About Me

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Atlanta, GA, United States
When I suffered a lip injury that ended my career as a classical trombonist, I thought my life as a musician was finished, but I fell in love with music all over again when Santa gave me a guitar for Christmas in 2003. Even as I was struggling with my first chords, I was planning a new performance career. As a trombonist, I performed with the Heritage of America Band at Langley Air Force Base, the Ohio Light Opera, and in pick-up bands for touring acts that included Rosemary Clooney, George Burns, and the Manhattan Transfer. Reborn as a jazz guitarist, I sing and play my own solo arrangements of jazz classics, am half of the Godfrey and Guy duo, and hold the guitar chair in the Sentimental Journey Orchestra. I have been a freelance music copyist since 1995 and have been music director at Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation since 2011.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Playing Sick

Wow, it sure has been a while since I've blogged. 'Tis the season for performing, and I just haven't had much time for blogging. Fortunately, after this week, I have a little break before a two-week run of Xanadu.

This weekend, I'll be busy leading the music at NWUUC for both the Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services, as well as the New Year's Day service in another week. Unfortunately, my body decided to catch a cold yesterday. I don't feel any better today, but I don't feel worse, either. I'm hoping this means I'm already on the mend, and that I haven't caught a slow, long-acting bug.

There's never a good time to catch a cold, but some times are worse than others. For example, if you're a church musician doing a lot of singing for three upcoming services, it's a terrible time to catch a cold! If I were just playing guitar, it would be miserable but doable. Singing with a cold is something else.

So if you have a cold, is it okay to sing? It's a judgement call for me. In my case, my cold seems to be staying in my head and hasn't affected my throat or chest (knock on wood). For me, this means that I should be okay to sing. If my cold travels south, I'll have rethink things.

I'm not a heavy singer. For my style of singing, I use a microphone and don't need to generate the power and projection of a classical singer, so I feel like I can get away with singing with a cold now and then. If I had several performance dates in a row, I would definitely back off. Most likely, I would just play the guitar and bring in another singer.

Not that I enjoy being sick, but I practice more efficiently when I have a cold. Normally, if I have a public appearance coming up, I'll practice my music to death, even if I'm just playing hymns for church. With a cold, I don't have the energy or voice to be able to do that, so I'll practice exactly the amount needed and no more.

The funny thing about music is that, for a brief time, I'll get wrapped up in the music and forget that I'm sick. Last night after choir practice, one of my singers told me that I appeared energetic and not sick at all. I was miserable just before rehearsal, and I was miserable as soon as rehearsal was finished, but during rehearsal, the music gave me an energy boost. The same thing happened today while practicing guitar. It was hard to get started. I just didn't feel like doing anything. I was so involved with pushing my technique, perfecting a solo, and learning my Xanadu part, that I didn't even think about my cold.

Of course, now that I'm finished practicing, I'm tired all over again. I'll be hitting the sack early tonight, hoping I feel a little better tomorrow than I did today.

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