Professional Voice Talent, Amateur Actor and Knitter

Month: August 2009

The birthday fairy’s revenge

OK, so I don’t often let people know when my birthday is, because, though I don’t mind celebrating my birthday, I feel uncomfortable getting mobbed by well-wishers and being sung at, but thanks to facebook more people have found out when it is. I had to go to rehearsal on my birthday, and I was about two feet away from the back door at the end of the night, when I heard the rest of the cast start into ‘Happy Birthday’. No one could see me, so I quickened my steps and snuck out before anyone could catch me.

The following night I had tickets to Broadway by Request with Betty Buckley at the Hip. The ‘by Request’ part means that as you go in, you have the option of filling out a form requesting her to sing a song from her Broadway or recording career. I went with Regan, and on our way in, we saw MB, who was ushering. About halfway through the concert, Seth Rudetsky, who was acting as her emcee, accompanist, and foil, pulled out a request form (she’d been reading them all up till then). He called MB’s name and then read out her request: “It was my friend Karen’s birthday yesterday. Would you sing to her?” So, Betty Buckley sang me happy birthday in an auditorium full of strangers (at least I didn’t have to stand up!!!).

It was a fabulous concert, though. 🙂


A few years ago I discovered that my local public library had access to a whole bunch of audio books through netlibrary and I got all excited. I was a little less excited when I discovered that they came as one massive DRM’d file. When listening at work, I had to mark down the time stamp each time I stopped (they were WMA files, and I don’t know of a way to make WMP remember where you stopped, like itunes can); listening on my mp3 player was even worse, because the one I had at the time didn’t pick up where you’d stopped when you restarted it, it just remembered which file you’d been listening to… you try sitting with your finger on the fast forward button for ten minutes trying to get three hours into a file, and woe betide you if your finger slips and you accidentally advance to the next track, because then you have to start ALL over. Ugh. And of course, since the files are DRM’d, I couldn’t import them into Audacity or some such to break them into more manageable chunks. So, I mostly listened at work, and got used to jotting down the time stamp (oh, also, you can only listen to a given file on the computer on which you originally downloaded it, you can’t transfer rights from your work computer to your home one, for example).

Anyway, I’d been working my way through the Amelia Peabody series on audiobook. Netlibrary had the first few, but most of the rest I’d borrowed as discs, so I hadn’t been to netlibrary in a while. Imagine my delight when I went back and found that they’d insituted a new software to manage and listen to the books, and that this software downloads the books in approximately hour long chunks, rather than one massive one, AND remembers where you left off listening if you turn it off! Add to this the fact that I have also bought a new mp3 player (a sansa fuze, last November), that not only remembers where you left off, but has individual file recall for any file with an audiobook genre. I’m suddenly back on netlibrary with a vengeance! Yes, you can still only listen on the computer on which you downloaded it, but having an mp3 player that plays well with audio books, I no longer care! Thank you netlibrary for improving the interface, and thank you WMC Library for continuing to subscribe to the service!

Oh, the Horror!

I have a couple of minutes before my meeting begins, so this seems as good a time as any to update here.

I’ve been working on Little Shop of Horrors for the past few weeks in the ensemble. We open a week from Friday. It’s been interesting… we rented a set of puppets from somewhere or other, but when they showed up, they were in pretty bad condition. The director ended up going to Louisiana to rent another set, only he didn’t have room in his vehicle for the largest, so we’re still having to fix up the largest of the other set (and try to make it look sort of like the other set). Other than that, it’s been quite fun. It’s a small cast, fifteen people, and the youngest person is 19 (a great relief after the huge number of teenagers in Brigadoon); everyone sings well, can do harmony, acts decently. All in all, a really nice group, and at least half are new to the theatre, which is always fun too.

Finished the two Montfort books for Catholic Audio Company, and am close to finishing Death of a Pope for Ignatius, and not too far off on the two for iPublish. Have been neglecting Secret Garden dreadfully, but after next week, I’ll have my evenings free again and will be able to record more.

I’ve also been working on a sound booth, because since the weather got hot, I’ve pretty much been limited to recording first thing in the morning, because the crickets and cicadas are so loud. I build a cage out of half inch pvc pipe. It’s tall enough in the centre that I can stand up straight. I bought a set of sound absorption sheets from Audimute to cover it with. I’ve attached two lengthwise along the sides with gromets and one inch binder rings. I’ve started attaching a third sheet to the top. I had originally planned to just hang the fourth sheet over the front opening, but quickly decided that wasn’t going to be effective, so I’ve decided to build a door and attach the fourth sheet to it with the gromets and book rings like the rest of it. That leaves a section on the back wall between the roof and the top of the other sheets. I’m planning on attaching a couple of acoustic tiles that I had for the portable sound booth to a piece of muslin and hanging that over that hole. Once it’s complete, I’m going to move the mic in there, along with a secondary monitor, keyboard and mouse so that I can continue to read off the screen, but without having to worry about laptop fan noise (and without having to move the laptop back and forth, which gets pretty old when you have as many things plugged into it as I do). I forgot to take pics of the work in progress, but I’m planning on taking some as I build the door, and then of the completed booth.

Betty Buckley is coming to the Hip this Saturday, and I’ve bought two tickets to the show. I’ve invited Regan to go with me, since she’s a big fan of the Mystery of Edwin Drood in which BB played the title role. It’s my birthday present to myself, and I had to do some wangling to be excused from rehearsal the Saturday before opening night (but I made sure to wangle before buying the tickets, just in case).

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