It is thrilling to step onto the musical theater scene here in Chicago! I'm excited to play the role of Jenny Hill (and understudy to Sandra) in Theatre at the Center's upcoming production of Big Fish! Yes, like the Tim Burton Motion Picture ...just the musical version! I look forward to making some wonderful friends in this new cast & crew family! This is also my first time performing an Equity level role, so it is terribly exciting.
I have been experimenting and LOVING pushing the envelope singing various genres. I feel like the nonsense about having to pick just one type of music that you are allowed to specialize in is just that: nonsense. Musical Theater has been calling my name, and here we go! (Don't worry... I still love opera.)
Make your plans to come see the show! Playing May 7th-June 7th, 6 shows a week, 30 mins south of the Chicago Loop.
TWO FABULOUS THINGS!
~With the esteemed Judges of the evening~
1. Last night was wonderful. I was selected by the audience and judges as winner of the semi- final round of Opera Idol! Everyone sounded truly fantastic and it was an honor to be chosen from among such great artists last evening!
However, this year - I will be double booked on the night of the finals~ (It is the same weekend that I will be competing at the Florida Grand Opera!) so they informed me that next year, I will advance directly to the final round of this wonderful competition that Sherrill Milnes has created.
What an honor! Thank you to the judges, who were in charge of 60% of the decision, and thank you to the audience who covered the other 40%!
2. The Sparrow has found her Songbird!
The other development I am ecstatic about is that I have found my Sparrow! While searching online for a little sparrow songbird to use in thank-you notes... I found the perfect image! I am SO thrilled and grateful to have found the artist Krislyn Dillard! She has a WONDERFUL collection PLEASE go check out her artwork! (and buy some!) Here is my little sparrow, in grey, and in color! I simply LOVE this beautiful watercolor and the joyous flight and soul that Krislyn so expertly enlivened this little sparrow with! This little bird just brightens my soul every time I look at it! Watch Krislyn draw, or follow Krislyn on Twitter! I LOVE it!! It is going to be a part of all of my stationary from here on out!
Description of the sparrow by the artist, Krislyn Dillard:
(Watercolor painting of a sparrow with her wings wide as she takes off into the air.)
"Not long ago I was riding in the car with my husband when the Simon and Garfunkel song "Sparrow" came on. It is pretty amazing how music can inspire the creative mind. The song is beautiful yet ends tragically. Several days later it came back to me. In the spirit of the song yet with my own vision I set out to paint the little sparrow back to life. I was so successful I painted two more. Here you have the results of those efforts and so I am selling them together as a little triptych series."
For me, 'Audience Favorite' is the best prize that you could ever win. It was a lot of fun! And yes, BLUE was the color of the evening! Haha.
Throwback picture below- from this same competition a year ago, when I placed Second, and also received the 'Audience Favorite' award.
Congrats to the winners this year! My hat is off to you! Thank You, Comic Opera Guild, for a wonderful experience! And thank you, dear Jackson Symphony Hall (Michigan) audience, you rock.
What a fantastic experience at the American Traditions Competition in Savannah, GA this past week. My hat is off to the winners, there was PHENOMENAL talent and UNREAL singing happening all over the place! I learned so much from watching my brilliant colleagues and also gained some fantastic friends! And what other competition can you watch so much vocal variety? By the way, serious SHOUT OUT to Annastasia Victory. Pianist EXTRAORDINAIRE! Check her OUT!
It was so valuable to receive feedback from the judges and also to participate in a masterclass with Kristen Blodgette, best known for being the conductor/musical director for The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway and touring productions for the past 27 years. Her feedback was extremely valuable! She helped me with Ado Annie's "I Cain't Say No"- and also "You Don't Know This Man" from Parade. What's more, is that Kristen seriously just the kindest and most sincerely genuine person!
Making everything even more lovely, I was able to visit family on my way to and from Georgia, in Nashville, including celebrating the life of a beloved Great-Aunt, and visiting my 98-year-old grandmother in Nashville, and catching up with cousins and old friends. I was SO fulfilled on this trip, I do not feel as if anything was 'lost', only gained! What a wonderful time.
Enjoy the performance below! My favorite, I think, is Star Dust. Looking forward to the next two competitions: at Harold Haugh Light Opera this Sat & Florida Grand Opera in April!
"Becoming a mother changed me. I have more love, passion, and fulfillment in life; which in turn, enriches my artistry. Please join me in normalizing motherhood within the performing artist's culture."
- Rachel Sparrow
Rachel Sparrow is a professional singer, musician,(violin, piano, ukulele) actor, teacher, arranger, writer, and most importantly: a wife and a mommy of two littles. She loves to help parents make everyday life musical with their kids as well as share backstage stories, and performance experiences here. She earned her Master's degree in Voice Performance from Northwestern University, and also holds two Bachelor's degrees in Voice, and Music Education (certified to teach k-12 vocal & instrumental music) from Idaho State University. She is also a certified Music Together Director (music class for birth-5 yrs). See about Rachel.
"Think Outside Your Box" means 3 things:
1. Be Selfless - think beyond your own "box". (and for singers, there's more to life than your voice box!) You're capable of helping and healing others.
2. Feel Empowered to bust out of the proverbial
"box" made of societally-induced-parameters.
3. Be Bold. Innovate. Stretch yourself. You can do anything if you set your mind to it.