Friday, May 24, 2013

Eclipse of Crazy

Since my last exam was finished a month ago, I have been experiencing a performance identity crisis. This is due in part to completing my first year of jazz studies. Considering I have been making music most of my life, I felt a sense of desperation. I had thought that after a year of studying jazz, I would feel like more of a jazz musician. Instead, I feel like less of a jazz musician and more in a state of musical limbo than ever.

The only things I know with certainty are that I love to sing and make music, create shows and help others learn to express themselves through their art.

Since the final days of school, I have been feeling uninspired. Deflated. Uncertain of what to tackle over the summer. This is the opposite of what I had hoped school would stimulate.

Me and Anita
Thankfully, my journey thus far has been blessed with many quality friends. Usually, I know within the first good conversation if this will be a good friendship. I have learned over my 40 years of friend-making to weed out the fakes and recognize a kindred spirit almost immediately.

In fact, all of my dearest friends are quite off their rockers! And yes, I know what this says about me. I've come to a position of embracing my craziness. I have earned it.

But when that craziness fills me with self-doubt, this is not the kind of crazy I embrace.

Me & Maureen
Through conversations with these beloved friends, with my life parter Carter, who is also a performer, and with my dear daughter who is one of the most grounded people I know, my feet found the earth again. And what I called it was an "eclipse of crazy". The craziness of them casts a shadow over the craziness of me and as our hearts and minds connect on equal ground, all appears normal, grounded and peaceful.

From that thought, I new song has sprung from my soul. I look forward to finishing the song and sharing it with you.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Farewells of 2012

I attempted a year-in-review post, but the events of the past year can not be contained in one post. Today I will write of the farewells of 2012.

2012 contained many farewells for me. First, to the part of my life in which I was raising children. All three of my offspring are now adults, living in their own homes, paying their own bills, owning pets. This type of farewell can only be described as bittersweet. For 20 years, I have made decisions with them in the forefront of my mind. Now, as a good friend said, I need to just build my life, for my kids' plans may change in a moment. A whole different way of thinking.

Dawn Boudreau Music 2007-2012
Moving from Prince George brought on many other goodbyes. Letting go of my studio on Lillooet Street and the many students I have been teaching for years, seeing weekly -- sometimes more. Thankfully, the sweet memories we have will always remain. The studio was such a lovely place to practice, and we had so many wonderful performances and experiences! I shed quite a few tears watching the DVD I prepared as a gift to my Music Family, a slideshow of our years of Bouquet recitals set to songs that express how I feel about them. Especially, Thank You for the Music by ABBA. Watch the video here.

Although I did have a farewell party, I don't consider those goodbyes the same. All those people will always be a part of my life. True friendships and family ties will never end.

Wreck Beach Memorial to Professor Puff
The most difficult and sad farewells were far too close together. The first was Carter's closest friend, Michel Kelly, aka Professor Puff. He told Carter about his liver disease in April of this year. By June, Michel had become very ill, back and forth to the hospital. In July, he checked into the hospital for the last time. Puff left us at the end of July. Carter was beside him when he passed. He was a dear, kind, funny, generous man and his passing left a huge hole in the lives of many. Carter spent a lot of energy and time making sure Puff had the best and most fitting send-off. A comedy show in his honor was the first part of the process, appropriate for a man who brought so many laughs with his own stand-up. The second part of his memorial was a celebration at Wreck Beach. Many friends gathered in Michel's honor on August 12. A wreath was carried out to sea, which made its way back to shore. People said it was because Puff didn't want to leave. I think of him often. The time I knew him was short, but the many stories from Carter and others make me feel like I knew him more. I also know how happy he was to see Carter and me as a couple. He told lots of people the story of Carter and I meeting. Carter was very important in his life and vice versa.

Bill Hortie & Anne Landry 2012
When I moved down to Vancouver, I looked forward to spending more time with the people in Carter's life who I had previously only met briefly. One of these people was Carter's dad. His humor and lifestyle remind me a lot of my grandpa, Clarence Boudreau. When I met Bill Hortie, I realized why Carter had been such a familiar soul when we first met: he grew up around the same kind of people I did. In late October, Carter's dad broke the sad news to Carter and his brother that he had cancer of his esophagus. He was still awaiting further news on what steps to take next. Being 81 years old, he knew it could be a very hard fight. We had plans to visit Bill and his partner Annie on the Remembrance Day weekend. But the universe had other plans. On November 8, Bill Hortie suffered cardiac arrest and passed away in his home in Pemberton. Annie was with him when he passed. In hindsight, he went in the best way possible, at home, in the arms of his love. The suddenness was tragic and emotional for everyone. Bill Hortie's Celebration of Life was a beautiful and uplifting time. His life was full and rich and it finished off just the way he would have liked. Carter and his brother Reed both delivered touching eulogies full of humor and love. Bill lived many lifetimes, raised a number of families, and Loved. In one of his lifetimes, he played for the BC Lions inaugural team in 1954. Their tribute to him was held on the Sunday that followed his memorial. Carter and I attended the game where they held a moment of silence and displayed Bill's photo on the big screen. Watch Bill Hortie Slideshow here.

As we say farewell to 2012, I hope for a lot less goodbye-ing in 2013. We have had our share for now. Thanks. We look forward to more greetings and more Love.

Friday, December 14, 2012


It's a beautiful day in East Vancouver. The rain has stopped this morning, but there is still enough cloud cover to keep the city from being too cold. A perfect winter day in Vancouver.

In complete contrast to the day, on the other side of the continent, some disturbed young individual has taken his own life along with the lives of 20-some others, mostly children. I feel the sorrow of this tragedy in my heart for these people, parents losing children, children losing siblings and friends.

The emotion I feel most powerfully, though, is the same one I feel every day: Gratitude.

Gratitude for life.  For the lives of my three grown children, who I got to hug just last weekend. For my own life, filled with love and friendship and peace and joy. Seeing my parents and grandparents content and happy and healthy.

Much of my life has been spent yearning. I am learning to stop yearning and just be. This doesn't mean I don't have goals or things I look forward to. I am looking forward to my daughter's visit in about 9 days. I am looking forward to finding some work and making some money. I am looking forward to starting the next semester of school and eventually to getting my Bachelor Degree.

But the best part is now. Here. Alone. In this warm living room with the soft light. Coffee in my cup. Piano waiting for my touch.

I know that at the end of the day, the man I love will be here and we will laugh and care for one another and encourage each other's dreams and strengths.

Another day, I will tell some stories. But today, all I can express is Gratitude.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

There's No Business Like It!

Show business is like a drug.

There is an emotional and chemical high that happens during a performance. When the performance is done, you either descend into a low state (Post-Show Depression) or you find another show to work on.

Personally, I find it easier to just keep a constant arsenal of shows in progress. Over the past decade, I have managed to maneuver my work and my life so that everything revolves around the shows.

Teaching voice lessons facilitates my addiction to show biz quite nicely. The focus of my teaching is to train performers, so I provide my students with many opportunities to perform in a variety of environments.
We just finished our fifth annual year end showcase, which we call Bouquet, at the Prince George Playhouse. Having an afternoon as well as an evening performance was pretty cool, although an exhausting day for everyone involved. The showcase wound up my 2008-09 season of teaching and zapped my energy.

Still, what a rush!

Now I am producing a show for one of my talented students, Isaac Smeele. He is a songwriter and skilled musician. I love his music and he always puts on a great performance.

The show is this coming Sunday at ArtSpace above Books & Co. It's going to be great!

The rest of my time is going into rehearsals for The Who's Tommy with Judy Russell. This rock opera will run July 21 - August 1, 2009. The people in this cast are not only terrific singers and performers, but are just really fun, down-to-earth humans. I know I am going to be sad when this show is over.

Fortunately, a dozen of my students will be performing daily at the PGX from August 12-16, so that should keep the show biz buzz going.

Then we are into another season of Dawn Boudreau Music with more organization of performances, including a weekend in October with 3 or 4 performances at The Twisted Cork in their banquet room. (Formerly The Waddling Duck, under new ownership.)

Always looking forward to the next production with anticipation. If I get tired of it, I'll take a break. Don't worry, Mom!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Hockey Player Good Luck Charm

Jean has been my hair stylist for over 10 years now. I can't remember exactly when I started visiting her, but it was well before the birth of her daughter who is now almost 8 years old.

When I recorded my first CD, Tinge of Tangerine, Jean and her friend Laurie came to the live recording show where it all began. Laurie came as Jean's date, because Jean's husband was "not really interested in jazz (or anything that doesn't involve ice and a puck)."

Of course, I made sure Jean had a copy of the CD when it was released in 2006. She told me it was nice mellow music to unwind to. I appreciated that comment and I believe I even used it as a quote in my promotion.

In the middle of this last haircut, Jean told me a story that made my year.

Her little girl was singing, as she often does, but she was singing one of the songs from my CD. Jean asked her where she had heard that, then realizing that she had not seen my CD for a while.

"Daddy plays it in the van all the time," her little girl answered.

Being that Jean has never been able to convince her husband to come to any of my performances, she was surprised by this. So she asked him about it.

His answer, after some digging on her part, was this:

He used to listen to Johnny Cash while on his way to play hockey, but his luck in the games had not been so good. So one night, he thought it was time for a change. He plugged Tinge of Tangerine into the CD player on his way to the game, and he had a good game! So he kept listening to it.

He then went on to list some of his favorites and said the music was relaxing on his way home from the game as well.

I figure, however I can win them over, even if it's superstition, one fan at a time.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Dawn & Shawn's Snow Day Adventure

Prince George went from 0 to WINTER in 12 hours!

The ground was bare, brown and cold on Thursday afternoon. Around 4 pm as my students showed up, they were covered in big fluffy snow flakes.

When we woke up the next morning, the kids shoveled the snow up into banks on either side of the driveway.

By 10am, I had only 4 students who had not called or emailed to cancel, so I sent out a mass email and canceled my Friday.

It would not be so bad if the bus had routed past our house, but the map has the buses turn up Village Avenue a block away, so our street is a mess when it snows. It takes a few days for the snow plows to find us.

I had that feeling of wealth that comes with a sudden day off. I can do whatever I want to do for as long as I want to do it!

"Let's go to Ric's Grill for lunch!" I suggested to Shawn. He was not hard to convince.

So Shawn called the restaurant at 11:10 am to make sure they were open on this snowy day. I prepared for the day, even curled my hair, and we ventured out to the car. The driveway was lovely and smooth, thanks to Lydia and Forrest's early morning efforts.

We backed into the street and got stuck.

A neighbor offered to help as Shawn went about the un-stucking process.

Shawn got the car back into the driveway and we decided to walk.

We are northerners! We have good boots, gloves and toques. So much for the hair.

And we had all day!

Shawn and I were both in good spirits and getting really hungry as we marched down the middle of the white street, observing the occasional abandoned compact car, stopping to clean the wet snowflakes off my glasses now and then.

When we reached the corner of La Salle and Queensway, we realized that walking down the middle of the street would not be an option taking the busy Queensway toward downtown. The snow on the sidewalk was deep and fluffy and would make for a long exhausting walk. Shawn checked his watch. The bus was due in 10 minutes. That sounded like a much better alternative.
We dug deep for bus fare change and waited at the bus stop.

The bus arrived and on we hopped.

We got halfway up La Salle hill and the bus, of course, got stuck.

The driver tried backing down and taking a run at the hill about 3 times. Then he radioed in and said he would take Queensway instead.

Shawn offered to direct traffic so the driver could back straight out onto the less messy main street. Oh no, I'll just turn around here, said the driver.

So, yeah, you guessed it, he got completely stuck, wedged, even.

We exited the bus and walked back up the hill. By this time, we were pretty determined to make it to Ric's Grill and the size of the planned lunch was growing in our imaginations.

I waited on the front steps while Shawn backed out into the street and got stuck and got out the shovel and got unstuck and then moved the car forward and got stuck again.

The neighbor brought his truck down and towed the Jetta back far enough to give Shawn a run for it. If we could just get it to the end of the block, we would be out of the deep snow!

He made it to the end of the block... and got stuck on the other side of the intersection. The good-natured neighbor towed the car back a few feet and we ran at it and were on our way.

Shawn decided to park under the library where there was no snow. As we walked to Ric's, we stopped at City Hall to get our bus fare back. The lady gave us some bus tickets and enjoyed our story.

At 1:08pm, we arrived at Ric's Grill... starving but feeling like conquerors.

Monday, August 25, 2008

My lululemon Rant

When in Kelowna recently, my partner and I saw a lululemon athletica store. Since we don't have a lululemon in Prince George, I wanted to take a look. I know their clothes look and feel great for active wear. I also know it's expensive. The store was just opening for the day as we passed and we were swept in with a gaggle of women who were entering the door while the salesgirl held it open with her key still in the lock.

"Did you hear about the sale?" one woman asked me.

I was a bit confused, since 5 seconds before Shawn and I had been peacefully ambling with our Starbucks in the sunshine along the quiet early morning streets.

"No..." I started.

"Well, I didn't want to stand in line, so I am here to pay full price," and she darted away into the store with the other frantic shoppers.

As the salesgirl retrieved her key from the door, she explained that all the lululemon stores in the region had taken their discount items and were holding a huge sale in an arena in Kelowna.
They were only allowing 600 shoppers in at once, apparently, and the lineup was huge.

"Well, I have never been to a lululemon and I am just here to look around," I said.

The store was suddenly quite busy, for having just opened, and Shawn and I made our way through the room, feeling fabrics, looking at price tags, trying to not get run over by frenzied lulu lovers.

Before long, I said, "Let's get out of here."

As we reentered the pleasant cool of the shady side of the street, I told Shawn, "It's really good stuff, but I am not spending $100 on a pair of pants so I can look like everyone else."

Shawn said, "You know who's not wearing lululemon? The yogi in India, that's who."

I guess that's it in a nutshell.

I practice yoga to strengthen my body, but also to still my mind. Shopping in lululemon was far from the stillness I enjoy in my yoga.

We made our way to the Cannery Lofts, which were under construction the last time we visited Kelowna. We wanted to see how they had turned out. As I peered down the street at the storefronts, a couple on the patio of the corner coffee shop began pointing and saying, "Yeah, that's right, it's right down there!"

"What is?"

How do they know what we are looking for when we don't?

"The lululemon sale.... it's down there!" the woman said.