Becca Wilhite Blog

October 20, 2012

Annnnd, it’s been another week!

Filed under: cuteness,emotion,familyness,priorities,singing — becca @ 9:38 am

Hi, kids. I’m still here. Life is happening. And we love life when it happens.

Les Miserables opened at my Kids’ high school last night.

Look! She screams!

Remember that my Kid 1 played Eponine, the world’s best role for a teenage girl?[1] It was awesome. (Unless you didn’t wanted to hear the orchestra director counting through his microphone, or unless you minded the 7-year-old kid running full-voice commentary in the seat behind me: “IS SHE DEAD? DID HE JUST SHOOT THAT KID? IS THAT HIS REAL HAIR? DID SHE DIE, TOO?” or unless you wanted all the actors’ mics to work all the time, or unless you noticed many technical thingies which did NOT include my Kid 1’s mic being turned on for all but one of her entrances, hooray.) It was lovely and stirring and heart-touching. Kid 1’s Uncle A said, “I have never shed a tear at a high school musical before today.” And she was pleased by that. And he was not the only one teary, by a long, long shot.

Bring me home...

Her Uncle N and Aunt C brought flowers from Grandma and Grandpa who can’t make it, and they were beautiful. So were the flowers. And Aunt C told Kid 1 she didn’t actually buy the “boy costume” bit, because Kid 1 was just too pretty. [1.5]

Considering the rival football game happening 20 minutes away, there was a pretty good crowd. And considering that I only managed to oversell about 10 premier seats [2] and anger 6 patrons, it was a glad crowd. 

I got to teach lots of days this week. Including a day in Kid 3’s sixth grade class. I love Kid 3’s sixth grade class. And here’s one tiny reason why: She has a small part in the above-mentioned show: she plays Little Eponine, who doesn’t have a line and sands on stage in a”little blue hat” for about 30 seconds. She couldn’t possibly be more thrilled. [3] As I was standing in the lobby before the show, 3 of her classmates ran over and gave hugs and said how happy they were to come and see her debut. And then I saw more of them, with parents, who came, too. Maybe there were more who I didn’t see. But Izzy and Kenadee and Wyatt and Claire and Abe, you guys are awesome.

There is more life happening. Stay tuned and stuff.

[1] Whatever. Any girl. I’d take the role in a single heartbeat. If only.

[1.5] Eponine dresses as a boy to deliver the letter written by the boy she loves to the girl he loves. Just go see it, okay?

[2] I’m Box Office Mama and the buck, as they say, stops here.

[3] I was working the box office one day this afternoon while they were rehearsing, and Kid 3 came to slide a mini Kit-Kat through the window. I asked her where she got it. “Pretty much the whole cast thinks I’m adorable, and they keep giving me candy,” she said with a shrug. Life is SO good.

Also, as a note, all these kids have had their parents sign an image release, so I’m all legal to post their photos. So here are some more.

Fantine dreamed a dream

The light. Is so good. So very, very good.

Another? Oh, all right then.

March 14, 2012

Again. Again. Again.

Do you ever feel like your life is on repeat? Those same things, again and again? Like, for instance, we watched the Les Miserables 25th Anniversary concert again this Sunday afternoon. And, again, it felt a lot like THIS. Also this time, I wanted the guy who designed the lighting to come out and take a bow. Wow. The lighting.

And I’ve been doing a lot of school teaching. And I love being a substitute teacher, because it gives me the very best of the teaching opportunities without any of the hard work. (Yes, that is just exactly the kind of girl I am. Are you new here or something?) And this week I got to talk about To Kill a Mockingbird, and even to watch Gregory Peck be Atticus. Oh, Gregory. Oh, Atticus. You are one in my heart. And I got to teach high school seniors about resumes, so naturally I took in like 500 bloopers from the worst resumes ever written and shared them. Also, I showed them THIS. Because I own the skill of getting around the local school district’s non-YouTube filter. Add Hacker to my resume. Also, yesterday this dumb thing I did: I asked a certain class to do a certain thing, and several of the kids said they’d do it. So I wrote their names down. Here’s the thing. I teach these classes now and then, maybe almost once a month. I’m THEIR sub, if you know what I mean. And they like me. And I like them, too. And I’m learning many of their names. But. Mostly the ones on the top half of the attendance rolls, because once I hit the Ms, I’m just ready to move on instead of making eye contact with everyone. See? So yesterday, I wrote down the names of the kids I could remember, then I had TO ASK A COUPLE OF THEM TO TELL ME THEIR NAMES. They were offended, in the most polite way. They teased me. One said, head cocked to the side, “Really? You don’t know me?” And I laughed and said, of course I do, you’re my very best friend, and COME ON. It’s not like you know MY first name. And he got that “What are you talking about?” look on his face and said, “Becca.” Like, duh, lady. Then he told me who he was and I repeated his name seventeen times, and now I will never forget it again. First or last. Or initials BS (no kidding). And I used to think I was good with names. Turns out that as a sub, you end up with about a thousand different students a month. And I’m just not THAT GOOD.

And Nunsense is a riot. We’re pretty darn funny, if I must say so myself. Again. (Saturdays in March at 7:00. 100N 100W in Heber City. I’ll be there, I promise. I’m the one in the NunSuit.)

Also, apparently while I was inside a building somewhere, Spring sprang up around here. Sprang is a word. Spell checker doesn’t even try to stop me from using it. Sprang, sprang, sprang. I’m giddy with freedom. Sprang. It sounds like “boing” — another word that is very fun to say and type and read. At least for me. And, need I remind you who this blog belongs to? I thought not.

And remember once when I told you I read NORTH AND SOUTH? And that I wanted to adore it? Well, I finally found enough minutes to finish watching the BBC miniseries. Guess what. Go on, guess. Oh, all right. I’ll tell you. I said these words to Husband: “The movie was better than the book.” He gasped and made me repeat myself. (It’s happened before. I feel that way about the Wynona Ryder/Susan Sarandon/Christian Bale version of Little Women, too.) But N&S was so lovely that I will watch it again. When I get 4 hours. Check back with me in a few months. (Keyword: Richard Armitage. Yes. Yes.)

I made hotel reservations to go to this lovely place in July. It will be glorious and tree-full and hot and humid and my hair will be a flat-out disaster. But it will be awesome nonetheless. (Sometimes I just like to write things that aren’t words normal people would ever say.) (Should ever say?) And my parents are there, and it will be so, so good to have a real, face-to-face, hug-it-out kind of conversation with them again. It has been WAY too many months. (11 already.) And I’m going to find out how to get an excursion on a Mississippi River paddle boat, ala Mr. Mark Twain. They’d have that, right? (Google, come to my aid.) (Again.)

And, since it’s been very nearly a year, I’m thinking about paying someone to cut my hair again. Just a trim, but a trim done by someone else’s hands sounds like quite a treat. Yes. That sounds like a lovely idea. I’ll let you know if I actually choose to act on that lovely idea.

Then there’s this: On my no-white-flour, no sugar thing, I lost 12 pounds (mostly in February). And then I started getting cocky and cheating now and then (pizza, yes — pasta, once — cookies, only the lemon ones — and it’s girl scout cookie ice cream month [thank you, Dreyer’s], so, Samoas, yes) and for the last 3 weeks, I’ve been at a stall. But I’m back on the wagon again. Why do I feel the need to tell you these things? I have no idea. But I told you anyway. You’re welcome.

 

March 2, 2012

Nunsense

Filed under: anxiety,help,singing — becca @ 5:44 am

I’m in another musical.

I know. I’m seeking help.

But this one’s FUNNY. I’m playing Sister Mary Hubert in NUNSENSE, and I tap dance. And sing gospel. And strut across the stage. Also, I tell jokes. Which is where you come in. I need a few extra jokes for half-time warm-up. That’s not really what it’s called. That’s just what I call it. But I get to open Act II, and if you know any funny Nun jokes, or Catholic jokes, or Mormon jokes, or Bible jokes (Okay, and let’s keep it G-rated, people, can we?) I want them.

The show starts next weekend and runs Saturdays through March, 7:00 at Timpanogos Valley Theatre, 100 North and 100 West in Heber City. Tickets here or at the door.

End of advertisement. Back to your lives.

February 25, 2012

My Dad Has Some Words for You

Filed under: Dads,familyness,singing — becca @ 5:04 am

… And if you have ever met my dad, you won’t be surprised. Words are integral to my dad’s being. He sent me this to use as a guest post, and even though there are words I have to look up[1], I think it’s great.

Macy’s post inspired me. Here are some 5-generation voice memories.

 

My grandpa had some palsy all the time I knew him. When he talked, his voice had some quaver and his teeth clicked. The most memorable conversation happened when I graduated from high school. I was sitting on the floor in the kitchen one night after dinner and Grandpa pointed out that I was unlikely to see as much change in my life as he had seen in his. I ponder often whether he was right. Grandpa was a consummate rose grower. I hear his voice whenever I plant or prune roses.

 

My grandma had a great deadpan. We were playing extended-family cards, and Uncle Jim trumped her ace. She glared at him for two beats and said, “Jerk!” This eighty-something also retained a few mildly abrasive Danish invectives that could flow from the same deadpan. I guess they provide me voices from even more generations.

 

I recognize that I grunt my way out of low chairs exactly like my dad did. Dad taught me French and German songs when I was little; I trace my facility with languages more to that gift than any other. My definition of mellow is my memory of Dad reciting verses from Faust or Caunterbury Tales. (When Dad did early modern English, it needed to be spelled with the “u”.)

 

Whenever I sing the phrase Balm of Gil’uhd I hear Mom’s 2-syllable, no diphthong fitting of the image into 2 eighth notes of a 19th century hymn. You’ve heard Mom’s voice this month from Becca’s Older Brother. He never met her nor heard her voice, but stories keep the wit, wisdom and voice alive.[2]

 

I’ll let you all know when I post the story of the song Becca’s mom sang that changed me from admirer to full-throated pursuer. Since we still sing the songs she taught us, her voice endures.

 

Now we cross into voices from people still living. Regular readers know Becca’s mom died more than 2 decades ago. I remarried – to her best friend, Mimi. That name is one of the simplest forms of speech that infant lips can try. To appreciate Mimi’s voice, you have to hear it in the context of a klieg light [3] smile, with arms stretched forward and shoulders thrust back to make enfolding space for anyone, anywhere. Mimi says “Welcome”; when necessary, she uses words.

 

I don’t need to say more about 4th generation voices than to commend many of these posts to you, gentle reader. It nourishes my soul to read them and to point friends who could use a lift to them.

 

I can’t share a hundredth part of the voices from the 5th generation. I think of the 60-something-pound granddaughter belting out Tomorrow to a packed Annie house. I hear the grandson cranking the amps on his guitar while paying on the roof of his house. I hear about the shortest girl in the class sharing the deepest insights.

It’s up to you (us?) writers to keep great voices vibrant.

[1] When I was in college, email was new. I know. I’m old. And my dad would send me emails at work (because it was new enough that I didn’t have a non-work account). And he’d say things to me that I didn’t understand. And he’d know that I wouldn’t. And he’d write “look it up” in the body of the email. That’s because we share a bizarre love of dictionaries. And then I’d look the words up and I would smile, because he could find strange and complex ways to tell me he thinks I’m great.

[2] Tomorrow, you’ll hear her voice. The voice of my grandmother, who died years before I was born.

[3] Look it up.

Thanks, Dad. I think you’re pretty great. You can quote me on that.

February 21, 2012

Listen to my Voice (Guest Post by Macy Robison)

Filed under: history,Mom,musings,singing — becca @ 6:44 am

***WE HAVE A WINNER! Bethany, Congratulations. I’ll get a copy of Macy’s CD out to you right away.***

Today, we have a guest post from a wonderful friend I’ve loved since I was sixteen. (Yes. I was once sixteen. Yes. That was a very, very long time ago.) Macy went to high school with me. She was Very Cool, but she let me play with her anyway. In fact, Macy’s kind of Very Cool was defined by her inclusivity. She was popular by being a superstar tennis player and singer/performer, but people loved her because she loved us back.

And now we’re all grown up and we’re still friends. I really love it when that happens. And Macy performs this amazing musical/talk/fireside/piece of awesomeness that you can see HERE or own HERE. Also, make a comment on this post. Then I’ll pick a commenter-winner, let’s say on Friday the 24th. I’ll buy you a copy of her CD and send it to you. (One winner. US or Canada.) And besides that (and a lot of other talents), she’s a professional photographer, so if you live in Austin (or are interested in flying her out to where you live) you can check out her brand of photo-genius HERE. And now, my friend Macy:

Today, I thought I lost my voice. Not laryngitis-lost, but I thought my larynx was so damaged that it might not work properly anymore.

I was playing with my son. Like most 4-year-old boys, he loves to wrestle. He’s usually pretty easy to predict and I’m able to keep either of us from getting hurt as we wrestly, but today, he added a new move — he head-butted me in the throat. Right in my larynx. And though I didn’t feel a pop, my throat felt different than it usually does. I’m a singer, so I’m very aware of what my throat and voice feel like at any given time.

In that split second, the horrifying thought came — what if my voice is gone?

The human larynx is a delicate thing. It’s made of tiny little muscles. Muscles that can fatigue, that can tear or strain just like any other muscle in the body. And like any muscle, the vocal cords can wear out from misuse. The voice sounds different when it goes through trauma. And with enough trauma, it can completely disappear.

While I was trying to figure out if my voice was okay, I remembered an experience I had with Becca. We were living in the same dorm at BYU when I got a call from her. Her mom had passed away a couple years before (which she writes about beautifully here and here — and if you really want a good cry, scroll down and read her dad’s comment on the second post) and she called me that night because she couldn’t remember her mom’s voice. Couldn’t remember what it sounded like. And though I hadn’t experienced anything like what she was going through, I just knew what an awful thing that was. I don’t know what I said to her — I hope it was something okay — but I remember being sad about it for a long time.

And then my own mom died. And the day came when I couldn’t remember what her voice sounded like. And it was awful — it was like reliving the loss of my mom all over again.

Our voices are more than just muscles we use to communicate. People recognize us when they hear our voice. Hearing a voice we know and love brings comfort and joy. But as the years have gone by, I have come to understand that my mom’s voice was more than the sound her vocal cords made when they vibrated together. What I heard when I heard my mother talk to me was more than just that vibration — I heard her love for me. I heard the joy in the way she lived her life. I heard the service she gave and the person she was. That was what her voice was to me. And though I would never hear her speak again, I still have her voice inside of me — telling me to practice my singing, telling me to be kind, and telling me to be myself.

Our voices are the essence of who we are. And if someone remembers who we are, our voice sings on even when the vocal cords are silent.

So, I talk about my mom. And I sing about my mom. And I tell my kids about my mom. Sometimes I really have to think to remember what she sounded like when she spoke to us, but her voice — the essence of who she is — that is with me every single day.

Thank you, Macy, for being my guest today. It was lovely to reminisce with you, and for all my blogfriends to get to see inside your heart — and to hear your voice.

Leave comments, friends — and I’ll pick a winner [on Friday] to receive Macy’s “CHILDREN WILL LISTEN” CD. Yay! Prizes!

I borrowed both pics from Macy's blog. Thanks!

December 5, 2011

Good morning. Ten things:

Filed under: Christmas,debts to the Universe,familyness,singing — becca @ 8:36 am

… And it’s a balmy Seven Degrees here in the Frozen Mountaintops. Frozen nose and fingers. From taking the garbage to the curb. It’s not that far away.

… Started reading the first Stephen King book (fiction, that is – I read ON WRITING and was thrilled) in more than twenty years this weekend. It’s creepy, I tell you what. (It’s the 11/22/63 one about the Kennedy assassination. And I’m scared. The man can tell a story.)

… Kids 3 (10.5) and 4 (very nearly eight) played Catchphrase yesterday afternoon while I was making Lemon Pound Cake. They were so funny. I wish you could have been a fly on the wall, because not much of it translates to blog. They speak their own language, frequently referencing platypus love, obscure MONK tv episodes, and pineapple. They’re cute. You can trust me on that.

… Amazon, get ready. I’m coming back today, armed with a credit card.

… Shopping is almost done. See above.

… Got the lights and decorations on the tree, and candles in the windows. I should take a picture. It looks precious. And I mean that with all the sincerity I can possibly muster. Truly.

… I love the little kids I work with at church. All 80 of them. They are adorable and hilarious.

… Scotch Tape, where have you gone? I mean it. Where are you?

… We sang Christmas songs in church yesterday, and it flipped a switch in me. Suddenly and without warning, I committed to singing in the Messiah Sing-In choir next weekend. The rehearsal last night brought some “who-do-you-think-you-are” eyebrows at our late join-up, but the music makes me crazy happy. To be alive. To worship Jesus. To sing alto. To repeat “we like sheep” until I have to actually put my hand over my mouth to suppress the “baaaaaa” noise. To want to dig deep into Isaiah and understand the Mysteries. Happy, happy.

… Hope is a thing with feathers, Emily Dickinson said. I love to see some feathers fluttering around here.

June 5, 2011

REVIEW! CONCERT EDITION!

Filed under: recommendation,singing — becca @ 8:39 pm

Okay, don’t go falling off your chair in surprise. I didn’t really go to a concert. Not lately, anyway.

I watched one.

This one.

I know. It doesn’t make me any cooler. But it is so, so good, and I want to tell you everything in the world that I thought of it. Ready?

Go.

* Oh, Les Miserables. I love you with all my heart and soul, and I’m not even being a tiny bit insincere. For more than twenty years, I have loved you. And this concert was nearly perfect. The orchestra? Phenomenal. Also? There were fireworks. I do not make these things up.

* I found Jean Valjean strangely handsome. Does this mean I’m getting old?

* I always fall a little in love with Enjolras. When I see the show, or read the book, or even listen to the music, my heart goes lurch for him. What can I say? I’m a sucker for the doomed emutee-leader. *Sigh* for revolutionaries. Also? He may have been played by the following middle-Eastern god (behold):

Even had he been a troll, I’d have loved him. But, notice? Not a troll. Yes, the dimple may have helped. Also? He could sing. Oh, yes he could.

* Cosette’s teeth? Distracted me. (The two in front were long. And curved. Unto a beaver, a little bit.) I had to look at her beautiful eyes or the cute mole on her cheek in order not to be sidetracked completely from her perfect performance. I am shallow. I know.

* Shall we talk about Nick Jonas? Firstly, he bears a striking resemblance to my cousin’s husband Ron. And pondering this, I realize that I’ve never seen the two of them in the same room. Hmmm. But I don’t think Ron sings. And, it turns out, Nick Jonas does. (Even if, in Crash’s opinion, [1] he doesn’t hold his notes long enough.) The short notes did not bother me. Want to know what did bother me? Nick Jonas’s propensity toward the earnest eyebrows. Yes. Marius is earnest. But really? Nick was distractingly earnest. Want to see?

Those eyebrows came at me all night. Both times I watched it. I stifled the urge to rub the lines out of his forehead. Through the screen. Eyebrows notwithstanding, he was terrific. Really. This was my first taste of any of the Jonas brothers, and I approve. Of his performance, anyway.

* Eponine. After all these years, at least 10 readings of the novel, and many, many hours spent singing along with her, I still want to be Eponine. Not in real life. Just on stage. (Yes. I know I am too old. I don’t care. Not at all.) This Eponine (Samantha Barks from the London cast) was stunning. Vocally and costume-wise and characteristically. I wanted to bring her home with me. See her up there, singing “A Little Fall of Rain” at Nick’s earnest eyebrows? She also had a killer dimple and glorious eyebrows.

* Costuming/makeup did something to both Mr. and Madame Thenardier’s teeth. A gruesome, yellowy-brown something. Fascinating. I want to know how that happened.

* Gavroche looked like a tiny Aladdin, and I wish he’d been able to do all the “Little People” song, or die on the barricade. Alas.

* Lea Salonga played Fantine. If that sentence means nothing to you, we can still be friends.

* At the end of the show, there’s some Family Reunion-type stuff which made a tear or maybe two fall out of my eyes.

* I borrowed the movie from Netflix. But don’t be too surprised if I end up spending too much money to own it forever, as long as a DVD shall live. I loved it that much. The traveling show was in a City Near Me until today, actually, and I decided not to sell an internal organ in order to take the Kids to see it. So I made them all watch the concert with me after church today (with the added bonus of fast-forwarding through the Lovely Ladies scene, you’re welcome, small Kid 4). I remain of the opinion that this is a piece of literary genius turned musical genius that will (or at least should) remain for generations. At least.

[1] I love that Crash and I watched this at the same time. I’d drafted this, and then I read her post, and then, saw that we even stole used the same images from Goooogle — except hers are big, and mine are teensy. Perhaps I’m stalking. Or maybe it’s just a Great Minds moment… or something.

March 14, 2011

This is Fun.

Filed under: food,gratitude,school,singing,word count — becca @ 8:16 am

I’m a real substitute teacher. It’s fun. It is.

I still have a 5000 words/week writing goal. There will be weeks I don’t make it. And that will have to be okay. But I made it last week. And today I get to teach Kid 4’s class. Which is adorable in all its first-grade glory.

Also, Kid 2 competed? Performed? Violined? Something. She had Suzuki Federation on Saturday. She played Vivaldi. In A minor. It was stunning. Hours of practicing. Many, many hours. And? She was rated Superior. Natch. It was intense. I got a little sweaty. Especially when the first kid in their group played. Holy cow. He was a violin ninja. But My Kid 2 was awesome, and that was fun.

Also, we went to see the musical Hairspray. Oh, the joy. And that woman who played Motormouth Maybelle? She made me cry. I told husband I want to be black. He said, “I know,” and patted my head. Because he knew that at that moment, what I wanted was to be able to carry that kind of emotion in my voice. *sigh*

Then we watched BYU not quite win the championship. Poo. But there was Brick Oven Pizza involved, so it was certainly not a wasted evening. But poor Jimmer. I wanted him to come off Victorious.

I finally saw Megamind. I laughed. A lot. “And I love you, random citizen.”

Sunday = naps. Oh, yeah. I’m getting old, because daylight savings hurts. It does. Ow.

‘K – I gotta go to school now. Have a great day, and be nice to your teachers.

XO
B

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