I hope you are enjoying peaceful holidays!
I feel so fortunate to have been able to continue using my voice to reach the public this year, and the ability to do so “virtually” means that I’m being heard all around the world, which is pretty exciting!
I wanted to share some of my favorite musical (and non-musical!) moments from this year with you, including a very special holiday greeting from Opera Sustenida.
In January, Suzanne and I presented “Viennese Delights,” an intimate house concert featuring some of our favorite works from fin de siècle Vienna. I do hope that we can resume these wonderful events very soon!
In February, and not a moment too soon, I received Permanent Residence status in Canada! After almost three years of seemingly endless paperwork and waiting, I could finally breathe a sigh of relief.
I was so touched when the members of the Etobicoke Centennial Choir serenaded me with “O Canada” (and presented me with a festive cupcake) at what ended up being our last social event of 2020. I am proud and honored to call Canada my new home.
In March, Dave and I began singing for virtual services at St John’s United Church in Oakville. One of the highlights was adapting Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus” for two voices on Easter Sunday.
I also saw my first wild trilliums this Spring, including rare green and red ones at Bronte Provincial Park.
April and May were quiet months for us; we did a lot of work in our gardens (to the delight of our cat) and planted more tomato plants than we could handle.
In June, we took a short trip to Algonquin Provincial Park, where we saw a black bear enjoying breakfast (marsh plants) and a bull moose crossing the road…all in the same day! We saw them from the safety of our car, which is more than we can say for the chipmunks that ran right up to us at our campsite. We also made some killer gluten-free garlic bread over the campfire, which was definitely one of the highlights of the trip.
In July, Suzanne Yeo and I launched The Art Song Podcast, with our first 9 episodes honoring the lives and creations of female composers and poets. We created 7 “isolation recordings” and wrote accompanying “fun facts” articles for each featured creator. One of our favorite pieces was “Le ruban rose” by Augusta Holmès. We also enjoyed interviewing Sybil Rampen, the niece of our final featured composer Amice Calverley.
In August, Kira Braun (soprano) interviewed me for her new podcast series “Classical Voice Canada.” Kira has recently begun a series of interviews about Vocal Health on her podcast, which I highly recommend!
September marked the end of an era when Dave and I sang our final service at Holy Family Roman Catholic Church. Holy Family had been my Thursday/Sunday home for nearly two years and I am so grateful to my musical colleagues (and the repertoire!) there for making those two years enjoyable, albeit challenging at times.
We began singing regular services for St John’s United Church in Oakville just as we concluded at Holy Family, and although it’s been a relatively short time, I already feel at home.
I feel truly blessed to have so many opportunities to share my talents with the broader community, and to be welcomed by these ensembles with open hearts. Counted among these, are the wonderful musicians at Toronto’s Beth Sholom Synagogue, where I sang for the High Holidays and Sukkot.
December has seemed a bit strange without the usual holiday concerts, but my friends at Opera Sustenida and I have been hard at work producing our Holiday Medley, as well as preparing for our upcoming February concert “Date with the Divas (Vol. 1)!”
“Date with the Divas” will be LIVESTREAMED on Saturday, February 13th.
We Divas were inspired to create a holiday medley, featuring some of our favorite wintry songs. I took on the task of arranging the music for our ensemble, which was a new experience for me! I really enjoyed creating fresh harmonies and accompaniments for these holiday standards (Suzanne wrote the fun piano part for “Let It Snow!”), and I’m so proud of how it turned out. I particularly love the Hanukkah portion of the medley, I think my ancestors would be pleased.
Featuring the talents of Stephanie DeCiantis, Nicole Whitney Dubinsky, Suzanne Yeo, and yours truly, please enjoy:
“Holidays with the Divas”
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All correctly answered entries will be entered into our GIVEAWAY contest.
The winner (and correct answer) will be revealed on January 8th!
Sending you my very best wishes for abundant joy and health this holiday season and in 2021!
With love and gratitude,
More holiday offerings from St John’s United Church
“Seasonal Joy: A Christmas Concert”