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Showing posts from 2016

Holiday Musical Traditions

We all have holiday traditions ranging from waking up Santa (who's sleeping under one's Christmas tree) and chasing him up the chimney before the children come racing down the stairs (we always heard his jingle bells, but never did catch a glimpse of him rushing up the flue, even though Dad insisted he had to chase him out of the house every year) to drinking egg nog on New Year's Eve... But what about musical traditions associated with the holidays?

Many families and individuals make a concerted (pun intended) effort to attend a Messiah sing-in, during which members of the audience bring or are given copies of Handel's famous score with which to sing along. I personally love this tradition, and lament the fact that in some areas of our country this tradition seems to be waning. Others participate in caroling expeditions through their neighborhoods and to nursing homes to spread good will and Christmas cheer. This year I coordinated a neighborhood caroling night and i…

An Open Letter to Gladys Knight

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Dear Ms. Knight,

My husband and I spent a wonderful evening with you a few weeks ago when you performed in Greenville, South Carolina at the Peace Center. What a tremendous show you gave your audience! I marveled at the vibrancy, fullness of tone, and outstanding control that you still have after singing professionally for over fifty years. Forgive my surprise, but there was no trace of the wobble that plagues so many older singers, and you commanded the entire stage with élan and great energy. Your pitch, rhythm, and phrasing were, as always, flawless. I particularly appreciated the rapport you built with your audience and the graciousness that flowed out of you toward us. Young performers should take heed of this--enduring performers APPRECIATE and VALUE their audience members--you thanked us several times when we wanted to be thanking you for enriching our lives with your music, grace and love.

My favorite moments included when you sang a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald--you chose th…

59th Grammy Awards Consideration--and Finding Your Own Path

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I was duly surprised earlier this month to discover that the 59th Grammy Awards has decided to honor my 2015 Songs From the Heart EP with consideration in three categories! The first track, "Follow Me," was co-written by my husband, George Gábor, and has been listed for Grammy consideration in "Song of the Year" and "Best Pop Solo Performance" categories. Track two, "Be Still and Know," is being considered in the Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song" category. I am super-excited about this attention my original songs have received--and fully realize that I am so blessed to be able to do what I absolutely love as my profession. Both songs come from an EP of guitar/vocal duets and were recorded with my favorite collaborative artist, the amazing guitar master John Chiodini, who performs with incredible emotion, originality, style and artistry in everything he does. Our 2016 recording, a jazz album yet to be released or titled, i…

Music for Wellness, Part II: Physical Benefits

Here is Part II of an article I initially wrote as a guest blogger for my friend's fitness blog. For the full article, see www.LoriKing.us.

Music’s healing properties have been applied in recent decades to the field of medicine under the umbrella of Music Therapy. According to the American Music Therapy Association, “Music therapy interventions can be designed to promote wellness, manage stress, alleviate pain, express feelings, enhance memory, improve communication and promote physical rehabilitation.” (www.musictherapy.org). If music can have such a powerful healing effect upon those in need of medical attention, imagine the ways we all could benefit from its healing properties and positive health benefits each and every day!

One key area of physical benefit from musical performance is the cultivation of a deep breath. Deep breathing is a necessary element of correct technique for singers, woodwind players, brass players, conductors and pianists. Many string players and percuss…

Music for Wellness, Part I: Mental and Emotional Benefits

I initially wrote this article by invitation from a friend. She asked me to contribute a "guest writer" article for her awesome fitness blog. She then published it at www.LoriKing.us. It will be reprinted here in two parts...

It is gratifying to see that the arts may finally be reclaiming their prior stake among core classes in the American educational system, and that more children may be offered the opportunity to explore and practice visual and performing arts as part of their regular school day once again. Countless studies have shown that engagement in musical study enhances a child’s cognitive development, which enhances his/her performance in math and science. Music represents not only a necessary part of a child’s education, but also an important source of mental, emotional and physical wellness throughout one’s life.

The arts in general provide so much to our core being as humans on this planet. Visual arts, music, theater, dance. . . each discipline exercises our…

Grammy buzz

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This week I was pleased to share on local television (Studio 62 TV, Spartanburg) news that my most recent recording, Songs From The Heart, has been submitted for Grammy consideration in five categories: Tracks 1 and 5 (different versions of "Follow Me,") were submitted for Song of the Year, Best Solo Country Performance, Best Duo Country Performance and Best Country Song. Track 2 ("Be Still and Know") was submitted for Best Contemporary Christian Performance/Song. I am so excited that the Grammy selection committee will be listening to these original songs ("Follow Me" was co-written by my husband, George Gábor) and possibly including them on the first-round Grammy ballot later this year. All three of my previous albums were on the first-round ballot in jazz categories, but it honestly feels gratifying to have my compositions outside of jazz also be given serious consideration. John Chiodini's consistently outstanding performances on the acoustic guit…

South Carolina Music Awards, Summer Travel, and Jane Austen revisited

This month I received an invitation from a fellow vocalist to take part in voting to select winners from among the nominees for the 2016 South Carolina Music Awards, which uses an open voting system (voters may cast as many votes as they choose and may be from anywhere in the world). To my surprise, my name was on the ballot as well, under "Jazz Artist/Group of the Year!" Apparently, the selection committee receives write-in nominations from fans of particular music styles throughout the state of South Carolina during the nomination period (the spring of each year), then selects nominees from that pool based on the number of fans they hear from, and opens up the voting during the early summer. The awards presentation and red carpet event will occur July 23 in our state capital, Columbia, South Carolina. Having never previously experienced these awards, I am excited to participate and attend, and possibly perform there as well. Anyone interested in casting votes is warmly inv…

Creating Space

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I have arrived to the spot in my yearly calendar when I spend a month or so recharging and redirecting. Following last season's busy schedule of out-of-state performances, hundreds of different songs arranged and performed, two new albums recorded and produced, contracts negotiated, tours managed and planned, artist residencies given, and many hours of music practiced... a month or so of "Whew! How did all that go? Where do I go from here?" time is not only a relief, it's much needed.

So the month involves recharging my batteries and resting from jam-packed daily activity. As difficult as it may be for me (and how it is!) I force myself to pick up a book of classic literature which, don't get me wrong, I ADORE reading. The forcing comes in because many years ago I gave up reading for pleasure and other non-essential activities in order to spend more time working. There is always more work I could find to do, and there are several projects that I have tabled in …

Arranging We Will Go...

Over the past month I have spent many hours churning out arrangements for a new live show and a new studio album... Neither project duplicates any songs, so the volume of new material I am performing while in southern California this month may well be setting a new record! My new tribute show, "Going My Way! The Songs of Jimmy Van Heusen," contains sixteen arrangements of Van Heusen goodies like "Swinging On a Star," "Moonlight Becomes You" and "It Could Happen To You," as well as practically unknown songs from the various films to which Van Heusen and his best-known collaborator, Johnny Burke, contributed scores of ditties and tunes. I highly recommend all the "Road To..." movies that Bing Crosby filmed with Bob Hope for those seeking to enjoy these beautiful and witty songs in their intended comedic medium. "Going My Way," "The Bells Of St. Mary's" and "And The Angels Sing" are other golden oldies w…

More Jazz On the Horizon

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Having experienced the joy of singing with the Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra over Valentine's weekend, and looking ahead to March 22 when I will perform in Virginia with the Williamsburg Symphonia, I am ever so grateful for the career path I have found. This morning during my prayer time I was faced with a decision--to record a new jazz album while on tour in April or to put it off for another several months, a year, or more? The frequent traveling and touring with constantly different musical repertoire places a limitation on the amount of preparation one can devote to arranging and producing a new album (I do all the arranging myself), but the financial question is usually the primary deterrent to spinning out a new recording every year or so. I am an active enough writer and arranger to have plenty of material that I wish to record, but alas--I am not independently wealthy! I gave up that possibility years ago when I gave up microbiology as my chosen profession... or medi…

Having a Plan B

Ah, winter snowstorms... having grown up in central New York, I am no newcomer to the world of snowy travel, snow shoveling, snowblowing, snow and ice removal from cars, sidewalks, driveways, roads and roofs. It's a bit idyllic at times, in a way, pausing from shoveling one's driveway from large (4-foot or taller) mounds of snow to notice the sparkle of the sunshine dancing through ice crystals on the lawn, on the shrubs or in the trees... it sometimes brings a sense of quiet, peace and acceptance that we are part of nature and subject to its large-scale activities. Watching the birds engage with snowfall is an education--they do not act stressed--they simply take it as it comes, gather food as usual and delight us with their energy and vivid colors--flying, perching and foraging against the new whitewashed backdrop. Winter is a truly beautiful time! Then we snap out of our dazed reverie and get back to straining our backs with the snow shovel for another hour or so, knowing w…