My Whim is Law

…where a single parent in Portland still believes that wishing will make it so…

The videos from #SheTeen’s performance last night

Courtesy of #SheTeen’s father, we now have videos of last night’s performance at Jimmy Mak’s with the Pacific Crest Orchestra.

Sweet Georgia Brown

Straighten Up and Fly Right

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Paper-livetweeting #SheTeen’s concert

Apparently, when your phone dies and you still want to capture a moment or three – you resort to paper tweeting your impressions. At least you do if you’re my friend @marysuzannepdx, that is!

But if you want to see the whole thing, you’ll have to do the ‘click for more’ thing… Continue reading

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Yes, I’m a stage mother. Wanna make something of it?

My next career move? Managing my daughter’s musical career.

At least, that’s what you might gather by following my recent Twitter/Facebook posts. Or by looking at my calendar this week (jazz band practice M/Wed, performance Tuesday, private voice lessons Thursday and a recording session Friday. Nope, am not kidding.)

I’ve talked before about #SheTeen’s new jazz orchestra adventure (and have been relentlessly promoting tonight’s event on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus and anywhere else I can (an email to my entire company? Outreach to our rabbi? Guilty as charged…)

My motive is a pure one, though – it’s a fundraiser for the entire band, designed to help subsidize travel expenses for upcoming festival appearances. And I swear I had nothing to do with what her school sent out in a recent email newsletter (am using it here ’cause it nicely summarizes the event):

On Tuesday, January 10th Sun Richter will be making her ‘professional’ debut singing at Jimmy Mak’s. She will be fronting Thara Memory‘s AMP Jazz Band from 6:30-7:30 pm that night. Admission is $5 and all ages are welcome. The event is a fundraiser for AMP, a pre-professional community band comprised of very talented HS aged kids that rehearses at da Vinci.

(Editor’s note: No, I did not name my daughter ‘Sun’ – she re-named herself in reaction to the seventy-zillion other ‘Zoe’s’ at daVinci.)

Apparently, Jimmy Mak’s does a lot to support younger jazz musicians here in Portland, Oregon. From their site:

Jimmy Mak’s is proud to feature a series of shows designed to bring you the very best up-and-coming jazz artists in Portland. There are many exciting and talented new artists working in Portland right now, our hope is to introduce you to the next generation of jazz musicians coming up in the Portland scene. Every Tuesday, the featured artist in our “Partners in Jazz” series will open for the Mel Brown Septet at 6:30pm, and play until 7:30pm. The Mel Brown Septet will hit it with their blend of straight-ahead and hard-bop jazz, playing two sets, starting at 8pm.

So – tonight’s the night. If you’re in PDX? Why not help support some talented young musicians? Or come gush over my daughter’s vocal talents?

If I’m going to don the ‘stage mother’ role, well – I ought to go all out, right? Right.

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Follow-ups, corrections and/or mea culpas

…which can also be subtitled ‘Quasimodo Part Two, Flirts Gone Wild & #SheTeen’s upcoming jazz concert’, for those who want the summary in less than 140c!

I have some ‘splaining to do about some of my recent blog posts, it appears. (Will take the time to do so while the latest dose of Benadryl kicks in. Benadryl, you wonder? AGAIN? Um, yeah. See below…)

  1. Turns out I may have unfairly maligned my Xmas Eve chinese food as the cause behind the recent Quasimodo attack. How do I know this? Well, I’ve been dealing with Quasimodo Part Two: When Eye Pads Attack over the last two days. Yes, can still attest that the itching – oh, dear GOD the infernal itching – is the worst part. And the makeup remover pads that are definitely the culprit here? Yes, they’ve been banished.
  2. Pride goeth before a fall. Or those who get cocky are surely cruising for a righteous smackdown. And those flirting skills? Still need a bit of polishing if one aims them at someone who ends up preferring the same gender you do. Ooof. (But at least his friends were amused…!)
  3. #SheTeen’s jazz band is performing at Jimmy Mak’s next Tuesday, January 10th at 6:30 pm! She’s the vocalist on at least 2 of their songs at this point (Sweet Georgia Brown & Straighten Up and Fly Right), and will be rocking a killer pair of heels, I believe. If you live in the PDX area, you are cordially invited to attend. In fact, I’d strongly encourage it – the $5 cover charge goes towards travel expenses for the teens – and OY, do they have some potentially hefty trips coming up this spring! (Backstory on her new adventure here; the group’s Facebook page here.)

OK, am starting to feel sleeepy…veeerry sleeepy. Off to dreamland for me…!

Posted in Bossing the Kids, Drama Mama, Oversharing | 2 Comments

I guess I’m going to be one of those mothers after all…

When you have a child you believe has been given special gifts, you do what you can to nurture them. But if you’re me, you don’t always believe that she has the raw talent, or the interest to see it through long-term – so you backpedal a bit. Or you think it’s the personality – rather than ability – that’s responsible.

  • You don’t assume your kid was born to be a star – even if she starts selling off her autograph at the age of six.
  • Don’t start rearranging your own life in preparation to manage her career, Lohan-style – even when she wants to take this music class, or participate in that activity.
  • Listen to the experts who advised holding off on things like private voice lessons, encourage all of the other fifty-zillion things she’s interested in doing as well.

See , I didn’t want to be one of those mothers. Stage parents, living vicariously through their children. Pushing not-especially-talented kids through a mill to live out their own dreams.

...taken on stage during the 3rd grade musical

Sure, everyone who knows my daughter knows that she loves to sing – from the kindergarden teacher at her first elementary school who urged me to transfer her to the arts magnet school in Portland, ’cause ‘her little songbird’ would thrive there to the relatives who only see her every few years or so. And sure – her expressive, dynamic personality makes performing a snap, and not always worthy of comment prior to the unexpected a cappella solo in 1st grade – or the original composition sung as part of the 5th grade musical. (At least we knew of her role as Veruca Salt in Charlie in the Chocolate Factory so we could capture the video performance…!)

And sure, we encouraged her when she wanted to make choir her focus at the arts magnet middle school she now attends. But we also supported her when she tried out for the spring play last week (she came thisclose to nabbing a role, only to lose out last Thursday). And we assumed that she was just one of 450 or so talented kids with an affinity for the arts.

Nothing special, no big deal. (Even though she’s now the first – and last – teenager who will ever tap dance on the bima as part of a bat mitzvah ceremony, according to our rabbi!) No danger of me morphing into Dina Lohan any time soon. And I stuck to that mindset – even after my daughter told me that she’d passed the vocal audition she’d taken part in last Friday afternoon.

Until we – her father and I, that is – showed up for parent-teacher conferences the following Monday. The drama teacher told us that #SheTeen’s monologue ‘blew him away’, and that we should start looking into private acting lessons for her. The choir teacher wanted to hear more about last Friday’s audition, told us this was definitely a major kudo – and also recommended private voice lessons (“she’s ready for it…”) And every single teacher was thoroughly impressed when #SheTeen shared her news about the group she’s now going to be singing with – and very impressed with #SheTeen as well (“she owns this school, you know…”)

I had a dream for my daughter way back when – but I wanted it to be her dream as well. And I also wanted to know that she had the talent to go after that dream. Well, she does have the talent – and she really really wants this. (You know how I know? Because the kid who’s been ‘oh, no big deal…’ about her vocal performances to date told me her hand didn’t stop shaking until a full day after the audition.)

So…here we go. I’ll be looking into private voice lessons. Making time to drive her to Beaverton. Rearranging my schedule to incorporate 3x weekly band rehearsals. And rediscovering my long-dormant love for jazz.

Because #SheTeen – the one who still reminds me every single day of my grandmother Mimi – will be singing with Thara Memory’s American Music Program as part of the Pacific Crest Orchestra.

Because my daughter Zoe Richter still lives her life in song.

Posted in Drama Mama | 4 Comments
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