Many believe that our eyes are the windows to the soul. I say it's the voice. Our individual sound is like an invisible finger print and I love working with the unique twists and turns, highs and lows of this human instrument. My teaching technique is a compilation of life experiences: the lessons learned while studying the voice privately for 10 years as well as at Hunter College and City College of New York (CUNY School of Music), my years working with the body and breath as a certified Pilates instructor, my journey with the soul of music and research on how our emotions and spirit affect our sound while studying at One Spirit Learning Alliance and Union Theological Seminary at Columbia University, as well as my life path as a performer. My teaching is soul-focused, breath-centered, catered to each student, and supports mind and body awareness and a healthy, long-lasting voice.
Words trip me up, wrap me up, call to me, dance beneath my thoughts. Writing has taken many forms in my life from childhood poetry to the songs, chants and stories that I write today. Recently writing has taken on a new dimension in the shape of sermonic story— twists on biblical text inspired by my communities, and wrapped in song and ritual that I have shared around the world.
My stories are also featured on Vennly, a new app that offers a safe, inclusive place for people to explore themes related to spirituality and everyday life through the perspectives of spiritual and community leaders across different backgrounds and traditions. Listen at www.joinvennly.com.
From the Midwife, the Mother & the Butterfly
SACRED SPACES. That space in which we honor and take time to see the divine within and around each other. I love the challenge of creating ritual for diverse communities, and especially the twists and turns of nontraditional spaces and places. For me, creation of sacred interspiritual space is an act of liberation. In sacred space, I use my passion for interfaith interactions, asking myself: how can I place our sacred traditions in dialogue through liturgy? What does it mean in our living outside of what we term our sacred spaces? Over the years I have had the opportunity to help develop many "alternative" sacred spaces -- from stages to fields, attended by folks adhering to a plethora of well and little known spiritual paths and religions. To create ritual and liturgy in a new way, to feel spirit in a space thought of as completely secular, to draw sound and song out of the imagined unmusical place, to clear the way towards a hidden path to the Divine through story, music, dance, food - brings me joy.
Music creates community in so many ways. Whether it be the sharing of music at a concert with total strangers, a basking in sound with new friends in choral workshops, or strengthening your sound and power in intimate song circles. Of community singing, Peter Seeger once said: “No one can prove a damn thing, but I think that singing together gives people some kind of a holy feeling. And it can happen whether they’re atheists, or whoever. You feel like, gee, we’re all together.” Even if that holy feeling can’t be “proven” science does show that folks that sing and share story together actually resonate together. Perhaps it is the breath, the mirroring of lyrics, or the empathetic listening. Or just perhaps it is simply the honoring and communal witnessing of our individual sounds and voices through song.
Rise Up Gospel Workshop is guaranteed to leave you Spirit-filled and musically-inspired. In this high-energy workshop, you will learn new music, re-visit the spirit behind singing, discover new vocal techniques, forge deeper bonds with old friends and embark upon new relationships that will last a lifetime.
Vocal Soul: Embodied Singing This is a holistic vocal practice that brings together breath, body, voice, mind and spirit through body work, singing, meditation and affirmation. I use it with my students as well as in intimate song settings and circles.
OneVoice: Community Sings A melding of the sacred song practices of Kirtan and Friday Night Gospel Sings, OneVoice is a space to sing and create music in a communal setting.