Thursday, July 17, 2008

Almost Famous

My wonderful Dad brought home a little gift for me tonight: "Pitch Perfect: The Quest for Collegiate A Cappella Glory." For those of you who don't know, yes, I was an a cappella singer in college. In fact, we were one of "those" groups that author Mickey Rapkin details as he "...follows a season in a cappella through all its twists and turns, covering the breathtaking displays of vocal talent, the groupies (yes, a cappella singers have groupies), the rock-star partying, ... and all the bitter rivalries." In the prologue, Rapkin relates the story of Denise Sandole-- an AOL music exec who was attending the Grammy's in 2005, and was cheering for her then unknown, but about to be uber-famous, friend who happened to be introducing Kanye West that evening. Rapkin goes on to tell how they met-- in college, when they were members of the same a cappella group, the UPenn Counterparts. He also throws in that in 1997 Sandole and said presenter performed together at Carnegie Hall where they, with their group, competed in the National Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (NCCA) (no joke-- it actually exists; and now it's the International competition, because peeps across the pond wanted in on the action).

Anywhoo-- a little bell went off in my head. I thought, "hey-- wait a second; we competed in the NCCA in 1997... and we lost in the semi-finals, which happened to be in Pennsylvania (at Haverford). I couldn't for the life of me remember who won, but a few minutes of internet sleuthing later and lo and behold I found that, indeed, we did lose to UPenn in the semi-finals that year. What I remember about that night (besides a bit of a major non-a cappella-related disaster) was that although we didn't win the overall competition that would have moved us to the finals at Lincoln Center, our "pitch" (musical director), Amanda Weeden, won best soloist-- beating out Sandole's friend, who was runner-up that evening. The friend? John Stephens-- better known today as John Legend.

BooYaw! Amanda, still an amazing vocalist, you had star power even back then. And I continue on my quest to be almost famous!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Monday, July 14, 2008

Vacation Countdown

Or is it holiday, now that I almost live in the UK? Either way, there are 8 more days until I get much-needed break, having not had a "real" vacation in over a year. 2 weeks in Hawaii-- whoohoo! One might even say it's super.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

**UPDATED**Introducing: Makena Anne Allen

My newest niece was born early this morning (2:30-ish Hawaiian time): Makena Anne Allen. She's beautiful and perfect, just like her big sister, Nanea (and cousin Charlotte). Makena is Hawaiian for "calm, of the sea." It also has an alternate meaning of "weep for joy." Both, I think, very appropriate for the newest addition to our brood of girls (three sisters; three nieces-- for the time being, that is!). So as not to steal ALL of the proud parent's thunder, I won't post stats... but couldn't resist sharing a photo (and, besides-- no one reads this thing anymore because I never post...). Welcome to our nutty but loving family, little one!

In Memoriam: Ken Reich

Kenneth Reich, the father of an old and dear friend of mine, David, passed away last week, after a long illness. Mr. Reich, as I knew him, was a kind and thoughtful man. Knowing (from his daughter's experience at Yale) that when I went away to school I would not only be homesick, but miss, among many things, having fresh fruit in the snowy Northeast winter, Mr. Reich never failed to have a box of fruit arrive to my door every winter I attended Vassar, along with an encouraging note and update of the happenings at home. And fifteen years later, those updates hadn't ceased. Above all, Mr. Reich he was also an extremely proud father. When I spoke with him this past Christmas, I could hear the pride in his voice when telling me of David and Kathy's latest accomplishments-- everyone should be so lucky to have a parent like Mr. Reich. My heart goes out to David and Kathy, and all of their family during this sad time. I hope the many words and remembrances of those who knew and loved Mr. Reich that have been left on his blog, "Take Back The Times" (his accounting of the Chicago Tribune takeover of The LA Times), in person and I'm certain, many other media, will lend some comfort and support.