Thursday, July 26, 2012

Do you hear the people sing?...

Cammy and I with J. Michael Bailey, who happened to play an amazing Jean Valjean!
(As you can see, I was a complete blubbering mess after the show.)

Our family hopped in the van and headed off to see
at the Tony Award-winning
Utah Shakespearean Festival.

The girls doing their traditional poses at the King Lear statue.

As we arrived at the campus there was an epic downpour of rain.
So much for a "good hair day."
My husband was chivalrous as he helped 
several older women
cross the 5 foot wide rushing gutter waters
in order to get to the theatre.

We always have to stop and say hi to Sir John Falstaff.

Soon the sun came out.
The grounds were lovely as always.
Excitement in the air as patrons began to arrive
for the sold-out matinee.

Of course, Court had to wear her "24601" shirt.

Fun to see Fred Adams
(who founded the Festival 51 years ago)
in attendance.
(Name drop: He is on my family tree.)

All photo credits Karl Hugh

First off, I have to say that J. Michael Bailey
was a revelation.
He absolutely nailed "Bring Him Home."
Chills and tears.

Brian Vaughn, a favorite of Festival crowds
was a marvelous Inspector Javert. 
Brian is one of the new co-artistic directors
of the Festival.
He commanded the role
and his voice soared in 

Brian's real-life wife, Melinda Pfundstein
was a fabulous Fantine!
Caitlyn and I couldn't get over how she could sing
"I Dreamed a Dream"
with tears running down her face
and not lose any control of her powerful voice.

The children were excellent.
Young Cosette
played by Sadi Weir
had the perfect voice and accent.

And Gavroche
(one of Court's favorite characters)
played by 
Britton Jeffery Gardner
knocked my socks off!
Spot on singing and acting.

All of the principal characters were well-cast.
(The Thenardier's were
absolutely despicable 
as they should be.)

Enjolras, played by Joey DeBenedetto
 had a very cool edge to his voice.
And the entire ensemble had a powerful
and beautiful blend.

The cast was much smaller than the
London production
we saw in 2010
at the Queen's Theatre.
However, nothing was lost in this choice,
and in fact the quality was outstanding!

It was a gorgeous production
by all standards.
So blessed to be able to attend.
I will never tire of this
timeless and life-affirming story.
I was especially touched to watch
my youngest daughter be emotionally
moved throughout the show.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Angelic Voice. Angelic Person.

Photo by Court

This weekend we had the lovely pleasure of meeting
the stunning and talented
Katherine Jenkins.

Cammy was so mesmerized by Katherine that she couldn't look away:)

Katherine first came to our attention when we saw her performance
as Abigail Pettigrew
in the BBC's Doctor Who 2010 Christmas Special.
We fell in love with her and with her exquisite voice.
(Yes, I am admitting here in print that 5/6th of our family
are Doctor Who nerds. 
There...I said it.)

Katherine with Michael Gambon and Matt Smith
in Doctor Who Christmas Special.

While signing our CD's she was so sweet to talk
with Court about her Doctor Who experience.
She said it felt like she spent 3 weeks
living in a parallel universe and had such a fun time.

Cammy told Katherine that they shared the same birthday
and Katherine wished her a belated birthday of three weeks ago.

She told my husband and I what a wonderful experience
she was having being in beautiful Salt Lake City 
and meeting
the choir and orchestra,
and how everyone was so lovely and kind.

Katherine Jenkins here with Mormon Tabernacle Choir director Mack Wilberg.

At the press conference before the concerts
Katherine expressed her excitement to be performing with the
world renowned Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

 Katherine singing at the ""Joy of Song" Pioneer Concert in SLC.

Katherine was thrilled to learn that her Welsh heritage
happens to be shared by many members of 
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
(me included).
Welch immigrants were among the Mormon pioneers
who left their homeland to settle
the Salt Lake Valley.

Katherine applauds the Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square.

The concert was absolutely outstanding.
President Thomas S. Monson and his wife 
were in attendance and when he entered the hall
the entire audience quieted out of respect.
You could have heard a pin drop.
Of course the Mormon Tabernacle Choir are always amazing.
Katherine sang several beautiful pieces.
Her gorgeous mezzo-soprano soared over the 22,000 people in attendance. 

There was even a surprise appearance by her
Dancing With the Stars partner,
Mark Ballas
who danced the Paso Doble with her
right after she sang
George Bizet's
from the opera

Katherine Jenkins is among the world's most prolific
classical crossover artists. 
Since her career launched in 2004
she has sold over seven million albums.
She hails from the tiny village of Neath
in southern Wales.
She is also a tireless ambassador for numorous
charitable causes internationally.
Just last month she performed for
Her Majesty
Queen Elizabeth at her
Diamond Jubilee celebration.

I was so very impressed with her humble, sweet
and gracious demeanor.
Beautiful inside and out.
Give a listen to her music.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Make the most of your time here...

"What he wrote is what he is."
~Clayton Christensen

This man is on my "most admired" list.
I had the privilege of taking two of his classes at university.
Organizational Behavior and Leadership Skills.
He was one of my favorite professors.
The many principles I learned from him have helped me in my life.
The concepts he taught in those classes would later become 
the basis of his outstanding book,
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.
This book has sold more than 20 million copies worldwide.

Tom Smart

I love this photo.
It was taken at the dedication of the  
Covey Center for the Arts.
(I have enjoyed holding my vocal recitals here.)
The Coveys have always been great philanthropists for the arts.
Stephen Covey adored his wife.
He would often bring her to class and have her sing for us.
She is a classically trained soprano. 
While she sang I would watch his face.
He was always beaming with love and admiration for her.

In the early 90's Mr. Covey generously offered his workshops to our community.
The program was offered through Provo Schools
 and each geographic
area was assigned a couple to chair.
My husband and I were given this assignment.
There were a certain amount of slots available for each area.
People who were chosen had to commit 8 weeks to the program.
Bill and I attended training to be support for the workshops.
These workshops which are given around the world to businesses
generally cost thousands of dollars. 
Those of us fortunate enough to participate paid only the largely
discounted cost of the manuals/workbooks.
It was an outstanding experience for those involved.

One of my favorite books by Stephen R. Covey

Many of the famous catch phrases quoted by many in the world
were coined by Mr. Covey.

Some of my favorites:

"The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing."

"Be a light, not a judge.
Be a model, not a critic."

"Strength lies in differences, not similarities."

"Seek first to understand, then to be understood."

"The key is not to prioritize what's on your schedule,
but to schedule your priorities."

"You can't talk your way out of a problem
you behaved your way into."

"To touch the soul of another human being
is to walk on holy ground."

And I leave you with this:

 Thanks Brother Covey for teaching us.
And for living your life the way you taught.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

"Reading saturates the imagination with possibilities." Jack Gantos
 Illustrator Tom Lichtenheld and Author Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Attended my 24th year of BYU's
this past week.
Started attending to keep my teaching license current
and looked forward to it so much each summer
that I just kept attending.

The two presenters above were my favorites this year.
Tom and Amy met 30 years ago when they were both
working in the field of Advertising.
They have collaborated on several children's picture books
as well as projects of their own.
Their Duck! Rabbit!
was named one of the ten best children's books
of 2009
by Publishers Weekly and Time Magazine

Jack Gantos has written books for people of all ages,
from picture book and middle readers
to juvenile fiction and adult novels.
He shared many tales from his fascinating upbringing.
Many of those stories found their way into his novel:

His book won this year's prestigious 
Newbery Award.

Nic Bishop is an amazing wildlife photographer.
His non-fiction nature books are beloved by children
because of the incredible photos he captures of
frogs, insects and spiders.
Born in England, he was raised in Bangladesh
by his biologist parents.
Later he lived in New Guinea and New Zealand.
He has traveled to many exotic locations around the world
to photograph his subjects.

He said that some of his photographs take
 as long as 6 months to capture.

Jeanette Ingold is the author of seven award-winning novels for middle-school
and young adult readers.
She opens up new worlds for her readers to explore.
Her writing would be considered historical fiction.
Some of these include
a story of of teens who served in the 
Civilian Conservation Crops during the Great Depression;
The Big Burn
about the 1910 wildfires that swept the Northwest;
and her newest novel,
Paper Daughter
the story of a young Asian girl who interns
at a local newspaper only to uncover some secrets and lies
connected to the Chinese Exclusion Era that may be
linked to her recently deceased father.

I still maintain the opinion that you don't need to be
 in middle school
to read some of the best books on the market.
Juvenile Fiction is where it's at.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

"Room at the Top"..well not really. It was packed.

Well that was quite a concert!
I didn't realize how many Tom Petty songs I knew. 
Neat to hear each artist's take on a song.
Tom Petty has been on the music scene for over 40 years
so he has a vast library.
Paul Jacobsen chose a great cross-section of his work.


Had to post the traditional photo of me
with a skinny musician.
Just some guy named Tyler Glenn
from some little band called NEON TREES:)
He, along with bandmates
bassist Brandon Campbell 
and drummer Elaine Bradley
(who is 8 months pregnant by the way) 
came along to perform in the show.

 Here's Cammy with Brandon.
I enjoyed talking with him and his lovely wife, Emilee.
They have two darling children 
and make their home in Utah County.
Of course, Brandon is often on the road
with the band who left on tour
the next morning.

I forgot to get a photo with Elaine.
I enjoyed my conversation with she and her
handsome husband, Sebastian.
I told her that when I was in junior high I wanted to be a drummer
like my singing idol Karen Carpenter. 
She liked hearing that and knew all about Karen.
Elaine is an amazing drummer
and she showed off her strong vocal chops dueting
with Tyler on the Stevie Nicks/Tom Petty song
"Stop Draggin' My Heart Around."

Chung Sung-Getty Image

Neon Trees is presently touring the country 
promoting their 2nd album
"Picture Show,"
And singing their single
"Everybody Talks"
on all the late-night shows and
early morning shows and
playing to sold out concert venues.
It was such a surprise to the 
Rooftop audience when they were introduced
as performers in the Tom Petty Concert.
Huge reaction!

Nate Pyfer of "The Moth and The Flame" singing
"You Don't Know How It Feels"

Ryan Innes singing

Sarah Sample instagram

Sarah Sample singing

Dan Nailen

My friend, Stu Maxfield,
of "Fictionist"
rocking the roof with
(Stu has a great rock voice and he and I discussed the importance of
always warming up and keeping his voice healthy especially as they
prepare to tour the country in promotion of their
new album with Atlantic Records. He and his wife are expecting their
first baby any day. The album drops in September.)

Dan Nailen

And finally,
Elaine and Tyler
belting out
"Stop Draggin' My Heart Around."
At one point Tyler got down on his knees and bent
completely onto his back while power belting.
Quite the limber display.
I asked him afterwards where he took Yoga
so I could sign up:)
Probably why he is so skinny.

A long, exhilarating day for everyone involved.
My poor girls and husband hung around until
we'd said our goodbyes to the artists
(all very gracious and grateful for our efforts)
and the last performer had left the greenroom. 
After hours of clean-up we went home
and our exhausted bodies fell into our beds.
A Rock & Roll night to remember.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Once Again to the Rooftop

Tomorrow the Rooftop Concerts will host
Heartbreakers & American Girls:
The Songs of Tom Petty.

Here are some photos
courtesy of Justin Hackworth
from our last terrific show.

Another large audience.
Lots of 20-somethings this time.

This is Richard Gregory who so generously donates his parking garage
and our greenroom space. He owns Station 22, a popular local eatery in
downtown along with other local business venues.

This is the lovely Kaneischa Johnson who manages
the favorite local music venue
She live tweets our concerts
and runs the Downtown Dance Walk
right before the concert.
Last month's premiere event
was a huge success.

At the Dance Walk an elaborate marriage proposal
was staged with the hopeful boyfriend dressed as
After fighting a couple of villians
he dropped down on one knee.
She said yes.

Desert Noises
waiting for soundcheck.
They are presently touring the country
and gathering quite a fan base.

Crowd eagerly waiting the start.
Singer-Songwriter Joshua James with wife Emma
were in attendance to support
Desert Noises
a band from his record label
Northplatte Records.

Desert Noises performed a great set.

As the sun set, our featured band
The Moth and The Flame
took the stage.

This band has quite a following judging by the
audience response.
 Unique sound
and they put on a very visually entertaining show.
 Nice guys also.

This was pretty much my view from back stage.
Festive night had by all.