On Saturday, September 30th, I had the thrill of seeing a true opera superstar at the Auditorium, here in Chicago. The five-time Grammy Award winner, Kathleen Battle has sung all of the great Operas and reigned supreme at the Metropolitan Opera House, in the 80’s and early 90’s. Reviewers have long rhapsodized about the quality of her voice. One of opera’s premier lyric and coloratura sopranos, the Washington Post said of Battle “…without qualification, one of the very few most beautiful in the world”; from The New York Times “cream from a miraculous, bottomless pitcher”.
Singing “Summertime” from Porgy and Bess with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra
Her current tour is called Kathleen Battle – Underground Railroad: A Spiritual Journey While not an opera program, per se, Battle’s training and background come through. Presented recital style with only a single piano for accompaniment and backed by a 30 voice chorus including The Chicago Freedom Singers. The show also incorporates the Reverend Dr. Otis Moss III and Jackie Taylor as Narrators who educate the audience about the history of the Underground Railroad. There are quotes from Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman, who both used the Underground Railroad to escape to their own freedom and in the case of Tubman, she then helped many other slaves find freedom through the Underground Railroad.
Kathleen Battle’s stage presence was amazing and her voice as beautiful and pure as ever it was, considering she is now in her late 60’s, that’s impressive. She also showed great generosity in giving showcasing solos to several of the other singers. The repertoire contained such well known gems as “Swing Low Sweet Chariot”, “All Night, All Day” and “Glory, Glory, Hallelujah (Come Out the Wilderness)”. The presentation was interesting and uplifting, leaving one with the sense of not only having enjoyed an evening of beautiful and unique music, but of also having learned a great deal.
I for one, look forward to future concerts presented by Ms. Battle and having the opportunity to enjoy her beautiful voice once again.
Detroit native and my all time favorite rapper Big Sean decided to bless Chicago on March 31st of this year. It is the day my love and respect for him as an artist grew. His latest album titled “I Decided” was released February 3rd and his performance provided a different side of Sean that people really haven’t heard before.
There are signs of financial, personal and spiritual growth present through out the album and Sean does not disappoint when it comes to the visuals for the album.He also does not disappoint in a live show. The line was long as eager fans awaited the show and then once we got inside the wait was longer. With MadeInTyo as his opening act, and performing his list of hot singles and getting the crowd amped up for the main attraction was not a problem. My favorite song Big Sean performed was of course “SkateBoard P” and you can enjoy this awesome video as much as I have.
Sean’s album demonstrates much maturity and progression. I have been to a Big Sean concert when he was just starting and his live performance has improved a lot. I find his performance simply amazing. The set was basically his album cover brought to life and through out the show we’re aware of his conscience which is what we hear on the album during transitions. We actually got to see him on a big screen and I enjoyed the lighting during his show because of the purples and blues, which happen to be my favorite colors.
So I had my favorite rapper, favorite colors and favorite drink all in one night! Check out footage and the fly hat I got as a great memory of this concert.
I’ve never been a terribly confident person. Now, sure, if my close friends ask me for the millionth time to do my tried and true Alanis Morissette impression, I’m not going to waiver. Compare that, however, to getting up on a stage and performing, or introducing myself to a classroom full of strangers, or co-anchoring an entire election night’s worth of coverage, and you’ve got a situation that’ll leave my hands shaking. Despite all this, I actually somehow put myself in that last position. On real, live radio, I signed up to co-host five hours’ worth of impromptu discussions, candid interviews, and–oh God, the horror–ad libbing. In my mind, I’d be facing my worst fears–or so I thought.
Okay, so everyone has an opinion, or at least most of us do. I am particularly noted as commonly having strong ones. However, I worked hard the night of the election to remain unbiased. I tried not to code my language or reveal something in the tone of my voice, and in the early stages of the night, I thought I was doing a pretty good job. It wasn’t like the candidate I truly and honestly feared, was going to win… right?
I learned a lot more than I had expected whilst covering this election. And one of those things is sometimes, if what you’re covering is going to make you lose your cool, you simply have to go to the bathroom on one of your fleeting breaks, have a three minute cry, and then get back to work. This was a valuable lesson for me, and one I plan to hold on to. After a half hour, my nerves were overcome, but my emotions were another story altogether. What I took away from this experience that night is that, if I can just hold it for a little while (and keep holding, and keep holding even longer if I must), there’s nothing wrong with an emotional release–as long as I still get the job done.