People have been asking me what it was like to sing with Bobby recently at Atlanta Symphony Hall. When Bobby calls, you answer with glee! Asked to form a circle of 12 singers from Atlanta was an absolute delight and privilege. Studying with Bobby, especially in those early years, set my life’s course. From 2007 onward, my personal and vocal worlds exploded.
It truly doesn’t get any finer than Bobby McFerrin. He is the epitome of jazz and vocal excellence, not to mention a modern day shaman.
Prodded to make McFerrin’s CircleSinging - the spontaneous, polyphonic improvisatory style - my own, I adapted his techniques and created them for use in group music therapy settings, published in The International Dictionary of Music Therapy. I started running Singing Journey Retreats to work more deeply with singers of all ilk, especially their personal and vocal journeys have taken me to the Gullah Coast of South Carolina, to New York, and Ireland. And my own jazz performance life took off!
As a lifelong musician and vocalist, you could say I have been steadily on this path. There is something to be said about consistency, steadfastness, and focus. At some point, you look behind you and realize all of the steps taken that have led you to a certain moment.
Wonder appears when you step in to the actual music-making of improvisation. I once had a conversation with Bobby about vocal improvisation as a spiritual practice. Singing our prayers, singing our hearts. I swiftly learned that it is in the surrender, attentiveness, and allowing that makes for not only the finest music but the greatest of human experiences.
This may be my Year of Wonder, yet Wonder has been occurring infinitely. You might say, my 2019 has started out already in Wonder. Having collaborated with Bobby McFerrin to bring the best of Atlanta singers to the stage for a night of vocal delight, was a lifetime Wonder