Sometimes you’ve got to give it away

Getting a singing project off the ground can feel daunting… but it’s amazing what happens when you offer your talents freely.

Several years ago, I was in the gym reading while working out (somewhat lazily, I admit) on the elliptical machine.  An article about a new singing work caught my attention.  It was based on the lives of the Bronte sisters, and written as a 1 act “chamber” opera.index


Little did I know that this spark of interest would turn into a project that would result in re-scoring the opera, bringing the composer to my doorstep, involve a large roomful of people and help the oldest arts organization in Seattle continue to bring music to others.

Funny how these things happen.

So here’s how it played out: the composer, Linda Lister, a soprano and professor of music at the University of Evansville, Indiana had written the opera and produced it with her students.  It occurred to me, as I cycled on my machine, that this would be a perfect work to perform at Ladies Musical Club (LMC) in Seattle, where I am a member. LMC is a philanthropic organization that not only gives several free concerts a month around the Puget Sound, but also brings a Music In Schools program to under served communities.

Putting together the resources for a performance felt a little costly, but here’s the secret.  If you produce an event as a “fundraiser” then it’s truly wonderful to see how people will come together to help.

Within a few short months, Ms. Lister had re-written the opera score, originally for piano, for a small trio of instruments.  The University Club donated space, articles were published on the web and in the news of our event, a cast and orchestra was assembled, program printing was donated, flowers were donated, volunteers helped host the event. The list goes on and on!
In the end our performance raised over $700 for a worthy organization.

In terms of publicity – a well-deserving composer received a bump in her popularity (and a nudge to expand her work), I got a lot of experience producing, organizing and performing a new work.  All the singers and instrumentalists had their chance to shine, and added another line on their resumes, and all the volunteers and donors were also acknowledged. I think of this as Dharma – do something good in the world and everyone benefits.

So my words of wisdom to you are – if you want something – don’t wait to be offered the opportunity.  Create it yourself!

Now – go do something wonderful.