Practicing what I Preach

I have made a difficult decision.  I will not be offering my Voice Lifted at Christmas concert this year.  I struggled to come to the decision, and I feel a mix of emotions in announcing this to you.

At each of my concerts, I share with the audience a message of slowing down and appreciating the simple beauty that is always present…during the holiday season and at all times during the year.  At every yoga class that I teach, I encourage and support others in taking care of themselves in body, in mind, and in spirit.

I need to practice what I preach.

The decision to rest my voice and to take a year off from offering my Christmas benefit concert is a choice that I am making in order to allow myself to slow down and to take care of myself in body, in mind, and in spirit.

We live in a world that is moving at a fast pace.  Productivity and multi-tasking are no longer buzz words that are associated with overachievers but are now minimum performance requirements and expectations.  Many elementary school children are stressed with their overly packed schedules that take them from school to sports to extra-curricular activities.  Parents are hunched over cell phones trying to pay their mortgage on an online banking app while baking brownies for the band boosters fundraiser and listening to their younger child’s spelling words, while the tv news is playing in the background, broadcasting reports of natural disasters and incidents of violence at public places.

A writer and public speaker whom I have found to be inspirational, Brene Brown, has asserted that when we define our self-worth by what we accomplish, we are constantly in a “hustle for worthiness.”  It is very easy to buy in to societal messages that we must do more.   We can go through our days trying to prove ourselves or trying to please others by saying “yes” when we really are tired and want to say “no.”

I realize that I am most joyful when I am going through life in a slow and conscious manner, when I have time to notice the details and reflect on how I got to this place and where I intend to go next.  I am most inspired and most myself when I can do something spontaneous and be creative in the way that I go about what I do in a day or in a week.  Each day is a gift and a blessing, and I am committed to experiencing these days fully.  In order to do that, I need to rest so that I am fully awake and alive and present.

I plan on returning to the stage at the Tamaqua Community Art Center in December 2018, refreshed.  I thank you for understanding my decision to have a time that is quieter and more restful so that I can offer my best self to the world.  I will continue to share my voice on this blog, and I will continue to keep the songs alive in my heart.

August Concert for Hillside SPCA and Schuylkill Haven Walk-In Art Center

 

Two weeks from today, special summer concert will take place with my musical friends Emily Barrett, Mark Denchy, and Tom Flamini.  The concert will support the Hillside SPCA and the Schuylkill Haven Walk-In Art Center.  I am very much looking forward to making music in order to benefit the wonderful animals at Hillside and to support a community place that is a new performance venue for me: the Schuylkill Haven Walk-In Art Center.

The concert will be on Sunday, August 27th, 2017 at 2:30 pm at the Schuylkill Haven Walk-In Art Center.  Tickets are $8 in advance and $10 at the door.  All of the ticket money will be donated to the two organizations.  The Hillside SPCA will receive 50% of all ticket sales, and the Schuylkill Haven Walk-In Art Center will receive 50% of all ticket sales.  You are invited to purchase advance tickets online at http://walkinartcenter.org/events/Event%20Registration/#!/Benefit-Concert-for-Hillside-S-P-C-A/p/86364814/category=15365366

I have visited the Hillside SPCA twice this month and just two days ago adopted two lovely cats.  It is feeling stressful right now as I work to encourage my cat Advent to accept the new family members, but I am hopeful that they will eventually enjoy (or at least tolerate) each other’s company.  Below are the two new Hillside SPCA kitties who have moved in with me.

Domestic Shorthair Cat for adoption in Pottsville, Pennsylvania - DinkyDomestic Mediumhair Cat for adoption in Pottsville, Pennsylvania - Chloe

Please help me to spread the word about this upcoming concert by passing the announcement on to any music-lovers and cat lovers and dog lovers.  Hug your pets today, and be in touch with me if you have any questions about this upcoming concert!  =^..^=

Click here to view our full-size PDF concert poster!

Summer Concert Announcement

 

I am happy to announce that I am planning to offer a special summer concert with my musical friends Emily Barrett, Mark Denchy, and Tom Flamini.  This is a concert that will support the Hillside SPCA and the Schuylkill Haven Walk-In Art Center.  Animals are so close to my heart; everyone who knows me well has heard me share about my beloved cats, and I am so excited to make music in order to benefit animals in need.  I’m also excited to try out a new performance venue; the Schuylkill Haven Walk-In Art Center is a great space to visit.  The center offers opportunities to interact with visual artists and performing artists and also to take classes and develop skills and express yourself creatively.

The concert will be on Sunday, August 27th, 2017 at 2:30 pm at the Schuylkill Haven Walk-In Art Center.  Tickets are $8 in advance and $10 at the door.  All of the ticket money will be donated to the two organizations, with the Hillside SPCA receiving 50% of all ticket sales and the Schuylkill Haven Walk-In Art Center receiving 50% of all ticket sales.  You are invited to purchase advance tickets online at http://walkinartcenter.org/events/Event%20Registration/#!/Benefit-Concert-for-Hillside-S-P-C-A/p/86364814/category=15365366

 

 

 

 

I hope that those of you who have attended my annual Christmas Benefit Concert at the Tamaqua Community Art Center will make the short trip to Schuylkill Haven to hear me perform there with Emily, Mark, and Tom as I lift my voice to support the animals and the arts in our local community, and I hope that I meet some new friends who possibly have never heard my music before and who find their way to this concert on the other side of Schuylkill County.

Please help me to spread the word by sharing about this upcoming concert with any music-lovers and cat lovers and dog lovers.  Hug your pets today, and be in touch with me if you have any questions about this upcoming concert!  =^..^=

Click here to view our full-size PDF concert poster!

2017 Performance – American Cancer Society Telethon

I will perform along with Tom Flamini and Emily Barrett, under the group name “Hope in Song (HIS) Singers” this Saturday (April 8th) at 7:30 pm on the American Cancer Society Telethon. Please tune in and watch…and support the ACS and the important work that they do!

We will perform as a trio “Blessed Assurance” and “Music” (a less familiar song that talks about what has brought the three of us together, with a special middle section that I composed just for our voices.)

You can come in person to watch live at Penn’s Peak in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania. The telethon will air live on channel 13 on Blue Ridge Cable and on channel 90 in the Tamaqua-Mahanoy City-Hazleton Service Electric Cable area and also on channels 2 and 50 in the Lehigh Valley on the Service Electric Cable system. Portions of the program will be broadcast on channel 69.4, WFMZ.

Blue Ridge Communications is also streaming the program live online. Links for streaming will be on both CancerTelethon.org and on WFMZ.org.

Merry Christmas 2016!

To all who visit my website and blog:  Merry Christmas!

Putting on the 5th Voice Lifted at Christmas concert two weeks ago was a highlight of my Christmas season.  As always, it was a delightful experience for me to be with so many family members, relatives, friends, community members, visitors, returning audience members, and those coming to one of my concerts for the first time.  I am uplifted by being together with you all and having the opportunity to share my music with you.

I came to this year’s concert in a more peace-filled and joyful place, and I’m hearing that this came across in the show.  In addition to my red dress and red music stand, I chose to sing some more familiar carols and joyful, upbeat pieces.  It felt good.  I felt the best after this year’s concert than any of them so far.  I had fun on stage: performing my solo pieces and collaborating musically with Tom Flamini, Emily Barrett, and Mark Denchy.

A great article was published in the Pottsville Republican on the day after my concert.  I am grateful for that coverage, and I’m happy that the news article will spread the word to others who may be interested in attending a future Voice Lifted at Christmas concert.  Next year’s event will be on Sunday, December 10, 2017.

I’ve been more quiet this year on my blog, not having written and posted as often as in previous years, but I plan to do more of that in 2017.  I enjoy this connection to all of you.  Please feel free to leave comments on my posts – that will encourage me to show up more and share more.

In offering to everyone a Christmas message this year, I invite you to connect with your inner child and to allow yourself to be present in the celebrations in which you take part and in the difficult moments, too.  The holiday season is really, for most of us, NOT picture-perfect…but there is amidst all of that, so much to really celebrate and to be joyful about.  Jesus and Mary clearly struggled at many points throughout their lives, and they did not hide it or put on a face that masked their pain…but what they did was know that the holy God within was far greater than the human challenges they faced.  God is not external and distant.  We can allow ourselves to touch and hold God and to be touched and held…by simply going within and breathing in the love that is both the holy infant and the divine power inside.  May we allow Christ to be born within us today, and may we experience joy in that birth.

All photos by Andy Leibenguth – www.tamaquaarea.com

Thank you, Andy!!

 

Tune in to the American Cancer Society Telethon

Live Nation Entertainment American Cancer Society Logo

Susan M. Featro and Tom Flamini will perform at 8:15pm tomorrow on the American Cancer Society Telethon.  The telethon will air on channel 13 on Blue Ridge Cable and on channel 90 in the Tamaqua – Mahanoy City Service Electric Cable area and on channels 2 and 50 in the Lehigh Valley on the Service Electric Cable system.  Please tune in and enjoy our musical offerings.  If you’d like to make a pledge to the American Cancer Society in honor of our performance, you may call 1-800-883-2109 on Saturday and mention that the donation is in recognition of the performance by Susan and Tom, or you may make a pledge online at http://www.cancertelethon.org.  The telethon will be happening live at Penn’s Peak, the concert venue just outside of Jim Thorpe.  Admission is free.

Christmas Benefit Concert

 

 

This year, I will offer for the fourth consecutive year the Voice Lifted Christmas Benefit Concert on Sunday, December 6, 2015 at 2:30 pm.  This event will again benefit the Tamaqua Blue Raider Foundation and the Tamaqua Community Arts Center.  100% of the ticket money will go to these two organizations, with each receiving 50%.  Tickets are $8 in advance and $10 at the door.  You may call 570-818-4135 for advance tickets.

I am excited to announce that guest performers this year will include Mr. Steven Toth (Tamaqua Senior High School principal), Emily Barrett, Tom Flamini, and Barbara Greim.

If you have not attended a Voice Lifted Christmas Benefit Concert in the past, I invite you to experience the event as a way to lift your spirit and to do something for yourself this holiday season that will help you to connect with the deeper meaning of Christmas.  My intention each year is to make this concert a retreat from the busyness of the season, a time to breathe & go within & reflect on who we are and how God is present in each of us and in our world.  The concert will include familiar Christmas songs as well as many unfamiliar pieces that explore our relationship with the Sacred, our human experiences and emotions, and our connection to the past and to the future.  A favorite part of the concert in past years in addition to the music was the improvised sharing of personal stories and messages.  I look forward to opening my heart to the inspiration of the Spirit and seeing how God speaks through music and word in this annual event.

Please be in touch if you have any questions about the event or would like to purchase tickets in advance.

Christmas Concert, Christmas CD

VLAC cover

I am excited about my upcoming Christmas Benefit Concert that will be held on Sunday, December 7th, 2014 at 2:30 pm at the Tamaqua Community Arts Center.  This is the third year that I will offer a concert of Christmas music with 50% of the ticket money going to the Tamaqua Community Arts Center and 50% of the ticket money going to the Tamaqua Blue Raider Foundation.  Since my concert last year, the Tamaqua Community Arts Center has been renovated.  I will be performing on their new stage, and the seating upstairs has also been redone along with multiple other additions and improvements around the center.  I look forward to making music in this beautiful space that is a cultural home in our community.  I will be joined in the performance by several guest musicians, including high school principal Mr. Toth who will sing as part of the concert as a first-time guest at this event.  I hope that many in the Tamaqua Area School District will come out to support him, to support me, to support the other performers, and to support these wonderful organizations.  Advance tickets are available for $8, and tickets will cost $10 at the door.  Call 570-818-4135 for advance tickets.

I am also excited to announce that I have completed work on my second CD “Voice Lifted at Christmas.”  This CD will be available for purchase at the benefit concert, and it will soon be available for purchase on my website.  At the top of this post is the cover photo from the CD.  As on my first CD cover, I am lifting my voice to God.  Highlights of the new CD are favorite carols “O Holy Night,” “The First Noel,” and “Silent Night,” as well as favorite inspirational Christmas pieces “Mary, Did You Know?” and “Breath of Heaven.”  I am joined on 3 songs on the CD by vocalist Tom Flamini.

This is a preview of the new concert hall.

This is a preview of the new Tamaqua Community Arts Center concert hall.

 

 

 

Announcing my Holiday Benefit Concert

 

On Sunday, December 15th at 2:30 pm, I will be giving a solo concert, with a few special musical guests, at the Tamaqua Community Arts Center, 125 Pine St., Tamaqua, PA. Tickets will be $5 in advance and $6 at the door, with 50% of the money going to the Tamaqua Community Arts Center and 50% of the money going to the Tamaqua Blue Raider Foundation, supporting special projects in the Tamaqua Area School District.

 

As I shared last year, I love singing holiday and Christmas music, and I am again excited to be performing my music to benefit the arts in my community and to benefit the school district that I graduated from and where I now teach.

 

I invite you to my concert.  It meant so much to me last year to have family, friends, supporters, and fans in the audience.  I again hope to have a good turnout in order to benefit the Tamaqua Community Arts Center and the Tamaqua Blue Raider Foundation so that they may continue to do the wonderful things they do!

 

Please contact me if you would like to purchase tickets in advance.  You may also buy tickets at the Tamaqua Community Arts Center.

 

Holiday Benefit Concert

 

I wanted to share with you all that I am very excited about an upcoming holiday benefit concert that I will do.

 

On Sunday, December 16th at 2:30 pm, I will be giving a solo concert, with a few special musical guests, at the Tamaqua Community Arts Center, 125 Pine St., Tamaqua, PA.  Tickets will be $5 in advance and $6 at the door, with 50% of that money going to the Tamaqua Community Arts Center and 50% of the money going to the Tamaqua Blue Raider Foundation, supporting special projects in the Tamaqua Area School District.

 

I love singing holiday and Christmas music, and I am especially excited to be performing my music to benefit the arts in my community and to benefit the school district that I graduated from and where I am now teaching.

 

I invite you to come.  It would be very special to me to see family, friends, supporters, and fans in the audience.  I hope to have a good turnout in order to benefit the Tamaqua Community Arts Center and the Tamaqua Blue Raider Foundation so that they may continue to do the wonderful things they do!

 

Please contact me if you would like to purchase tickets in advance.