There’s a performance tonight at the Rio Grande Theater here in Las Cruces, which features the music of Jan Scarbrough. She collaborated with local playwright and director Mark Medoff to produce a number of musicals, most notably “Rock Wedding”. It will be a fun show!
PhoebeJoy and I gave two recitals over this last weekend. On Saturday night, we performed at the First United Methodist Church in North Wilkesboro, NC. They have a program there entitled Arts Spiritoso that is based around this mission:
The mission of the Arts Spiritoso series is to present opportunities for art, dance and classical music in the area. We strive to have several classical concerts and art shows each year. Through this series, we seek to experience and glorify God’s presence.
The main hall where we performed was stunning. The ceiling is tall, and lightly stained glass windows lined the walls. Several chandeliers light the space. They have recently purchased a new grand piano that made Phoebe Joy very happy, and the acoustics of the space were very live and pleasant to sing into. The audience was warm and receptive (much of it was my family which lives primarily in the Piedmont and mountaineous areas of North Carolina), and we were very happy to get to know the pastor Chris Wilson. Of the performance, he wrote in his blog:
Ian Sidden, accompanied by Phoebe Joy Wong, presented one of our best Arts Spiritoso programs ever. Ian’s voice has moved from baritone to tenor, making him available for heroic roles in opera… Ian’s opera training includes acting, which he was remarkably good at, with much good humor. His voice was a joy to hear.
We received a lot of help from folks who worked at the church, and we are very grateful. Thank you so much!
The second performance took place at the Elm Park Estates in Roanoke, VA. My grandmother lives there, and we decided that it would be fun to go ahead and do the recital again. The space has a central stage with a small grand piano, and they set up the dining hall to allow folks to easily watch us.
We had a great time with the performance. I felt very good especially on the Brahms’ set. The Despite and Still pieces continue to grow as a unit, and they were the most cohesive that they’ve ever been at this performance. Amazingly, there was a serendipitous moment during “Il trovatore in caricatura” where, after referencing a tolling bell several times, the home’s hourly bell went off, which gave the audience a good laugh and me some material to improvise with. Afterwards, it was really a joy to speak with the residents.
The management team there was very kind and helped us tremendously. Thank you.
Overall, I was very happy with both performances.
I am on my way across the country to do two recitals in Wilkesboro, NC and Roanoke, VA. The material will mostly be the same as my graduate recital except for the exclusion of the two French duets and the inclusion of two of Paul Bowles’ Blue Mountain Ballads.
The difference is, besides a new audience and location, that I am now singing in tenor keys (except for Despite and Still since that is high even in the low key). They all feel very good, and I am looking forward to an entire recital within my higher range.
PhoebeJoy has been very kind to oblidge my shifting tessituras and relearn old material in new keys. For that, I am very thankful. My dad has also been very helpful in organizing these events.
The past few weeks since my last post have been absolutely crazy. One should never underestimate the various finales that accompany the end of a graduate degree.
In the background since I have not been writing (on this blog anyway, I have written several rather long papers for school), I have been exploring my new “tenor-hood”. My opera focus so far has been on Rossini, Donizetti and Mozart almost exclusively. For songs, I have bought the same song books that I had before in higher keys. And it’s been working just fine. However, within my own personal craziness, I have a fear that I am like the Emperor of “The Emperor’s New Clothes”, and my tenor-hood is like his proud nakedness. Of course, no innocent children have come along to pop this bubble yet, so I continue. I wonder if anyone who changes voice type experiences similar doubts. Please let me know if you do!
Because of this shift, I have now come to know and fear my own passaggio. I had never experienced it before as a baritone because I never sang high enough! The only time I really sang notes within it were on my highest notes G and Ab. I never felt like I could really lay into them and sing loudly. And that’s why. My passaggio is pretty high.
For those of you who don’t know, the passaggio is the “passageway” between registers in voices. In the way I think about it (and along with breathing register talk tends to be very controversial amongst singers and pedagogues) men have one main passaggio area while women tend to have several. It is, at first, very difficult to work with it because certain vowels work very poorly within it, and it is hard to sing loudly within it. It also feels like it may be ready to crack if the poor singer does not move very carefully through it. So the singer must abandon a certain amount of fear to even begin dealing with it because otherwise it’s too nerve wracking.
So, the main point that I want to get across is that I am writing again and that this change to tenor is occupying a great deal of my thoughts on singing. Thus it will be mentioned quite a bit on here, especially as I become more adept at moving through my passaggio and I find things to share that may help other singers.
I have also graduated and have my Masters of Music degree. Pretty cool. :)
Here’s a video with Rockwell Blake singing an aria that I am currently working on. There is some of that awful digital video delay, but if it bothers you, just close your eyes and listen.This guy is just awesome, and I hope you enjoy it!
I am currently working on wrapping up graduation (papers, orals). It may be a week or so before I can give myself over to a full post. Until then, happy singing!