Adventures with Dr. Lady Cutie Troublemaker

Life is in flux BIG TIME these days. I want to keep in touch with all of my peeps. The Internet is this beautiful thing. I can move to a brand new city and still stay in easy, near-daily contact with the people I love. When I feel connected to the people in my life that matter, I am unstoppable!

Easter Performance with the NCMC Chamber Choir

By Abby at 1:26 pm on Sunday, April 12, 2009

Lots to do today, but I thought I might pop in to share a really great experience I’ve been having the last few weeks. I sing in the North Carolina Master Chorale. There is a chamber choir, too, but there are no auditions. It’s an invite-only situation. Recently, one of the sopranos in that group had to have surgery, so our director, Al, invited me to join them in their performances of two pieces for Easter. Here’s a description of them:

The NCMC Chamber Choir, joined by instrumental chamber ensemble, presents a pairing of two stirring works by living composers: locally-based composer J. Mark Scearce and Scottish composer James MacMillan. Scearce’s spiritual cantata for chorus, chamber orchestra and five soloists is an uplifting, life-affirming powerhouse with texts drawn from the Bible, Schopenhauer and Chief Seattle. MacMillan’s arresting and completely original setting of the Seven Last Words has been called inspired and stunning. A glorious and compelling program for Passiontide.

Now if you know me, you know I’m not a religious woman. To me, Easter is generally about making sure I get my hands on some Cadbury Mini Eggs (actually haven’t had any this year!). But I’ve always loved sacred choral music. People are inspired by their beliefs, and that inspires me. I’m more inspired by the sounds and the emotion and the raw beauty than by the details of the stories behind them – I’ve always been that way, for whatever reason. When it comes to words and language, I’ve always been very interested in how they sound more than what they mean. I’ve always felt like that was maybe a bad thing, but anyway, that’s how it has always been for me. If I’m truly inspired by the way something sounds, only THEN do I maybe start listening to the lyrics for their content. Anyway, I digress. When Al asked me to do this concert, he provided me with a recording, and after hearing it, I knew I was IN. No question. The MacMillan is a stunner of a piece, and I knew that I had to be a part of it.

We did these performances on Friday and Saturday nights. The real performance was Saturday, but we did the MacMillan only Friday night in the sanctuary of the church where we rehearse. It’s a lovely space, and our Friday performance was part of a service, rather than a concert.

There was a speaker (who I did not hear), then an organ prelude, then we sang the piece, which includes 7 movements, each corresponding to the seven words of Jesus on the cross. Before each movement, there was a reading related to each thing Jesus said. At the end of the piece, there is a long, drawn out section where we don’t sing, and the orchestra plays. It’s clearly the last breaths of Jesus dying. During this part, the lights in the sanctuary were dimmed, and when it ended, the lights went out completely. There was no applause, and the audience was encouraged to stay and pray or reflect and leave as they were ready.

Jake and Lalitree came for this Friday performance, and I’m so glad they did. They are story and words people. After the performance was over, and I met them out front, I learned so much more about what I had just performed. It really is a little embarrassing how I can overlook such a dramatic story, but (and I know this sounds odd) I knew the emotions. I knew they were desperate and solemn. And I was overcome by the beauty of the piece each time we rehearsed it.

The Saturday concert was really satisfying, too. We got a big standing O at the end of each piece, and I saw familiar faces in the audience: Lenore (a Twitter friend), Stan (from Flickr), and several other people who sing in the regular Master Chorale. I was happy to share that with them, and they seemed happy to be there. Mark Scearce was there for the performance of his piece, and he could not have been happier with how it went. It’s wonderful to see a composer responding to his “baby” like that.

I will admit that I have been guilty of some boredom in choir lately. I was spoiled singing in the Atlanta Symphony Chorus with Robert Shaw for all those years, because it doesn’t get much better than that. In the regular choir, people are slower to learn music, and I get impatient. It makes going something I sometimes avoid, because I know I will be restless and have trouble remaining focused. The challenge just isn’t always enough to keep me occupied. But this really shook things up for me. It was a treat performing with such good musicians and really bringing a piece ALL THE WAY to fruition. I really hope Al asks me to do more concerts with them.

Little Black Dress

We got a little stipend for our participation, and I’m happy to report that it was enough to cover the cost of my little black dress! I can’t TELL you how thrilled I was to hear that I would not have to wear my standard issue choir outfit. 😀

Filed under: Music,Raleigh and the Triangle,Stories From My Life3 Comments »

Jake and Miss North Carolina in the Sunday Paper

By Abby at 8:09 pm on Sunday, January 18, 2009

I’ve been working and shooting pictures and twittering rather than blogging lately. I blog when I feel like it, so that means constantly or never, depending on my mood. I’m fine with that. Breaking the blog silence to share a really cute picture of Jake that was in the N&O this morning:

That's my boy!

That’s him with Miss North Carolina. The picture was taken back in the summer, before we were dating. At the time, Jake blogged about the experience on his blog.

There’s video of the event, too:

If you watch and listen carefully around 47 seconds in, you can see me walk past and hear me say, “Fairy”! I had just spotted my friend Fairy Brutal of the Carolina Rollergirls!

Filed under: Friends,Raleigh and the TriangleComments Off on Jake and Miss North Carolina in the Sunday Paper

Early Voting is COOL!

By Abby at 4:11 pm on Thursday, October 16, 2008

See? I’m doing it. Ayse’s doing it. A bunch of other people at the mall are doing it. If you early vote, then you can spend election day volunteering to get OTHER people to the polls. That’s what I’m doing. For once, I’d like to show the rest of the world that we give a shit about our government. Is that so wrong?

I VOTED! Voter #818, NCCU campus, Durham, NC. on TwitPic

Here are the Wake County Early Voting Locations. Also, how weird is it that I voted at a mall?!! It was great to see such a fine turnout on Day One of early voting.

Early Voters Mall Entrance


Filed under: Friends,Pictures,Politics/Social Justice,Raleigh and the Triangle4 Comments »

SparkCon 2008

By Abby at 5:52 pm on Sunday, September 21, 2008

SparkCon 2008 weekend was a lot of fun.

Filed under: Pictures,Raleigh and the Triangle2 Comments »

First Friday Wrapup

By Abby at 4:26 pm on Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The 50 Photographers show at Crocker’s Mark Gallery was a big success! The place was completely packed:
Andy can has fun at the RSG Summer Project Opening?

Here is my photo:
A Reminder

The Story:

I am close friends with a woman named Roz. She is a psychologist here in town who has been very generous with her time and expertise. I adore her, and she adores me. I’m so lucky to have met her.

Anyway, she and her husband recently celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary, and they had a wedding vow renewal ceremony at their house. After the ceremony, I walked around to get some candid shots of people at the reception. I was outside on the porch trying to be stealth, and I was taking pictures of this woman: Roz’s mother. She was engaged in conversation with other people, then at one point, she looked over at me and mimicked my tiltted head pose – just a little. I smiled at her and leaned my head a little more, then she leaned her head a little more – lean, lean, lean, CLICK!

I was instantly so pleased with this playful moment that I ran inside to show the picture to Wayne and Jake. It’s one of those pictures where everyone who see it smiles. I love that about it.

When I later showed it to Roz, she said that things between she and her mother had been a bit strained lately, and she thanked me for reminding her of her mother’s playful side. That’s the reason for the title.

I couldn’t be more pleased by my picture. There were others I was considering, but my favorite photographer is Henri Cartier-Bresson. In his photography, the capture of the decisive moment usually happens when he observes something happening between other people or outside of himself. In this instance, the image reflects an interaction between me (the photographer) and Roz’s mom.

I’m big on interaction. Reciprocal interaction is kind of what I live for. I need to put a price on this image, but if it doesn’t sell (or even if it does), I know who this reminder is for. It’s for Roz. She’s getting a print of this no matter what!

My photo didn’t place in the contest, but I couldn’t have been happier with my choice and with the fact that Roz and her husband came and seemed to really enjoy themselves. I knew a lot of the other photographers, and I was so impressed by so many of the photos in the show.

There are so many things to share about Friday, it’s hard to know where to start. First, the winning photo was entered by Kelly. She took this on a meetup in Durham. I really love the lines and colors in it and am so glad she won.

She’s glad, too!

OMG. I won!

Some others I want to share (click to go to photo page):

My personal favorite (even though I have no idea why)

Jake’s (because I like him and because I was there when he took it):

Link to the other images in the show.

Oliver’s show at 101 Cafe was great, too. Jake and I went there with Kelly and Chad. Great little cafe, perfect for a photography show. All the work was his. I’m pretty proud of him. Must have been a HELL of a lot of work. I am a big dork and was WAY too excited that I was in a picture he had included in the show. Just my hands, but I really love the picture. His whole family was there, too. Yay for Oliver!

He and I both had pictures up at a benefit at Slim’s. Oh, I hope they sell! I want my efforts to go to the cause.

Filed under: Friends,Pictures,Raleigh and the Triangle,Stories From My Life9 Comments »
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