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LT&N / Blog

Get Ready, Get Set...GO

I auditioned for Macy’s All-Star Holiday Choir and was accepted as an alto. This was such an awesome event and it really means a lot to me since I only do guest appearances in church choirs or direct Children's Choirs.

Last year, with all of you, I watched the Holiday Choir perform as part of the tree-lighting ceremony. Hearing my family was saying how I could sing in the choir, which made me feel good 'cause I was thinking that I could do that and promised myself to find out how to audition this year. Then in September, I checked out a local high school website for something else when low and behold, there was audition information for the Macy’s Holiday Choir. I forgot all about the reason I'd come to the site and concentrated on the audition. After I had registered online the drama started with my teeth. I needed three teeth pulled and they needed to come out so I could do the audition. I put hours into practice BEFORE surgery and afterward looked the music over a few times. The day of the audition I felt confident that I knew my part I was concerned because my mouth still hadn’t healed all the way and opening my mouth was still difficult. I hoped that I’d be able to open enough to let sound out. It seems that I did.

At every turn getting ready for the Macy's Holiday All-Star Choir was awesome. Their were the nervous auditions in October and the agonizing waiting to hear back and although it was just a week after the auditions, it seemed like a long, long time. Then once I knew I had made it, the music stated to come in through my email and what wonderful music too. The old chestnut "Carol of the Bells" and the fun and jazzy version of "Go Tell It On the Mountain" and the always thrilling 'O Holy Night" Every song was more thrillerier (is that a word? No, it is now!) It was super fun and awesome to be working with some of the areas best volunteer choir singers. With only three nights of rehearsals we were able to produce a wonderful product that made our and everyone else's start to the holiday season that much more special.

The best part, The Tree Lighting last night. It was awesome to be part of something so very big here in the South. If you watched it you know who was there, Mary Mary, Scotty McCreary, Erica Nicole and Melanie Moore along with the Macy’s All Star Cheer Squad and us Macy's All-Star Holiday Choir. It was an amazing evening with one 'aha' moment after another. I'm thankful for lots of things this year, but being able to be a part of the Tree Lighting last night is very high on my list. But I can't rest to long on my past accomplishments. I've got a Listening Party tomorrow. For those interested in coming it is from 3-5pm @ 302 Veterans Memorial Hwy SW Suite 116 Mableton, GA In Leland Plaza on the corner of Veterans Memorial Hwy. and Cooper Lake Road. I am excited about this, but it is hard to tell where my 'high' from last night leaves off and the anticipation for tomorrow starts.

Contest for my FANS

Which of my songs did I write this week? "His Plan", "My Love", or"I'm Still Waiting". Winner gets a free 'Mary's Arms" cd

My Love

Just wrote a new song. I'll sing it on Wednesday at the Open Mic at Rev Coffee.

This was cool, I was walking this morning and just rounding the bend to home and I looked up at the sky and the first line to My Love came to me. By the time I had gotten home I had all of the first verse and most of the chorus. I worked more on the song when I got in the house (which reminds me, I need to eat) and I have two verses and a solid chorus. Come here it at Rev and see if I've gotten inspiration in other places.

Macy's Holiday Choir

Something awesome that did happen this month was on the 1st. I auditioned for Macy’s All-Star Holiday Choir and was accepted as an alto. This was such an awesome event and it really means a lot to me since I only do guest appearances in church choirs. PLUS, I auditioned as an alto which isn’t the voice that I sang in choirs of the past, usually I sing Soprano, but I was nervous because soprano’s usually get to sing very high notes and I don’t use those high notes in my singing. I was correct to be nervous, there were tons of sopranos trying out, but when I was there only a few alto’s were there.

Last year, like millions of you I watched the Holiday Choir perform on the tree lighting ceremony. Chuck and Nate were both saying how I could sing in the choir, which made me feel good cause I was thinking that I could do that and promised myself I’d find out how to audition this year. Then in September I was checking out the Pebblebrook High School website to check out their next home game and low and behold, there was audition information for the Macy’s Holiday Choir. I forgot all about the football game and the marching band and concentrated on the audition. After I had registered online the drama started with my teeth. Not only did I want the teeth out so I could do the Women’s Day event at Rush Memorial, but I wanted the teeth out so I could do the audition. I put hours into practice BEFORE surgery and afterward looked the music over a few times. The day of the audition I felt confident that I knew my part I was concerned because my mouth still hadn’t healed all the way and opening my mouth is still difficult. I hoped that I’d be able to open enough to let sound out. It seems that I did. For you, you can watch live on Thanksgiving night at Lenox Square and see me as part of the Macy’s All-Star Holiday Choir, or if you are like me last year check out the sounds of Holiday Choir on WSB-TV that night with the live feed of the lighting of the Christmas Tree.

I am looking forward to an exciting time of it and an awesome experience.

Keep rockin’

Lady Toni

His Plan at Rev Coffee

Last night was another good night at Rev Coffee. As I said, I did play 'His Plan' with the re-worked middle section. My energy was not perhaps up, as I had just finished teaching and although I was very hyped at the dojo, the drive over to Rev slowed me down. However, I did get an interesting response to 'His Plan' and I am going to see about work together with a fellow musician. This will be my first collaboration and I am looking forward to it. I'll let you know how all goes.

Last Night at Rev

Last night was good. I played three songs with the wonderful drum assist from my son Nate. I changed things up a bit and played in the middle of the evening instead of the very beginning. We had fun, Nate was well received and the songs went well. As is usual. I played to a room that was quite and listening to the music...it was AWESOME! I plan on doing this open mic every two weeks and hope to see you at an open mic or any event soon.

Take care, Lady Toni

Have You Joined PTA?

I know that this blog doesn't have a thing to do with music, but it is a part of me, and music is why we home school. I can't think of any torture that I'd like less than having to get up and get my son to school after we've been out at a gig the night before. Or worse yet, having the county get upset with me because I'm on tour and he is with me and not in school. This eliminates that issue and my son and I get to bond and have an exciting life doing it.

“Have you joined PTA?” Driving down the road with my son next to me I just giggle. “I am the PTA!” I home school my son and we have been doing so successfully for 6 years now. Yes, this has been and continues to be a great time investment, but I feel strongly about doing this. I don’t have any issues with the children who go to public schools; the majority of our karate dojo is public schooled kids. For our family, home schooling works well, we really wouldn’t do things differently.

I know that home schooling isn’t for everyone but what I am passionate about is that parents get and remain connected to their child’s or children’s schools. Teachers can’t do everything and rely on parental involvement. The saying ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ is an accurate one and part of your child’s village is the teacher or teachers. Parents need to understand what is expected of the child and work with the teacher. Teachers don’t just mean the school teachers either. If your child is active in an after school activity such as a sport or a music lesson, then those teacher’s are also part of your child’s village.

I love home schooling because it allows us the freedom to use my music tours as a part of school for him. Whenever I go out of town on a tour, we make it a point to include family time at an Indian burial ground, or Children’s Museum or something like that. I learned as a young girl that field trips of this type provide more information than reading it in a text book. As a girl, my parents went on many trips with my father’s life insurance business. Often my sister and I would accompany them. We learned first hand about places in our country and other countries. Not just the amusement parks, but the history of a place. We were able to ask questions that of tour guides that you can’t ask a book. I will always be grateful for that and want to provide the same type of learning for my own child. This is why I home school and why I can say, “I am the PTA”

Gig and More

Hi Everyone,

Had a great show on Friday night at Our Place Bakery Café; I felt more alive than I’ve ever felt on stage. I’ve rediscovered my purpose in music and it felt awesome to be playing. Love playing with Just Jo, and I eagerly wait for our next outing! I played my normal fare of original music, but I really had a blast playing my favs; a little Stevie Nicks, Steelers Wheel, Sarah McLachlan, the ‘S’ theme isn’t intentional though. I was sad that nobody could answer my question. What is my favorite song to date? Mary’s Arms, not one right answer. Guess we will just have to work harder for next time… And there will be a next time at Our Place. The acoustics are great; love the high ceilings, the delicious food, and relaxing atmosphere. Cheryl, the owner is a darling woman with a great venue and yes, Nate did get his ice cream. It was gone in a nano second; the boy can put away his ice cream! Starting a new regiment today, sit down with my guitar to write something, no matter how small, everyday. Come on out to events and hear what I’ve come up with. Write me to tell me what is going on in your life and what you think might be a good song. You will get the credit for the song idea!

On Sunday I was cantor for the 7:30am service at St. Thomas, my last time doing that and it was good to hear from 5 people that I did a good thing. I am sad to leave, but with a future full of exciting events coming up, I’m looking forward and not back. The service was very good and I got lots out of the priest’s message and the music selected for the day. It was a reaffirmation on using my talent to His glory, but also don’t just stop there, use the talent in new and undiscovered ways too.

Don’t forget to come out and hear me at Rev Coffee on Wednesday! I like to go early so get there between 7:45 and 8. Don’t know what time is early, but come on out and see. When you come, do please let me know you are there. Stop by say hello!

People ask why you do this? Because it is in me and I must get it out, plus it is just plan fun and having fun up on stage means that I bring the fun to you in the audience. Truly a win-win situation!

Peace out,

Lady Toni

Great Sounds in Smyrna

Yesterday morning I got up and felt like playing somewhere, great practice since Friday I will be playing in College Park with my friend Just Jo.

For me the performing is something that I like to do when I’ve been practicing a lot. I’m a perfectionist at heart and don’t like to have ‘surprises’ show up when I play. However, all the practice in the world doesn’t help if you forget the words, but since these are originals, who can spot an ‘oops’ if you keep going and just create as you go. And nope, I’m not saying which song got new words last night.

Rev Coffee at 1980-B Spring Road in Smyrna has an Open Mic every Wednesday night from 8-10pm. For this Open Mic you need to play original music only, no covers allowed. If you are a musician come early to sign up, if you are a fan of great local live music come early too. Your favorite might get on early or, as happens in the colder months it may fill up and you can’t get a seat. Last night I played two songs, ‘I’m Still Waiting’ and ‘The Pillow Fairy’. My first song had people tapping their feet; the second is more of a funny song. All in all, what I like to happen happened in that people grew hushed as I played. I got a surprise last night too. John Gifaldi and his family came out to hear me, enjoyed themselves and will come out again. They really liked the vibe at Rev and the ability to hear lots of other musicians too.

Rev is a very comfortable place to play and you get a wide range of musicians. Last night we heard not only some great acoustic guitarist, but we had djembe, violin, and electric guitar.

Kerry, the host is great; she asks that everyone be respectful of the performer and performers to play original music. Original music is anything that was written either for you or you are allowed to play, not something that say Stevie Nicks has recorded with Fleetwood Mac. (Can you tell that I really like her music?) They are also having ‘Rev Fest’ in Oct. another chance to hear some awesome music. Check out their website for info on that.

All in all the evening was a great success. I got some great ideas for new music while I was listening to other artists, which is what part of doing Open Mics is all about. The exchange of ideas from one creative mind to another.

Rev Coffee is located at 1680-B Spring Road in Smyrna, GA. Their phone number is 770-573-4434 and the website is www.revcoffee.com

Come on out to Rev, hope to see you and if you play this is a great place to do it. Look for me to write after Fridays show at Our Place Bakery Café in College Park

OMG WHAT'S THAT?

That is what I was thinking when I got told that we would be singing in a group for our auditions for The Voice, last Friday. I understood that we would be singing in a secluded area and the judge would not see us, but only listen to our voices. However, we were put into a room with 9 other singers and one judge sitting at a table directly infront of us and yes, she could see us. When the judge opened our audition with, "You are all amazing musicians and love your craft or you wouldn't be here..." I figured correctly that nobody in our room was going to get called back. I was not disapointed, I was the only songwriter singing an original song, she seemed very interested, but in the end, I wasn't picked to come back either. I did learn something that I hadn't on other auditions. When you audition it doesn't matter so much if the song is in your "genre" or not, alot of these shows are looking for vocal fireworks and if you can deliver that, you may have a chance at going further. For my next audition, I will certainly bring something that is a tried and true vocal firework selection. Whitney Houstons " I Will Always Love You " comes to mind. You have to remember that an audition for a tv show is going to be different from an audition to join a choir or group. While the latter is looking for someone that will work well with the group , the former is looking for who will provide the most entertainment to the viewing audience. If the selection, as mine was, is a solid performance, but doesn't have the WOW factor, your chances of getting passed over are much higher. Hope that helps, sure helped me and I feel much better about my not getting the call back call because I feel that I really understand how all of this works now. Looking forward to the next audition! Lady Toni