It’s mid July and I’m between workshops. This week is my chance to breathe a bit more deeply, ride my bike around Victoria and indulge in that extra hour of sleep.
I spent three weeks in June at Opera Nuova this year. I had the rare opportunity to coach the singers vocally and dramatically, give masterclass and work with them in groups and individually as a Creative Living Coach. This year I was lucky enough to be there while several performances happened. Not only was it thrilling to see these young talented performers growing in their craft, it was personally rewarding to see them take the tools we worked on in our Creative Living Sessions onto the stage. It has been my goal to assist performers in taking the freedom and confidence they have in studio to their work on the stage. This year, I saw it happen. Once again, I have to say, I love my work.
It was also a treat to work with good friends that I don’t always see very often. The faculty is overflowing in riches. In between the hard work, we make a little time for fun, as you see in the shots here. A special shout out to Kim Mattice Wanat, the devoted and committed force behind this program. She was an earlier champion of my coaching work, and I’m grateful for the many opportunities she has given me at Nuova over the years.
St. Andrews Opera Workshops
I’m off again to the Bay of Fundy and St. Andrews at the end of July. I’m looking forward to unveiling some new coaching ideas around process, rehearsal and auditions for this years workshop participants. That and I can’t wait to eat lobster rolls again!
The Doc Project
I got great news this June that my documentary ( working title “What’s in a Card?”) has been picked up by The Doc Project. This piece will air on CBC Radio in the 2016 season and is a personal quest story. I discovered 4 years ago that my five times Grannie on my Dad’s mom’s side was a Chippewa-Magdeleine Pewadjiwonokwe. She married a voyageur and they identified as Metis. I have spent the last three years trying to get my Metis card and wanting to learn more of this culture and heritage and that I feel strangely called to in the present. I still don’t have my card. It has been held up as the Metis Nation of British Columbia questions whether my ancestors ‘identified as Metis’. As I wait for my Metis card I wonder, do I need a card to tell me who I am? And if I get don’t get the card, am I still Metis? Five generations removed, is there a culture here for me to live? In August I will be go on a road trip with my cousin (who has his card and serves on a Metis Council), together we will attend the National Assembly convention in North Bay. My journey of self discovery will make up the documentary.
Canadian Opera Company Ensemble-Resident Creative Living Coach
The Canadian Opera Company Ensemble was my first professional gig out of University. I was hired in 1987. I was a young mezzo-soprano and I spent four years as a member of that amazing program. I did time in the chorus, and toured all across Canada in The Tales of Hoffman, The Marriage of Figaro and The Coronation of Poppea. I also benefited from world class training with the likes of Richard Bonygne, Evelyn Lear, Marlena Malas and Stephen Wadsworth . That program and those mentors launched me into my life long career as an opera singer and performer.
It is a beautiful full circle moment for me that I have been hired to work this season in my capacity as a life coach to mentor, guide and give workshops for the 9 incoming singers and 2 collaborative pianists in the program. I’ve been a life coach for over 8 years now and I have worked with many young artist programs around the country. I became a coach after I started teaching singing. It occurred to me the first year I taught at a Music Conservatory that creating a singing sound was tied into our whole selves. Not just the vibrating voice. If we weren’t whole as people, our singing would never open and transform in performance. I also wondered why singers, who do what they love, were often so very unhappy in life? Living and working in the arts is a path that no book exists to prepare you for. Over the years I have been coaching, I have employed life coaching tools from the ‘civilian’ and business world as well as digging into ancient teachings from older traditions. I created exercises aimed specifically at performers to help them be more powerful on stage, and happier off stage. I look forward to my work with the Ensemble, which begins this August and will continue through he season.