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!!

 

Voice Lifted at Christmas – Fifth Annual Benefit Concert

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It is hard to believe that this will be the fifth consecutive year for the Voice Lifted Christmas Benefit Concert,  This year’s event will be on Sunday, December 11, 2016 at 2:30 pm.  This event will, as in the past years, 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 will be $8 in advance and $10 at the door.  You may call 570-818-4135 for advance tickets.  Returning to the stage as guest performers this year will be Emily Barrett and Tom Flamini.

If you have not attended a Voice Lifted Christmas Benefit Concert in the past, I invite you to experience this 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, and a time to 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 Divine, 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 me in this annual event.

Please contact me with any questions about the concert or if you would like to purchase tickets in advance.

Voice Lifted in the New Year

As we transition from 2014 to 2015, I look back on my Voice Lifted journey in this past year and look ahead to where I hope to take my music making in the upcoming year.

My Christmas Benefit Concert on Sunday, December 7th was a success.  It was a great experience to perform in the newly remodeled Tamaqua Community Arts Center.  I was delighted to connect with the wonderful audience who came out that day, and I am thrilled that the event provided support to the Tamaqua Blue Raider Foundation as well as the Community Arts Center.  I look forward to seeing these two organizations continue to serve our community in the coming year.

2014 brought the release of my second album Voice Lifted at Christmas.  This album is now available for sale online (download or CD) at this link.  My first CD Voice Lifted is also available here.  Downloads of the music from my Christmas CD are also available at Amazon.  Additionally, Voice Lifted at Christmas is available in streaming format on Spotify.  

In 2014, I greatly enjoyed many performances at private events, community events, and at churches.  I am excited to continue these in 2015.  For those who like to plan ahead, I am announcing the date for my 2015 Christmas Benefit Concert at the Tamaqua Community Arts Center – Sunday, December 6th, 2015.  I will be announcing other public performances throughout the year, but I wanted to get that date out right away, as I have loved hearing that some people are now making my benefit concert an annual Christmas tradition.

I also plan on additional performances in the new year with my music partner Tom Flamini.  Right now, we are preparing for a February 8, 2015 performance at Providence Place in Pottsville.

In the upcoming year, I also plan to continue blogging.  I plan to do that with more regularity, as I know that writing is a wonderful source of creative expression for me, and I enjoy sharing my journey with others on the path.  Additionally, many ideas are floating around my mind for live performances and recording possibilities.

For me personally, 2014 was a year that brought many challenges and much growth, and I see 2015 as a building year.  I believe that there will be much opportunity to take all of the lessons of 2014, allow myself to start at the place at which I am, and create much from the bottom up in this new year with faith and trust as the foundations.  Many of those around me have expressed similar feelings about 2014 being a year that involved much tearing down, shaking up of things, a lot of confusion, “a year that brought us to our knees,” and a year that was like a roller coaster ride.  I am envisioning and holding 2015 as a building year for myself and for those around me, for anyone who chooses to embrace this intention.

New Year’s Blessings to all of you and to those with whom your share your hearts and your lives.

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Christmas Concert, Christmas CD

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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.

 

 

 

Holiday Benefit Concert: 2 Days Away

My holiday benefit concert is just 2 days away. 

 

I hope you have seen some of the publicity leading up to the event, as I am hoping to perform for a large audience at the concert and raise as much money as possible for the Tamaqua Community Arts Center and the Tamaqua Blue Raider Foundation, supporting special projects in the Tamaqua Area School District.

 

I was interviewed yesterday on WMGH Radio and WLSH Radio, and a track from my CD – Voice Lifted was played on both of those stations.  The (Hazleton) Standard Speaker included the event twice in their “Happenings” section.  The Times News ran an article both last Friday and this Tuesday about the upcoming holiday benefit concert.  TV-13 (Blue Ridge) News also gave great coverage, filming an interview and clips from “Oh, Holy Night.”

 

Making music is a true passion for me.  I am looking forward to having a special connection with all of those in the audience on Sunday as I lift my voice on traditional Christmas carols and other special pieces that communicate all that this season means and holds for us.