Happy 2015 Everyone!!
I’ll be headed to NYC to music direct a show on Friday Jan 16, at 8pm, with the very talented Brian Horgan, a singer-songwriter from Dublin. The show will be at the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), in Brooklyn. (Yes, for those of you who live in Manhattan or Queens, I know Brooklyn may as well be the other side of the planet.)
Brian’s repertoire for this performance consists of plenty of original material, with a few covers of great songs from the 60s, 70s, and 80s (think David Bowie, Bread, BeeGees, and other similar artists). Brian’s own writing is imaginative and evocative, with clever lyrics and catchy melody hooks – I promise you will leave the show singing fragments of his songs!
I will be leading the band with my violin in hand. Playing also for this show is David Gardos in piano, Danny Weller on bass, and Shannon Ford on drums/percussion. The evening will be kicked off by spoken word artist Dave Rock, and followed with a reception in NYFA’s gallery.
(p.s. It is a free event – so no excuse for any of you poor fellow artist friends in NYC to not attend!)
How many times have all of us said to someone: “No, I never received that email…are you sure you sent it?”
Only to check our spam folder, and find that not only is that email in there…but you were also invited to tea with Queen Elizabeth II, to sing the anthem for the start of the World Series, and invest in what is now Facebook…oops…
Well, imagine that experience, except with about 20,000,000 times more volume of spam…and that about sums up the back-end spam folder of my website.
Really, it is the year 2014 – do we need spammers? What do they get out of sending spam to a website anyways?!?!?!
But…buried in over 7000 messages of spam that I cleaned out this morning, there they were – lovely, genuine messages from people I had met at concerts or from long ago, who had taken the time to visit my website, read through my blogs, and post a comment.
So to John & Edie in Philadelphia, and to Nick from the good ol’ days back at Northwest High School, my apologies that I didn’t respond when you sent your messages!
Yes, John & Edie, I really hope that we return to perform in Philadelphia soon – it is truly one of my favorite cities in America. It has beautiful old architecture, with sweeping fields and properties on the outskirts, and the heart of a city that is still gritty and real – not overly-sterilized as some (not to be mentioned!) larger cities in this country!
And to Nick, I will check out those links on my site! I do my best to be a “Renaissance Woman” and manage my own site, upload media to the various other necessary sites online, and etc – but sadly there are always little bits and pieces that slip through the cracks!
Finally, to all of my other wonderful fans – hope to see you very soon at an event, and please keep posting!!!
And here is to a fantastic finish to 2014!!
Here it is, Bostonians!
Finally, Ciaran and I are performing a full-length concert within the boundary of our fair city!
We are both very excited to be putting on this concert – it consists of (of course) lots of Irish music, but lots of my own arrangements and compositions – and even an arrangement by my father, Jon Novak.
The concert will be in the beautiful St. Cecilia’s Church on October 16, at 7pm.
Looking forward to seeing many of our friends and colleagues there – as well as many new faces!
(p.s. Ciaran and I are finishing a new CD, which will be on sale for the first time ever at this event!)
The link to tickets is below in the concert info:
Here I am…entering my 35th year…my “Presidential Year”…Yes, that’s right, folks. Be worried, I can now officially run for President of the United States!
More than that, it has been a year of a lot of unexpected twists and turns in work. Lots of “business” work, unrelated to music, but still interesting and challenging. Also lots of musicals. In fact, I think this may have been THE Year of the Musical.
First show was “Midsummer Night” at the Modern Theatre with Suffolk University. I played electric violin for this rock musical/opera adaptation of Shakespeare’s A MidSummer Night’s Dream. As is typical on these types of shows, I was the only girl in the band, but that didn’t matter. The guys were all great players (mostly Berklee grads, like myself). And the Musical Director was none other than the fantastic Scott Nicholas, whom I have worked with through the Tenors and my own projects – always a pleasure, sir!
Next was “The Weaver of Raveloe,” which was presented at the small blackbox theater space in Harvard Square called the Oberon. This was another new show, this time an adaptation of the novel “Silas Marner,” by George Eliot. This was an ambitious work composed and written (lyrics and book) by Erica Glenn, much in the style of a dramatic musical, such as Les Miserables. The cast were fantastic, and again the orchestra were eager and a pleasure to work with (although I certainly felt “older” in this pit than in Midsummer Night, where the band were age-wise my contemporaries!), and directed by the wonderful Sarah Houghton.
And, after these, came Finding Neverland. And what an experience it has been, Finding Neverland! I have been privileged enough to work with the best of the best in the musical theater world, including Diane Paulus, Mia Michaels, and of course Harvey Weinstein. Do I get to work with this people individually? No – that is left to the actors and the production team. But watching the way they work and how it influences the people around them has been truly fascinating.
More related to my work on this musical has been the music – written by UK pop star Gary Barlow and record producer Eliot Kennedy. The musical supervisor is David Chase, whose ear is unmatchable. The orchestrations are by Simon Hale, and are some of the most enjoyable parts I have seen written for any shows lately. Every instrument in the pit has an engaging, musical part to play – not least, of course, my violin part! The playing styles range from English Baroque to Beatles to lush romanticism to 70s and 80s pop to pirate tango (yes!!) to slightly surreal…46 shows into this run, and I haven’t gotten bored yet!
At the helm, leading our musical madness is Mary-Mitchell Campbell. Again, I have learned so much just watching her leadership skills – ah, yes, honey catches much more flies than vinegar! Not only is she a world class musician and conductor, she is also patient and understanding, a pleasure to be around – oh, and she runs an amazing global charity called ASTEP. Yes, musicians, take heed – you can run an organization AND still play music! (To the top level, nonetheless!)
So…29 more shows to go, then it is onto the next musical wilderness.
However, that wilderness – at least for a few months – will be more of my own making. Time for Tara to start writing some new material again! Ciaran and I have a few concerts in September, October, and November (which I will be posting about soon) – and I want some new repertoire for those. I also have some ideas brimming around the back of my head for a possible new album…time to tease out some of those ideas!
Apologies for the long, blathering blog post – it has been too long since I updated this, and there was much to share (and much I have missed as well).
A Very Happy Autumn to you all, and hope to see you soon at a show or concert!
One of the greatest pleasures of moving (and, boy, I’ve done a lot of that!) has been having the opportunity to meet many people around the world, many of whom I may not have crossed paths with otherwise.
In January 2012, when I returned to Berklee, I needed to take some Classical theory classes as part of my degree requirements. Even though I had taken these classes at UMKC (13 years earlier!), I decided to not test out of these classes. Who doesn’t need a brush-up on the rules of chorale writing and counterpoint, let alone all those crazy Augmented 6 chords?!? Because of that decision, I ended up having a class with the amazing guitarist, classical composer, and film director Apostolos Paraskevas as my professor.
Two years later, Apostolos has become a very dear friend – to both me, and my husband Ciaran. Apostolos performed his first solo recital of his own repertoire this past week at Berklee College of Music. There is a long back-story as to why he had not been performing, but to summarize, both life and physical injuries had gotten in the way. Overcoming giant obstacles (and having been told that he would never play again), Apostolos heroically took on the challenge of this recital – and asked Ciaran and I to perform on it with him.
The link below is to a beautiful guitar and violin duet by Apostolos – “A Simple Life and Some Tea, Please…” – performed by the pair of us last week, Feb 12, 2014, at the David Friend Recital Hall at Berklee College of Music.
I hope that you, the listener, enjoy it – but I hope even more that there will be many more opportunities to make music with this amazing artist!