Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Mountain Adventure Day!
First, this is my hotel. So sweet!!
And this is the folk music academie, in the middle of "town" (it's a one bar/restaurant sort of town with the post office the next village over). 

 The one church. Very sweet but not open weekdays.
 And then we went up a mountain. What should have been a 30 minute drive turned into a 40 minute drive followed by a 45 minute hike. BUT there was cake and beer and coffee and sausages for those who partake, though we did lose half  the group since we got seperated. Not lost like that! They just couldn't believe the four of us would go that far, but I am greatly motivated by food, folks, and I was hangry. (so hungry you're almost angry = hangry). 
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There were cows on the path. They had bells and it was a wonderful sound. 

Views from the top. 

This is the hut where we ate. so cute.

The friends we left behind by accident, but they got lovely food down at home, so oh well!!!

Evening view on the mountains. 

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Liesing, Lesachtal, Austria

So I'm in the Alps.

That's the view from my balcony. Across those mountains is Italy.

That's to the left. Also,

The balcony where we can eat breakfast, etc. We (my teacher, other teachers and a couple other singers and I) are in the largest house in town run by a very nice Russian couple. I keep forgetting to ask the host if he speaks French as I have no German and he speaks great German and no English. We have people here that speak very well though so no problem. :)

I keep forgetting to take pictures of people because it's so freakin' pretty here. It's like living next to or in Yellowstone Canyon. Grandiose, huge, whoa. All the time. I was going to load pictures from Munich and my tiny cute room in the upper floor of the Gasthaus (guesthouse, more like a bed and breakfast) there but this place is so much prettier. Hard to compare. The people I forget to take pictures of though are really nice and all dedicated musicians, so the companionship is lovely. 

Two longs days of traveling (6 hour bus ride in the rain last night anyone?) has caught up with me and I hope my voice will be better and easier tomorrow. Exercise will make it easier and sleeping earlier will as well. Gute Nacht and I'll catch up later friends!

Friday, July 27, 2012


Yes, it's a silly word and you pronounce it just like it looks. 

It's the name of the closest village to us here at the Destleheide Culture center for the jazz camp, and it's very cute. We arrived on Sunday to go to dinner with the Weyler family, the owners of the music school and heads of the camp (note Maarten's work of art dessert below from said dinner). That dinner brings together the teachers that come from out of country, which included this year David from Amsterdam and Serge from Montpellier as well as the three Americans, with Peter Eldridge being the other voice teacher. 

Peter is the nicest person ever and and I think we will all be friends for a long time after this. I feel very blessed to have met him. I mean how many jazz musicians can you talk about your classical rep with, and they also say "Oh I love Poulenc!" Dig!

Raspberry mouse dome with nom nom nom...... also Chopped fans, notice the spoon push?

This year I was invited to teach some extra vocal technique classes, in part because there were 21 singers registered and it would help keep students involved and provide smaller class sizes, and also because, like at home, contemporary music singers often don't get a lot of information on vocal production. The interest from the students has been in releasing tension, improving the breath control in ballads and such, and everyone wants to know how to belt. Of course! The students are very polite and inquisitive and after talking about jazz style and songwriting and having combo rehearsals, it's a totally different sort of class and a nice switch for them I think. It's an experiment this year and I have no idea if it will happen next summer, but I've had a great time teaching at a camp I've been at as a spouse for 4 years previously. The people here are just so nice, students and faculty alike. 

And if you think larynx is difficult to spell, try strottehoofd. 

View from the deck off the main classroom building. 
View to left. Fabulous weather here every day. 
View from first morning in the dorms, we move to the cabin Monday afternoon. 
View from our ground level room- we share a patio with a big table and umbrella with 2 other teachers down here. 
The sun sets here around 9 and lingers. Just beautiful. 

Wednesday we escaped the caf food (not so bad this year) and went first to the bistro, which was closed on Wednesday, and then to the local castle for dinner. While there we met up with Matthias and two students from camp (friends of his) and then had dinner with Ewout and Tutu, now longtime friends and jazz musicians extraordinaire.

I love cram-in pictures. 
This guy.
Also, nice socks Peter. (Must continue joke). 
This is the pond at the bottom of the hill- Zevenbronnen or Sept Fontaines, and is in a swanky neighborhood. 
yeah I ran here yesterday. 
here too. 
Can you find the moon?
I was sitting outside rewriting song lyrics to memorize and I just loved the scene.

I promise I will remember to charge my phone today and take it with me and get some people pictures- it'll be easy since it's the faculty concert tonight. Hot in the day and delicious cool at night. Very jazz. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

End of stay in Den Haag and nighttime Brussels

I'm terrible at blogging.

I forget to do this and three days go by- too much time having fun with actual people instead of the computer. There was an epic dinner cooked by yours truly on Thursday night out in the chi-chi suburbs   and of course the boys' concert on Friday night, but Kyle has those pics because I was busy cooking/bossing around or having fun at the dinner. I made some wonderful new friends through Kyle and Mic and even got to visit with the matriarch, Omeka Kleykamp. I know I spelled that wrong.

In the meantime here are some pics.

Our beautiful friend Sophie (a pic from a couple years ago- but a fav)

St. Katrijn/Sainte-Catherine, the church of the square Sophie lives near. Lovely neighborhood. 

Okay the Flemish roof line isn't so obvious here, but there are parts of Brussels that is so much nicer at night. 

The Beguinage/Cloisters, very Baroque. 

Side of Ste. Catherine on the Quai, seafood restos galore. 


The fab wine that we drank while having a music exchange at midnight. 

Sophie's building stairwell. I have a thing for staircases. 

Et vous aussi, monsieur. 

Smiling at me. 

Another one, really?

My favorite flowers followed me to Brussels. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Arrival and Downtime: Brussels, Den Haag, and a little layover in Frankfurt. The town. 

If you don't know the basics about me yet, find, and then come back here!

So Justin (husband) is with me until the end of the month when I go to Austria. First lesson we learned: Fly Lufthansa. Always. Not only was it cheaper and easier to get more choices with them, but the service was outstanding. The attendant that sat across from us 
on the exit row is a native of Frankfurt, the Lufthansa hub, 
and urged us to go downtown since we had six hours to kill. 
And so we did!

Alte Oper, Frankfurt. Because of course they have two opera houses. Find the tiny me! 
Strudel Strudel Strudel! Far, Kirschenkugel with Strudel, Near, Plum  something with Strudel. 

Then on to a groggy day in Brussels and lots of good food. The frites at dinner with my mussels were so good I called them potato goddesses. I've made a point to go to the best frite houses in Brussels and Antwerp at the Cafe à l'Opera next to the Monnaie beat them. Or maybe it's since I didn't sleep for 36 hours. 

Grand Place, Brussels. What you can never see well in pictures is all the gold leaf. 

It makes the square bright even under clouds. 
And on to  friend time and pretending we are locals in The Hague/Den Haag. Sadly, my Dutch accent is better than my French- guess which one I studied? Bodes well for my German plans this fall, though. Yesterday  J and I both got to practice for a couple hours at the Catholic church- he in preparation for the concert Friday night, and I in prep for  Alpenkammermusik in Liesing/Lesachtal, Austria.  There's a Liesing right outside Vienna, and it's not that one, so I list the area name as well if you want to Google it.  The boys, Kyle and Mic, have gotten the local English Catholic church to make a hoopla 
about Justin coming to Den Haag and there will be postings 
about this fabulous dinner and concert after Friday night. 

Our former student/now colleague and singer-pianist-teacher Kyle is lending his apartment as he is house-sitting for some US ex-pat friends across town and it's beautiful. 
Sunny again this morning!
Window-walls on two sides- light is very important the farther north you live here. 

The apartment is at the intersection of two canals- fun!
I was going to exercise this morning, but we are renting bikes today and I don't want to waste my legs running if we're going to the beach later. Running here is wasting your legs- we walk everywhere and for me, it's enough that I have that delayed I-worked-out-feeling each morning.  The church alone is over a mile to get there; I'm not complaining! It's nice that it's cool weather and exercise is built in. You do notice the difference in fitness here with people of all ages and I'm convinced it has to do with the multitude of bikers and walkers. Now, time for that croissant. ;-)