rev up your sleighs!



Twas the Night before the concert and Stage Sister can’t sleep.

Yes the first of the three holiday concerts my brother will be singing in is tomorrow night!  Wow, that came fast didn’t it?  From his big audition/acceptance last summer to….gulp…now!


Naughty, Nice, Sugar and Spice…how fun, right?

Alfonse and I had a Brother/Sister banquet today starting at a men’s clothing store where I bought him a new outfit for the concerts–a cranberry dress shirt, crisp black dress pants and a new black belt.  This will be the second outfit he’ll be wearing because he will also be wearing a tuxedo in the concert!


He’s been rehearsing most days this week and when not with the chorus, he’s intensely studying the music.  He’s had to memorize 8 songs and 4 more will be sung with their notebooks–one is in Italian (he called it “The Prayer”).  He reminded me today of his learning disability and how hard it is for him to memorize but dangit, he’s doing it.  None of us have any excuses for anything do we?


How excited are we all?  Many friends are coming along.  Tomorrow night Cathy Hughes has invited Dad and I to dinner before the concert and she will go with us.  My friend Amy will meet us there with her little daughters.  Rob and Sean come down Sat from Sedona and Mya will go with us…and I will be cooking/serving dinner beforehand. Another friend joins us at the Sunday show.

How lucky are we to have all these friends supporting us?


After our shopping excursion, Alfonse and I went to an empanada restaurant for lunch.  It was my second time there in two days (ok truth be told I left my credit card there the other night so had to go back and retrieve it).  I had the most delicious Verde Sopa chicken soup that I hope to replicate for my dinner party Sat. night.


After lunch, Alfonse said he wanted to go for my mani/pedi with me.  He got a pedicure and I got both–white sparkly nails.  It’s holiday time!


And love is in the air all around me.  ❤

I hope love is finding it’s way in to your hearts and minds and if you think of it, please send a good thought my dear brother’s way tomorrow night (Friday the 12th) at 8pm AZ time.  Or maybe some to me too as I’m completely sure I’m more nervous than he is (shhhhh don’t tell him).


The time is here!  The time is now!  It’s time to live the life we were all born to live.

I’m embracing it all and I hope you feel even a little bit of it through my words here.

I love you all.


Oh, wait, a little PS.  For those of you reading who “met” me via the Arias trial, I got together last night with Katie Wick.  It’s hard to imagine it had been a year since we’d seen each other. We’ve been in touch but a year since we actually saw each other.  It was a totally fun night catching up.  She is fully involved in law school and on track to become a prosecutor, lives downtown near the courthouse (how odd right?) and is doing great.  We were so happy to be together as evidenced in these pics.


I met Katie the very first day of the trial and who knew this friendship would stick like it has?  She’s the best thing that has emerged from that trial experience and it was so wonderful to reflect on all that offered us, setting us on our own trajectories.  She, in law school, an idea she’d all but abandoned then inspired again by the trial.  Me, ready to head off to write my memoir also inspired by the trial experience.  I think Travis Alexander would be proud we were so affected by his life and we are living a legacy he would be proud of.  I believe so anyway.

I’m fighting the good fight on Twitter with some issues related to the trial for the duration so you might want to check me out there.  I’m gaining some momentum so the hows might not be evident right now but I’m determined to kick as many pebbles as I can hoping for an avalanche of change for some issues that directly relate to crime victims.  I’m a force to be reckoned with so have decided to use my God given bossy  powerful voice for good.  I’ll keep ya posted.





 My brother will be performing on some of Phoenix’s most prestigious stages in the Baritone section of the Phoenix Metropolitan Men’s Chorus with rehearsals starting September 24th.



I knew he had a good voice.  And I knew it was still a long shot.  This is a big men’s chorus in town but of course not anyone can just come sing because they want to.  You have to audition and audition my brother did.

Tonite at 5pm we set out in a crazy storm toward North Phoenix where the auditions were being held.  Without a doubt I was more nervous than he was.  We were singing in the car the whole way.  We were told however that he didn’t need to have any kind of song prepared; he would be tested on range, voice matching and the ability to hold a note.



We arrived drenched in uncharacteristic Phoenix rain while leaving my umbrella in the car.

My brother was filling out the initial form with water droplets all over his glasses.


The President of the organization, Capone, met us cheerfully.  He’s the guy we’d been corresponding with for a period of months setting all of this up.  What a nice cordial fella.


he’s in the back row third from the left

We visited for a bit then the chorus Director, Mark, arrived and very quickly whisked John in to a small anteroom for the audition.

I was doing my best to play it cool conversing with Capone but I could hear through the door and they were doing scales and Alfonse was hitting every single dang note.  Even Capone remarked “Wow he’s doing a lot better than I did at my audition”.  He shared about how nervous he was waiting for days to hear if he’d made it and how utterly thrilled he was to hear he got in.  “It changed my life” he said.  He shared about how warm and welcoming this community is.  “John will be welcomed with open arms and he will be taken by the hand every step of the way”.


Music to my weary worn down by the mental health system ears.

They emerged from that side room in a matter of minutes and I overheard Alfonse saying as they walked out “I’m in a program for people with mental illness”.  Uhoh I thought.  I’m sure they asked him what he did for a living and that’s what he answered.  He didn’t skirt it but just owned it and put it out  there.  Ok, well there it is.

Mark swiftly slapped the paper right down on the table saying one word, loudly and crisply, “Baritone”.


I wasn’t quite sure what that meant so tried to play it cool just going along as I noted he wrote something else on the paper.  He pointed it out as I said that John had lots of flexibility in his schedule and is very prompt and reliable so can be a great asset like that (still thinking I was selling it).  He then directed the writing on the paper to Capone “see, volunteer” in a section of the paper reserved for special skills.

I thought “oh maybe they are designating him as volunteer” which actually would be ok.

We talked a bit more, I heard something about an orientation being discussed and then something about introducing John to the leader of the Baritone section but didn’t say anything for fear of being pushy presumptuous.

I shortly then said “ok what’s the procedure now?  When will we know if he’s in the chorus?”.

Capone smiled this huge romantic smile and said “oh he’s in”.


I gasped!  Chills ran all over my body and tears sprung to my eyes.

“Oh I’m sorry that wasn’t clear.  Yes, he’s in.  He will start rehearsals in September but you’re welcome to stay tonite and watch our rehearsal for the September show”.



He made it!  Right then and there!  HE MADE IT!!!!

Deep breath.

There was about a 40 min. break until rehearsal started so we decided to go celebrate and went for some amazing Mexican food at  Ajo Al’s and margaritas.  OMG HE MADE IT!


My brother’s life is getting ready to change big time.

Now the September performance is at the historic Orpheum Theatre in downtown Phoenix.  This is a HUGE theatre.  One where I saw Bobby Caldwell and the Jersey Boys touring show.  I also saw Riverdance there once.  It’s a big stage that gets big names.  They said something about Susan Boyle performing after them (are they opening for her maybe?).




We came back after dinner and watched rehearsal.  When we walked in the Director stopped for a moment and introduced us and all of the members applauded.  OMG!


I asked and right now they have about 60 members but it can go up to around 100.  They are doing constant auditions this month for the upcoming season.  I went back to Facebook and looked at my original post–I’ve been reaching out to this organization since last April.

We heard them rehearse a very complex song that was so interesting and haunting…like mystical and angelic.

They took a little break and many of the men came up and introduced themselves to us…what a friendly group.

The leader of the Baritone section, also named John was super friendly and said to my Alfonse “Mark told me you have some amazing note matching skills”.  Alfonse was so humble about it as usual and said “well I can hit the lower notes”.



I’m still so overwhelmed.  We left at the break and most of the men waved goodbye to us…such a friendly, healthy environment.

My schizophrenic brother is the next baritone in the prestigious Phoenix Men’s Metropolitan Chorus.  He led with his voice and his voice carried the day.

Phoenix Metropolitan Men's Chorus

Now doesn’t that just make you feel something?