News & notes from Claudia Hommel

April 17, 2012

Spring when it sizzles

This is a quick note to summarize the whirlwind since I last wrote.

1—Our Cabaret Intourlude to France in September was a smashing success for one and all sixteen of my fellow travelers. (Sheesh! Haven't even had time to post the photos.) With so many people how did it work so well? Everyone was interesting and interested in everyone else; everything we did was a new adventure. Highlights (besides the usual great food, great music, great views) included an unexpected invitation to visit the Opera Bastille costume workshops (thanks to Kevin who is a costumer in Chicago!), getting together with my friend Jean Gilles who led half the group on a houseboat cruise in Paris, a boisterous evening at the Lapin Agile, and an American friend of the Frolichsteins joined us overnight in Dordogne and graciously took a car-full of people to the Lascaux cave nearby). Wanna join us in 2012 or 2013? Visit my Travel menu.

2—It's been a busy concert season ever since. I love libraries and we've played to library audiences at all compass points of Chicagoland seven times since November. Green Hills in Palos Hills is coming up next. Accordionist Patricia Spaeth started working with me last summer and boy, am I glad. For our Jazz Age concerts, we get her husband Larry Gibson on ukelele and banjo as a bonus. I love the letter from Lisle Library's Rhonda Snelson. My feelings exactly!

3—Not to leave out the wonderful visit to Tulsa, Oklahoma where Bob Moreen and I got to work with a very talented group of high school performers at Union High and to perform for the Alliance Française the next day. Charles Glenn took a quick series of beautiful photos. I just love his "cabaret in red" montage. See our portraits in the Media gallery.

4—With two of my favorites chanteuses Elizabeth Doyle and KT McCammond, we launched a monthly series of Sophisticated Ladies at the Jazz Showcase. Each of us has a solo turn, but last week we rocked the house with nine women on stage, surely a historic first for the usually male-dominated genre and venue (jazz critic Neil Tesser gave us a great heads-up in the online Examiner). Bethany Pickens, Marlene Rosenberg and Sarah Allen formed a great trio and Gretchen Marsh (on winds) and vocalists Ava Logan and Tecora Rogers joined us.