Welcome!

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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)

CANCELLED-Monday April 6th Supper Club Night

Come over next Monday April 6th at Villa D’Este for another cabaret night starting at 6:30pm.

With Piano Virtuoso, David Miotke & Chuck Bennett Bassist, Steve Hanson And Wonderful Bay Area Vocalists: Marilyn Cooney, Dorothy Donell, Kat Fitzgerald, Producer of Supper Club Night Kathy Holly, Debra Mugnani and Bill Ramos!

Special Guest: Joan Getz.  

$28.00 Minimum for Dinner Plus Tax&Tip No host bar
Gratuities for the Singers Requested.

Relax and Enjoy the Art Deco Ambiance
The Music: Jazz Standards, Show Tunes & Cabaret Songs!

Posted in Uncategorized on February 17, 2020 – 7:53 pm | Comments (0)

Sunday, February 9, 2020 Love, Sweet Love Show in Berkeley

 

For Tickets:  https://tinyurl.com/rys65qh

Buying tickets works best using the Chrome browser on a computer.

Posted in Uncategorized on December 30, 2019 – 7:49 pm | Comments (0)

Summer fun and music for you!

 

 

Is your summer turning out the way you planned?  Mine isn’t and contrary to what that sounds like, it’s turned out to be really wonderful! Our plans were to spend a week in June on a houseboat on Lake Shasta.  That plan fizzled out when the boat’s motor died and sent the boat to drydock for most of the summer.  So, we pivoted… we thought,  “Why not keep with the boat theme and check out one of our bucket list destinations, Alaska?  Through the magic of the internet, in one morning we were able to book a Princess Cruise to Alaska’s Inside Passage leaving from San Francisco for the same dates as our original plans.  For locals, traveling by ship to Alaska from San Francisco offers two  bonuses:  being able to carry on two huge suitcases per person and the amazing experience of sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge on a giant cruise-ship.
Alaska is  something else indeed!  All the sights of natural beauty are super- sized.  We saw whale, eagles, waterfalls, spectacular glaciers and icebergs.
Once aboard the ship, I learned about “The Voice of the Ocean,” a singing contest mimicking the TV show of the same name.  Even though  I was on vacation to relax and see new places, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to audition for the show.  With the help of my Lola character, I ended up being one of the six finalists.   I didn’t win the competition, but I enjoyed the experience and being being treated as a mini celebrity aboard the ship.  What was surprisingly the most challenging part of the experience wasn’t the bright lights, performing for hundreds of  people nor the pressure of competition, it was balancing on heels at the front of the ship during a very choppy stretch of ocean during my actual performance!
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

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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)