Friday, January 08, 2010

Rehearsing with Jennifer Wren.

Yesterday afternoon, I rehearsed with Jennifer Wren.

She's a stunningly beautiful woman, but even more, she sings with such passion and presence, you never want her to stop. I wish I had dragged out my video camera and just taped the rehearsal, but I didn't. Bringing in a camera makes rehearsing difficult because now it's not a rehearsal, but a performance, and sometimes you need to just rehearse.



When you hear her sing "Nobody Leaves New York" on Wednesday night -- hopefully, we'll be able to tape some of the show -- just be prepared. She will kill you.

While we were sitting there, we got to know each other a little better. Like me, she's been dealing with some awful health issues, which nearly took her down. But she seems indomitable. And when she applies all that life to my music, it almost feels like we were made for each other.

The thing about singing is that many people have great voices. In fact, in a town like New York, great voices are a dime a dozen. The key is not so much having a great voice, but having something else, an ineffable quality that you have to hear to understand. It can't be described properly, but, especially for my music, there has to be some kind of edge of pain, rooted way down deep that you don't so much hear as feel.

John Fitzgerald has this same quality. As the press release says, they're just two people I stumbled across, though I think Amy Shapiro gets credit for keeping Jennifer in our reach. (Jennifer has been singing the song Amy has been writing for her BMI workshop).

John nailed me a few weeks ago when I was sitting, attending the Sunday morning services, at St. Clement's. I've become so fond of the vicar, that, even though I don't relate at all to the high church type of liturgy, being raised Missionary Baptist, I can't help but want to be there.

Anyway, John was singing with the choir, and when he started on his solos, I thought I had been transported out of the room. He has that same quality I was talking about with Jennifer. How I love great singing. He and I are planning to sing "My Thanksgiving Prayer." But who knows? I gave a new song to Jennifer last night right on the spot. And she just nailed it.

This evening I'm meeting with Amy Coleman. Our first time together in years and years. I think we did TLS back in Rochester at the Downstairs Cabaret Theater.

Wow. This concert is becoming real. And the best thing is that we have no idea how many people are gonna show up. We've already raised $300 for the church just by people coming to Jim after the show asking to buy the painting that night. (He paints an original portrait every single night during the show.)

Oh, and speaking of that... well, I can't tell it yet. Remind me. A gift someone very talented gave to Jim.

Anyway, it's kind of exciting to wonder who's going to show. The concert is "just show up at the door." No reservations. We don't know if 10 people are gonna show or if 100 or 1000. We have seats for less than 200. So, what do you think? Mob scene or crickets?
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New article in Arts & Understanding (with amazing photos)

http://aumag.org/2017/05/10/steve-schalchlin-advocate/