Family Affirmation

Cheese and MugsI know it’s been a long time since I have posted. Don’t worry, I’m still singing jazz. I just took a vacation from posting. Come back often – there will be more.

Over the summer, I had the opportunity to spend time with my extended family at our biennial Miller Family Reunion. This is held every other summer at a location close to a relative of mine. This year, it was held in Willmar, MN, close to my super-talented cousin, Bill Gossman. (Bill is a potter. Check out his marvelous work at He also made the cups in the photo. )

One of the traditions at this reunion is the family talent show. I had entered before in the singer-songwriter genre, but it always seemed forced, and I was never very comfortable. This year, I was able to sing jazz. A couple of weeks before the reunion, I sent lead sheets another super-talented cousin, Duke Sharp, my brother Jim Reichart, and Jim’s son Jonathon, who accompanied me (on guitar, drums, and piano respectively) as I sang “God Bless the Child.” They were able to practice some before I got there, and it went off without a hitch. All of that practice of how to begin and end a tune and explain what I wanted paid off royally.

Before I sang, I described how my voice teacher, Alison Crockett, told me that “musically, you’re good, and vocally, you’re good. You just need to get out there and sing.” When the judges came back after conferring, they said they agreed with her. And I won. (Note the Mac and Cheese – it stems from a story that I’ll gladly tell over a beer.) I also sang Gershwin’s “Summertime” as an encore, and “Route 66″ during a jam session the next night.

Winning was gratifying, but what was even more gratifying was how comfortable I was when I sang. It’s so much a part of me now it’s second nature. And it was amazing to be able to show my family that I finally found my voice.

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