LES MS. IS GOING TO CARNEGIE HALL!!!!!!

Our Residency and International Women's Day Concert at Carnegie Hall in New York, March 17, 2019

Carnegie Hall, and then some... 

Hello Friends!!! And thank you for waiting until today to really hear about our fantastic experience at Carnegie Hall! I appreciate your understanding that we wanted to really soak up our time there, and that meant that if you didn't happen to have any of us personally on Facebook, you were probably missing out on some of the action - so Thank You for waiting... and here we go!

WOW! What can I say?! It was an incredible experience. There is something to be said for your first steps, and first breath on the stage at Carnegie Hall. I personally chose to not take my phone, and therefore camera, with me. It was an entirely personal choice (perhaps a poor one considering I'm writing the blog and all...) but it was because I wanted to really take in the entire space, and the enormity of it all. A few years back I had the pleasure of taking the Carnegie Hall tour, and it was incredible - but they don't let you anywhere near the stage. Oh, they tell you amazing stories, and all about the history... but you don't get a crack at that stage... and that's totally fair. It's a sacred space as far as I'm concerned... but that made me even more determined to treat it with respect and the awe that fascinated me about it in the first place... 

That said, I couldn't let this blog go by without a snap of our fearless leader looking right at home on stage at Carnegie Hall. And I thank the many ladies of Les Ms. Women's Choir, and their family and friends, who have supplied some of the photos for today's blog piece. You have to understand the joy, not just present in ourselves because we made it there - but present in us as a whole because this incredible woman brought us there; physically, emotionally, spiritually, and musically. 

We stretched our own vocal ranges, and styles to learn the necessary music for this concert. And at no point did Valerie ever criticize or get concerned about our abilities - she was our biggest cheerleader - and I know I speak for everyone when I say, her belief in us made us, and continues to make us, the choir that we are today. And so the thoughts, photos, and stories I share with you now were literally made possible because of this wonderful woman, and her ability to make a choir, a family.

Our first rehearsal on the stage at Carnegie was a sight to behold - they tell you that you might get overwhelmed, but man are they seriously knocking you down a peg! I kid you not - it was an amazing sight to not just look out into the audience of the Hall, but to see so many people staring out into this abyss of red seats and dimmed lighting, just waiting for something to happen... to say this experience has been life-changing is an understatement. 

Then, the jitters start to wear off and you realize how incredible, and incredibly huge the space is... we're talking like 3000 seats here... and you can literally see everyone's face. I kid you not. Even during the concert I could pick out the faces of my family and friends who were sitting all throughout the house! So if you're someone who likes the auditorium darkened to ease your stage fright, Carnegie Hall my friends, is not your bag. Personally I love being able to see the reactions of people - and watching them enjoy the music I'm enjoying performing. It's a huge rush!

We began singing through the songs in concert order - and can I tell you a secret? The orchestra was the icing on the cake! Don't get me wrong, our rehearsal and performance pianist was fabulous. And he tours and performs with Dr. Menk's choirs, so he is absolutely brilliant. But, there is something to be said for finally hearing the strings play the intro to a piece that up until Sunday (performance day) morning has always been played on piano - it's magic. Watching magic happen, and being a part of magical happenings - seriously, there's nothing greater. The way that our songs and harmonies just dropped into the orchestra's playing - it was like sinking into a warm bubble bath - luxurious, relaxing, and the most incredible feeling of warmth just washing over you. So, if you can't afford to get to Carnegie Hall, just draw a nice warm bubble bath and soak it up!

I kid, but seriously - you get a feeling from head to toe that is indescribable ... unless you find my bathtub metaphor useful that is...

Then came the performance. WOAH. What an immense feeling of "imposter syndrome". It was literally like, "oh my goodness, is this really my real life?", I couldn't believe for one second that I was standing on that stage, AGAIN... and about to perform to a basically sold out house, at Carnegie Hall! How surreal can a moment get?! Honestly... I just can't fathom it... and I don't think any of the other ladies could put into words really and truly what it was to be in that hall, on that stage, for the second time in one day... 

You know, I think that sometimes when you do theatre, or shows frequently, you often become desensitized to things like stages, and lights, and the enormity of it all... but then a moment like this comes along and you quite honestly "check yourself". You stand a little taller, and you smile a little wider - in fact, I think your whole body just lifts. There's this lightness to you, you're on cloud nine. Except that, you're using every single muscle in your body, so in fact when all is said and done and the concert is over - you ache from head to toe! But it's a good ache. An ache I wouldn't change for the world... 

Then again... maybe it was just all those stairs!!!! 

After the concert (which went amazingly well!), we were all invited to Rosie O'Grady's for a post-concert soiree. It was a wonderful catered affair, and we represented well for St. Paddy's day with our green fascinators and then some!

 We made sure to bring some traditions from The Rock to Manhattan by performing, once again in an NYC debut, Dr. Valerie Long's arrangement of Jack Was Every Inch A Sailor. And of course, we sang The Ode to Newfoundland as well. You can check out our video of this particular moment on our Facebook Page. Once we got the ball rolling with songs from our home, the other choirs that comprised Dr. Menk's choir for this DCINY Magnificat Concert followed suit, and we heard the beautiful harmonies from both her current and alumnae choirs as they sang their school song. Chills do not even begin to describe the moment. It was so wonderful to share such incredible memories with so many wonderful women.

Honestly, I'm not sure how to close out this blog - the thought that we no longer need to document our trip because it's "over" is still so foreign to me. I feel as though I shall be reliving these moments for days, weeks, months, and years to come... and so all I can say is Thank You. Thank you to our readers and supporters for following us from afar. Thank you to our families and friends who made this trip possible in so many ways; whether it was financial support, physical support and joining our trip, or support from home with house, pet, and child care... and more. We are truly grateful for everyone who made this experience possible. And so I urge you to stay glued to our Facebook page, even though we're all heading home now - or are already there - we will endeavour to keep posting tidbits from our travels and sharing memories of our time in NYC. 

Pictured below is our amazing director, Dr. Valerie Long, with our director and conductor for the DCINY Magnificat Concert, Dr. Menk.

Like Mother, Like Daughter  

Hello Friends! I wanted to take some time today to highlight our incredible Mother-Daughter teams within our choir because they truly do bring a special quality to our group. 

We are very fortunate to have 4 sets of Mother-Daughter teams in our midst, and it really helps bring the notion of family to our choir, and to our sound. There's something about blending your voice with family that just creates a totally different energy in the room - and hopefully some of the things these Mothers and Daughters had to say about singing in the choir together will help you to feel that!

Introducing Adena & Monika - you might remember these two ladies from my post yesterday when they auditioned for a solo in The Canticle of Mary piece for Dr. Menk! 

In Adena & Monika's words this experience has gone a little something like this :

M : Singing alongside my daughter:  is a gift. To know that something I have always loved was passed on to her, that she also loves it-in spades, and that she has taken that talent and made it her focus- it's like watching a long time goal come to fruition.  When we sing together we understand each other's nuance, how we mold phrases.  And there is a timbre that matches, so that the voices can blend seamlessly. 

A : It feels very special to be able to do something we both love together.

M : Music has always been a part of what keeps me sane.  It is its own language and an alternate way to express yourself.  I hope we can always show the next generation that there see many ways to say what you want to express, and many ways to creatively connect with others. 

A : There is so much knowledge and diversity of knowledge [in the choir], I think it helps make us the incredibly strong group that we are. The veterans are always helpful, should you need guidance, as well as being a source of history and experience​​​​​​​

M : Mom mode never keeps me from anything in choir.  A : If anything, she's more mischievous than I am.​​​​​​​

Monika joined Les Ms first. A :  I think mom wanted to sing popular music more regularly, and meet some new musical people. At the time I was in music school, and wanted to work on my choral abilities, as well as sing with mother in something that had become very special to her.

M : Adena sings purposefully 2nd soprano and alto, though she has the ability to sing lyric soprano.  I sing soprano.  She has so much more technical knowledge than I do.  Her training can be so helpful, particularly as my voice ages and things become technically more difficult.  That's not to say we don't sometimes butt heads.  We are both stubborn and opinionated. 

A : Luckily those days are much rarer than they were when I was a kid and thought I was always right....​​​​​​​We've always sung together in church choir, really since I could form words, but it's a very different experience in Les Ms. Mama has been singing church music for far longer, and it was up to me to find new harmonies to go underneath descants she knew by heart. In Les Ms. we both start at the same level, not knowing the piece, and it's interesting how we learn differently, and then are able to help each other.

I feel unbelievably lucky. I live in the UK now and it's hard to be away from the life than I had curated at home. Being able to join Les Ms. again is gift enough, but doing it on a stage with that gravitas is beyond a dream. I still don't think it's quite hit me yet. I hadn't realized how much I missed singing with my mother until I was able to do it again. I think it's going to make going home just that much harder.​​​​​​​

M : This may well be the last time we ever sing together, as Adena is making her life across the ocean.  I will grab any opportunity to feel our voices resonate together. I am incredibly grateful to Valerie for extending the invitation to Adena to come back for this Carnegie Hall performance.  To stand on this preeminent stage was never so much as a thought in my head.  To do so with my daughter, the most important person in my life (sorry Paul) and a part of myself, to join our voices together, and with those of our choral sisters, is a dream I could not have imagined.

Next up, please give a warm welcome to Kayla & Kim! Some leading questions from me for all of the Mothers and Daughters led to these candid responses from these two smiling lovelies!

L : How does it feel to sing alongside your mum? Kayla : It’s truly amazing, I am so honoured to sing with my mom & my aunt in Les Ms. I feel I’ve grown a lot since joining Les ms., the new perspectives I’ve gained have been so valuable! [Mom and I] have such a fantastic relationship, she’s my best friend. 

Kayla & Kim actually joined the choir after Kim's sister Jillian was already a part of the choir and just raved about the experience!

K : Mom is a first soprano, I am a second soprano!  We have always had a great relationship, we are very close.  Choir is a great added way to see each other every week doing something be both love so much! [Singing at Carnegie Hall]  is a once in a lifetime experience! Truly amazing to be able to share it with each other! 

Kim weighed in as well on the experience commenting,  Kim :  It’s lovely, it’s fantastic, it’s wonderful! It’s a great way for us to spend time together doing something we love! I think maybe our daughters inspire us and offer a new perspective and energy to what we do. 

And Kim tells me she absolutely does not ever feel the need to stay in "mom mode" at rehearsals when her daughter is there - my guess is because like all of the Mother-Daughter relationships in our choir, these ladies are in fact true blue besties!

To the left here we have Meaghan and Bev! Bev, like Monika, is one of the many masterminds behind the running and upkeep of the choir. They take care of our accounts-- financially, musically, and electronically!

M : Mom joined Les Ms in 2009, and after 8 years of listening to her less-than-subtle suggestions, I joined in 2017. She sings Sop 1 and I sing Sop 2. 

Singing together feels natural because we’ve always sung together - we used to perform in the family class of our local Kiwanis Music Festival when I was a kid. 

In the early 2000s, my dad had a friend pull the audio from recordings of some of our concerts over the years and combine them into a CD. (Bear with me - the technology was really cutting edge at the time.) This friend also threw in his own finishing touch - a Photoshopped cover of Mom and I, standing in front of Carnegie Hall. To say that we now feel like we’ve come full circle is an understatement. I’ve already warned mom not to make eye contact with me when we get on stage, because I know I won’t be able to hold it together! 

And, no, I've never refrained from saying or doing anything in rehearsal because my mom is there - Mom’s naughtier than I am!

And finally, allow me to introduce to you The Kufudis! Elaine is one lucky duck, with both of her daughters, Rena & Dimitra, singing in the choir. Elaine became a member of Les Ms. first, followed by Dimitra, and finally Rena.

E : To sing alongside with my daughters is an amazing opportunity to connect on a different level with [them]. 

R & D : It feels wonderful to have extra family time enjoying something we all love and have grown up with. 

E : I feel a sense of pride that my daughters share my love of music and singing. I am so glad this is something that will carry on for generations to come. And I never feel that [I need to be in mom mode at rehearsal]  because my daughters are adults and I don’t want to create any kind of barrier to enjoying the experience. 

R & D :  With a psychologist as a mother, there are no topics we can’t discuss.

The Kufudi's have all sung in choirs at various levels their whole lives and have found it’s nice to have the opportunity to do it together. Rena is sop 1, while Elaine and Dimitra are sop 2 -- so practicing can be fun with two harmonies. Singing in the car in particular! Shame they don’t have any altos !

The three commented together : This wonderful experience is made even more memorable when you are surrounded by your family. We are lucky to have not only that support but also the chance to share the experience together. 

We hope you're able to catch our concert at Carnegie Hall on Sunday afternoon, but in case you aren't, we certainly hope this little sneak peek into our choir families helped you to feel a little bit more like our family too!

Our First Rehearsal for DCINY Magnificat 

 

Hello Again Friends!

WOW! Our first day of rehearsals for the DCINY Magnificat Concert and seriously - what an amazing sound we created alongside so many wonderful all-female voice choirs! It was such incredible energy in that rehearsal hall this morning - and we are truly blessed to be in such a phenomenal experience.

Kudos to our director Dr. Valerie Long for preparing us ever so well for these challenging pieces. The music is rather intricate in many cases, and we were more than prepared to tackle it today. We heard the solo performances of our soprano soloists for the concert today as well - and let me just say... if you are attending the concert on Sunday, you are in for a real treat!

The combined choir is robust, and full bodied - yes, I totally described a glass of wine there too - but honestly, if you get to hear this concert, you'll understand exactly why I chose that metaphor. You see, it's not just a massed choir of other small choirs. It's a massed choir of multiple generations of choirs, and varying levels of training - a blend of voices, much like a vintner combines different grapes, from different regions to create some of the most intricate flavoured wines. The Les Ms. style is generally upbeat, jazz, and filled with movement -- the pieces we are performing on Sunday are very different, but no less challenging or interesting or beautiful than our usual repertoire. The choirs represented, other than our own, come from all over the United States of America, and the ages range from a beaujolais nouveaux, through to the very best aged old vine zinfandels. The sounds we created were smooth and luxurious, and filled the hall with a resonance I have not experienced in an extremely long time. And this was only the rehearsal hall... just wait til we hit that stage.

Just to give you a rough idea of the immensity of this performance, here's a snap from the rehearsal hall. 

The choir has been arranged SSAA style, and all choirs are intermingled and arranged by height so that the view from the audience of Carnegie Hall is of a beautiful picture to compliment the beautiful sounds we will create. Les Ms. has a few lucky ladies in the front row of the choir, so if you'll be in the audience on Sunday you'll have to look for those familiar faces! It was an honour to get to know the ladies around me, and I'm sure the same could be said for the other members of our own choir who chatted with their seating neighbours. 

And, sitting amongst other choirs, and choirs directed by our Magnificat Concert director Dr. Menk, it was truly a wonderful experience to feel so unbelievably prepared as I mentioned above. We truly were hitting the right rhythms, the correct phrasing, breath marks, and emphasis points that Dr. Menk was searching for. We were both leading and following in that hall as a choir amongst choirs. So again, I say a big Thank You to our director Dr. Valerie Long, without whom none of this would be possible. She drilled us through pronunciation, rhythm, tricky intervals, and more to prepare us for today. And today, we shone as bright as we could without dimming the light of others. In fact, I feel that our energy and our excitement for being the furthest travelling choir to participate help spur others onward. And Dr. Menk awarded us with the title of "best choir name" to boot!

We cannot wait to experience rehearsal again tomorrow, to get down to the nitty gritty with a few of the trickier pieces once again, and of course to do our director proud. We are in awe of how she does it, and inspires us to get up and do it too. Speaking of which, there was the possibility of a solo up for grabs - and we of course put our best feet forward! Check out this snap of one of our Mother/Daughter duos, Monika & Adena preparing to audition below for the solo in Canticle of Mary for Dr. Menk.

Stay tuned to this space for an insider exclusive with our Mother/Daughter teams from Les Ms. Women's Choir in tomorrow's blog post! 

And later tonight - we're heading to Planet Hollywood, Times Square, on the Second Floor for a FREE CONCERT in NYC! You'll get to hear our usual style of repertoire at this event, and don't worry if you can't make it to New York! Make sure to tune into our Facebook Page around 5pm New York time (6:30pm Newfoundland time) for LIVE footage of a few of our selections from tonight's performance.

And so it's Taa-Taa For Now, or TTFN - We'll see you TONIGHT at Planet Hollywood, Times Square 5pm, or LIVE on Facebook via our choir page Les Ms. at 6:30pm Newfoundland Time!

And to Dr. Valerie Long, Magnificat our dear director, Magnificat. We are ready. 

 xo

I am an Islander! 

Hello Friends! Double whammy of a day coming right up! First an update from last night's experiences - and coming later today, some words about our first rehearsal for DCINY Magnificat.

The ladies of Les Ms. Women's Choir and HHMAC, a grand entourage indeed, took New York by storm last night and attended Come From Away live on Broadway. And b'ys, what a SHOW!!! If you can make it to NYC, Toronto, London to see the show, you NEED to go. Apart from just being packed with incredible talent, and written by incredible talent, performed by incredible talent... you must remember, it comes from incredible place. It comes from people like YOU, and people like US... 

So while I, as a CFA living in Newfoundland, perhaps have a different experience of the production, it hit me hard in the feels. While I would hate to disclose any information about the performance if you don't know the show... but suffice it to say, our Islander-filled audience made an impression on the cast. We were THE FIRST audience to break out in song at the end of the show, with flags waving. Because what better way to say Thank You for an incredible night of entertainment and storytelling than with The Ode to Newfoundland.

AND, I am told that some riffs were taught to the guitar/bass player to add to his solo at the end of the show! Newfoundland is having a very clear and profound effect on New York, and indeed the rest of the world who is able to get a slice of The Rock here in Manhattan.

So, below I have a selection of photos from the wonderful women who attended the show last night - I hope that you enjoy seeing the pride and sheer JOY we were all filled with from the moment we stepped up to the theatre. Thank you to musician Romano Di Nillo for some stage time for some of our lucky choristers. And a HUGE Thank You to all of the performers for indulging us at the Stage Door, it was a pleasure to be a part of your performance, and to share the magic with you all. 

The ROCK is IN New York. 

What's On The Go?! 

WELCOME TO NYC!!!

The Ladies of Les Ms. have been out on the town, and all around the town today! There have been lots of tourist adventures taking place - so we thought you'd like to have a little sneak peek of what's been on the go! Some of the ladies have had some really exciting travels today!

Kim, Jillian, Kayla and Ashley were up at the crack of dawn today to make sure they got the best seats in the house to see a LIVE taping of The View! Seriously, how cool is that?! I hope you were able to catch them on tv!!!!

What an INCREDIBLE "View"!!!!! Seriously, this is just the beginning of some awesome things on the go for the ladies of Les Ms Women's Choir!. We've already had at least one celebrity sighting for Carolyn... It's super important to make sure you snap a photo of these moments - they're very rare, and definitely filled with fun!

Not sure if you want to bump into some of these celebs? Have no fear - I guarantee there's a restaurant or pub with your name on it! And the ladies of Les Ms. have been having a culinary feast since arriving in Manhattan!  Check out the girls' view from Eataly NYC!

The ladies are out and about on the town - and why not?! This is a once in a lifetime experience hey! Now, my little family travelled with me to NYC so we're having a slightly different sort of once in a lifetime trip... we had to stop at the Disney store for the lil man to have a run around of course. But we were able to make it to Times Square! 

And we pointed out lots of pigeons to the little man - he got very excited to see them all... definitely far more excited than Paul was when he encountered pigeons at 57 & Broadway. They certainly left a mark on him! I guess they knew he was a CFA (Come From Away). 

Though personally I think it's a huge sign of good luck to be pooped on by a pigeon. And since Paul has two family members in Les Ms. Women's Choir about to debut at Carnegie Hall, I think it's just great that he gave us all some extra luck! You'll see why I think that soon, because something VERY LUCKY and exciting indeed happened for Les Ms. today... something very incredible!

But, in the meantime, I'll take you back to some foodie talk - there's been a LOT of dining out for everyone since we've arrived in Manhattan. Last night the ladies found some lovely restaurants, and today has been even more impressive!

My little family indulged me on my Celiac's Quest to find Senza Gluten NYC, an entirely gluten free restaurant in New York, situated just down the street from the NYU Law buildings. Still think gluten free food is like cardboard? Take a trip to New York, and take a bite out of these dishes!

Not sure you want to make the trek all the way to New York for gluten free food? That's fair... but in that case you should absolutely make the trek to NYC for a very special experience indeed. You should check out Ellen's Stardust Diner. Some of the ladies have checked in here for a bite to eat before we head out to see Come From Away this evening.

Ellen's Stardust Diner is located in Times Square, and is a one of a kind experience. It's a multi-level 50's style diner, where the staff entertain you LIVE while you enjoy your meal. It's definitely a "must see" adventure here in NYC and these lucky ladies snagged a table today! Can't wait to hear all about it!

A number of the ladies did some sightseeing today and checked out the 9/11 Memorial Museum, World Trade Centre (The Freedom Tower) as well as the Oculus at The World Trade. Many have shared smiles and giggles throughout Times Square. But my first stop this morning was to see our choir's name in "lights" on the poster outside Carnegie Hall for the DCINY Concert Magnificat.

Sure, it might be small, but it's certainly mighty. We are the ONLY choir from outside the USA listed on the program! How insane and incredible is that?! We certainly are a lucky bunch! And speaking of LUCKY... we received some AMAZING news just today, that our New York City DEBUT as a choir will take place tomorrow evening at 5pm New York time (6:30 NL time for those tuning in on Facebook), at... 

Planet Hollywood, Times Square! 

So, if you're going to be in Times Square at 5pm tomorrow, then make sure you join us for our concert! And if you're stuck in NL, have no fear - we will be showing selections of the pop-up concert via Facebook LIVE beginning at 6:30pm NL time.

New York, we are certainly ROCK-in YOU right now!!!  

Looks like we made it! 

The Ladies have LANDED!!!!! 

Hello Friends!!!! After a brief pitstop to the Little Ladies Room, the Fabulous entourage known as Les Ms. Women's Choir, in their various travelling groups, have made their way into Manhattan!!!

No two travel stories are the same - but one thing I'm certain we can ALL say this Wednesday evening is that we are ALL so incredibly THANKFUL, and BLESSED to be experiencing New York City together. Our choir is made up of some of the strongest women I have ever met. We are an incredibly resilient bunch, and we are always up for a good giggle. And it's a good job too because our director, Dr. Valerie Long seriously must have a secret second job as a standup comedian -- the laughs we have are one of a kind.

But all that aside, can we briefly pause for one moment ,and honestly, and earnestly give thanks to one another. I know that I am incredibly lucky to be a part of this phenomenal group of women. And usually, with a group of women this large, you'd encounter some sort of "cattiness" or "cliques" or just general all round stereotypical "woman attitudes" or some other silliness like that... but no... not my family at Les Ms. Not even in the slightest.

For those of you who have been following the choir since it began, you know that our work is charitable. You know that we raise money to help pay for travel and accommodation for patients undergoing treatment for Cancer through the Dr. H. Bliss Murphy Cancer Care Foundation. You know that this foundation and its cause are near and dear to our hearts because in our midst are incredible, beautiful, and strong Cancer Survivors.  

For those of you who are new, what can I say? Welcome to the family. 

Either way - we are blessed to have each other. No Drama. No Ifs Ands or Buts. AND we are lucky and blessed to have you reading, and watching, and listening. And we are so glad to be able to share this journey with you, via our website, this blog, our Facebook and Twitter accounts, and all of our personal accounts as well. This is a once in a lifetime trip, and we are certainly humbled by the experience of it all. And I know that I speak for everyone in the choir when I say that because, when we found out that we were going to NYC our first and foremost goal was to make sure we were able to fundraise so that no choir member was left behind. We are a team, a family (and you know we have some Mother & Daughter teams up in here for real!). We have one another's backs, and we are glad that you have ours too.

So yeah, I guess I'm getting sentimental because I'm finally sitting in my little room here in Manhattan, pinching myself thinking, "Is this real life?"... and you know what...

YES. Yes, THIS is REAL LIFE. 

NYC, we are here, and we are so proud to bring The ROCK to you.

To Roll or Not To Roll... That IS the question! 

Hello Friends! It’s packing day in my house because we are getting ready to head to New York City! Yippee! And it’s time for the age old discussion of packing styles! Do you roll or do you fold?! Seriously, is one style more effective than another? 

I am personally a total roller. I like to roll as much as I can - for starters I find that it fits better in my suitcase, but I’ve also noticed that when I roll my clothing, I encounter less wrinkles when I make it to my final destination! But I would love to hear your experiences because it also comes down to whether you actually put your clothing away at your hotel or whether you live from your suitcase, doesn’t it? 

I think, and correct me if I’m wrong, if you’re the type of person who will find the ironing board and iron at your hotel then it probably doesn’t matter how you pack that case? But if you’re the type of person who likes to always be on the go, living from the suitcase, and probably only packing a carry-on for your vacation anyway, then rolling is right up your alley! 

And, if you’re like me and travelling with a mini human (my son is 15 months old), who likes to make messes then you probably are all about maximizing your space! For anyone else travelling with little tykes I picked up this awesome tip : put their outfits for each day in a ziploc bag. You can suck all the air out for smaller shapes for packing AND you have a handy dandy laundry bag for each day that you can pop into your diaper bag for spills and messes... or if there are no messes, use that ziploc for snacks, leftovers at the restaurant and more! 

Now if rolling really isn’t your bag, then you might want to consider the “filing” method for filling your suitcase. It’s a simple reorientation of your packing — all you do is fold your shirts and pants into similar sized squares (have you “Marie Kondo’ed” your wardrobe yet?!), and insert them into your bag/case as though you were filing important documents! And if you’re really into doing your case in true Marie Kondo style, why not consider some packing cubes? You can file or roll your items inside, keeping like items together (socks, undies, t-shirts etc), and then load up that case like a Tetris Master! 

But of course, if you really just can’t be bothered... toss everything into a vacuum sealable bag, haul the vacuum out and suck up all the air! That’ll flat pack the sucker ASAP!!! 

Time to get rolling, so I can ROCK in The Big Apple! 

NYC in T minus 1 day!

The Untapped Tour of Carnegie 

Hello Friends! I was trying to think back to my tour of Carnegie Hall a few years ago. I remember it being truly awe-inspiring, and filled with an immense amount of information. So I started to do some digging, to see if I could give everyone here, and those who aren't able to travel with us, a little sneak peek into the tour that some of the members of Les Ms., and our sister choir joining us on the road for love and support, Holy Heart of Mary AlumnaeChoir (HHMAC), will be taking on Thursday morning.

Well, I tell you what - I found some incredible things... and honestly, I can't put them in better words than Untapped Cities, so I'll be linking you below to their website, and you can take a quick 5 minute historical "tour" of Carnegie yourself.

Suffice it to say, we are heading to not just the city that never sleeps, but the city that is always evolving and changing. And if some of the renovations and changes that had been scheduled for Carnegie had happened - we might not be going there in a few short days... and the Carnegie we will be seeing, has been subject to changes over the years - so it's really neat to see older photographs of the building... especially ones without the rest of the built up city in the background! 

Did you know that the opening performance at Carnegie Hall was conducted by none other than Tchaikovsky himself? Like, are you freaking kidding me people? We are going to stand where he stood... I'm still not over it... I think I'll be fangirling and daydreaming of days gone by the entire time...

On Thursday morning this week our choir will be heading into the Hall for a private tour, hopefully they'll snap some photos that I can send your way so please check Facebook and this blog for what's on the go Thursday! But until then, I'll leave you with this incredible and succinct untapped tour of Carnegie Hall, past and present from Untapped Cities.

NYC in T minus 2 days!

Where once they stood, we stand... 

Hello Friends!!! I'm writing today to talk to you about a little thing we in "showbiz" like to call a "debut". A debut is a first performance or appearance, either as a specific role, or of a specific piece/performance, or in a specific location. Why is that today's topic? Well, because Les Ms. Women's Choir is going to have not one, not two, but THREE incredible debut's of varying kinds in NYC this coming week...

Three you say?! How can that be?! 

Well, you'll have to stay glued to this blog, and to our facebook page to find out more of course. But of course you already know a few things -- you know that we will be debuting as a choir in New York City on Friday March 15th, location TBA, with our pop-up concert. Like I said, stick with our Facebook page for some LIVE footage of a selection of pieces from that performance. And of course Les Ms. will make its debut performance on the stage at Carnegie Hall on Sunday March 17th (How Newfoundlander, St. Paddy's Day), in honour of International Women's Day. But our third opportunity to debut... well, that little secret is going to stay that way for a little while longer -- but I can tell you this, you'll be certain to catch it if you tune in to our Facebook page on Friday evening to catch our pop-up concert... 

I also figured, since a debut at Carnegie Hall is a pretty incredible and once in a lifetime type experience, that you might want to know the dates of some other incredible women's debut's at Carnegie. Personally, I am finding it unbelievably surreal to know that in a few short days I will be walking in the same hallways, sit-ing in the same chairs, and standing on the same stage as the undoubtedly amazing women.

On December 4, 1908 leaders of the American Women's Suffrage Movement Carrie Chapman Catt and Ethel Snowden spoke at Carnegie Hall for a Women's Suffrage Mass Meeting. Seriously, how cool is that? We are going to walk the same boards as the women who paved the way for American women's voices. I am humbled by this knowledge.

Then, on March 2, 1917 the first female member of American Congress Jeanette Rankin spoke at Carnegie Hall. These hallowed halls are filled with the voices of women, speaking out for women everywhere - it will be an honour to add our voices to the memories made in this place.

In 1947, alongside Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker, the incredible Ella Fitzgerald brings her voice, and indeed "bebop" to Carnegie Hall for the first time! Seriously readers... Ella. Fitzgerald. Ella. Fitzgerald. I might just faint... in fact, the list just gets more and more brilliant as we continue...

On March 27, 1949 Billie Holiday makes her debut appearance at Carnegie Hall as a headliner. 

1961 was a grand year for incredible women debuting their voice at Carnegie Hall. On April 23, Judy Garland makes her debut. On November 21, Yoko Ono presents a program of her own compositions in the recital hall. Followed by Patsy Cline's debut on November 29. 

Then together on March 5, 1962 Julie Andrews and Carol Burnett make their Carnegie Hall debuts.

On September 4, 1979 following in her mother's footsteps Liza Minnelli performs at Carnegie Hall for the first time. This one truly makes my heart sing, not just because I am a fan of both incredible women - but also because our choir, Les Ms, is filled with mothers and daughters sharing the stage together. How incredible must that feel to share the stage at Carnegie Hall with your mother/daughter? I suppose we'll have to ask some of our mother-daughter duos while we're there.

And of course, for our Harry Potter fans... On October 19, 2007 author J.K. Rowling made her debut at Carnegie Hall.

These are just some of the amazing women that I found interesting - for a comprehensive timeline (and where all of these names and dates were gathered from in entirety) please visit Carnegie Hall's Timeline.

NYC in T minus 3 days!

The Countdown Is ON! 

The Ladies of Les Ms. Women's Choir, under the direction of Dr. Valerie Long are getting ready, packing their suitcases and embarking on a once in a lifetime trip to New York City, to perform on stage, with numerous other incredible women in honour of International Women's Day, at Carnegie Hall!

My name is Lauren Shepherd, and I am fortunate enough to have become part of the Les Ms. family. I currently sing Alto for the Carnegie performance, though if you're lucky enough to catch our pop-up show in NYC I'll be bouncing around the sections singing soprano 1, soprano 2, alto 1, and alto 2 -- sometimes all within ONE song! So you might think of me as the "travelling singer" even within our own little choir. And that my friends is why I've been given the exciting job of documenting our travels, experiences, and more as we hit the road and take The ROCK to Manhattan!

So please, continue to follow this blog as we have the time of our lives in NYC! You'll be able to catch up with us as we jump on our various flights into New York on Wednesday, take a tour of Carnegie Hall on Thursday, catch a Broadway Show (yes, of course it's Come From Away! We absolutely MUST represent our great province in NYC while we're there!!!) and start some incredible rehearsals with Dr. Menk and the other all-female choirs on Friday and Saturday. Unfortunately the performance at Carnegie Hall itself will not be live-streamed due to copyright. But I will do my very best to share with you the stories and fun, and perhaps some good ole Newfoundland shenanigans that we get up to on and off stage! 

Please also stay tuned to our Facebook Page and our Twitter account. We'll be updating those as frequently as rehearsals will allow with photos and I'll be posting the link to this blog there each day. Plus, we'd like to make sure that we give you some insider access to our pop-up show on Friday night! We'll be going LIVE on our Facebook Page to give you a free mini concert of a few of our selections as we debut some music that is very dear to our hearts in NYC! So make sure you've got your Facebook and Twitter settings just right to get your alerts for our posts! We don't want you to miss out on anything! 

NYC in T minus 4 days!!!

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