It was fun to be back at the Strand Theater! One of the neat things about this venue is that when the performers sing, it’s the first time they’ve ever done it with the live band. “Toxic” is a Brittney Spears song that was adapted by Melanie Martinez. It’s got a great jazzy style that is perfect for The Strand!
This is my favorite song from “The Greatest Showman”. Enjoy!
In just about any case, “mostly” hitting a note wouldn’t warrant a YouTube video. (unless it’s in the humor / entertainment category) But the fact that the note Callie “mostly” hit was an F6, which is rarely performed live, is YouTube-worthy.
There is a lot of hub-bub around that note, which was part of Kesha’s original recording of the song, “Praying”. The fact that Kesha sings an octave lower in concerts spurred debate as to whether she could sing it at all. I’m inclined to believe that like other vocalists, there are things she can do in a studio that she can’t reliably do on stage. Which brings us to this video!
Callie performed “Praying” in front of a packed room at the Hard Rock Cafe in Niagara Falls as part of a Matt’s Music vocal performance team event. Her vocal coach, Kim Potfora, helped her explore that upper end of her range. They discovered that Callie can reach notes higher than an F6, which is the reason she decided to try it live. Easier said than done! One concern was that the high note would be piercing coming through the microphone. Kim was worried that Callie’s arm wouldn’t be long enough to get the microphone far enough away to not break eardrums.
The days leading up to the performance, Callie got nervous. REALLY nervous! And she never gets nervous about singing. She vowed to never sing a whistle tone on stage again.
Kim was making the set list and asked if Callie preferred singing “Praying” at the beginning or at the end. She opted for the beginning – partly because she didn’t want to deal with the nerves and partly because she wanted to eat the great food the Hard Rock Cafe provides in the green room!
Built as a Nickelodeon theater in the 1920’s, the Strand is a tan art-deco style building at 540 Oliver Street in North Tonawanda. If you are just passing through the neighborhood, you would never know the building is home to a quaint, classic venue for local musicians. The setting is informal. Patrons are encouraged to BYOB. The Matts Music Vocal Performance Team had a great time putting on a jazz cabaret. The music was diverse and creativity abounded as performers sang both classical jazz standards and modern adaptations.
Here is Callie’s performance of “Sunday Morning” by Maroon 5. Kim Potfora is on keyboards, Rob Williams on bass and John Anderson on drums.
Matts Music Vocal Performance Team (MMVPT) has played a huge role in Callie’s development as a singer and a performer. 2017 was her first year with the team and we’ve enjoyed watching her grow and flourish among a highly talented group of singers. The 25 kids who make up the MMVPT are more than fellow performers. They are Callie’s musical family. It brings tears to my eyes when I play back the videos from every one of Callie’s solos and hear the cheers at the end of her performances. Those are the vocal performance team kids encouraging her and celebrating with her when she takes risks and pushes herself.
This video is from the Matts Music Vocal Performance Team recital at the end of the 2017 season. I wish you could see the videos from every one of the performers. It was so fun to see the confidence and range of musical expression as well as sheer talent!
Most of all, she has benefitted from the unique perspectives offered by each of her three vocal coaches. Kim Potfora is Callie’s voice teacher. Most of her lessons are with Miss Kim, who also helps with song selection for her performances. Zach Carr is a specialist in the “high belt” vocals. He works with her on diaphragmatic breathing and other techniques to protect her vocal chords when she hits those high notes. Stephen Pitrowski works with Callie on song-writing, helping her to create her own authentic body of work. We are so thankful for the MMVPT and look forward to another exciting year in 2018!
Callie had a blast singing this duet with Stephen Pitrowski, who is one of her vocal coaches. In addition to singing and coaching the Matts Music Vocal Performance Team, Stephen is a gifted song-writer and music arranger. We loved having the opportunity to host him and his guitarist, Paul Russell, at our Friday night Stroll the Streets series in Ellicottville.
We had a great time at the Erie County Fair. This was the first year Callie was competing in the 13-18 year old division, which was really fun. There are so many talented kids in that age group! This is a video of Callie’s performance at the fair. She did a fabulous job on Beyonce’s song “Listen”, which is a really challenging song to sing. Ribbons were given to the top five contestants. Even though Callie didn’t make it into the top five, we were all really proud of Matt’s Music Vocal Performance Team for taking the top three spots!
Almost two years ago, we had the huge privilege of seeing Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth in Wicked when they performed in Denver. Watching Idina Menzel perform “Defying Gravity” took our breath away. It was awe-inspiring. When Callie and her voice coach, Miss Kim, decided to work on this song, it took a lot more time and effort than anything Callie has performed. A couple times, she was ready to give up. With Kim’s help and guidance, she stuck with it.
This weekend was spring recital weekend for Matt’s Music. The vocal performance team kept everyone entertained during a very long day with three shows. In the final show, Callie had the chance to sing Defying Gravity. Her voice showed a bit of strain from the day, but she did a great job and had a blast!
The timing couldn’t be better because we have tickets to see Wicked next week during their stop in Buffalo on the national circuit!
I had the chance to perform as Ariel in my school’s first middle school musical! We had a really great cast and I had the chance to make new friends. Thank you to everyone who made this such a fun experience for us.