Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Party's Over

Dear Readers,

It's all over.  Can you believe it?  11 months of hard work and preparation....

Let me just tell you that last night's performance was one of the highlights of my life.  Here are some crazy videos to give you an idea of how much fun we all had.  My dear sister, Mary, has solved the rotating video problem, so click away and enjoy:

This is the dress rehearsal performance of Michael Ogborn's "Remember Me" from Box Office of the Damned.  A Singapore premiere, and the audience loved it!

More backstage antics:

Jiu Jian had 2, count 'em, 2 photographers AND a videographer at the show, so there will be much better quality videos and photos available in the coming months.  Of course I have more photos as well, but I'm going to take my well-deserved technology break now.

Thanks again to all of you for your interest and support.  This project has been life-altering.  I have the feeling we are not done with Singapore.  See you all soon!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Another Op'nin', Another Show

Yup, tonight's the night.  We spent yesterday in technical rehearsals - about 7 hours.  But James, the production manager, did a fantastic job of putting everything into place, so this afternoon's dress rehearsal should go smoothly.  

The house is almost completely sold out - only 8 seats were remaining yesterday!  That's a good feeling.

I also spent my last hours working with the kids yesterday.  They loved playing theatre games with me, specifically The Magic Wind and Postcards.  We also made a musical Fruit Salad this week.  Let me see if I can post the video trailer created from this week's workshops:

Hard to believe my work is almost done here.  It has been almost a year of preparation for 7 days of music, art, travel, a whole new country!  Thanks to all of you for your support.  You have helped me keep going on this project when I thought I should give it up.  And especially, thank you to Jiu Jian for being so curious 11 months ago.

I'll see if I can get Nick to take some photos or video during this afternoon's dress rehearsal.  We'll post tomorrow and then I will take my well-deserved technology break.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

For Colleen (But The Rest of You Can Look At It)

Take a look at this:

Jiu Jian told me it was a casino.  Turns out it is the new Sands Casino (I know, Colleen, competitor) that is opening today.  According to the many advertisements I saw in the newspaper this morning, the opening concert includes Diana Ross and Jersey Boys.  Also, there's a infinity pool in that top structure.

I took this photo out of the hotel window.  Great view, eh?  Oh, for you geography buffs out there, that's the South China Sea on the other side of the casino.

Here's one more photo from the street to give you more perspective:

Where Did That Day Go?

Greetings Earthlings,

Whew!  Yesterday was another jam-packed day here in Singapore.  It started very early (at least for me) with this:

We dashed back to the hotel to catch ourselves on tv.  Here's a portion of the interview, where I actually sing in Mandarin on national television.  FYI, I was recording by holding my Droid in front of the tv, so apologies for the poor quality.  Jiu Jian has a better-quality version, which I will get later:

I still can't believe I did that!

The afternoon was filled with the kids' workshop.  In the evening, I had a wonderful workshop with a delightful group of adults.  We had a great time exploring singing and learning "Lullaby of Broadway".  Most of them are returning this evening, so I'm looking forward to another great session.

BTW, I know I'm using words like great, fabulous, wonderful, etc. quite a bit.  Yes, my experiences here are that fabulous!

Richard and Nick arrived this morning.  I used the MRT to meet them at the airport and to get them back to the hotel.  Nick loves the breakfast, is impressed with the 2 swimming pools, and has already found American baseball (Yankees, go figure) on tv.  A good start to the teen's first visit to Asia.

Thanks for your support!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Another Busy Day in Singapore

Whew!  Where did this day go?

I started with a delightful breakfast with Connie Kirker, a friend of a friend who is presently living here in Singapore.  Getting her expat insights on Singaporean culture was great.  Taught 3 lessons and had a blast.  Rehearsed with Jiu Jian and Julian at the Cristofari studios next door to my hotel.

Tomorrow I have to get up at 6:00 am, as we are scheduled to be on tv here LIVE sometime before 8:00 am.  Yes, it is true.  Heidi Hayes will have to function in public before 9:00 am.  Not just speak in complete sentences, but even SING.  In Mandarin.  No, I'm not thinking about this, I'm just doing it.  I'm sure you'll all want to read about that event!

Connie has invited me to tour the Asian Civilizations Museum with her in the late morning.  More work with the kids in the afternoon and in the evening, the first of the adult workshops.  I've already met two of the participants; if everyone is as pleasant, we will have a great time.

Today's photo features this handy-dandy way to transport your carry-out drinks:

Thanks for checking in!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

This Is Interesting

Another successful day with the kids and another successful rehearsal with Julian and Jiu-Jian.  Walked to the DES (Dance Ensemble Singapore) studio which is maybe 6 blocks away.  Not a long walk, but in the middle of the day, it was HOT.  I had to stop for a delicious lemon ice tea before I could cross the street to start rehearsing.  Life is tough, isn't it?

After rehearsal, dim sum dinner in Chinatown - yum yum.  Walked back to the hotel, so at least I got some exercise which means I get to eat more tomorrow.  Hooray!

But here's what is interesting.  Read the article I've linked to below.  It was in the Singapore Straits Times this morning.  I think the topic will surprise my American readers, as it deals with censoring the arts.  Yes, they have a censorship board here in Singapore.  Really, read the article...and no, I'm not going to get censored while I'm performing here!

Did get to see 4 different temples today - 2 Hindu and 2 Buddhist.  The Hindu temples are extremely ornate.  Sorry, no photos, but I'm sure Richard will want to see them, so I'll return later this week.

Tomorrow's agenda - coffee with an American friend of a friend, 3 hours of lessons and 2 hours of rehearsal. Life is good!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

My First Day

Yesterday was my first day on the job with Ko-nen Creative.  I started with a private lesson with a super-talented Singaporean actor, Jeffrey Low.  Working with Jeffrey was just like working with so many of my students in the States.  He is immensely talented as a singer, but thinks of himself as an actor first.  Hence, his instincts for singing are quite good, but he doesn't have the understanding of what he is doing when he sings.  We had a good hour together and then we joined Jiu Jian for chicken and rice at a food stall across the street from Dance Ensemble Singapore's facilities.  I'm not having any trouble finding good food to eat!

Then, I spent two hours with some of the Ko-nen kids.  Yesterday's group, all girls, ranged in age from 6 to 16.  They were just like American kids - some were shy, some had bundles of energy, all of them were lots of fun.  We warmed up first:

We took some time to get the wiggles out:

Then we moved to the dance studio across the hall to play some theatre games, an activity I always love.  I was surprised that one of the older students (Roseanne) knew many of the games.

Dance Ensemble Singapore's space is just like most of the facilities I've worked at in the US.  I walked in and immediately felt at home.  Except for the fact that you take your shoes off when you enter the room.

The kids and I rehearsed Do Re Mi with our accompanist, Julian Wong (more about him in a minute).  Jiu Jian has done an excellent job of teaching the kids their music.  They know it cold.  They also sang a beautiful song Jiu Jian composed.  Everyone is calling it The Mama Song.  A lovely melody that incorporates a beloved folk song about mothers.  Jiu Jian told me what the rest of the song means, but I forgot already!  Just like I forgot most of the kids' names already.  Of course I can remember those that have western names, but the Chinese names I'll have to take another stab at today.

After we finished with the kids, Jiu Jian, Julian and I moved to a great rehearsal space at the Cristofari piano store (conveniently located in the mall next to my hotel).  Cristofari is one of the generous sponsors of 2Voices10Fingers.  Julian is great!  He played Everybody Says Don't without a problem and I gave him a big hug.  That's the first song I'm singing on Friday's soiree and it has a tricky piano part (thanks a lot, Stephen Sondheim).  I knew I was taking a chance programming that song, so when Julian whipped it off, I was ecstatic.  I was even more ecstatic when I remembered 99% of the words.

Jiu Jian and I ended the evening guessed it...more food!  A quick review of my Chinese lyrics, which I now must work on before today's rehearsal.  I'm back at it with Julian and Jiu Jian for a couple of hours and then work with the kids again.

Just in case you were wondering - I was exhausted by the end of yesterday, too tired to write this post.  Fell into bed around 10:30 and woke up at 5:00 am.  ARGGHHH.  I was able to doze until 7:00 am.  So, my body is almost on Singapore time.

Go Phillies!  Of course they're winning.  Always happens.  I leave town and they win.  So, if we want the Phils to win, we just have to make sure I leave town.