Wow, it has been SO long since I have been on this forum! Hello again live journal. I have been recently inspired to post on here again. I graduate from the University of Maryland School of Music next weekend!! WOO HOO!! I can't believe I am almost done with this 2nd Bachelors degree!! THANK GOD!!
The Prince Georges Sentinel follow-up article has come out!!! The article talks about my concert in Nigeria, my performances at the Fringe Festival and next steps!!! Check out the article by clicking on the link below!!
School starts in 7 DAYS!!! Wow, how the summer has FLOWN!! I am soooo excited! I am signed up for 18 credits: Voice lessons, Music Theory, Class Piano and Ear training, German, Choir, Comparative Literature of Non-Western cultures, Performance Attendance and MATH! The Math was not my choice, they are making me take it again, everyone is required to have current math credits to get a Bachelors degree from the University. And, after my placement test, the put me in REMEDIAL math for a few weeks before I can go on to regular Math!!! HAHAHA!!! I am not offended, the last time I took Math was in 1998 (Calculus, and I got an A) so I am sure I just need to brush up and I will ace this course. Despite all the Math, being back in school is totally one of my dreams coming TRUE!!!! YAY!!!! And the really cool thing is Curtis Bannister is going to be at Maryland also, getting his Masters in Music!!! Curtis is the awesome tenor with whom I sang a big duet with orchestra at AIMS in Austria!!! Can we say more duets anyone??? ;-)
The Prince George's Sentinel is writing another article about me!!! I got a call from a reporter today and she told me the Sentinel wanted to do a follow up article about me and my concert in Nigeria, and what I will be doing next. She interviewed me over the phone and we talked for almost an hour. I also directed her to talk to my mentor, Charles Williams. She called him and talked to him about me and about what he was doing also!!! REALLY COOL! Can't wait to see the article, it should come out this week!! I will be sure and post the url when I get it. ;-)
I am a featured performer for the show Tokaji: Works for the Living. I am really excited about this opportunity to work with local artists and to be part of the Fringe Festival. I also like the fact that I will be getting PAID!! See details and the flier below, which shows dates and times. Please pass it on! ;-)
Here is news of the upcoming show at the Warehouse Theater Main Stage in DC, part of the Capital Fringe Festival. It promises to be an extraordinary and exciting production of dance, live music, poetry, theater, story, sign language and song. More information is available on the web site at http://www.dianatokaji.com. You can buy tickets at http://www.capfringe.org.
I am just leaving a note to say that I made it to Nigeria safely and I am in preparations for my recital on June 24th at 6 pm. Here are a few highlights (and low lights of my trip so far):
1) I start rehearsals this Saturday and will be rehearsing pretty much everyday this week. I have met with the orchestra conductor, he seems competent, but it remains to be seen how the orchestra sounds. The pianist is decent though, I have worked with her before.
2) There seems to be a real positive response to the concert! MUSON has made me some lovely fliers and there is a big banner of me (like the flier, but WAY bigger) up by the MUSON entrance (kinda freaky, but really cool).
3) I am getting lots of PRESS! Google me!I have had 4-5 newspaper interviews, and they are holding a press conference for me next Monday! They are also supposedly working on television coverage. They also want me to give a lecture/master class to younger singers at the MUSON school on the 22nd and the Chairman of the Artistes committee is holding a reception for me on the 29th of June! I have even been blogged about! It is sooo coool! I feel so diva! I can't get a swelled head though, cause of course, I don't have the diva cash! ;-)
As wonderful as all of the above is, I AM in Nigeria, so there have been some well, "issues."
1) The day I arrived in Lagos, British Airways lost my luggage. That sucked. All is well though, because they found it and I have picked it up.
2) Electricity and running water were pretty much non-existent when I first arrived. So I was welcomed home....in the dark! And as for water, we had to buy it, both for drinking and bathing. This went on for a couple of days, but all is well now (mostly). The generator is working so we have electricity, which is good so I can plug in my key board to actually PRACTICE. The water pump is pumping (after Badmus the plumber, and Electrician, the well, electrician, [he doesn't seem to have a first name!] extracted lots of money from my mom. Real electricity is sporadic at best (at the internet cafe I am, they (as in Nigerian Electric Power Authority, NEPA) have taken the electricity twice since I have been here, so they are now running on generator) but then that is the way it always is!
3) I seemed to be covered in mosquito bites. I hope I don't get malaria. I have been taking my malaria medicine though, so it should be fine (cross fingers!).
That's all for now! Will try to keep posted if I can!
I got my acceptance letter into the University of Maryland's School of Music!!!!! I will be studying with the AMAZING Carmen Balthrop, whom I am already working with and who has totally helped me change my sound. I am sure this new improved sound (and my hard work to develop it!!) is what got me in!! I will be getting a 2nd Bachelor's degree in Voice. (Yes, I know I am already a lawyer, shhhh!!) I am soooo happy! For those of you who don't know, I was supposed to have my big audition on January 23, 2007. But I got SICK! Really sick, I was out for more than a month and after that I had to let my voice recover. I missed the audition and was told I had to wait a YEAR to audition again. I was sooo upset about missing the audition, but Carmen (who I have been working with since October 2006), helped me realize that I wasn't in the right place to audition. She told me to just focus on recovering and reworking my technique and the opportunity to audition would come. AND IT DID!!! In April and May, after I had gotten better, I found that I had been accepted into the University of MD's general program but not the Music School (because I didn't audition). That University acceptance however, gave me standing to contact the Music school and ask them about taking music classes. They told me that only music majors could take music classes, BUT they had ONE spot open during vocal juries on Tuesday, May 15, 2007 and DID I WANT TO AUDITION????? Well......duh!!!! ;-) I immediately called Carmen, who gave me her blessing, and the rest as they say is HISTORY! I had my audition on May 15th at 11 am and it went great!!! I sang "Sure on this Shining Night" by Samuel Barber and "Quando men vo/Musetta's Waltz" (La Boheme) by Giacomo Puccini. Carmen told me later that I had really impressed the voice faculty with my singing and my acting skills (I am all about the sassy Musetta! I don't know whether Puccini wrote her that way, but that is totally the way I play her!) I start in the fall of 2007 and will get a BA in 2.5 years (or less). This is awesome, I should sooo frame my acceptance letter! This is a DREAM come true. A major milestone in my life, OVERCOME!!! HAPPY!!!!! ;-)
In a bid to move forward with my singing career, I am finally having glamor photos done. My friend, Frances Brooks (also another FAB soprano) introduced me to Joe Shymanski, an AWESOME photographer in the DC metro area. We worked for 5 hours (8-1 pm)and I wore 5 different outfits. The photo shoot locations were inside and outside my boyfriend Atiba's great house in NE DC, inside and outside National City Christian Church at Thomas Circle, NW, a BEAUTIFUL space, where my choir, the Heritage Signature Chorale, has often sung in. The shoot was amazing, Joe is so GOOD. In end, he gave me 6 pictures CD's of color and black and white, of 600 pics!! AWESOME!! Check out some of the pictures, I hope you like them!!!!