When I was in High School I had a dream that one day I would sing with a big band. I remember rolling this dream around in my mind for a couple of years and then completely giving up on it as my confidence in my ability to carry it out waned.
Fast forward to 2010, the year I turned 40. I was driving on the interstate on my way to a family wedding in Springfield, MO. I was singing along to my favorite Indigo Girls CD when a voice inside my head said “Tisha, you have to sing.” I had heard this voice many, many times before and every time I had said in response. “Yes, I know but not right now.” This time, however, was different. This time I said, “o.k. I’ll sing”. At that time I had no recollection of my high school dream and no idea what it would mean to finally follow the advice of the voice in my head telling me about my dreams.
I began voice lessons with the wonderful Maggie Delaney Potthoff in January, 2011. I formed a trio and began performing fundraising concerts in local churches with them. Then one day in 2013 my long ago dream of singing with a big band reappeared in my mind’s eye. I immediately began thinking about how I was going to make that particular musical dream come true.
One night, on a whim I asked a friend who I knew was a member of the Madison College Big Band whether or not he thought the band would be open to a vocalist. He agreed to talk to the director and found out that yes, there was interest in having a vocalist. We set up a time for me to come and sing with the band and from that point forward I have been the vocalist for the Madison College Big Band. My dream of singing with a big band is coming true!
The Madison College Big Band is made up of Madison area community members and Madison College students. It is one of many community bands that provide Madison area musicians with opportunities to continue making music and performing beyond high school and college. I am really proud to make music with this group. We perform at a variety of community functions around Madison and Dane County and have two concerts each year at Madison College in Mitby Theater. Currently, we are exploring the possibility of going on tour in Germany as part of an exchange between Madison’s sister city, Freiburg.
The video included with this post is from our most recent Mitby Theater performance on Saturday, April 16, 2016. The tune is called “Thad Had” by John LaBarbera and is a tribute to the great American Jazz trumpeter, composer and arranger Thad Jones. One of the things I’m proudest of is that this is also the first time I have had the opportunity to explore scat singing and I think it went fairly well. I hope you enjoy our version of “Thad Had” and that you’ll come out and hear this band play sometime.