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.