On this page you’ll find my blog and announcements about upcoming performances. Thank you so much for your visit and support!

Posted in Uncategorized on October 18, 2017 – 10:20 am | Comments (1)

August 5th Supper Club Night

Posted in life, performance on June 12, 2019 – 2:41 pm | Comments (0)

Luck is when preparation meets opportunity

 Image result for graduation families

When June rolls around I smile when I see this year’s crop of graduates posing around town for photos of their proud achievements. Seneca was right when he said, “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.” Those who have graduated know that to graduate is not about luck, it definitely involves huge amounts of preparation along with the right opportunities. I look back at how my year has gone so far and see if I have any graduations to celebrate in my own world. Well, May’s ten year anniversary of performing at the Villa d’Este with the Supper Club Six is a graduation of sorts isn’t it? I’ve taken a lot of private and group voice classes over the years but nothing takes the place of performing in front of a live audience on a monthly basis. I so appreciate all the support I’ve received from the audience and my fellow singers. I know I’m becoming a more confident singer and my repertoire continues to grow steadily.

In June or July, I also like to take a look at how I would like the rest of the year to go.  I have been using Habitica, a free gamified productivity app I came across in my research on productivity boosts.  I am also reading a book called Atomic Habits: An Easy and Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones by James Clear.  Someone mentioned in the Habitica community suggested it.

As I’m reading this book, I’m understanding why I’ve been so happy with my habitica results.  Mr. Clear suggests that rather than setting goals, one instead creates strong habits that would lead to an identity you would like to become or become more of and curb or change strong habits that don’t lead there or lead to identities you’d prefer not to be, for example, Achiever verses Couch Potato, “Dreaming about it” verses “Really going for it”.  The idea is to make incremental changes and reward yourself when you do.  Incremental changes may be things like:  flossing every day to create healthier gums, writing three things in a gratitude journal each night to focus on the bright side of life, walking 10,000 steps in a day, to improve your mental and physical strength, etc., meditating for five minutes each day to create a spiritual practice that is enriching and proven to decrease stress to name a few.  Here’s   a link to a helpful article  Mr. Clear wrote in his blog about figuring out which habits aren’t serving you.

What’s been most powerful for me over the first half of the year is seeing that I have actually succeeded in creating some habits that I no longer need to track because they have become bonafide habits.   Hoorah!  I feel confident that if I am motivated enough to take on another new habit, I have the technology and discipline to create it.  I’ve learned though that I can’t take on too many new habits at once. That can be  overwhelming and lead to backsliding which is the opposite of productive!  One of the new habits is to take a moment appreciate something or someone each day.  Today that’s an easy one; I certainly appreciate you for taking the time to read these musings!

Posted in Uncategorized on March 20, 2019 – 6:17 pm | Comments (0)

Highlights of Paris performances

Posted in performance, singing on October 17, 2017 – 2:20 pm | Comments (0)

10 Tips for quickly relieving stress


This article includes some musical ideas!





By Sonia Choquette

Let’s face it. Life is stressful. And when we are under stress we suffer. It’s bad for our health. It leaves us feeling drained and tired. It fogs our brains. It causes us to disconnect from others. It makes it difficult to concentrate and robs us of the ability to respond creatively in life. It’s not good for us, and when under stress, let’s face it, it’s not good for those around us either. So it’s helpful to have a few stress-busting techniques to reach for when it starts to creep up on you and take you hostage. Here are a few of my favorite busters. They are easy to do and work wonders when I need them most, like right before I give a public presentation, or when running late to catch a plane, or find myself stuck in traffic, or when talking to someone who is being very difficult, or when I find myself running behind schedule and am afraid I am going to get in big trouble for it. In other words, at least once a day, every day. Try them yourself and see if you find them as helpful for relieving stress as I do.

  • Open your mouth wide enough to hear a click in your ears and inhale deeply, followed by an audible exhale releasing the sound “AHHH!” Repeat until relaxed. Three times should do it.
  • Sing the song Do-Re-Mi from The Sound of Music. Each note corresponds with one of the seven chakras and calms the entire nervous system and lifts your mood.
  • Breathe in deeply and slowly, and as you exhale, notice something you’ve not noticed before in your immediate environment and name it out loud. Such as “pattern in the rug.” Then breathe. “The scratch on the desk.” Breathe. “The different colors on the coffee cup.” Breathe. “The design on the base of the lamp.” Breathe. Keep noticing and saying out loud things in full view that you have never noticed before. Do this for at least 30 seconds to one minute. This stops your brain from racing forward and back in time and centers you in the present moment, thus relaxing you.
  • Place your tongue on the roof of your mouth and right behind your front teeth. Next, purse your lips and exhale to the count of eight as though blowing out a birthday candle. Next, inhale to the count of seven, followed by holding your breath to the count of four. Then repeat. This easy breathing technique can calm your thoughts and refresh your body, inviting stress to flow out and relaxation to flow in.
  • Anytime you feel overwhelmed by stress, bend your knees and wiggle them back and forth as fast as possible for 10 seconds, and then squeeze your buttocks cheeks together while letting out a very loud and resounding “AAAAHHHHHHH!” as though screaming all the stress right out of your body. Then relax. It not only relieves you of the stress consuming your every cell but also makes you and anyone around you laugh out loud.
  • Start naming, out loud, one thing at a time, every single thing that you are or feel afraid of right now. Start by naming the thing you fear most in the moment, and then take in a deep breath. Next, name something you notice right in front of you. Then repeat. Again, name something you fear most right now. Breathe, and then again name something you see right in front of you. Do this until you can’t name any more fears.
  • Do my favorite yoga pose. Pull the corners of your mouth to the ears, and hold it. Maintain this pose for at least 30 seconds. Then release.
  • Thump your chest with your fist and let out the sound “HA! as loud as possible. Repeat. HA! HA! HA! Then laugh.
  • Sing your favorite Broadway show tune at the top of your lungs.
  • Put your thumb and forefinger together and close your eyes. Breathe in, while saying the words “I am,” and then exhale saying, “calm.” Feel the calm flowing from your heart, through your body, and out of your fingertips. Do this as many times as needed.

These are all simple, easy, silly, effective, and fun. Try them all and see which one works best for you. Most of all, just remember: this too shall pass, and with breath it will pass faster and leave you less stressed along the way.

Posted in life, singing on September 5, 2013 – 4:44 pm | Comments (0)

Chopping wood and carrying water



tranquil moment by fireplaceI’m sipping a cup of candy-cane green tea and listening to Pandora’s holiday channel–a few moments of quiet time, which is quite a rare treat these days. Twinkling petals of early afternoon light dance around my room to the beat of the music. I’m feeling a delicious combination of sentimentality and gratitude. I think I must be having a holiday moment!

Why this overall positive outlook? I believe it’s the effect of two filters I’ve chosen to wear over my lenses this year; the “Stay Neutral” and the “Chop Wood Carry Water.” In other phases of my life, some of the events of this year would have had me spinning in panic and caused me immense anxiety.

Both of my parents took falls this year, Mom breaking a hip and Dad, a shoulder. I consistently reminded myself to continue to chop wood and carry water and not focus too strongly on either wanting positive outcomes or worrying too much about negative outcomes. In retrospect, although my parents’ injuries were extremely painful and caused them immense inconvenience, the gift of their having had them was that they created opportunities to look at how we children and grandchildren could better support them. I can see now that my parents are both stronger and healthier from the experience.

Singing has always been a wonderful refuge for me.  Performing is also becoming one.   Even though I often feel nervous the day of the performance, I’m always buoyed by the experience of being with all the other performers, interacting with our wonderful audience members and singing from my heart.   Performing truly is good medicine!

Posted in life on September 4, 2013 – 8:58 pm | Comments (0)

Keeping the renewal alive all year long

Has your summer brought you a sense of renewal? I was recently pondering ways to maintain the wonderful sense of renewal that I feel after a long weekend or vacation once I’m back home. First of all we need  to figure out what actually renews us. Each of us is unique and our needs change all the time.  It isn’t always the things we read about doing or think we should do that offer the best renewal choice. For example, sometimes when I finally sit down to read a good book with a cup of tea, I realize that what my body and spirit really needs is to get outdoors and move. Other times, reading is just the ticket to the relaxation I needed.

I take a daily afternoon break and get out for some fresh air. I may not always be able to leave my desk at a scheduled lunch hour, but I don’t let that stop me from taking a refreshing break at some point in the afternoon even if it’s not until 3:30 or 4 p.m! Whether it’s a walk along the Embarcadero or Crissy Field, a visit to one of the many nearby farmers’ markets, or sitting quietly for a while in a nearby garden, I find I’m refreshed when I return.

I’ve also noticed that although some things are pretty tried and true, like taking a soothing hot bath after a particularly stressful day, its also very renewing to try something new. Recently, I caught on to the Chia seed craze and started adding the seeds to my morning juice and oddly have felt renewed by having found a new, healthy practice. Sometimes especially toward the end of a busy week,  it’s tempting in the evening to just be a TV- watching couch potato but I’ve found that if I choose instead to spend a few minutes gardening,  going for a walk in the neighborhood, practicing my songs or listening to some beautiful music, I feel more relaxed and also get a better night’s rest.Waves of New Opportunity

I’ve become a fan of a little application on the iphone called Lift. Lift allows you to track a list of habits you know give you a lift.  If you like the feeling of checking things off a “To Do” list, Lift  may be for you. I review it once or twice a day and it acts as a reminder to do things like walking to the farmers market, spending quality time connecting with a friend, taking an afternoon break, or taking three deep breaths. When I do check off the habits, I feel a little lift too.   Similar to Facebook’s “likes”, other users on the app can give you props for completing your lift habits which is also fun and motivating.

So as long as a person is capable of self-renewal, they are a living being.”  Swiss writer, Henri Frederique Amiel

Posted in life on September 4, 2013 – 6:40 pm | Comments (0)

Three coins in a fountain

April and May in Italy and France was a painful experience because I just kept having to pinch myself to see if I was really there or if I was in a wonderful dream!  I planned the trip back in October and was initially going to be going alone.  In January, a friend I’ve known since college decided to join me for the first two weeks in Italy  and in February a mutual friend of our’s whom I’ve since middle school decided to join us too. We had such a fun time everywhere we went.  We celebrated a birthday in Rome and threw our three coins in Trevi fountain too.  I can’t say what I wished for of course but I just know it will come true!  We had some beautiful weather some days and rain and hail that looked like snow on other days. We visited Saturnia, Sienna, Monterregione, San Gemingnano, Volterra, Solvano, Soldano, Pittignano, Lucca, Pietra Santo, Bologna and Milano.  We ate dinner in the house my grandmother was raised in and lunch in the house my grandfather was raised in too.

In Paris, I spent two weeks with my friend Sandrine.   I met Sandrine while vacationing here on the West Coast two years ago.  She is a Parisian native and much like me here in San Francisco, lives a very full and rich life in the City of Lights.  I took in almost every walking tour offerred in Paris and visited museums I’d never been to before like the Cluny Medeival Museum and The Montmartre Museum which had a very interesting exhibit about the Black Cat cabaret theater.  One of the highlights of my time in Paris was being invited to perform on May 2nd  at the Swan Bar in Montparnasse.  It was very exciting to prepare for the event and the show itself was lots of fun! I spent a few days visiting old friends in  Montpellier, in the South of France.  One day we saw pink flamingos and had a delicious lunch by the Maguelone Cathedral on the Cote D’Azur.  Another day we had a  lovely time hiking around a medieval village called Sauve where R. Crumb lives.

The night before I left Paris, I attended a concert of  jazz icon, Jon Hendricks with  his talented daughters, Michelle and Aria Hendricks and scat improvisor virtuoso, Kevin Fitzgerald Burke, who just happens to be  the son of Kat Fitzgerald, my dear friend and fellow Supper Club Six member.

I’m back in San Francisco now and looking forward to a June “busting out all over” with music, flowers and love!

Posted in life on January 9, 2013 – 5:37 pm | Comments (0)

West Coast-themed show, Bologna, Italy

 Cantina Bentivoglio, Bologna Italy

On May, 6, 2014 I performed at this excellent jazz club in Northern Italy.
RSVP on Facebook 

Cafe Bentivoglio2

Performances and Guest Appearances by:
Pierluigi Mingotti
Ettore Cimpincio
Biagi Fabio
Maurizio Ribani
Nicolò Sergio Cantautore
Federico Ossani
Fabrizio Nardini
Chiara Magliozzi
Maddalena Raabbi
Elena Mirandola
Sara Porqueddu

Location: Via Mascarella 4/B, 40126 Bologna, Italy

Website: www.cantinabentivoglio.it/

Posted in events, performance, singing on January 3, 2013 – 1:51 am | Comments (0)

Latest blog post –Not! Yes!

Debra at Pescadero Tree Farm
Dear friends, I don’t know how your month has gone but I know for me it’s been a mixture of moments of feeling super overwhelmed with not having enough time to do all that I’d like to do for the holidays and also many moments of happiness and joyful connection. When I practice the lyrics to the song, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”, I sometimes jokingly exclaim to myself, “Not!” and at other times say, “Yes! It certainly is!
What are the true gifts of the season? For me they are spending time with some of the sweet people I have in my life, they are spending time with friends and loved ones and enjoying the sights, tastes and sounds of a magical time of year in a myriad of ways:

  • Enjoying an afternoon holiday party where there is laughter and good humor over a cup of eggnog, cookies and savory treats.
  • Lighting a candle and taking a few moments to sit and quietly reflect on the all the wonderful performances I’ve been a part of this year.
  • Sitting around the dining room table with good friends sharing dreams and stories with hot soup, bread and cheese on a rainy evening.
  • Spending an afternoon at a tree farm in Pescadero with old friends making holiday wreathes, picnicking, roasting marshmallows, and getting on a wooden swing hung from giant Eucalyptus trees and swinging up to see the view of the Pacific Ocean.
  • Enjoying a festive night at the Sausalito Cruising Club with many of my dear friends in the audience. Feeling the barge brim with holiday cheer.

(marshmallows roasting on an open fire…)

roasting marshmallows


What, to you, are the true gifts of this season? As I consider this question, I realize that for me, the season’s gifts are not about the striving for perfection in baking or decorations, it is mostly about time connecting with new or old friends and family. So as I go into the final stretch of 2012, I think I’m going to just lighten up on my unrealistic expectations for what I think I need to do, or would like to do and focus on enjoying the times I have with the people I care about and the rest will fall into place on its own, it always does.

Posted in life on January 2, 2013 – 3:04 am | Comments (0)