Singing with a small group of classically trained female musicians is a tenuous thing. A blended sound takes time. Singers need that time to build trust with one another, to become accustomed to the sound and weight of each other’s voices. It’s not always easy, and it’s often something the best of musicians have a hard time finding.
We Julians formed in February of 2010 and at the first rehearsal, five women — Tuesday Rupp, Mel Downie, Kristen Buhler, Maria Karlin and Liz Bacon — started something pretty fantastic. We had found it.
Throughout this past year and a half we have performed successful, standing-room-only concerts, guest-starred with others musicians – both in the classical and indy world. We’ve played private parties and public events and developed a pretty respectable fan base. In the meantime, we have watched each other live our lives.
Tuesday Rupp, our dear friend and the founding Artistic Director of The Julians had to leave us to pursue her dream and last summer she headed off to Yale University. We wiped away tears at our ‘Case of You’ concert as the audience rose to their feet and we hugged her tightly and said farewell.
…and then…we kept singing.
Maria Karlin continues multi-tasking her precious time between making music with us and rocking out with her cowboy band, Federale. Getting out of a touring van after days on the road Maria rushes to rehearsal to be with us — and we sing on. Kristen Buhler performs all over the world. Her talent and time gets split between gobs of opportunities as a professional singer (she’s packing for Greece as I type this sentence) and her amazing job as a teacher to blind students. Still, she shows up with her creative, talented spirit, and the Julians tra-la-la-la. Mel Downie Robinson fell in love, celebrated her son Paul going to Kindergarten and decided to tie the knot with the light of her life, Roger, Though Mel felt called to sing other songs, and walk other paths we are grateful for the time we got to sing. With her.
Last night with Tuesday and Mel in our hearts, The Julians sang again. This time with a new voice. Another vibrant, ALIVE soul has joined us – Vakarė. This gorgeous, talented woman from Illinois has somehow graced us with her amazing self in between trips to Belize and fighting off other singing offers – she sings with us. All that we have shared about our excitement for our new ‘bandmate’ pales in comparison to the real, juicy JOY we feel for the possibility that lies ahead on our path with this new, evolving group. We sound good, ladies and gentlemen…really good.
As I write this, I have my laptop in front of me, my daughter’s college dorm room shopping list on the table next to me, and a folder full of music I must learn waits for me at the piano. This is a RICH, FULL life and I smile as I imagine all of us – juggling all that we do and yet still managing to work in such quality time for this group.
Singing, as we do.