What I did on my summer vacation

20 08 2013

Lotus at Buddha Buddha ©2013 Rebekah LukeSo very fortunate am I to have experienced the genius of two brilliant teachers in performing arts this month.

I learned from among the best, if not the best, in their craft: Rod Eichenberger, for choral conducting, and Mark W. Travis, for play-writing and acting.

How about that for “what I did on my summer vacation?!” 🙂

The creative voice in me said to seek out their coaching to develop my skills in music and writing.

I had taken their workshops once before, so I knew ahead of time I liked their methods and that they would not let me fail.

The music workshop was in Cannon Beach, Oregon, and the writing workshop was in Hauula, Oahu.

I decided to invest the time and the tuition. I left the studio and family behind for a few weeks for the adventure. Please know I am not looking for a job or a new career. Rather, I find it exciting to learn new things. In the end, it is satisfying to know that I can do it, thanks to excellent and caring mentors.

Going back into the classroom at my age was healing as well. In Reiki terms, “healing” means “the feeling of being whole.”

I recommend to anyone interested in singing and choral work at any level, or writing of any kind, that they learn technique from Rod and Mark. With many, many years of professional and teaching experience, both men have a following of disciples that enrolls annually.

The workshops were full when I inquired, but at the last minute spaces opened up, and I was invited to attend. I was lucky and so very grateful.

The Choral Conductors Professional Development Workshop with Rod Eichenberger is described in my earlier post.

In Mark’s new class “Write Your Life/On Your Feet,” he teaches students how to convert a biographical short story to a script, how to develop characters, and how to stage a show. He applies his experience as a film director and his knowledge of camera angles to staging actors for a live audience. He directs the characters, not the actors.

Both mentors will show you successfully how to get rid of any bad habits in performing and show you new tricks. At the end of five days you will be transformed! That’s what they promise, and they’re right. Each and every time.

Thanks to George Fox University and Alice Anne Parker for sponsoring these fantastic and amazing opportunities.

Next stop: L’Italia! Please check back in September when I’ll be posting from Toscana, Roma, and Napoli! ~ RL

Copyright 2013 Rebekah Luke




Greetings from Cannon Beach, Oregon!

3 08 2013
My choir sisters Susan (from left), Melissa, Anne-Marie, and me in pink under the iconic 235-foot Haystack Rock, Northern Oregon coast.

My choir sisters and new friends Susan (from left), Melissa, and Anne-Marie . . . and me in pink under the iconic 235-foot Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach, Northern Oregon coast.

For an update, please scroll to the end of the post.

Last night the Choral Conductors Workshop with Rod Eichenberger culminated in a concert in which I was one of 20 master class conductors. It was my conducting debut, and what a fabulous choir to direct for my very first time: about 130 choral directors and music educators from around the country.

They came to learn from the master, who’s perfected a method of “what they see is what you get” conducting. Generally speaking, the singer will mirror, with his/her vocal chords, the body movements of the conductor. It’s so fascinating to watch and hear, makes perfect sense.

I first met Rod Eichenberger in Honolulu at a similar workshop.

That experience gave me the idea that this was something I could learn to do and add to my skills set. It’s never too late to learn something new. As Rod told his class, he makes it a point to learn something new every day.

In class, Rod is looking for what he can correct in my conducting.

In class, Rod is looking for what he can correct in my conducting.

I decided to invest in the workshop and travel costs, treating myself to a change in scenery and a vacation to visit relatives at the same time. The people at the workshop were very supportive and responsive. I was so humbled by the combined talent and dedication of the whole group.

On the first day I selected from 180-plus pieces of music “Cherokee Amazing Grace,” arranged by James E. Green, to conduct. The melody is the same as the familiar hymn “Amazing Grace,” a tune I know. The lyrics were in Cherokee. I liked that they were native. Translated into English, they are:

“God’s Son paid for us. Then to Heaven He went after paying for us. But He said, when He rose. “I’ll come again” He said when He spoke. All the earth will end when He comes All will see Him all over the earth. All the good people living He will come after. Heaven always in peace they will live.”

This is the Cherokee national anthem.

According to the program notes:

“During the Trail of Tears in 1838-39, the Cherokee sang Christian hymns “Amazing Grace” and “Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah” in their native language while incarcerated in stockades and while being marched westward. Over one third of the twelve thousand Cherokee died in the infamous Nunna dula Tsuny (Trail Where They Cried), or ‘Trail of Tears.’ During this terrible trek, families sang songs in the traditional language to locate their kin and to bring comfort to the grieving. The Cherokee language and songs held the people together. Cherokee people still sing these songs to acknowledge the experience of their ancestors during the Trail of Tears.”

Thank goodness for basses: my choir buddies on either side of me in the back row, Bert and Omaldo

Thank goodness for basses: my choir buddies on either side of me in the back row, Bert and Omaldo. We had assigned seating, with the voice parts SATB all mixed up. That’s my empty chair in the middle. I’m an alto.

Carol Rich, accompanist extraordinaire, at the Steinway

Carol Rich, accompanist extraordinaire, at the Steinway

Me, conducting the dress rehearsal on the day of performance with violin, percussionists, soloist, and choir. Half of the choir and the soloist are not pictured. Cannon Beach School Gymnasium, Oregon.

Me, conducting the dress rehearsal on the day of performance, with violinist, percussionists, vocalist, and choir. Half of the choir and the soloist are not pictured. Cannon Beach School Gymnasium, Oregon.

Please check back here at Rebekah’s Studio in a few days. As soon as the video of the concert is available, I will post a link. UPDATE: http://vimeo.com/album/2482420/video/72009256

Thank you everyone. I feel the love!

The Choral Conductors Professional Development Workshop with Rod Eichenberger is sponsored by George Fox University.

Copyright 2013 Rebekah Luke







%d bloggers like this: