Today we hear the story of Mary and Sky. Enjoy!
When did you come to Barbershop singing?
Mary: In a weird way, I brought myself to Barbershop singing when I suggested Sky’s dad visit a local BarberShop chorus in PA, when she and Sagan were little. He came home walking on air, included the kids in Quartet practice in our living room, and we went to the SPEBSQSA/BHS International Contest every summer for vacation. And when Sky and Sagan got older, the four of us sang BarberShop music in a quartet.
Sky: My dad started singing barbershop when I was about six years old - my mom found the ad in the paper looking for men who loved to sing and the rest is history... I was hooked!
Who brought who to SOS?
Mary: Sky, of course! I came to sing and watch for years and when I came to live here, she threw me in the deep end immediately.
Sky: I found SOS through a web search when I was in graduate school at Syracuse University... needed to get back into singing barbershop myself instead of just listening. Then Kay wouldn't let me leave again :)
How long have you been singing women's Barbershop music?
Mary: So I have been singing Women’s BarberShop for about 3 months. And I love singing my heart out on Tuesday nights with SOS.
Sky: I joined SOS about 12 years ago.
What is the most challenging thing about singing Barbershop that mother/daughter has helped you with?
Mary: I have so many things right now!! The most challenging thing for me, so far, is learning to sing in a barbershop way instead of a choral way. Sky (and Sagan) have helped me by singing at my face so I can shape my mouth for sounds and support, and she explains many words/concepts I don’t quite understand sometimes. Because our voices are similar due to “relativity” so listening to her sing along with me sometimes and her expressed faith in me helps me believe in my ear’s ability to hear and blend well, eventually.
Sky: It's been wonderful to rediscover the joy of hard work, empowerment, and dedication through the eyes of my mother as she's joined us in the past couple of months. She is so incredibly dedicated to being the best version of herself for the chorus - not just to contribute at the highest level possible, but also to make herself better. She practices for hours every day, seeks out help, and has jumped "into the deep end" as she calls it with every bit of amazing drive she has. She's amazing and, like my whole life, she inspires me to want to be a better performer, teacher, and person.
What do you enjoy about singing together?
Mary: We don’t really sing together as I cannot hear or see her when I sing but I love being in a chorus with her, learning how to sing a music form she adores, and I am overjoyed when she conducts me!
Sky: I love that we get to bond over this... finally. Even the crazy things we both hate like showing her how to put on her makeup or pick out all-in-ones have created a wonderful bonding moment for us. But mostly I love that we get to sing together - we practice together, she jumps in to sing tags, and she's a killer bass - who knew?! I'm just so proud of her for jumping into something she wasn't sure she could do and just crushing it by sheer force of will!
What tip would you offer a new member joining SOS?
Mary: Work your hardest to learn your part well and work smart by asking all the questions!!! The women in SOS have been more than kind, patient, and encouraging to me and I am sure they will for you too J
Sky: Bring your mom :) And don't worry about being perfect - just come and find your joy!
Who is your favorite musician?
Mary: Joni Mitchell and Ella Fitzgerald plus Kris Kristofferson and Sting.
Sky: I'll be that nerd and say that my favorite musicians are my students - both current and former. Watching them discover something new about music and about themselves every day is truly a life-changing experience. And lucky me... I even get to sing barbershop with some of them!
What is your favorite thing to do when not singing at SOS?
Mary: I love to teach poetry and to travel, travel, travel
Sky: love to travel - I love the adventure of it, the planning, the spontaneity, and the discovery. Whether it's travel overseas like I got to do in college or even growing up as a military brat, or just finding a new little town just a few miles from home, I can't wait for the next trip! Oh yeah! Albany, here we come!