Diva Dressed Down

Here’s one thing you might not know about the life of a freelance singer:

Sometimes we don diva gowns topped by glamorous makeup and hair, sing glorious concerts, great our adoring public, then retire for the evening to a luxurious hotel or homestay…

…and other times we spend seven frustrating hours at the Raleigh-Durham airport waiting for a hopelessly delayed flight and then, unshowered and grumpy, have to warm up in a NYC taxi cab.

Luckily RDU is a very nice airport (see photo below) with free wifi.RDU

Also luckily I had built several extra disaster hours into my itinerary in case of just such a setback as this. Still, it was aggravating to spend all those hours at my gate, awaiting the periodic announcements of further delays, knowing that I could have slept late and taken a nice shower and still have made it to the airport in plenty of time to wait hours for my flight. I was also worried the stress and extra time in canned air would affect my voice for the OSNY competition the next day, so I tried extra hard to stay chill.

It worked, partly thanks to a couple pleasantly distracting Freaks and Geeks episodes I watched on my phone. I landed at LaGuardia at pretty much the last possible second that would have allowed me to just barely make my already-postponed rehearsal. But without a minute to spare, which meant that I wouldn’t have time to warm up before singing the high Cs in my arias, unless I sang in the cab from the airport to Manhattan.

I spent the first ten minutes of the cab ride stewing about whether I should make a spectacle of myself that way.  And then I said to myself, “what the heck?” I warned the driver that I’d be singing a little so that he didn’t think there was a crazy lady in his backseat. He immediately turned off the radio, which I assured him was not necessary. And then I began to sing long, quiet tones through a stirring straw.straw


Rather than being annoyed, the driver was fascinated. “What do you call that thing?” he asked. He was incredulous that a lowly stirring straw was allowing me to make sounds he’d never heard before. He asked me several questions, and then left me to my warmup.

The straw is an amazing tool, taught to me by my wonderful voice therapist and illustrated by the great Ingo Titze in this YouTube video. This was the first time I used it to warm up right off an airplane, and it sure did a great job combating Airplane Voice.

I had a good rehearsal, sang well in the competition the next day, and won an award. Thanks, Ingo Titze/taxi driver/Freaks and Geeks!

on stage



Smoothie Tragedy at LGA

I had planned for my first blog posting to be a general account of my great weekend in New York singing for the OSNY competition semifinals. But then, on the way home, the smoothie incident happened. Its story seemed more indicative of what it’s really like to be me, and I decided that short snapshots might be a better way to capture my singing, traveling, eating life. So here I go…

In great spirits after advancing to the finals of the OSNY competition and spending a lovely night and sunny Brooklyn morning with my sibs, I was proud to be through security at LaGuardia early, and happily humming as I wandered the terminal in search of a healthy snack. To my delight I stumbled upon a food court that included a salad bar and a coffee shop that sold smoothies made of actual fruit. I thought, “a salad bar in an airport! What a nutritionally advanced and wonderful idea!” I was feeling a fruit deficiency though, so I opted for a coffee shop smoothie that featured strawberries, blueberries, apples, lime juice and ginger. It was quite tasty, and I felt virtuous as I sipped, wheeling my luggage around the food court and spontaneously taking a photo of the salad bar for my first blog posting.LGA salad bar

Now, here is one thing you must learn about me: I break things. Often. It comes from a combination of poor spatial relations abilities and a tendency to get rushed and stop paying attention to what I’m doing. Recently I’ve broken a rental car, a tea kettle and stovetop burner, and our newly painted kitchen accent wall at home. After that last incident (suitcase-related), I promised my husband I would reform. I’ve been doing a lot better. Until yesterday when I took an iPhone photo while holding a smoothie, a suitcase, and a purse.smoothie splat


As you might imagine, splat!!! went the smoothie just as I snapped my quite excellent salad bar photo (see above). Oh, the wasted nutrition! I try as much as possible not to buy food in plastic containers, so it’s an extra travesty when your plastic smoothie cup ends up in the landfill and you didn’t even get to enjoy more than two sips of the smoothie it contained.

Two separate travelers stopped to bring me napkins and even briefly helped me wipe up fruity goo whose trajectory was six or seven feet in diameter. They were so calm and nice about it! In an airport, in New York! I started to laugh at myself as I furiously swept at the spreading pool of pink, and by the time I’d used most of the paper napkins in the food court to control the damage, an employee came by with a Wet Floor sign and told me someone with better equipment would be along to finish. I apologized; she smiled and said, “everyone drops things.” I told her that I do it more than the average person and she laughed.

And that was the end of the LaGuardia smoothie incident. Not such a tragedy, except for the loss of a tasty, healthy beverage. The debacle certainly filled up my wait time (I also had to make a dash into the ladies room to wipe off my luggage), and kept me from getting bored. I was, of course, still hungry and woefully behind on my 5 A Day of fruits and veggies. But I decided that maybe the smoothie experience was not meant to be. I went to the salad bar instead. Yum.salad of consolation