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Grateful 2021

I’ve got a roof over my head,

I’ve got a warm place to sleep,

Some nights I lie awake counting gifts

Instead of counting sheep

— John Bucchino, “Grateful”

2021 has not been the relief that we all hoped it would be after the debacle that was 2020. For me personally, the year began with a terrible fall that made me feel disfigured for about half the year. There have been some issues with extended family that have caused heartache and estrangement. I gained back more than half of the 25# I lost in 2019 and kept off all through the pandemic, much of it in one month, for no apparent reason. My studio is not at full capacity and I’m not sure if/when it will be again.

But my face has healed, mostly, I can still feel the bump on my chin from the stitches, but it isn’t that obvious to the casual viewer. (It is still somewhat numb, as is part of my lower lip.) The broken kneecap I suffered in the fall was actually the least of my issues and healed quite quickly, and I’ve been doing Zumba since June with little trouble. (The broken kneecap did get me out of the little shoveling last winter required, for which I’m also grateful.)

I’ve got a heart that can hold love
I’ve got a mind that can think
There may be times when I lose the light
And let my spirits sink
But I can’t stay depressed
When I remember how I’m blessed

Ibid

Through the miracles of modern medicine, we were able to get vaccinated and avoid infection. Consequently, I’ve returned to in-person lessons for those who want them, which has been a joy. (For those who haven’t returned in-person, due to distance or convenience, working with them has been a joy as well.)

In a city of strangers
I’ve got a family of friends
No matter what rocks and brambles fill the way
I know that they will stay in the end

Ibid

I am grateful for my husband, my friends, and my students, both those who stayed on through the early days when online lessons were confusing and unrewarding, and to new ones who joined during that time, some of whom I’ve actually gotten to meet in person since things opened up!

It’s not that I don’t want a lot
Or hope for more, or dream of more
But giving thanks for what I’ve got
Makes me so much happier than keeping score

Ibid

I’m grateful for the opportunity to continue studying and learning about my own voice with a variety of folks with whom I wouldn’t be able to work if it were not for this necessary move to online lessons, and also meeting them through the Speakeasy Cooperative and NATS. I’ve worked with Jennifer Cooper, Dr. Shannon Coates, and most recently (and currently) with Dr. Nicholas Perna. While traveling to Southern Maryland to work with Coop one-on-one wouldn’t be such a hardship, traveling to Toronto and Mississippi would be.

I’m also honored to have been included in the recent WNO concert at the Kennedy Center. Singing on that stage again reminded me that I am still an opera singer, and not just in my own mind. (People pay me to do this!) I’m also thankful that theater has reopened and artists have been put back to work – some of whom I will be seeing in December and January when we go to NYC.

I’m thankful that NATS has co-sponsored studies on the efficacy of masks in the face (no pun intended) of bio-aerosol emissions and given us the information we need to keep ourselves and our students safe.

In a world that can bring pain
I will still take each chance
For I believe that whatever the terrain
Our feet can learn to dance
Whatever stone life may sling
We can moan or we can sing

Ibid

And lastly, I am grateful for my dog, Seamus, and my new kittens, Spike & Charlie, for their weirdness and unconditional love. Two traits they share with my husband, Bill (and with me).

Grateful for husband, music, students, Kennedy Center/opera, turkey, Seamus the wonder boy, theater, kitty kats Spike & Charlie, NATS logo and vaccine
Thanksgiving 2021

They don’t share his ability to cook, however, and for that ability, especially on this day, I am particularly:

Grateful, grateful
Truly grateful I am
Grateful, grateful
Truly blessed
And duly grateful

Ibid

For the full song, check out this performance by the great Ann Hampton Callaway at 54 Below, with composer John Bucchino at the piano.

Ann Hampton Calloway & John Bucchino, 54 Below

(I’m also grateful that, because of NATS, I was able to meet John Bucchino at the NYC 2014 Winter Workshop, where I got his business card and we talked about me coming up to coach with him… hmmm, maybe this is something to do in 2022….)

Happy Thanksgiving!

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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