October 3: Very excited to have saxophonist Kate Campbell Strauss playing with me at an upcoming gig on a sunset cruise on Casco Bay. Kate sounds SO GOOD and it is a genuine treat to hear her playing right next to me.
August 9: I completed my annual August ritual of updating my studio policy. Free kittens are still available to students for each scale mastered.
July 8: I just scored a weekly Sunday evening gig at MJ's Wine Bar at One City Center in downtown Portland! Come by some summer Sunday from 7-9pm. This place is great.
June 5: I'm growing my studio! I'm looking for new students, and starting this summer I will be adding Thursdays to my teaching week. Drop me a line to hear about my openings on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays... and Thursdays are wide open right now, so take your pick!
May 27: I'll be playing and singing this Wednesday night at MJ's Wine Bar in beautiful downtown Portland at 8pm. Come by for a glass of wine in this welcoming, classy, sweet little venue.
May 26: Got booked to play and sing for a "senior" prom. I've done these before and they are so much fun with everybody dancing. Theme: Luau at Sunset. I will have to dust off my grass skirt for this one.
May 17: Booked another wedding that will have me fiddling at the Irish Heritage Center in Portland, ME, and also playing some gorgeous old classics (a la Elvis and the Beach Boys) on piano & vocals. It is such a treat to personalize weddings and see people's faces light up when you get it right.
May 16: Had a hoot of a time playing fiddle with my dad on guitar at a farm wedding in Lyman, ME. Also played piano for the ceremony and first dance (and did they dance). Wonderful people, beautiful wedding.
March 16: Just added an engagement party and a wedding to my performance calendar. I love playing for these events, and often there are song requests that require me to come up with custom arrangements for piano. I'm proud of a Bruno Mars arrangement I pulled off a while back. Sting, Elvis, Coldplay, Ben Folds, Christina Perry... I've done these, or will be soon. So if you want something special in addition to Pachelbel's Canon, bring it on.
Feb 5: Our spring recital will be Sunday, April 12 at the beautiful Old White Church in Bar Mills, right up against the Saco River. Many thanks to the Saco River Theatre for hosting us!
February 2: Matt Guggenheim just tuned my piano and it sounds sooooo good.
January 30: Check out the new Listen section I just added under the "Piano Lessons" menu tab.
January 11: I just counted on my performance calendar and I have 27 performances booked for 2015 so far! This makes me very happy. I adore playing live and feel awe every time that I get paid to do this.
January 10: I'm working on finding a lovely venue for a spring recital for my piano students. Stay tuned - and let me know if you have any leads for me!
December 24: Merry Christmas Eve and so many thanks to my family, friends, and wonderful students for making 2014 a year beyond my expectations... Wow!
December 17: Just booked some performances for 2015, including one on December 31 - more than a year away! I can remember a day when I didn't have to rely on everything being written down in some all-powerful calendar... That day is long gone, apparently!
December 13: Come down to Mary Brooking's art studio (863 Main St in Westbrook, rear entrance) from 4-6pm where there will be wine and snacky things and beautiful art for sale by Mary and her students. I'll be providing music.
November 16: Had a very wonderful first ever Piano Night at my studio for all of my adult students - there are nine of them now! Their ages range from twenties to sixties, and they are all nice, smart, fun, amazing people who juggle full lives on top of their musical pursuits.
October 4: Come see me tonight where I'll be working the Saltwater Celtic Music Festival! I'll be stationed at Acoustic Artisans where one of our family favorites, The Press Gang, will be playing at 8pm.
October 3: I am loving fall in Maine. It's harvest time: starting lots of new, wonderful students – including many adults, wow! – and also just booked a regular monthly gig at Fallbrook Woods. Feeling very lucky that I get to do this for my living.
August 22 - Apparently August is when you start booking for the next year! I just set a date to play for Gorham House in January and also to play some rollicking Irish fiddle for a wedding in May. I'm gonna say if you want me for 2016 you better call by September.
August 21 - The Portland music scene is making me very, very happy. In the last few weeks my soul has been shaken by the likes of The Nth Power, Orgone, Lyle Divinsky (with delicious keyboard by Dane Farnsworth), Frank Glazer, The Fogcutters, The Tone Kings, The Kenya Hall Band, The Joint Chiefs, and Eric Bettencourt. Is everyone in this town a musician???
August 12 - Booked a gig for my lounge act at The Highlands in Topsham. It's nice to start playing out in my new (old) state! And I love Topsham. I imagine I will be having a post-gig drink on the deck of Seadog Brewing, overlooking the mighty Androscoggin River and the rocks where the cormorants like to stand and dry their wings.
August 11 - Andy Curran rode his lovely little motorbike to my studio for a chat today and asked me to play at the gallery in Westbrook for the Saccarappa Art Collective's next opening on September 4. Awesome! The show will feature art tending towards the abstract.... What to play, what to play? Minimalist modern music, shmoozy jazz, robust romanticisms?
July 28 - Played at Fallbrook Woods last week and they asked me back for August 3, a good sign! Also looking forward to playing out at the Frog and Turtle in my hometown of Westbrook on August 28.
June 30 - Booked my first lounge gig here, at Fallbrook Woods in Portland. Also making plans to fiddle with my Dad's country band, Cool Water, at their next performance. Need to brush up San Antonio Rose for that one...
June 1 - Arrived in Maine!!!! Here to stay. June in Maine smells like warm pine-needles, in case you were wondering.
May 21 - My piano was successfully craned into my new studio's second floor window. I feel like I should pass out cigars. I also had two wonderful gigs today for the South Madison Coalition of the Elderly - such sweet people, I will miss them!
May 18 - Our east side spring recital is today. It will feature not one, but two performances of The Bass C Blues. That's how you know it's a good recital.
May 1 - I bought a piano! A Kawai grand, 6'8'', and just delicious to play. Boy do I feel lucky.
April 26 - The west side spring recital was lovely-ovely-ovely.
March 26 - Rise and shine! Today I head out the door early early early to attend the Pace Piano Teacher Conference in Chicago. It will be so great to see friends (and super-inspiring role models) Julie Lovison and Sister Marion Verhaalen.
March 14 - My studio partner Angela and I were invited to provide Irish tunes on fiddle and cello at her friend's brewery in Minneapolis, HammerHeart Brewing, where they're having a St. Paddy's Day bash this weekend! A great time of year to be a fiddler.
March 8 - What a week! Johnny Chimes and friends blew us away Monday night with some seriously funky New Orleans grooves at Merchant's Marty Gras bash - with free rice and beans! Then on Thursday pianist Thomas Lauderdale blew me away again with his exquisite and athletic piano performance with Pink Martini. And I got to play out twice, fiddling and lounging. Too much fun...
February 7 - Booked two more performances for my solo lounge act, one requesting music that is "green and springy", and also booked two spring recitals for my piano students! Get your calendars out, spring will happen this year.
February 6 - Played fiddle for some folks this morning. It was soooo cold when I got up I thought neither my car nor my fiddle would start. Happily, they both did.
February 3 - I'm gearing up my solo lounge act for four Valentine's Day-themed performances, putting together the best lovey-dovey stuff I can find, with a good shake or two of heart-ache for good measure.
January 25 - BIG NEWS! It's official. I signed a lease today for a studio space on Main Street in Westbrook, Maine, starting in June. It has lots of WINDOWS (something I have not had in years) with a view of the Presumpscot River! And it's half a mile walk to my parents' house in one direction, and a mile walk to my sister's house in the other. Amazing.
November 25 - After a brief phone call early this morning I found myself having agreed to play fiddle with my buddy Gene at Shabazz High School's talent show this week - you just never know what's gonna happen when you answer the phone these days.
November 17 - My piano students performed mightily at our first ever Open Mic event today. Look here for the set list, including original compositions, homegrown duets and improvisations, and songs about snakes.
October 13 - Tonight I serenaded some dear friends for their 62nd wedding anniversary dinner. We pushed the piano into the doorway between the living room and the dining room, and candles were lit and wine poured. This year I was able to sing Stardust for them, which I finally learned after last year when Tema requested it! Tema reminisced about back in the day when she and Sherry were dating and went out to dinner and there was *always* music: a piano player, a singer, maybe a whole band. It was an honor to be included in their special night. (And the corned beef and cabbage was melt-in-your-mouth delicious - tiramisu for dessert!!) Congratulations, Tema & Sherry!
September 10 - The Lounge Process just booked three upcoming shows, including a holiday party in December. What is this thing called snow?
September 4 - Back in the saddle! School is back in session in Madison. I had many students starting new programs this week - kindergarten, first grade, high school - big deals! I am proud of my students, that they do all the things they do, and still show up to piano lessons ready to play. Good stuff.
August 19 - I was just booked to play a wedding in September where not only do I get to play piano but I get to sing a song as part of the ceremony. Awesome! The last wedding I sang at it was "I Can't Give You Anything But Love" backed up by my pal Gene on ukulele. This time I will channel Elvis, with "Can't Help Falling in Love". What a gorgeous song.
July 12 - This morning I took my fiddle to Stoughton to play for folks at Azura Memory Care again. After I played a woman with tears in her eyes came up to hug me and tell me the happy memories it brought back of her grandfather who played fiddle. Seriously, who needs fame and fortune? (Well, fortune would be nice...)
July 9 - Bryan and I played a swanky gig this evening at Capital Lakes as the Lounge Process. Bryan's singing sounded fantastic and he claims this is because he was coming down with something, an interesting theory. Also this evening: my favorite jazz band played a Cole Porter themed night at the Cardinal! What *is* this thing called love?
May 24 - Performing as The Lounge Process, Bryan and I put on our best and played at a "senior" prom for Hyland Park in Fitchburg. Everyone was dressed up and dancing and, yes, the punch was spiked. Some firemen came to announce the prom king and queen and they even passed a hat so we would stay and play longer. What a great gig. Now I only want to play if people will be dancing.
May 14 - This morning I played fiddle out in Stoughton at Azura Memory Care. We sat around in their sunny living room and I went through some good old tunes from Ireland and the Appalachians and probably Scandinavia too if I recall. The people were so happy to have live music, and the country drive out there was gorgeous - a coyote ran across my path on the way home.
May 11 - Red Door Studios held our joint spring piano recital this morning. No casualties were reported.
April 26 - My MSAC students had their spring piano recital in the lovely chapel at Oakwood Village University Woods. Such a fun night! We closed the evening's performance with a mean rendition of the EGBDF Blues.
April 16 - The Lounge Process played at Sunny Hill this morning. I definitely heard folks singing along with "Tennessee Waltz", "It Had to Be You", and "Sixteen Tons" for sure.
April 7 - I'm at the Rhythm n' Blooms music festival in Knoxville, Tennessee! There is nothing like live outdoor music and warm sunshine to make me feel like maybe, just maybe, winter is over.
February 18 - If you're not practicing piano you might try opening a good book.
February 14 - The Lounge Process wrapped up our intense tour of three gigs in nearly one week, playing for both Oakwood Village and The South Madison Coalition of the Elderly, where we had the people dancing in the aisles.
February 11 - Spring recitals are scheduled! May 11 for my Red Door students, April 26 for my MSAC students.
February 7 - Had the studio piano tuned. My tuner is passionate about tuning and temperament issues and uses - hold onto your hat - not equal-temperament but a tuning from the Victorian era that he says is closer to what Bach may have used when he wrote The Well-Tempered Clavier. I can report that it sounds lovely.