Friday, January 25, 2013

Normal Day

Having a vision and working toward it has been a major part of my life. I have been successful in so many ways as a vocalist and also as a choral director and vocal teacher. By keeping my goal uppermost in my minds eye as I go about my day I have achieved a great many things. I am very grateful that I have had the drive, stamina and focus to keep it all going and to support myself doing things I love.

I will continue to follow my passion and make music in a variety of ways...but I've decided that this year my focus needs to be on enjoying being alive and less about a goal I am striving to reach.
Time is whizzing by and I am missing so much that is precious in each day because my eye on the future.

I want to experience what is in front of me right now.

Normal day,
let me be aware of the treasure you are.
Let me learn from you,
love you,
bless you before you depart.
Let me not pass by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow.
Let me hold you while I may,
for it may not always be so.
One day I shall dig my nails into the earth,
or bury my face in the pillow,
or stretch myself taut,
or raise my hands to the sky and want,
more than all the world,
your return.

Mary Jean Irion

Friday, October 12, 2012

My Kickstarter project was a success!


Because of the success of my Kickstarter project and the generosity of my fans, friends and family, I have been able to hire a publicist and radio promoter for the first time in my career. Giving a proper birth to my new CD "Don't Wait Too long" just feels so right. The CD is getting airplay around the country and reviews are coming in.

Also, I'll be on KCSM Jazz 91.1 FM, Monday, October 15th at 9:00AM (yikes) on "A Morning Cup of Jazz" with Alisa Clancy: We’ll be talking about my new CD and the upcoming CD Release Concert at Freight and Salvage on Oct. 21:

There is a lot going on and it's all good! Can't wait to see what happens next....

Friday, January 13, 2012

Jefferson Awards

Last year I had the honor of being a 2011 winner of the Jefferson Award for my service to the Bay Area. I have been directing The Anything Goes Chorus for over 30 years and have brought singing to thousands of people, both students and audiences. The Jefferson Awards are a prestigious national recognition system honoring community and public service in America. They began in 1972 to create a Nobel Prize for public service and are presented on two levels: national and local. 

Last night I attended the Jefferson Awards Ceremony at Herbst Theater in San Francisco. The octet that I direct, Girlfriendz, sang in the lobby as people arrived and added lovely a cappella singing to the evening. Among the presenters in the ceremony were Kate Kelly and Sharon Chin from CBS Channel 5 and one of the founders, Sam BeardIt was truly an exceptional event. There were movies about the winners and also personal presentations by several of them. Hearing the stories of these wonderful people and seeing them in person was incredibly moving.  It was a thrill for me be on the stage with all 52 of the Bay Area winners (one for each week of the year). I had no idea I would get a medal, and such a lovely one. For me to be in the company of so many ordinary people doing extraordinary things was both humbling and uplifting. It was a wonderful night and it brought a much needed hopeful message to all who attended, and more than compensated for our daily onslaught of dismal news.  

So to all my students: I hope you understand that each one of you is actually making a difference in our community by sharing your voice. Making music, sharing it with each other and bringing it to people---these are powerful and positive forces for good. Thank you for being my students and for letting me lead you in song. I feel blessed that I have this gift to share. I could not do my work without you.

Friday, December 23, 2011

CD News!

This year I performed at Freight and Salvage in Berkeley
with my very talented quartet: 
Murray Low, Sam Bevan, Kristen Strom and Dan Foltz. 
We recorded the show and I just finished mixing and mastering. 
The new live recording is called "Don't Wait Too Long" 
and will be released in 2012. 
Stay tuned...I'm very excited!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

What a year...what a life!

It's been an incredible year for me professionally!
I celebrated 30 years as founder and director of
the Anything Goes Chorus(San Francisco & Oakland)
with a gala concert in March,
which included three women's ensembles I direct:
Girlfriendz, Swingshift Singers and Treblemakers.
At this concert I was presented with commendations
from Senator Barbara Lee
and also from the City of Oakland.
Then to top it off---in June I was given a Jefferson Award!
Watch it here:
It is such an honor to be recognized in these significant ways
for doing this work I love.

I started teaching at the Jazzschool in Berkeley last fall:
a Jazz Singing class and also a Chart Talk workshop
for vocalists to learn how to prepare music for their band or pianist.

In the area of performing, I am thrilled to have found
some fine new venues
where I can sing with my quartet:
the Piedmont Piano Company in Oakland
and the brand new Freight and Salvage in Berkeley.
(Now I have performed at all three locations.)

The show at the Freight was recorded live
and I started mixing yesterday.
Very exciting! This is my third project
and will definitely be my best so far.
I plan to release this CD in 2012.

I am looking forward to a well deserved
and much needed vacation in August
to hike in the Eastern Sierras and visit friends back East,
to have some time to relax in nature and be in the quiet,
and also enjoy the space to just chill out on my own.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

It has been a jam packed Spring filled with music, music, music!

The Anything Goes Chorus performed the 29th Annual Spring Concert combining SF and Oakland choruses at the First Congregational Church in Oakland.

I returned for the second year to Yoshi's Jazz Club in Oakland with my quartet and sang my heart out for an enthusiastic audience that filled the house once again.

Girlfriendz had two concerts in one weekend in San Leandro Library Theater and the nonet delighted the crowd both nights with their vocals and choreography.

Treble Makers had a triumphant concert at Avonova in Oakland singing for family and friends and the quartet put on a full evening of entertainment.

Coming up next month will be a production of West Side Story by the Stagebridge seniors at the Ashby theater in Berkeley, and later in June a recital by my jazz vocal students at the Jazzschool.


Then I will take a well deserved vacation this summer and spend some time in my beloved Eastern Sierra mountains. This will be followed by a trip back east to Cape Cod to visit old college friends, hang out at the Atlantic Ocean, soak up some sun and rest up for the fall and more music, music, music!
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