Happy Thanksgiving!

I wrote an entry awhile back about being grateful so perhaps writing another one for Thanksgiving is redundant. I don’t want to focus on individual people, accomplishments or occasions. I want to look at the big picture.

I am grateful for music. For everything that it has had to offer me for as long as I can remember. I am grateful for melody, for lyrics, for harmonies that grab you by the ear and won’t let go (I remember Jay Rader calling a particularly plump harmonic transition a “dirty chord,” and I know exactly what he meant). I am grateful for all its manifestations – opera, musical theater, symphonies, art song, pop songs, chamber works, solo instrumental pieces, folk songs, bluegrass, country music and rap. (Okay, for the last two I’m not all that grateful but they exist and they fulfill something for someone else.)

When I’m happy, I listen to music. When I’m unhappy, I need it all the more. I’m grateful for the creativity that music seems to trigger in me, and for any vague nurturing instinct I might have that is the result of teaching music.

I’m grateful that I’ve been able to earn a living because of music. I’m hopeful that music will open more doors in terms of my cabaret performances (new domain name coming in 2010 just for that endeavor!), in terms of more teaching opportunities at the college level, and more possibilities of performances and workshops (alone or with other performing/teaching partners). I’m grateful that the music education I’ve received, from 88th Street School to Hamilton HS to Alverno College to the Peabody Institute to all the NATS workshops and non-NATS programs (shout out to Somatic Voicework and Jeannie LoVetri!), has given me the information needed to make this work for me and for my students.

I’m grateful that music gave me a way to say a final goodbye to my mother, and to hopefully give some comfort to my father.

I am grateful for having married a man who once earned his living as a musician and has never begrudged my music for one moment. And I am grateful for Facebook and for being able to re-establish contact with those musical colleagues from 88th Street School to Hamilton HS to Alverno College (not so much there – wonder why?) to Peabody etc.

Franz von Schober said it so much better than I could (and Schubert set it so much better than I ever could):

Original German English Translation
Du holde Kunst, in wieviel grauen Stunden,
Wo mich des Lebens wilder Kreis umstrickt,
Hast du mein Herz zu warmer Lieb’ entzünden,
Hast mich in eine beßre Welt entrückt!

Oft hat ein Seufzer, deiner Harf’ entflossen,
Ein süßer, heiliger Akkord von dir
Den Himmel beßrer Zeiten mir erschlossen,
Du holde Kunst, ich danke dir dafür!

Oh gracious Art, in how many grey hours,
When life’s fierce orbit ensnared me,
Have you kindled my heart to warm love,
Transfigured me into a better world!

How often has a sigh escaping from your harp,
A sweet, a sacred harmony of yours
Thrown open the heaven of better times,
Oh gracious Art, for that I thank you!

Published by Mezzoid Voice Studio

Christine Thomas-O'Meally, a mezzo soprano and voice teacher currently based in the Baltimore-DC area, has performed everything from the motets of J.S. Bach to the melodies of Irving Berlin to the minimalism of Philip Glass. As an opera singer and actress, she has appeared with companies such as Charm City Players, Spotlighters Theatre, Chicago Opera Theater, Opera Theater of Northern Virginia, Opera North, the Washington Savoyards, In Tandem Theatre, Windfall Theater, The Young Victorian Theater of Baltimore, and Skylight Opera Theatre. She created the role of The Woman in Red in Dominick Argento’s Dream of Valentino in its world premiere with the Washington Opera and Mary Pickersgill in O'er the Ramparts at its world premiere during the Bicentennial of Battle of Baltimore at the Community College of Baltimore County. Other roles include Mrs. Paroo in Music Man, Mother Abbess in Sound of Music, Dorabella in Cosi Fan Tutte, Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro, both Hansel and the Witch in Hansel & Gretel, and many roles in Gilbert & Sullivan operettas. Her performance as the Housekeeper in Man of La Mancha was honored with a WATCH award nomination. Ms. Thomas-O'Meally received an M.M. in vocal performance from the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. She regularly attends master classes and workshops in both performance and vocal pedagogy, and is certified in all three Levels of Somatic Voicework™ The LoVetri Method. Her students have performed on national and international tours of Broadway productions, at prestigious conservatories, and in regional theater throughout the country.

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