The soul, power and energy found deep within the roots of music nowadays emanate through bright lights, concert t-shirts and platinum artists. Sometimes we forget that music starts small. The tunes that now blare through the airways may have originated within a community of coffee shops, local venues and even in the homes of our neighbors…the places that seeds of success are planted. Here: three local women and their musical journeys:
Janet Angier: Making Music in Chappaqua and Introducing a Cabaret Opportunity!
Since injuring her arm from years and years of playing the oboe, Chappaqua resident Janet Angier reinvented her musical career by focusing on the inner instrument—her voice.
“I practiced oboe so much that I got very, very severe tendinitis and I kept trying to heal [my arm] but it’s never been the same,” she says. “This whole singing career started to bud in my life because I started to take voice lessons and fell in love with singing.” With a few performances in the works for March, Janet has been able to add a diverse element to her musical talent by taking lessons from Chris Cain—one of the world class vocal coaches that teaches at her private lessons school, Music in Chappaqua. Claiming some of the top instructors in the area as a result of her school’s proximity to New York City, Janet founded Music in Chappaqua in 1993, another new path taken after her tendinitis sidelined her from the oboe.
“I had to stop performing and I didn’t quite know what to do so I thought ‘well, I’ll teach for a little bit while I figure things out’ and the school just took off,” Angier says. “It’s a really successful school and we’ve got great students who are doing really amazing things— kids are even starting to get signed to labels and launching careers.” A diverse staff and the ability to teach a variety of musical disciplines, Music in Chappaqua is now launching an adult cabaret program, where participants take five classes with a music director and stage a live performance. The first show, open to the public, will be held on Sunday March 11th at 7 p.m. at Crabtree’s Kittle House, and will include Janet and three other participants in the new program. Says Janet: “Finding my voice and bringing my inner artist back to life is an amazing journey, I feel whole again, as if I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing.”
A social worker in Westchester, ZZ feels as though she escapes to “the other me” when in front of a microphone. Unlike social work, which is categorized as a career, music spurs that inner passion that leaves the crowd and herself with a sense of fulfillment. “Music seems to consistently have that same incredible impact on me,” ZZ says. “When people who’ve heard me sing respond with how beautiful it is, and how I’ve moved them or healed them, I feel that’s just another way of helping and healing people, and also myself. It’s rewarding on levels that my other work just isn’t and never could be.” ZZ has held this feeling of internal fulfillment ever since she was a child. Exposed to musical instruments, taking piano lessons as well as writing lyrics, music and performing with her childhood friend, she found an outlet for the expression of her creativity. She has been perfecting her guitar skills too. “You can’t take a piano anywhere.” According to ZZ, a dynamic exists between singing a song and playing a guitar to accompany that piece. “It brings me to a different place,” says ZZ. “I love it all in different ways and it’s like I’m finding different parts of myself and that’s incredibly rewarding.”
As a an Acoustic Duo, together with her very talented guitarist and vocalist, Jimmy Tate, she has appeared at The Bayou in Mt. Vernon and 12 Grapes in Peekskill. Upcoming gigs include The Post Road Ale House in New Rochelle on March 16th and The Lazy Boy Saloon in White Plains on March 23rd.
Daisy Jopling:Passion for the Violin
Growing up, Peekskill resident Daisy Jopling was surrounded by people who knew she’d one day become a professional violinist. She started playing the violin when she was three and displayed undeniable talent throughout her childhood. But it wasn’t something she deeply considered or felt strongly about until she was entering adulthood. “There was a moment for me when I was 19 years old where I really, really just decided that this is something that I really wanted to do,” Daisy says. Nearly 20 years later, Daisy has performed everywhere from the busy metropolis of London to the earnest lands of West Africa, she has expressed her passion for playing the violin throughout the globe.
Daisy will begin a new chapter in her music career next month as she’s in the works of recording a new album composed of her band’s own classical arrangements. The Daisy Jopling Band, which is composed of Daisy, a pianist, a bassist and a drummer, will essentially take her back to beginnings as a young violin player.
“Having not played classical music for the past 15 years, I came to New York and felt I wanted to complete the circle and have the music of my roots come back into my repertoire but I needed to put my own spin on it—so I chose three unbelievable New York musicians who play everything apart from classical music,” Daisy says. You can catch Daisy in her hometown of Peekskill on May 19th at the Paramount Center for the Arts.
Kerry Barger, former editor-in-chief of The Putnam Examiner, now serves as a social media coordinator for Houlihan Lawrence.
Alexis Cole: A Jazz Great Amongst Us
Chappaqua living can certainly feel divine at times, as it did sitting at the bar on a Thursday evening inside the Tap Room, sipping a Cosmo, and listening to the soothing sounds of Alexis Cole, a local jazz singer who has been compared to classic jazz singer greats such as Sarah Vaughan and Anita O’Day.*
On this particular eve, the tables were packed with diners enjoying dinner–and, of course, Alexis, unobtrusively yours behind the Baby Grand, unpretentious and also quite beautiful as she offered up classic jazz melodies such as “All of Me” and “Georgia” for the lucky patrons. Between sets, Alexis engaged and enchanted me with stories of her lifelong study of and passion for music,* beginning as a child in Queens. “I can’t remember ever wanting to do anything else with my life,” says Alexis. In present times, she performs at gigs in Westchester as a member of a 17-piece West Point Big Band that holds “jazz nights” at Avery Fisher Hall and last Christmas at the New York Philharmonic. She is also working on two new record labels.
“My music career is a source of constant excitement,” says Alex…and it’s not hard to understand why! Alexis notes that she has been thrilled by her gig at Crabtree’s and meets “the most interesting people. It is, without doubt a very special place.” Come dine and hear Alexis, starting at 7 p.m., till 9 p.m., every Thursday inside the Tap Room. – Grace Bennett
* Cole is the recipient of a Swing Journal Gold Disk award, and has won the NY Jazzmobile and Montreux Jazz Festival vocal competitions. She records for Motéma Music, NY. and Venus Records, Japan. Her eight recordings, which feature musical luminaries such as Fred Hersch, Eric Alexander, Matt Wilson, Harry Pickens, Don Braden and Pat LaBarbara, have received high praise in the jazz press and are spun on radio world-wide. For more information, go to www.AlexisCole.com