In January, I began my adventures working for Opera for the Young, a touring opera company based in Madison, Wisconsin. It was my first real "opera" job, and I felt it really helped me grow as a musician and colleague.
In February, it continued to snow...and snow...and snow. I thought winter might never end.
In March, I sang my third concert with Music of the Baroque, the St. Matthew Passion, which was an amazing and moving experience. Nick went to Greece for two weeks
In April, I spent nearly the entire month touring with OFY. It was pretty exhausting, and I would be happy not to see another Super 8 for the rest of my life, but I made some lasting friendships with colleagues and had many funny stories to tell!
And I made my debut at the Overture Center for the Arts in Madison!
May brought a more relaxed time for me work-wise, but at home we welcomed Nick's sister and nephew, Chrysanthe and Angelo, from Greece, who came for the wedding of Nick's brother Chris. It was very different for us to have a three-year old in the house, and I think we both learned that we're not quite ready for a child just yet! We also traveled to Kalamazoo for the wedding of my cousin Katy.
We always have a great time at family weddings...
June was a very exciting month...Nick proposed! I had known that he was shopping for the ring, but the day he proposed I wasn't expecting it at all! We started planning our August 2009 nuptials pretty soon after that.
In July, we traveled to Fort Wayne for the wedding of my good friend from high school, Stasi. I've known Stasi and Adam as a couple since the beginning of their relationship, so I was very excited and honored to be a bridesmaid and sing Ave Maria as Stasi walked down the aisle. The trip also gave us a chance to celebrate our engagement with my family.
with fellow bridesmaids and best friends from high school Allison and Brooke
Browns get hitched!
with the lovely bride
August brought two trips to Indianapolis to celebrate birthdays with each of my grandmothers. It was a very special birthday for Grandma Hofmockel-80th!-and our whole family surprised her with a party over Labor Day weekend (and my mom made her wear that tiara).
September saw my return to a more rigorous working schedule, with my teaching jobs starting back up, Music of the Baroque concert, church job, and High Holidays temple job. Once again, I was so thankful for the amount of singing work coming my way. I am constantly amazed that I managed to pay the better part of my bills this year with singing and teaching and can only hope that the New Year brings more exciting work my way.
In October, my mother and sister came to Chicago for a short visit filled with shopping for bridesmaid and mother of the bride gowns. We also attended a bridal show at Navy Pier. Wedding plans continued and the ceremony and reception locations were secured, DJ and photographer hired, my gown purchased and many other details worked out. I decided then to take a break until after the holidays!
At the end of October/early November, I spent another two weeks on the road with OFY, which took me as far north as Aurora, Minnesota (2 hours north of Duluth!). And I had another exciting career milestone when I was selected for the Central Region Finals of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions! I sang two pieces for the judges and a live audience in a concert/competition format in Nichols Hall in Evanston on Sunday, November 2nd. The concert was broadcast on WFMT, the classical station in Chicago, and so my parents were able to listen via live streaming on the internet! I didn't win, but I felt so great about my singing and received some terrific feedback. Once again, I felt encouraged to continue my pursuit of a singing career!
And finally, we come to December. A great month for musicians, and I was lucky enough to have lots of work keeping me busy. We threw another great holiday party, which is quickly becoming a tradition for us.
It was a very, very good year. Certainly there were ups and downs, what with the crumbling economy and feelings of uncertainty about the future. I continue to be the eternal optimist and have great hope that 2009 will be a better year for those who struggled in 2008. I will continue to pray for those that are without jobs, those that are lonely, those that feel hopeless or without a clear path of "what next?" I have certainly been there, and continue to find myself there at times. Have faith that things will get better, because they will. And if your 2008 was blessed and happy, have faith that good things will continue to come your way. Happy New Year, my friends.