Tuesday, April 20, 2010


It's a bright, sunny day here in our lovely little neighborhood of Manayunk, in good old Philly-delphia, PA.

I woke up with music on my mind....going mentally through some of the numbers I'll be singing this Friday at a new concert my accompanist, Alex, and I are doing for the Jewish Heritage Club in Warwick, PA. We were invited to entertain at their season concluding dinner.

Alex and I met last night and went over all of the peices. We'll be putting together a little mixed program called, "Alex and Michelle at the Movies," which features songs and arias heard in movies, many of them sung by the great old-time singing stars such as Mario Lanza, Kathryn Greyson, Deborah Kerr, Grace Moore, Al Jolson, Shirley Jones, and our program concludes with a little nod to the Jewish theme with Barbra Streisand's, "Yentl."

Our first number is an enchanting Waltz called, "Il Bacio" (the kiss) made popular by the 16 year old sensation, Deanna Durbin, in the musical comedy from 1936, "Three Smart Girls."

We'll then do the romantic aria, "O mio babbino caro," made popular in the 1985 Merchant-Ivory film, "A Room With A View", and Carmen's "Habanera" heard (in English, but i'll be singing the French) in the 1954 American musical film, "Carmen Jones".

We then go onto a little spanish inspired section with nods to Mario Lanza, Kathryn Greyson and Grace Moore with songs like, "Be My Love," from the 1950 film, "The Toast of New Orleans", starring Kathryn Greyson and Mario Lanza, "Siboney," from the 1937 musical film, "When You're In Love," starring Grace Moore and Cary Grant, "Granada" from the 1952 musical comedy, "Because You're Mine," starring Mario Lanza.

Alex will delight the audience with a piano solo of Gershwin tunes such as: "The Man I Love," touchingly and memorably featured in the 2006 Isreali film, "The Bubble", "Someone To Watch Over Me," heard recently in 1995 drama film,"Mr. Holland's Opus", and "Swanee," made popular by Al Jolson in several of his 1940's musical films.

I'll follow with a tribute to musical movies, singing from: the 1951 MGM musical film, "An American In Paris," starring Gene Kelly, "I've Got Rhythm"; the 1962 musical film, "The Music Man", "Til There Was You," originally sung by Shirley Jones; and the 1956 musical film, "The King and I", "I Could Have Danced All Night" originally sung by Marni Nixon (dubbed for Deborah Kerr).

Three songs from Barbra Streisand's, "Yentl", are featured next, all music written by the incomparable master, Michel LeGrand, "Where Is It Written," where the feminist yeshiva "boy" Yentl asks why it isn't possible for girls to learn Torah as well as boys, "Papa, Can You Hear Me," where Yentl speaks to her father, who recently passed away, and "The Way He Makes Me Feel," where we hear Yentl's true feelings for her Torah study partner, Avigdor.

We end the concert with a lively "Hava Nagila."

It feels good to write about the concert. It calms the nerves to really be present, involved and acknowledge with every breath the concert in the days before it. I need to stay right here with it, allow myself to feel my feelings, really be present...study my lyrics, inhabit the charcters, plan everything out.

It's way too easy for me to just eat to calm my nerves.

I'm especially nervous about this program because the Yentl peices are new. But, they are so beautiful, I know everyone who's ever seen Yentl will enjoy listening to the songs again.

If you'd like to hear Babs and see scenes from Yentl, click here:

- Where Is It Written: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNgMAstZqRI&feature=related (funny video...the dialogue begins in spanish, but Babs sings in english)

- Papa, Can You Hear Me: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwCPAo5e_F8

- The Way He Makes Me Feel:

Barbra is a BIG hero of mine. Talk about a powerful woman. She envisions a project she wants to do, and bam, it's done. Talk about high achieving. Talk about sheer TALENT. Talk about the OPPOSITE of a SMALL LIFE.

Yet, Babs, also a singing Taurus, like me, suffers from terrible nerves, like me, so I kinda feel like we're connected in a way.

Taurus rules the THROAT. It certainly rules Barbra's throat!!! The throat is the area of my greatest strength...and also my weakest area. I'll always get sick in the throat first...am very sensitive there to sore throats, scratchy throats, reflux laryngitis, allergy swelling, hoarseness, tightness in the throat, tensions and emotions stored/stuck in the thoat, etc...

But, if i treat myself kindly, take care of myself with healthy good eating, allow my creative energies to flow and not get bolluxed up with fear and bad behavior, luscious waves of sound are able to emit.

And what a joy it is for me to sing well. What a joy it is for me to share beautiful music with people, to communicate with them, to share with them wonderful feelings, actually move their chakras with sound!, share wonderful memories with them from beloved films, share beloved musical memories. Music is so POWERFUL and makes us feel so good, not only physically uplifting us, but emotionally uplifting us, and it's an honor to be able to bring that to people. It's a gift I gladly give....in my highest place.

It's when my "lowest part of myself" takes over that screws me up.

Last night's my rehearsal went decently. It was okay enough that I think i'll feel confident this Friday night, so long as i do my work....

Keep in touch with me...stay in my highest place....

And improve my diet....

I have a nasty case of hoarseness brought on by reflux this morning from a binge I had last night. I wasn't exactly working out of my 'highest place,' then, but....I feel like i'm more hooked into it today and i am truly looking forward today to re-establishing healthier habits and ways of coping with my nerves, other than eating to calm them....so that i can share my gift in the best, highest way possible with my audience.

With the sun shining, with the decent practice last night, i think I can make this a good concert on Friday if i just treat myself with the respect my body and my God-given voice deserve. I'm WORTH IT. My voice is a responsibility...to myself...and God.

Something I want to share with you and something I need to read every day:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Nelson Mandela, inauguration speech, 1994

As you ponder that....listen to this, another gift: "The Man I Love", from The Bubble: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=adxjAY8ua7I

xoxo michelle joy

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