Winter Solstice Gala, January 23, 2016
Good Day Everyone!
Well. I don’t even know where to begin! This past Saturday was our big event to raise awareness and funds for Citizens Against Sex Trafficking (C.A.S.T.) up in Traverse City, MI. It was absolutely amazing! I really don’t know how to even BEGIN to wrap up the evening for you . . . so, I guess I’ll start at the beginning!
When I was asked to be a part of the event, the organizers were just throwing around ideas and started with me, really. I was asked to be part of a fundraiser and to sing Christmas in Heaven and The Patriotic Medley. No problem! Two songs I am very familiar with and am HAPPY to sing! That was last August.
In November, a team of folks putting on the event came to visit me in Midland, and by this time they had gotten a director and musician named Chris Bickley on board. Chris is known throughout the music world as both a top TOP notch sax player and conductor. Chris directs the Bay Area Big Band and runs a non-profit that helps provide music and opportunities in the music world to children. His bio goes on forever and is full of amazing accomplishments! Chris had offered his big band to play for their fundraiser and asked me if I would like to sing with them????
Now! This is where the flavor of my world began to change! Lol!
You see, I have never had an opportunity to sing with a big band. I’ve sung with symphonies . . . but never a big band.
When I record, the music is written around my voice . . . we pick keys that work with my range and that fit my voice perfectly. So every track that I sing to in my music career is pretty much perfectly fit for me. That is a wonderful thing!
To sing with the Bay Area Big Band, I had to fit into THEM! I was sent some song options and had to choose based on my familiarity (which wasn’t much) and based on what songs fit my range decently. By mid-December we had nailed down three songs that I would sing above and beyond my own two songs . . . three that would be performed WITH the big band.
Now, here’s the thing. . . I never got to practice WITH the band . . . or with a track. I had to learn the songs with a vocalist singing a demo. I mostly practiced acapella (with no music). It is really hard to make a song your own when you practice over and over with another vocalist.
So, all of that to say, I was actually super super nervous heading into Saturday. When I sing a song at church or at a concert I have usually practiced it with a track over and over and over until there are no surprises. For this event, I got to run each song once . . . well, we did run Somewhere Over the Rainbow twice, I guess. But basically, sound check was at 4:30 Saturday and the event started at six. I knew that I better know my part well before I got there and pray that I ‘jived’ well with the band!
Oh friends!!!! It was amazing!!!! The Bay Area Big Band is made up of the top musicians in the state. Many of them are instructors at Interlochen Arts Academy – the top music school in the world. And ‘jive’ we did! What an honor to share the stage with such talented musicians! Thank you, Chris Bickley, for the opportunity and for all your guidance along the way!
I have to tell you . . . for days and days before the event I wondered what in the world I was thinking asking to sing Somewhere Over the Rainbow!!!!! Seriously! What was I thinking????? One of the MOST iconic songs in the world and I would get to run it ONCE???? Oh my! I was a nervous wreck!
We took to that stage to practice and it was like it was a perfect fit! And . . . the places I had struggled before the band was behind me . . . places that felt too high when I was practicing at home all by my lonesome . . . once the band was behind me they just soared!!!! It was magical! I am so excited to be able to share with you . . . the brand new Sarah Schieber version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow! I wish I could sing it with them every single day for the rest of my life!!!!! I am so very thankful to Jesus for the opportunity . . . and for all His help!!!!! His precious anointing definitely showed up Saturday night!
Another fun part of the evening was all my outfit changes and hair and makeup. When I was asked to sing Christmas in Heaven for the event, I was asked to please find an evening gown that would represent the song AND the flavor of the evening . . . it was a ‘gala’ after all! So, I took to finding a gown and find I did! Because of the way the evening fell together, I had three very fun outfits to wear which was so much fun!
My sister knows a wonderful hair and makeup artist up in the Traverse City area who we hired to do my hair and makeup for the evening and wow! Was he awesome! Thank you to Logan Dillon for getting me all ‘dolled’ up!!!!
As you can see from the pictures . . . it was a wonderful night all around!
Most importantly, C.A.S.T. felt that the night was a success! Awareness was raised for a very important issue! Thank you! Thank you, C.A.S.T., for letting me be a part of your very special evening!!!!!