This year’s Thanksgiving was perfectly timed. Coming right after our big Strauss concert and right before rehearsals for Don Giovanni begin, this holiday and the long weekend are just what I needed to recharge and then gear-up for the last month of 2014.
Thanksgiving was never my favorite holiday as a child (Halloween was more fun, Christmas was far more exciting, and turkey was not that big of a deal). I have personal qualms about the historic basis of the celebration, but as I find more to be thankful for each year, I have grown fond of the idea of reflecting and giving thanks.
As I spent the day with Baritone Boy and Dante, I relished in the jokes and laughter, the playing and smiles, and the focus and multi-tasking required to cook a Thanksgiving meal. We went with a Paleo menu this year, courtesy of Nom Nom Paleo:
- Brussel sprout slaw with citrus dressing
- Roasted garlic Autumn root mash
- Umami gravy
- Butterflied herb butter turkey
- Pumpkin and carrot muffins
I FaceTimed with my family in California, and we compared our Thanksgiving courses (they weren’t doing a turkey but made a chicken instead and, coincidentally, had butterflied it as well), caught-up on family news, and made plans for when I come home for Christmas. This will be a special visit. It’s been almost a year since I was last home, and I’m taking some extra vacation days to make it a longer trip. (There are many perks to living in NYC, but the cost of flying to California is not one of them.)
I admit to being a singer whose singer brain sometimes (oftentimes) takes over. Looking forward to spending time with my parents and brother reminds me that not all anticipation and excitement is tied to performing. Having Baritone Boy and Dante in my life drives home the fact that there’s more to life, more to me, than just singing.
And with those two big declarations made, of course I have to add that this Thanksgiving day wouldn’t have been complete without a bit of music and practicing. After dinner, Baritone Boy and I sang through some Don Giovanni together, and then I rounded out the practice session with “Padre, germani” and “Prendi per me sei libero,” two new arias I’m adding to my audition repertoire. I’m still getting the notes in my voice and wrapping my mind around new technical ideas, but the happiness and gratitude of this Thanksgiving made everything easier, looser, better supported, and more legato — yet more to be thankful for today.
Happy Thanksgiving! Eat good food, put on some good music, and surround yourself with good company!