Katie Kelley is a singer in the Concert Studio for AIMS in Graz 2014. We are excited to have her blog about her summer experiences!
August 9, 2014
On a calendar, it looks like AIMS should be winding up, but I still feel like its just beginning. There are people here who I am just beginning to form real friendships with, parts of the city I haven’t even begun to explore, and what seems like an infinite number of things left to learn. There are endless opportunities around me in this lively, sophisticated city and in this program. Last night after a beautiful, professional, and inspiring performance by some of my closest friends, I walked outside to find Graz alive with music. Just outside the concert venue (a beautiful baroque hall with the most incredible frescoes) there was a live rock band and a huge group of people of all ages dancing and enjoying the music. After enjoying a couple of their songs and then getting gelato with a friend, I walked past a city organized block party. They had big band, swing music, a dance floor, food, drinks, everything. And with free entry. I wished I could stay all night and dance and sing a swing version of “This Little Light of Mine” in German with what looked like everyone in the city, but I try really hard to be a responsible adult who goes to bed early the night before performances. I love the availability and abundance of art and music in this city. Even though last weekend was spent under the stars on a beautiful beach in Croatia, I think this coming weekend is the one I am most looking forward to out of the entire month and a half. This morning, a Friday, I went to a breathwork and meditation class. I have a performance tonight so I figured it would be a nice way to center myself before all the nerves and excitement kick in. Like many of my experiences here so far, it turned out to be far more wonderful than I expected. I learned how to access a lower breath than I ever have and managed to release about 90% of the considerable tension I had been carrying in my spine. The meditation part of the workshop did more than any voice teacher has ever been able to to make me feel grounded and connected to my body, and it ended with a quote that I had to rush back to my room to write down afterwards, and which was exactly what everyone needs to tell themselves on a performance day. “Let everything be done in service, for yourself and for the greater good. Do everything as self expression and as a way of getting closer to the source. You are deserving of all the magnificence of your being.” What a wonderful to start an important day.
Later today I will have an extra voice lesson, my third this week just because my teacher is so nice, a quick dress rehearsal for the Four Elements Liederabend, which I am so lucky to get to be a part of, the performance which I feel really good about, and then with any luck this block party will still be going on. On Saturday, there is a street art and music festival, once again free and open to the public. On Sunday, I will sing some Bach in a mass at the main church for the city, which is something I never thought I would be able to do at all, much less as well as I am doing it. Later we will have the second performance of our Liederabend, and this time it will be in a tiny, ancient castle that I cannot wait to see. Then there will be a festival held at the Eggenberg Palace, where we had our black tie reception, to celebrate Graz having been a UNESCO world heritage site for fifteen years. It will be a weekend filled with performance, art, music, and community. All of my favorite things.