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 with....you 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.