So first of all HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!! I hope you all had a great one. I had an amazing and surreal New Year. I haven’t been able to write about this as it was a surprise for someone. I am in Mexico as we speak. Woohoo. It was a surprise for my best friend, Krista. Her mother-in-law rented a house here in Tepoztlan and decided to get all the families together for Christmas and New Year’s in various configurations, and as a surprise for Krista, she invited me but no one knew. Krista and her hubby had arrived on Christmas day and I finished The Drowsy Chaperone in Vancouver on the eve of Dec. 27, flew home to Toronto on the morning of the 28th, repacked that night, and flew to Mexico City on the morning of the 29th. Needless to say, Krista was surprised, as were her parents who were there and have been like a second family to me. It was a really fun group. And so part of the deal was that I was also the surprise entertainment for New Year’s Eve. So I had put together over the last several months a 45-minute show to do after dinner and before midnight. Krista’s mother-in-law, Jean, and a friend of hers had arranged a huge dinner party for about 36-8 people. I had gotten the incredible pianist/musical arranger/musical director/friend Wayne Gwillim (remember that name people – he’s going to be famous) to do piano tracks for me and I used some from my CD to create a 14-song set.
Now let me set this scene. I arrived in Mexico still trying to get rid of this sty in my eye, which, though it’s getting smaller, is still making the vision in my right eye blurry. So now let’s add to that what I acquired on the my last couple of days in Vancouver – a sinus infection AND bronchitis. Thankfully I had gotten antibiotics on my last day in Van. But wait, there’s more. Tepoztlan is many kilometres up so there is this altitude issue that no-one warned me about. (I hope you’re all laughing by now cause I was) So you have to picture this. I can’t see details too well because my eyes can’t decide what to focus on; my nose is stuffed and the passages are swollen, my chest feels heavy, my bronchial tubes are tight and my throat feels like the tissue is on fire, plus, because of the altitude, my chords are strained. Bring on that forty-five minute set!!!
Now, understand, I can sing through just about anything. (knock wood) I’ve only gotten laryngitis once in my life and that was when I had an infection right on my vocal chords. Well this killer combo managed to produce only a partial laryngitis. Basically just the top-top notes of my range sounded like metal rubbing against metal. Unfortunately, most of my material uses the top-top part of my range. OH MY WORD, Y’ALL!!! It was a challenge but SO MUCH FUN!!!! I had to re-negotiate some things as I got to them and technique my ass off but I just tried to use it. In some songs, it added this really cool element – you know, that throat cancer quality. LOL. I was awesome. And dinner was a little late in getting going so I finished about 8 minutes to Midnight. Just enough time to get the champagne, pour the glasses and toast. And the greatest part is, people seemed to really enjoy it. So all went well. It’s all in how you spin it, people.
Of course, the next day, my voice was dead. There were more squeaks and bleats coming out of my throat than a broken clarinet. But it was worth it. And now I’m still in Tepoztlan as we speak but most everyone is gone. It’s just me and Krista and her amazing husband Matthew, their beautiful son (my unofficial God-son) Miles, Jean (Matthew’s mother) and two of Jean’s friends, who I adore. And it’s just us for one more week of relaxing. (Up until now, it was us plus Matthew’s sister and her husband and their two boys, his parents, and Krista’s parents. It was a lot of folks but really great. Always someone to talk to or go somewhere where with. I didn’t really go very far as I have been trying to recuperate from all of this illness. But now I have a week to rest and play and see some things and lay by the pool and learn some material for an upcoming audition and look at the script for A New Brain which goes into rehearsal in 2 1/2 weeks. But the biggest issue is getting my voice back in working order for this audition coming up. I need healthy chords. I’m not worried. All things happen as they should. And I’m in Mexico. Life is good.