. However Madame Jenkins sang with every ounce of her being. she sang simply because she loved it and That's how I want to sing.
I have found, that it is so easy to get wrapped up in and consumed by technical perfection. As a student studying vocal technique this is very easy to do, and singers should all sing with a solid technique. But perfection isn't real, and I find that many times, the most beautiful moments come from imperfections.
We as singers have certain responsibilities; not only to our audiences, but to ourselves as well. We are communicators; we communicate ideas, emotions and beauty. In order to effectively communicate these things there are many elements that have to be brought together simultaneously. Technique covers a lot of these elements, such as intonation, diction, and tone. Musicality is another category which holds elements such as dynamics and tempo. Intention is the last category, and there are two types; the composers' intention and what we bring to that and how we interpret that. The other type is our own intention. I think this is probably the most important element, because audiences can see right through us.
Our intention is immediately present in our voices. If we are singing for recognition, then our performance will not be as relatable or moving as it would if we are singing for the truth that we find in that piece. Intention goes further than individual performances. What is the intention behind why we sing at all? I sing because it makes me feel beautiful, I sing because music moves me. I sing because I love to. I sing because it brings me joy. I sing because it connects me to people. I sing to bring beauty to the world.
Florence sang because music was her life, and she wanted to contribute to the beauty that is music. She knew that music is powerful and it's special. She also knew that she had a voice. You have a voice whether you consider yourself a singer or not. You have a voice and you can use it. If your intention behind your voice is love of music it doesn't matter if you're flat or if I can't understand a word you say. Keep singing.
They made a movie about Florence, I watched it a couple days ago, and I haven't cried that hard at a movie in a long time, I think Florence is an inspiration. Her passion inspires me, and I hope it inspires you too.
I have been thinking about starting this blog for quite a while now, and I finally decided to just go for it! I am the type of person who thinks about some things way too much, and opera is one of them.
Let me tell you what you are actually getting your self into by visiting this part of my website. Here, you will find my musings on random topics--related to opera, of course--that find their way into my head. I am a college student so I don't know how consistently I will find myself adding new posts, but I will try to keep things somewhat regular, and active.
I am a social butterfly, so please comment! Add your own thoughts or comment on mine, but please keep things appropriate, open-minded, and kind-hearted. As an artist my main motivation is human connection and that's another reason why I finally decided to start this blog.
I want to share a little bit of background on the title of my blog. It's really a simple story. I am a young soprano with big dreams of being a diva, in the vocal sense, and I am a huge dork. Just trust me on that one, if you stick around you'll see the "dorky" side for sure.
The Dorkie Diva
I don't remember exactly when I came up with this, but I think it is so fitting! I really am truly one of the biggest dorks in the world, especially when it comes to Opera and Music and I hope you can see some of that here on my blog! I also hope Then there is the other half which is my diva side, she is only allowed to show herself in my style, and on stage!