Sunday, November 23, 2008

Announcing "the Harmonics"

My men's acapella quartet chose a name, after rejecting scores of good and bad suggestions. When we first sang for our families, we found it: not over-used, easily understood and even the web address is available:"

"The Harmonics"

It is a great name for a group of artists, even according to dictionaries:

~~Agreeable relationship between the parts of design or composition giving unity of effect or an aesthetically pleasing integrated whole;
~~The science, theory or study of the physical properties and characteristics of musical sound.
~~ musical tones (or waves) whose frequencies are integral multiples of the frequency of a fundamental tone (or wave).
~~ A tone produced on a stringed instrument by lightly touching an open or stopped vibrating string at a given fraction of its length so that both segments vibrate. Also called overtone, partial, partial tone.
~~ Of or relating to Harmony:
Pleasing to the ear, a state of peaceful agreement and cooperation, a pleasant combination of two or more notes sounded at the same time, the way parts combine well together or into a whole.

[from Latin harmonicus, from Greek harmonikos, harmoni, "harmony; articulation, agreement", from harmos, "joint", from Indo-European Root *ar- "To fit together." Whence Latin ars, "art, skill, craft": ART, ARTIST]

We've got a few sample tracks up on the site, too. "The"

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


"Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen is one of those tunes you make your own by adding, changing or deleting lyrics. Compare
Leonard Cohen, (author in a German TV performance)

Damien Rice (Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Performance)

Rufus Wainwright (from the movie "Shrek" in concert)

After the first two verses, each varies what comes next.

1 for Leo, Damien & Rufus
Now I've heard there was a secret chord
that David played, and it pleased the Lord,
But you don't really care for music, do ya?
It goes like this: the fourth, the fifth,
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah,
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah.

2 for Leo, Damien & Rufus
Your faith was strong but you needed proof.
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moon light overthrew ya
She tied you to a kitchen chair
She broke your throne and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah.
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah.

3. Rufus
Maybe I've been here before
I know know this room, I've walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew ya.
I've seen your flag on the marble arch
Love is not a victory march
It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah.
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah.

3: Damien 4. Rufus
There was time that you let me know
What's really going on below
But now you never show that to me, do ya?
Remember when I moved in you
The holy dark was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah.
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah.

4. Damien 5. Rufus
Maybe there's a god above
But all I've ever learned form love
Is how to shoot at someone who outdrew ya
Well it's not a cry that you wear at night
And it's not somebody who's seen the light
It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah.
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah.

3. Leo:
You say I took the name in vain,
I don't even know the name,
But if I did, well really, what's it to ya?
There's a blaze a light in every word,
It doesn't matter which you heard,
The holy or the broken Hallelujah.
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah.

4. Leo
I did my best. It wasn't much.
I couldn't feel so I tried to touch
I've told the truth and I didn't come to fool ya
And even though it all went wrong
I'll stand before the lord of song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah.
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah.

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah.

(even the closing tag changes)
Hallelu-----------jah. Hallelujah.

But the chords and the melody, they stay very close to:
C Am C Am
C F G (tonic chord, the fourth, the fifth)
Am F (the minor vi, relative major IV) ~fantastic lyric writing~
G E Am -
F Am F C G C

Monday, October 6, 2008

Your results:
You are Superman

The Flash
Iron Man
Green Lantern
Wonder Woman
You are mild-mannered, good,
strong and you love to help others.

Click here to take the "Which Superhero are you?" quiz...

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Sing-ism has me connecting to new students and teaching locally. If you go thru their service for lessons, you will pay more and I will get paid less, but you will get the security of an established third-party site that takes credit cards.

Here is a a sample initial contact.

------------------ Job Posting ----------------------

Hi there, I've been wanting to take voice lessons for quite sometime now and never really followed through with it. I have been playing the guitar for many years casually... but now its come to the point where i wanna play and sing and create music and eventually do the solo act doing a talent type of thing like downtown or for friends.. I have the guitar-ism down if you will... now i just need that sing-ism. what kind of information can you give me as far as everything i need to know ... Thank you in advance.. -- J.

Hi, J!

"Got guitar-ism. Need sing-ism." With that kind of word play, you might be a great lyricist.

I specialize in training beginning vocalists. I can guide you to sing-ism, everything from how to sing in tune and how to be present in the back row of the hall, to crafting your career and stage act. Everything.

Now for the barriers:

~~ You need to commit to work and practice during regular lessons. You need to commit to AT LEAST an additional :30 minutes three times a week. Triple that gets better results.

~~ Your home is outside my travel area. If you travel to East Portland regularly, we might meet somewhere there. Another solution: about half my students (some are overseas) take their singing lessons online. Get a computer headset and a free Skype account, Yahoo Messenger, or the like and you can take your lessons on-line.

~~ Share the credit information Wyzant wants so we can connect in person.

~~ Schedule your first lesson. What weekday afternoon (Pacific Time [GMT-8]) can we connect for an hour soon?

I hope to see your reply and hear your voice soon

Gary Shannon
Portland, OR

Hourly Rate: $36.00*
* Rate for advance purchase of at least 10 hours of tutoring ($40.00 otherwise).

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Your first voice lesson

A new student request contact:
I am interested in experimenting with my singing ability. I am 23 years old and getting a late start with my desire to sing. I have no other prior experience with voice lessons of any kind or music lessons. With you have some time in your schedule I would like to possibly sign up for lessons with you. Looking forward to hearing back from you.
Thank you, [Name withheld]

Gary Shanon, Oregon Portland/Gresham voice-mentor here.
This is a great time to get started. 23 is hardly too late! Chances are that you've been singing your whole life. You've already started if you've sung in a choir or karaoke with a good host. We'll take that experience and build on it.
In your first lesson, I'd like to find out what your dreams are, hear you sing a song and find out what you need and want to learn. Then we start practicing and really mastering what you need and want. Toward the end of the lesson, you'll get a homework assignment. Then we'll schedule your next lesson.
This 2008 summer, I normally teach during the day, since evenings and weekends are reserved for my gigs and my family. We'll also need to pick a place to meet: we can use your home, we can meet online or by phone, or there are places we can use near my home near I-205 and Powell Avenue.
As soon as you complete your contact/billing information, we can start!
Gary Shannon
Portland, OR
45 minute rate: $37.00*

Thursday, June 12, 2008

What choirs want

This e-mail is from a singer we heard audition last weekend, but could not accept into Portland Symphonic Choir:


Thanks for your feedback and for hearing me at my audition.

I wonder if you could answer a few questions that would help me perform better in the future:
What do you look for in members of the PSC? What can I do to improve my voice as you heard it, and how can I perform better in future auditions? How can I improve my chances of getting into an auditioned choir in the near future? Thanks for your input--- and good luck with the coming season of song!

- [name and e-mail withheld]



Gary Shannon, Portland Symphonic Choir tenor section leader here. Mark in the choir office forwarded your e-mail to me.

Generally, any major choir is looking for strong voices with a free, natural tone color. We cannot accept voices that are regularly out-of-tune, forced, nasal, swallowed, throaty, shouting, inaudible, strained, quavering, breathy, or pinched. Preparing music on your own, adequate vocal range and sight reading ability are secondary considerations.

Voice lessons are always recommended - even our very best singers take voice lessons, sometimes from each other. A free, well-supported sound, without much strain or effort is the goal, and it usually takes an outside ear or two to help develop it.

The audition committee generally does not generally give out details on why we select some singers and not others. However, if you will write back to me and tell me what song you sang for us to jog my memory, I will answer what I can regarding your own audition, and preparing for your next one.

Yours, Gary Shannon
I teach online voice lessons! My passion: Your art.
4022 SE 100th Ave. Portland OR 97266 503-761-1837
( 8-{D} Balding, bespectacled, mustachioed, happy, bearded guy, usually open mouthed.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Renato Fabbro

I've had the good fortune of connecting to this ace pianist through Portland Symphonic Choir. Since he has no web-page yet, here is a note about him. Ron deserves a web presence.

Officially, per Tualatin Presbyterian Church::

Renato Fabbro received both Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees in piano performance from the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he studied with Larry Graham and Angela Cheng respectively. As a fellowship student at Rice University, he received a Doctor of Musical Arts degree under the tutelage of John Perry.

Dr. Fabbro has performed at the Aspen Music Festival, Sarasota Music Festival, Boulder Bach Festival, Idyllwild Arts Academy, and was recently invited to give a master class at Marylhurst University in Oregon. Competition prizes include top honors at the Fort Collins Symphony National Young Artists Competition, Young Pianists Competition, MTNA Wurlitzer Collegiate Artist Competition, and the Lee Piano Competition. Concerto performances include those with the Fort Collins Symphony, Grand Junction Symphony, Centennial Philharmonic of Denver, Colorado University Orchestra, and the Grand Junction Youth Symphony.

Dr Fabbro has served on the faculty of Lee College, and has also taught at Rice University and the University of Texas at San Antonio Summer Music Institute.

Un-officially, Ron simply plays piano beautifully, accurately and reads music like nobody's business. That, and he knows all the same cartoons I do.

Friday, May 16, 2008


Woohoo, Mr Oh!

I hope you get to sing "Timeless" in the medley - the first time DW and I heard it, we fell in love all over again. After 25 years of marriage, we finally found "our song".

My parallel story this week is with Portland Symphonic choir's performance of Oregon Symphony: Carmina Burana this weekend: I learned/understudied/sang for rehearsals the tenor solos (the featured number is literally a "swan song" that requires shrieking as you anticipate being butchered, cooked and eaten by the chorus). Our out-of-town pro soloist showed up last night, fit and healthy, and sang it wonderfully. I got more laughs that he did, but his voice carries better than I would have. Instead, I'll sing with the chorus and eat him up.

Yours, Gary Shannon

I teach online voice lessons! My passion: Your art.
4022 SE 100th Ave. Portland OR 97266 503-761-1837
( 8-{D} Balding, bespectacled, mustachioed, happy, bearded guy, usually open mouthed.

>>In a message dated 13 May 08 10:43:24 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time, Mister oh writes:

I wrote a while ago telling everybody how I was auditioning for a solo in the upcoming concert for the chorus (it's this Saturday!!)
Although I didn't get a solo initially (other than the brief chanting I do in the Lion King number) fate came into action. The chorus member who got the part of Edna Turnblad in our Hairspray medley has a work conflict and cannot do the concert. Alan had called me a few weeks ago to ask if I could do the part. I agreed thinking that it was just for our run-out performance at the church in Riverside (which was a couple of Saturdays ago). Turns out that not only did I perform it then, but I am also doing it on the big stage at the McCallum theatre this Saturday. In full drag. With costume change. I've already shaved my beard (moustache to follow) and did my legs on Sunday. THAT is a weird sensation! Feels like my legs were dipped in oil. Somebody gave me a fat suit (it's from a Halloween costume - the overweight stripper) and it is quite a scream. I found a lovely "social" dress at Ross, it's a 22W and is quite a stunner. I'm going to put a blue duster over it for the number before so that I can do a quick change from frumpy Edna to glamorous Edna. I'm sure there will be photographs/video to share later....

Monday, February 25, 2008

First Assignment


I am 20 years old. Basically I am a severely out of shape vocalist. But, I REALLY want to get back my old ability that is tucked away in my vocal chords somewhere and continue to grow my range and fine tune my talent. I would like to be on the worship team at my church, but I am too embarassed to volunteer at this point. I do need someone that is affordable. =-)

Thanks bunches!

Dear Bunches:

I assist singers like you all the time.

I will have you do a lesson with me every three weeks. We will also do telephone follow-ups to make sure you are doing what you need to do to make your goal. It dosen't get more affordable than this!

Here is your first assignment:
  • Eat and sleep right.
  • Drink eight 8-oz glasses of water everyday.
  • If you are ill, do what it takes to get better.
  • Exercise so your body has strength and stamina.
  • Sing (really SING) at least three times a week for at least 45 minutes.

It doesn't matter so much WHAT or how you sing or exercise or eat or sleep, but THAT you sing and exercize and eat and sleep and all that.

Contact me soon.

Gary Shannon, Portland, OR

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Cover Letter


Dear "Find A Job" Client:

Normally, when applying for a management position, I carefully research your corporate values and purposes before deciding to apply. My cover letter would underline aspects of my own goals, purposes and activities unified with your mission. Since I have no idea who is seeing this document, let's skip researching you and tell you about me. If we're a match, you'll work that out for yourself.

In physique, I am perfectly average - you won't notice me twice on the street. Maybe you'd notice I dress well, but nothing bling. In speaking and communication, though, I am anything but average. I listen a lot more than I talk. I get jokes. I don't solve your problems unless they really are mine to solve. What I do say resonates. I will show you what I think is best. I don't insist on my own way. I am deeper than I seem (so are you, and I know that).

I have unusual training and experience. I am certain you do not need to hire a professional vocalist and music teacher and conductor. Consider, though how those skills and abilities to work solo or in ensemble, as a leader, follower or enabler, translate into your field. In these positions, I planned or assisted in planning the budget, dates, venues, repertoire, and marketing. I auditioned and coached choristers, soloists and instrumentalists. I wrote, arranged and improvised music as needed, and directed rehearsals and conducted performances.

Tedious details here:
As a vocal musician, my skills include conducting and directing; keyboards (including piano, organ, MIDI and electronic keyboards); vocalist (tenor, counter-tenor, baritone in Classical, Theater, Opera, Ancient, Rock and Pop styles); composition and arranging (part-songs, reductions, theater music, chamber music); teaching.

Education: BA in Music Theory/Composition and BA in Music Education from San Jose State University in 1979 under Dr. Charlene Archibeque, with minor studies in Voice, Keyboards, Accounting and Theater.

Portland Yamaha Organ Competition, Grand Prize Winner, Senior Division, 1992
California Association of Community Theatres, "Best Actor in a Musical" 1975

Employment: I served as: Music Minister for Unity Church of Portland from May 2005 to March 2007 Substitute Choirmaster/Organist at All Saints Episcopal Church since 2002, Rehearsal Director (1986 –1993) and Arranger for The Dickens Carolers since 1986, Chorus Coach for Cabaret Magnifique (1996) and Unicorn Theatre (1973-1980), Performing Arts Teacher for The Delphian School in Sheridan Oregon (1976-1979), Guest Conductor/Music Director for Oregon Repertory Singers in 1995 and 2000, Director/Organist for Portland Scientology Celebrity Center Singers (1993-1999) Director for Rose City Timberliners SPEBSQSA Chorus since 1998, Tenor Section Leader for Portland Symphonic Choir since 1998

I served as a professional actor, chorister and/or vocal soloist with: Choral Cross-Ties, Portland Symphonic Choir, Oregon Repertory Singers, Dickens Carolers, The Musical Company, Cabaret Magnifique, Portland Symphonic Choir, North West Chorale and several local churches (All Saints Episcopal, First Methodist, St. Mark’s Anglican). I in English, Latin, Italian, Russian, German, Spanish, Hebrew, French, and other languages. Private voice coach, voice teacher, piano teacher and accompanist since 1992.

Other jobs I've held include sound recording engineer, website-designer, IT specialist, computer applications coach (I've successfully coached users with new applications using my broad knowledge of software and hardware), private school chef, short order cook, caterer's assistant, and fast food manager.

"To Love, in spite of all, is the secret of greatness." I donate and volunteer regularly to several causes: Goodwill Industries, Food for the Poor, Portland Symphonic Choir, the Barbershop Harmony Society, Catlin Gabel School, David Douglas School District, the Lutheran Synod, All Saint Episcopal Church, the Citizens Commission for Human Rights. I look for similar passions in my fellows.

What else might you need to know? I prefer part-time work. I love living and playing in Portland Oregon. I have allergies I control by diet. I rarely take any drugs. I think outside the box - sometimes that thinking says, "Use the boxed solution." My happiness does not depend on your approval. (Yours doesn't depend on mine, either.) I smile easily.

Contact me anytime, any method.

Gary Shannon

4022 SE 100th Ave., Portland OR 97266
Skype: voice.mentor
(8-{D} <-- Balding, bespectacled, mustachioed, happy guy

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Well, it's only a start, but here it is. My son himself informs me that my website is terrible. I figure, for a beginner, it's more important to MAKE it, then go back and make it better. As long as I'm not mis-representing, I can't really get in trouble.

I'm really happy with the domain name too.

I still haven't quite worked out how to make online payments work, but I supsect Paypal has all the tools I need. That will go in next.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Nature's Clues

There is no substitute for a variety of food being well prepared to lay a foundation of good health. I found this unusual view in my inbox.

A sliced carrot looks like the pupil, iris and radiating lines of the human eye. Science now shows that carrots greatly enhance blood flow to and function of the eyes.

A tomato is red and has four chambers. The heart is red and has four chambers. Research shows tomatoes are indeed heart and blood food.

Grapes hang in a heart-shaped cluster. Each grape looks like a blood cell. Research today shows that grapes are profound heart and blood vitalizing food.

A Walnut looks like a little brain, a left and right hemisphere, wrinked and folded like a neo-cortex, cerebrum and cerebellum. We now know that walnuts help develop over 3 dozen neuron-transmitters for brain function.

Kidney Beans actually heal and help maintain kidney function and yes, they look exactly like the human kidneys.

Celery, Bok Choy, Rhubarb more than look like bones, these foods specifically target bone strength. Bones are 23% sodium and these foods are 23% sodium. If you don't have enough sodium in your diet the body pulls it from the bones, making them weak. These foods replenish the skeletal needs of the body.

Eggplant, Avocadoes and Pears target the health and function of the womb and cervix of the female - and they look like these organs. Today's research shows that when a woman eats 1 avocado a week, it balances hormones, sheds unwanted birth weight and prevents cervical cancers. (It takes 9 months to grow an avocado from blossom to ripened fruit.)

Figs are full of seeds and hang in twos when they grow. Figs increase the motility of male sperm and increase the numbers of sperm as well to overcome male sterility.

Sweet Potatoes look like the pancreas that produces insulin for the regulation of segal levels in the body. You can guess that the sweet potato can help balance the glycemic index of diabetics.

Olives assist the health and function of the ovaries

Grapefruits, Oranges, and other Citrus fruits look just like the mammary glands of the female and actually assist the health of the breasts and the movement of lymph in and out of the breasts.

Onions look like body cells. Today's research shows that onions help clear waste materials from all of the body cells. They even produce tears which wash the epithelial layers of the eyes
Water. Air. Food. Shelter. Always back to basics.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

A Mentor is:
  • a trusted guide
  • an experienced tutor
  • a selfless coach
  • an aid to others toward their own dreams.
  • informal, helpful, wise, encouraging and supportive.
  • appreciated and valued.
  • attentive and confidential.

A Mentor is NOT
  • threatening or abusive
  • overbearing or bossy
  • gossipy, negative or a rumor-monger
  • intolerant or judgemental

This is what I bring to my online voice studio at .

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Acid Reflux

Disclaimer: I'm no doctor. This is simply what I learned and how it worked for me.

Here is how my Chiropractor cured my acid reflux with no medication involved, just water and massage.

I had it really bad, too. Every morning, sore throat like strep throat, bad digestion, bad breath, almost throwing up after meals. Couldn't sleep. Voice only a sliver of itself. Could still lay out a smooth barbershop tenor, but symphony and cantor and opera and musicals, not coming out okay.

Turns out that between my strong, tense abdominal muscles and singing from the diaphragm, the top bit of my stomach was squeezed up through the natural opening of the diaphragm into the esophagus. The little muscles that close off the top of the stomach were pinched oddly, being too high in my body. Thus, there was no way to close off the stomach acid from the top. Yuk. He called it a hiatal hernia.

Anyhow - here's what my Chiropractor had me do:
  1. For a couple weeks, limit the diet to alkaline foods to keep the acid level down. I did fine on just about any herbal tea. Rice. Potato. Lean meat and veggies okay. Not most fruit. Milk/Dairy was okay, but I disliked 'em.
  2. Twice a the day, self massage: Press fingertips of one hand into the center of the torso right below the sternum. Slide down slowly to center of belly to encourage the stomach to settle down into its normal place. This is not a comfortable action - pressure there made me feel nauseous, and I could feel it pulling under my chin.
  3. An hour before bed, drink 16 oz. of water (yes, I had to get up during the night. tough.) As soon as it's all in, do this exercise to get the stomach down: a) stand on tiptoes, body erect, then b) bounce your heels onto the floor. Do this 30 times. The stomach full of water will settle into it's rightful spot. While you sleep, diaphragm and stomach get used to their new positions.
  4. During all this, I learned to relax the abdomen while supporting my singing with the diaphragm so I wasn't continually causing myself more squeezing problems. Voice and ease of singing improved a lot.
After one week of this, nighttime reflux was gone. After one month, all reflux was gone. It hasn't come back, not matter what I eat or drink.

I'm no doctor, and I don't know if your reflux had the same cause mine did, but since you asked, there it is.

Gary Shannon

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Music business

Nobody likes to see someone write about himself.

Here are a few neat Christmas gifts:

"Straight Up, No Chaser" 12 Days of Christmas

The Dicken's Carollers of Portland, Oregon

Searching for online voice lessons?

I've usually held two careers: one theatrical/musical and one accounting/managerial. I've usually had two avocations: computer programmer and enigmatist. Putting all those together, I am making my own web-based music business to teach voice lessons live on-line.


A prominent member of the Portland choral community, Gary Shannon graduated from San Jose State University with a Bachelor of Music in Composition and Education with highest honors in 1979, having written two musicals and an opera as an undergraduate. Immediately moving to Portland Oregon, he began serving as musical director for “Unicorn Theatre”, “The Musical Company” and “Cabaret Magnifique”. Later, he became music director and arranger for The Dickens Carolers, then guest director and arranger for The Oregon Repertory Singers in 1992, and then vocalist and counter-tenor soloist with the internationally recognized “Choral Cross-Ties”. In 1992, Mr. Shannon became the Grand Prize Winner in the Portland Yamaha Organ Competition. Local churches have regularly secured his services as a vocalist, keyboard artist and professional chorister, including All Saints Episcopal Church, Unity Church of Portland, Sunnyside Seventh Day Adventist Church, First Methodist Church of Portland, St. Mark’s Anglican Church, and the Portland Church of Scientology.

An accomplished actor, Gary has won numerous awards. He holds the second highest score ever awarded by the Association of Community Theaters to an actor in any performance (the first prize award in 1982) for his “Judas” in “Jesus Christ Superstar”. (Later, Henry Fonda’s portrayal in “On Golden Pond” scored one point higher.) Gary’s favorite roles include “Archy” in “Archy and Mehitabel”, “MC” in “Cabaret” and “Count Orlofsky” (as a counter tenor) in Straus’s “Die Fledermaus.”

Mr. Shannon’s was recruited for tenor solos for Oregon Symphony Orchestra’s concert version of Bernstein’s “Mass” then again for Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess”, and “Chichester Psalms”. These solos were reprised and expanded for the Cascade Music Festival to include concert excerpts of “West Side Story” and “Chichester Psalms.” His current repertoire includes tenor and counter-tenor solos from Bach’s “Wachet Auf”, Handel’s “Messiah”, Rachmaninoff’s “Vocalise”, Gluck’s “Orfeo” and P.D.Q. Bach’s (Peter Schickle, ed.) “Bargain-Counter Tenor” in “Iphigenia in Brooklyn”

Currently Mr. Shannon is contracted as the tenor section leader for the Portland Symphonic Choir, the music director for The Rose City Timberlines Men’s Chorus and recently, the music director, organist, pianist and soloist for St. Timothy’s Lutheran Church. He lives in the Lents neighborhood in beautiful Portland, Oregon with his wife and two children.