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Fawn at Arts in the Park 2011

7 Jun

Arts in the Park, June 14, 2001, LePage Park, noon to 1. Featuring Fawn Fritzen with Marg Tatam on piano.  Hot vocal jazz in the summer sun.

Here’s one of the projects that is keeping me busy this month: rehearsing for a one-hour set at Arts in the Park next week.

Please keep your fingers crossed for good weather, as this is an open-air concert!  The show will go on, though, come rain or come shine.

Spread the word!  And if you’re in Whitehorse, I would love to see you there.


Rockin the Casbah

17 Mar

I am so excited about the bellydance show I’m going to be in on Saturday!  Someday I would love to learn how to bellydance, but for now, I’ll settle for helping to provide the music.

Nita Collins, who is the teacher of Celebrations Bellydance school and the leader of the Saba Middle Eastern Dance Ensemble, also happens to be the Big Band’s bari sax player.  For this show, she decided to combine her love of Big Band music with her love of dance.  I don’t have enough superlative adjectives to say how much fun the fusion is!

On top of playing piano with the Big Band for about half the dances in the show, I’ll be singing two songs.  I’d love to tell you what they are, but that’s top-secret.  I will say that they’re both beautiful tunes I adore, and I can’t wait to sing them.

Thank goodness I got the flu early enough to recover from it, right?

(Touch wood.)

Black Coffee

19 Nov

Michael’s been out of town for a week and I am feeling the effects.  I don’t drink my coffee black, but I do like it strong, and this past week it has been the sorry saviour in my life.  And I serenade the sweet, sweet, drink at the end of this post.  No wait, I guess it’s not sweet if it’s black.  Whatever.

Here’s a quickie update on the week past.

Halia had her birthday last week and we had a wonderful day.  I wanted to write a post about the incredible little person she is, because she is an impish ray of sunshine who deserves a thoughtful post dedicated just to her.  But we spent the whole day being together as a family and then the next day Michael left and well, there you have it.  Sorry, sweetheart!  I’ll make it up to you in hugs and kisses and letting you walk up the wall, since that’s one of your favourite things to do.

Jade had an eye-opening visit with an audiologist — wait, is that an oxymoron?  Anyway, she has failed a couple of hearing tests (just in one ear) in the past two months, and this week she saw an audiologist who determined her hearing is normal (or it was on that day, anyway) but there was, despite no sign of infection, fluid in her middle ear.  We’re going to test her again in a few weeks, but it looks like the fluid might be a chronic problem that gets worse whenever she gets a cold, which currently is monthly because she’s being reintroduced into a school environment.  This might shed some light on her motor / balance issues and possibly some things going on with her speech, as well.

I went to a lunch information session at the Child Development Centre to talk about transitioning Jade into Kindergarten next year.  I won’t lie, ya’ll, I am petrified.  Nobody here has ever seen a child with Jade’s particular needs before.  How are we going to make this work?  I am repeating to myself Eleanor Roosevelt’s famous proclamation: “You must do thing you think you cannot do.”

Then there’s my birthday tomorrow.  32!  I’ve always loved birthdays, particularly as an excuse for a party.  I haven’t had one in years, though (parties, that is, ahem) so this year I’m breaking the drought by having a brunch with friends on the weekend.  Most of them have kids around Jade and Halia’s age.  I’d really have liked to do a music jam type party, but the logistics of having an evening party when we have kids who have early bedtimes just made my brain melt, so having a kid party is much more realistic.

Anyway, wow, this post wasn’t supposed to be this long.  How did you make it this far?  Wasn’t the whole point of this post to show you a video?  Yes!  Actually, I also wanted to tell you, half-sheepishly, that I now have a fan page on Facebook.  (Go ahead.  “Like” it.  You know you want to!) And tonight I thought I would upload, at long last, a short clip from my gig at The Capital Hotel way back in February.  But Facebook wouldn’t let me upload the darn thing, so I’m posting it here, instead.

As I say on the YouTube description, it’s interesting to watch this video and realize that I’ve done a lot to improve in the last nine months.  But anyway, it’s a taste of the jazzy-type stuff I’m totally obsessed with these days.  To the huge detriment of my sleep.  (And necessitating yet more coffee.)

(Props go out to the lovely and amazing Annie Avery on that one grand piano, and the fabulous and always-charming Grant Simpson on that there other one.)

Oh look, it’s my birthday now!  Um, I think that means I should go to bed.

It’s Not This

30 May

Yesterday I sang in celebration.

Yukon Women in Music is an amazing volunteer-run society that supports women musicians.  Many of my public performances in Whitehorse have been at concerts organized by YWIM, and I’ve met some wonderful and inspiring musicians.  Last night, at a concert to mark 10 years as an official not-for-profit society, I was honoured to be asked to perform two of my songs, sharing the stage with about a dozen other women.  The room was jam-packed, both on-stage and off.

One of my favourite moments was listening to Nicole Edwards speak about starting to perform ten years ago, and how she didn’t think she could be a performer in her own right, without a band to back her up.  I could really identify with her story; in so many ways I feel like I am standing at an edge right now, realizing that I could do so much more and that the biggest obstacle I have to overcome is fear.

My least favourite moment was definitely the part where I fell off the stage. I was exchanging spots with another performer who needed the piano.  I sat down, perhaps a bit too jauntily, on a chair whose legs were precariously close to the back edge of the stage.  Thank goodness the stage was a mere 12-inches high, although I wasn’t thinking anything like that as the chair plunged backwards with me in it.  The small of my back painfully took the brunt of my fall while my head slammed into a cabinet.  I lay stunned for a while, wedged between the stage and the wall, my legs dangling awkwardly over the front of the chair.  I’m sure the entire room wanted to run over to pick me up.  I kind of wished the floor would swallow me up.

Anyway, the show must go on, and on it went.  And there really was fabulous music.  And I recovered enough to do my second song, which I wrote last month and have been waiting to post here.

A bit of background on the song: my dear friend Shannon came to visit us several years ago, and we spent many days in long and deep conversation.  During one gab-fest in which we were talking about a relationship she had ended, she made a comment that has stuck with me ever since.  “Some things that are said a relationship can never recover from,” she told me.  “They’re just too damaging.”  I’ve often thought about that insightful remark, and I think it has kept me from saying rash things in the heat of argument.

Last month her idea somehow transformed itself into the lyrics for this song, and its first public performance was at last night’s concert.

One of the ladies in the audience was kind enough to operate the camera for me.  Onstage with me are Lisa Turner (playing the brushes on her cajón — another favourite moment, with some of the ladies joining in!), Brenda Berezan, Kim Rogers, and off-camera Susan Phillips was strumming along, too.

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The Cap recap and the rest of it

2 Mar
I suppose that since even such successful performers such as Donny Osmond, Barbra Streisand, and Sir Laurence Olivier suffered from stage fright, I shouldn’t be ashamed to admit that I spent the better part of Thursday in a state of anxiety.  I’ve had butterflies before, of course, but never this low-level and long-lasting dread untempered by excitement.  I have no idea why I was so scared (well, I did have that head cold to worry about) but I knew I would enjoy myself once things started rolling, and attempted to pretend that I didn’t feel like just lying down and whimpering.

Singing at The Capital, Feb 25th, 2010Fortunately, getting to The Capital an hour early and listening to Grant Simpson and Annie Avery facing off on two grand pianos was so fun it turned out to be very calming.  Also, Michael was there along with a quite a few friends, and it was bracing to know that people had come out just to cheer me on.

Anyway, to make a long navel-gazing story a little shorter, I did have fun and my voice didn’t give out and the set went well.  Performing with Grant and Annie is awesome because they are both so laid back, it takes off a lot of pressure.

There are things about my performance that I want to work on (like a modicum of showmanship between tunes, for example) but I feel happy about making a good start.  Plus a few musicians I really admire and respect have suggested getting together, which is one of the best compliments I can think of.

couple of you have asked about video clips from Thursday night.  A friend of mine loaned us his video camera, but I have no idea yet whether any of the footage (or sound!) turned out, since I handed the camera right back to him after the gig, having no idea how to get stuff off the tape and onto a computer.

The rest of the crazy weekend went fine, too.  I think everyone in the Big Band sighed with relief after finishing up on Saturday night.  Performing three full sets two nights in a row sucks up a lot of energy!  As for Nanuq, he was very well behaved on the festival grounds (a challenging environment, with so many strange dogs — not to mention strange people! — crowding around) and he even managed to capture second place in the dog-howling competition. 

I’d say that made it a successful weekend for the whole household.

On Sunday, Michael left afternoon for Beaver Creek, Canada’s most westerly community.  (This meant he had to miss watching the end of the historic Canada-USA gold-medal Olympic hockey game.  As a rule, I never watch hockey, but I watched this game.  And, oh man!  What a game!)  He has to fit in a trip to Old Crow before the end of the month, but then he will be done with travelling for a little while  (Hooray!)

Do you suppose at that point I’ll be able to take a little breather?  Or do you think that maybe life will just keep happening? 

Yeah, that’s what I thought, too. 🙂

Rendezvous music

24 Feb

Those of you who live in Whitehorse already know that Rendezvous time is here again!  I’ll be singing at The Capital from 10 to 11 p.m. tomorrow night to help you kick off the Rendezvous weekend.  As you can see from the poster, there’s a lot of great entertainment lined up for the weekend.  I’m planning to get there earlier in the evening to really let the butterflies get hold take in some of the other performers before my set starts.

On Friday night, The Big Band will be playing at the Queen’s Ball at the High Country Inn.  We had such a fabulous time playing the Dessert and Dance two weeks ago, with over 200 people coming through that evening.  If you had fun then, or if you were unlucky enough to miss it, here’s your chance to do some swing dancing!  And see all the Rendezvous Queen candidates, of course.

And Saturday, we’re hoping to enter Nanuq in the annual dog-howling competition (which we missed last year).  That will be quite a musical event, since his cue to howl is the harmonica.  I wonder if they’ll disqualify him because he is clearly singing and not howling?

(And later Saturday evening, the Big Band will be doing the dance music for a wedding — how cool would it be to have a big band at your wedding reception?!)

As you can tell, it’s going to be quite the weekend, and that’s not even getting into all the Rendezvous events!  Whew… see you on the other side!

Tooting my horn

23 Dec

I just found out that CBC Radio North is going to play Angels Are Smiling on the Morning Show tomorrow, sometime between 7:30 and 8:00.  Whee!!!!