08/07/03: Flippy-floppy

So sleepy, yet so unable to sleep.

My brain is going flippy-floppy.

I called Jeremy to say that my mind was going 850 miles per hour and that I couldn't sleep. (Lucky guy.) He asked what I was thinking about, and I said, "Ya know, the usual back-home-from-an-Arizona-trip-stuff." He said that my problem was that I had a habit of "playing Tetris before bed" which would get the stupid Tetris theme stuck in my skull, thus preventing me from sleeping... and every time I'd close my eyes I'd see little blocks falling from the above just begging to be neatly assembled. I LOVE this analogy (especially being a recovered Tetris addict)-- I get thinking about stuff as I wind down for the evening, so I have very vivid dreams about whatever it is that I'm thinking about, and then I wake up in a cold sweat fearing that they're true. These killah-vivid dreams always happen within the first half-hour of sleep or so... perhaps that's when I'm most open to suggestion or something. Who knows.

I've been back at work for two days now after the most awesome Arizona jaunt to date. 11 days of singing singing singing and recording recording recording, boiling my arse off, watching awesome thunderstorms, playing with very good dogs, swimming a bit, reconnecting with very important people, taking a college geography midterm (ha!) and of course, eating everything in sight. (Though didn't get a chance to get Indian or really good Mexican. Good thing I'm going back out in October. Must hit Restaurant Mexico.)

As per my usual, every time I go out west, I get all heartachy and bummed that I have to get on a plane and come back here.

I'd tell you all about my great life here in DE, my great friends, good job, Knappuccino's, fun apartment, yadda yadda...and how I just can't shake the fact that Arizona (OK, not so much Arizona as a place, but specifically the people there) really float my boat... but I'd just be reiterating what I frikkin' write every other time I come back from an Arizona trip.  So just choose one of those other entries (10-18-01, 11-25-01, 7-11-02 or 12-23-02) and change the date to August 2003 and save me the typing.   ;-)

I do have to say one thing, though. (Of course you do, Jill.) On my last night in town there, we had a little celebratory soirée at Anna's awesome home for finishing the bulk of the recording. It was a really warm, dark night out and we were all enjoying a yummy dinner outside on the patio when it dawned on me... not one person sitting at that table was from there. People's concept of "home" has always intrigued me, quite possibly because I have such a strong sense of "being from" north Jersey. So we went around the table and talked about where home was for everyone, and the answers were varied and surprising. Stefan said that "home is where my instruments are." Others agreed that home was wherever they went to college. Others weren't really sure. It was fascinating.

That was a really fun night. Played a bitchin' game of Scrabble, drank a nice ruby port, listened to some scratch takes of the recording... just really felt very connected to everyone. I really love these people.

I really think you get a certain connection with people when you sing with them, especially a cappella music. Ideally, after you've been singing with a group for a while, you sort of become part of this Borg collective-- you intuitively understand where they're going, how the music is gonna flow, etc. Sometimes I really feel that with CapSon, but other times (usually when I'm not as familiar with the music as ideally I should be) I'm not there. Back when I sang with the gang full time, it really was a remarkable thing. Jeff Davey and I sang tenor together, and I still get chills when I listen to recordings of us singing Tibi Soli Pecavi. It's like our two voices melded together to make a totally different instrument; it was a real joy. During last week's recording session, we sang some one on a part stuff (stuff I was infinitely more comfortable with), and I really felt very "plugged in." We recorded "Nimphes des bois" which is one of the most moving pieces of music I can think of... and when we did it one on a part, it soared. I didn't feel like the chick singing the second line up, I felt like a cello string. I was part of a single unit-- I could not only hear everyone, but moreover feel everyone. Again, it's probably a familiarity thing... familiar with the people I was singing with, and also the material. (Which isn't to say that I didn't love singing with the whole group, but sometimes I worried I was doing more harm than good. Rob has those parts totally solid, and I think having a new (and tentative) voice singing in his ear wasn't ideal for him. What a patient soul, that's all I'm sayin' there!)

In college, I had the honor of singing with the madrigal group-- it was the only small vocal ensemble there, and it was a bitch to get into. I was amazed when I auditioned and got in. That group performed without a conductor... well, kind of. There wasn't a guy in a tux waving his arms, but every entrance and cutoff for every voice part had a conductor, and it changed measure by measure and song by song. The group was very interactive and tight (especially in its earlier incarnations-- unfortunately it got suckier after the big trip to Europe in '93), and we never performed a piece the same way twice. We were always on our toes, but moreover, we were always open and receptive to what each little part's conductor was going to do with their little spot. We trusted each other. It was super-rewarding, and something I wish every a cappella group did. Whenever I sing this kind of stuff with any group, I intuitively look up from my music (or look around if it's memorized) and try to find another person who is looking to 'connect' -- like doing a port scan or something (ranh!). Back in 2001, which was the first CapSon concert in which I sang with Rob, I remember instantly feeling that connection and being impressed by how easy it was to sing with him. Jeff and I took a little while to build to that, but Rob is such a seasoned group singer that it was totally natural.

Crap, man. I just love singing. Solo stuff, pop stuff, group stuff, Broadway stuff, barbershop, Anglican chant... I don't care. I'll sing anything. It's such a frikkin' joy. I'm so happy that out of all the gifts I could have been given that this is the one I got. There's no fatter fun than singing barbershop, there's no sweeter moment than achieving that mind-meld connection when you're singing so closely with someone; and there's no better way to blow off steam than singing "Heaven on Their Minds" at 872364 decibels. Thanks, God for letting me sing. You're alllllll right!