Several years ago, I wrote a post specifically about my love of and history with music; But, in truth, music has infiltrated almost every space of this site. I write about our daily dance parties, my deep love for the music of Brett Dennen, my rich history with musical theatre and the soundtrack that makes up my life.
This past year, through all of the darkness, I have had one unexpected and unparalleled bright spot. I have been able to make music.
First, as a teacher. This past summer, I was the performing arts director for a most wonderful program and got to teach classes in musical theatre. The middle and high school students whom I taught were incredible; so open, so brave, so talented. I got to teach and stage and choreograph numbers from Rent and Wicked and Newsies and I got to give young people the confidence to share their voices with the world. I have been teaching musical theatre professionally in some capacity for nearly 10 years, but really, since I was 14 and came back to my middle school to be assistant vocal director for their musicals. I am passionate about music and about instilling a feeling of self assurance in young people, and so this summer was a, pardon me for this, season of love.
But nothing, nothing can compare to the band. I am the lead singer of a rock band called Fox & the Hounds. I am lucky enough to have my next door neighbor serve double duty, as he is my bandmate and our alpha. I started playing with him and another supremely talented guitarist in June of 2013, singing cover songs, messing around on Spotify and watching my belly grow by the minute.
Last winter, despite all of the bad going on in my life, we managed to keep the band alive. And not only did we keep it going, but we added to it, so that by the Spring, we had a bassist, a drummer and had gone electric. My summer was spent in the basement of our guitarist’s home, sharing beers and stories and rocking out as hard as we possibly could to every single song we each wanted to play.
(Except for “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow”. I could not get them to play “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow.” To be fair, they could not get me to sing “Living on a Prayer”.)
Each member of the band brought something different in talent and personality and practice was something that I looked forward to, almost craved, each Wednesday night. It fed my soul.
Towards the end of the summer, the guitarist and I even started to write some of our own material, as he came up with a blues jam to which I put words and a melody.
Bands evolve and morph and at this time we spend most of our practicing playing acoustic, back to our roots, hibernating for the winter, as I say.
I try to tell my bandmates how much they mean to me. I write them nice emails thanking them for being the best parts of my otherwise bleak year. But they are dudes. They are good to me and ever so kind and compassionate, but they are still dudes, and I will never get a “You mean so much to me, too!!!!” in return, but I’m OK with that, because they give me that by continuing to play with me whenever possible.
Because of Fox & the Hounds I have grown tremendously as a musician. I have learned to perform in a whole new way and have tackled musical obstacles that I once thought impossible. And I have my guys to thank for that.
I don’t want to continue to embarrass them (in fact, I am positive that being publicly praised on Facebook is about the last thing that certain band members want, but…tough). I just want to say thank you.
Out of all of the things that defined this past year, I feel so blessed that music has been one of my greatest supports. The gratitude I have for the music in my life is hard for me to describe in plain words.
I got an incredible gift from my favorite singer, got to see a ton of live shows, and, had quite possibly the coolest experience of my life when I saw Brett Dennen play an acoustic show in Wilmington, Delaware, as I was leaning on the stage (I was that close), and he asked the audience to sing along, and then he called me out for having a “beautiful voice”, engaging in an entire conversation about my singing and my band with me in front of the packed audience.
But when it comes to music, there is only so much you can say; sometimes you just have to hear. So, I have made a small compilation of my year in music. The gigs, the dance parties, the bloopers and the craziness. It has been the best ride of my life.
*Note: at the end credits, Oasis was left out mistakenly from our list of brilliant musicians. So Oasis, if you are reading this, please don’t look back in anger.