1. Did you play in the school band?
There are only three words to answer this question: TOTAL BAND GEEK! I started playing piano when I was six and when I was in fifth grade we heard a concert given by the sixth grade beginning band. It was a recruiting function and by the time it was over, I knew I wanted to play flute. My mother, dad and I talked it out and as long as I kept up with my piano lessons, I could learn to play the flute. I was in my first solo competition about six months after I started playing, and in high school, I saved up enough money to buy a piccolo for marching band, and I was in symphonic band. I marched with the Marching Royal Dukes in college and performed in the concert band and the flute choir (I was one of three no-majors in the choir, which I guess was kind of a big thing). Before I was married, I was in a community band in Richmond and I still play my flute in church every once in a while. Music has, and always will be, a major part of my life.
2. Church choir?
When I was a child, I sang in my church youth choir – I used to think it was so cool to be in a church after hours and our sanctuary was so beautiful it really inspired me to sing with everything I had. When I was older and involved in band, I quit choir, but after I got married, I went back to church music as a social outlet and a way to meet new people. I started out as a soprano but after we switched churches, I began singing alto since there was only one other alto in the choir at the time (the joke is I’m bi-sectional). Alto is actually very challenging because you really have to listen to how the harmony fits in with the melody to stay in tune. I could never sing anything lower than a B below middle c. I eventually was switched back to soprano when we were able to add more men to our choir and our female tenor became an alto. It took a while to stretch my vocal chords out and to not feel squeaky on the high notes, but now I can comfortably sing a G above the staff. The trick I have found that makes it easier is to just drop my jaw so the airflow in my throat isn’t constricted. Sometimes we hit a perfect chord and just the way it echoes in the rafters gives me chills.
3. What is your favorite song right now?
Rumor Has It – Adele (for now!)
4. Favorite lyrics?
I love songs that tell stories so anything by Paul Simon and Bob Dylan would make the lyrics list. I just think Bob Dylan’s songs would sound better if someone else sang them.
5. Favorite band?
The Brian Setzer Orchestra
6. Favorite soloist?
Harry Connick, Jr.
7. Favorite musical (theater)?
Anyone who knows me knows I’m obsessed with Phantom Of the Opera and would totally kill to see it on Broadway. I love it so much that my mother has the main theme on her phone as my ringtone. I’ve read the novel in English and French and the Phantom really has suffered the same fate as Dracula in that the character has transformed over time from a horror villain to a tragically romantic figure. My biggest pet peeve with productions of Phantom is not having a big enough age difference between the Phantom and Christine. He’s supposed to be significantly older than Christine, a kind of father figure/lover/tormentor kind of character and that’s why I love the Michael Crawford/Sarah Brightman pairing the best. No matter how many times I listen to the music, I’m captivated by the story. And if I were Christine, something would make me leave with the Phantom every time.
8. Favorite musical (movie)?
Let’s face it, with her background, Madonna was meant to play Eva Peron. Jonathan Pryce portrayed Colonel Peron with just the right amount of sleaze and charm to be convincing, but the actor who really surprised me was Antonio Banderas as Che. I didn’t believe he could carry the part but he did very well. Of course, Oliver Stone’s cinematography and the use of the real Casa Rosada gave a great representation of the disintegration of Argentina in the 1930’s. The only issue I have with it is that- compared to the original Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice libretto, the movie changes some of the lyrics. That probably shouldn’t annoy me, but I’ve seen the theatrical production and have the Patti Lupone/Mandy Patinkin original cast recording, so I don’t get the point of changing the songs. Otherwise, the movie is as strong as the theater production.
9. Have you ever belonged to a mail order music club?
No, I don’ t even subscribe to Rhapsody. I’m strictly “pay for it if I want it and have the money” person.
10. Do you still have your old tape collection?
I’m sure my mother still has it somewhere – I used to keep all my tapes in storage boxes and they’re probably somewhere in her attic.
11. Do you let your friends borrow your music?
I was always the person who would make mix tapes for her friends, so I doubt I would lend out my music. Most of my collection is on my computer anyway so it’s easier to burn a copy.
12. If you were stranded on a desert island, what CD would you take with you?
Without a doubt, it would be Harry Connick Jr’s Blue Light, Red Light album from 1990. Not only was it the CD that got me completely hooked on his music, but to me it is the set of songs that truly defines his style. He is a jazz singer and has experimented with jazz/funk/rock fusion over the years, but the style he always returns to is big band/Dixieland jazz. I love all of his music and have lost count of how many cd’s of his I have (I think at this point it’s 13 but I’d have to check). Blue Light, Red Light is the one cd I have that I listen to from beginning to end every single time, and With Imagination (I’ll Get There) is my personal anthem.