Sunday, June 1, 2008

Aubrie shines (My Sacred Life, Sunday)

As a parent, you can only, at first, dream of days like the one I experienced Friday. If you are very, very lucky, the dreams play out in the real world, and they are even more spectacular than you could, in your little brain, imagine.

That, in a nutshell, was what I saw Friday.

Aubrie, my eldest offspring, performed her senior recital.

This was not any typical recital, either. In addition to recruiting fellow vocalists and other musicians from her own school of music, Aubrie had these guests appear with her:

Peter Eldridge, a founding member of the New York Voices, the Grammy-winning quartet which is among the best that acapella music has to offer. Peter is an incredible composer and pianist, as you will see. Aubrie has known Peter for years, and he has always been one of her biggest supporters.

Greg Jasperse, a nationally known choir director and composer. He, also, is a wonderful performer in his own right. He participated Friday in the performance of one of his own most-popular pieces for vocal jazz groups: VoiceDance IV. He, too, has been a friend, mentor, and provided great support and encouragement to Aubrie since she was in high school.

Rudy Cardenas, a finalist on American Idol last season and a long-time member of the acapella group M-Pact. Aubrie and her mom helped bring M-Pact to Denver several times, so they were buddies with Rudy and the rest of that group long before Rudy appeared on TV last year.

I'm not going to pretend that I can be objective about this young lady's great talent. You can judge for yourself, as I'm including several clips from Friday in today's post.

First, Over the Rainbow. This is a special song for Aubrie, as she first appeared on stage at age 7, playing a bark-singing Toto in a long-running Denver children's theater production of Wizard of Oz. Among her cohorts performing this piece are Rudy (in the middle, partly hidden by the music stand) and Greg on the far right.

This gorgeous piece includes the vocal contributions of both Greg Jasperse and Peter Eldridge, as well as Marie Heck singing alto. The song, Rachel, was written by Trish Delaney-Brown of the renowned acapella group The Idea of North. I love this song more each time I listen to it.

One more special piece: this is Peter Eldridge's own There Alone Go I--cowritten with fellow New York Voices member Lauren Kinhan--a duet he performs with Aubrie and accompanies on piano. I'll be honest; I had a hard time holding the camera still, so moved was I by this wonderful music and the beautiful melding of the two voices.

And, of course, there must be some opera singing, right? I mean, that's officially what she studied, even as she was still pursuing her love of vocal jazz and musical theater. As a famous opera diva once described it, "It is screaming while barely under control." That's the nature of opera: bringing to bear all the power you can muster, but retaining just enough control so that the end result is breathtaking. So, this clip from the classical portion of Aubrie's recital. It is Handel's Let the Bright Seraphim. Tim Mendoza plays piccolo trumpet, and the incomparable Hukum Singh accompanies, just as he did the entire classical portion of the recital.

My favorite is saved for the closing of my tribute to my eldest daughter. This is Greg Jasperse's own composition, and Greg is singing along with Peter and Aubrie's DU buddies. Can it be any cooler than to have the composers of songs you love, singing with you in your recital? I can testify it is simply overwhelming to witness as a parent, and I am deeply appreciative of the contribution of these very-busy professionals to Aubrie's recital. I know, more than anything, that their participation is a tribute to Aubrie's own magic. She brings to life all she has, and a scintilla more than that. These successful professionals recognize that she is special in her passion as much as in her talent, they value her commitment, and they honor the friendship built over the years with this young lady, mature a bit beyond her years.

Please allow me this moment of big-ass smiling, huge amounts of happy tears, and some minor blubbering on this, my Sunday Sacred Life, as I pause to honor my daughter, my first-born.

Aubrie: what a long way since "N Y C!!!" ... yet I still hear that so-clear, so-enthusiastic little girl's voice, easily discerned among the twenty or more adult voices contributing at the same time on that stage. As your mom said Friday as you closed your recital, it has been my pleasure, over and over and over, to be witness to your blossoming as an artist, a woman, a magician. Truly, what you do is magic!


Olivia said...

She is so talented Rick. She seemed to be enjoying herself so much, not nervous, but so self-confident! Each of the songs were very different, really showcasing Aubre's versatility.

My favorite was "There Alone Go I"!

How wonderful that you are so proud of her, too. Thank you for sharing her gifts with us. xxoo, O

Rick Hamrick said...

O--I, too, love "There Alone Go I"--I was torn how to end the list of clips, and I decided that VoiceDance IV was the way to go. It included both Greg and Peter, and it has been a favorite of mine since I first heard it a few years ago. It has never sounded quite as good, though, as it did Friday!

Thanks so much for your kind words. She has blossomed into an even more stunning vocal artist than she was when she started college. And, you nailed me: I am over-the-moon proud of this young lady!

Anonymous said...

Truly she does sing like an angel, Rick. No wonder you are so proud. Wow.