I have been honored to have the privilege of performing on stage at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall this past weekend in New York City. It was simply an amazing experience to perform there as First Prize Winner of the Barry Alexander International Opera Competition. I was so impressed by the caliber of singers performing that day!
The most common question I've been asked is:
What did I sing?
As some of my friends know, I am passionate about arranging a cappella spirituals and hymns, in order to highlight their words, and allow expression that isn't bound to a piano or other accompaniment. So, I sang my version of "He Never Said a Mumblin' Word", a traditional American Spiritual. And afterwards, a woman I didn't know said to me, "Rachel, You've changed my life. You've ministered to me. There are things in my life I am going to change now for the better. Thank you for that gift." It was so powerful to hear of her experience as I shared this part of myself.
This is what music is, and how it helps us to become better people. I know that it is just one small instance of the effect that happens with music all over the world; when humans embrace their humanity, and connect with one another on a spiritual level. Music allows us to access that connection, simply by being in the same room and sharing with each other.
After the spiritual, the amazing pianist Eric Sedgwick joined me and we picked things up with "Girl in 14-G" by Jeanine Tesori, just before intermission. The song was originally written for Kristin Chenoweth, it's a comical song about a girl who has just moved into a new place and soon finds out that the quiet apartment she thought she had, has an opera singer below her and a noisy jazz singer above her. I performed it this summer as well and that video is here.
And the final piece on the Winner's Recital was Bell Song, from Lakme. I love this aria for it's beautiful story and captivating technical difficulty!
My husband Trent was there, and my Mother Melinda as well, we had such a great time in NYC.
I owe so much to my family, they are the best!
Special thanks to Mr. Barry Alexander and Mr. Cosmo Buono for organizing such a fantastic experience for the winners.
And to the audience that filled the hall, you filled my heart. Thank you.
~ Rachel Sparrow
"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.