NEWS: 2014 A Year in Review

December 31, 2014


I’m not one to linger on the past, but I’m also not afraid of a little reflection in an effort to gain perspective and set new goals. In light of that, let’s talk about 2014, shall we? It was BIG! Bigger than I imagined. I remember specifically resolving at the end of 2013 to grow Davin Youngs Voice, and thanks to so many, we did just that!

In January I began the hunt for a co-conspirator! A partner-in-crime! Oh, and someone to take on some of the many students of singing who were coming my way. By February, I had in place the magical Missy Wise and boy did she hit the ground running. Having just moved to Chicago, Missy brought to the studio some southern charm and whole lot of talent. This year, Missy worked with nearly 150 singers and their positive feedback confirmed what I already knew was true. She made some awesome videos, wrote some killer blogstaught workshops and began to establish herself in the Chicago performing community! I’m so proud to have her on board and can’t wait to see the way things continue to grow for her in 2015.

In March and April we focused on studio building, some weeks seeing as many as 50 singers coming through our door! From professional to beginner, our clients became more and more diverse which made our jobs all the more wonderful. We also made our very first Davin Youngs Voice group trip to Davenport’s Piano Bar for what has become a bimonthly open mic outing. At Davenport’s some sang in front of others for the very first time, while others were able to try out material for upcoming auditions. We’ve already got dates on the books for 2015, so we’re looking forward to more and more clients joining in the fun!

In May, I made my way to NYC for level 1 training in Somatic Voicework™, The LoVetri Method. To be perfectly honest, I was hungry to learn more, but I was skeptical about what I was getting into. That being said, my experience in NYC changed the trajectory of not just my year, but also my teaching and singing. More on this in a bit.

Back on the home front, Kathryn Bartholomew (or Katie as we call her!) offered her second workshop with us on prepping monologues for auditions. A current student of singing at Davin Youngs Voice, having Kathryn in our midst got me thinking… again, more on that in a bit.

June was all about that media! I was lucky enough to be able to rep Davin Youngs Voice on You & Me This Morning as well as on Monocle Radio’s The Entrepreneurs. What a privilege to be able to tell people more about what we’re doing through TV & radio.

We also met our very first SINGtern, Jeanne Nemcek who became such a great asset to the studio. I’m so grateful for her contributions all the way through to December! She’s on to bigger and better things now, but THANKS JEANNE!

If June was all about media, then July was all about travel and learning. At the start of the month, Missy and I made our way to Boston to participate in the National Association of Teachers of Singing biannual conference where I was the recipient of an independent teacher fellowship. We had FUN! We saw amazing performances, ate great food and learned from a lot of other people who know more than we do. It was such a fun and successful trip and one of the great benefits was getting to know my colleague as a friend!

Not long after we returned from Boston, I got back on a plane to head to Shenandoah, VA to complete my training in Somatic Voicework™, The LoVetri Method. I mentioned earlier that my time in NYC was a game changer for me. Well, my time in Virginia turned it all into a life changer. I wrote quite a detailed blog post about the experience, so I won’t rehash it all, but to have this fresh bit of knowledge not only benefited me as a person, but has already paid off ten-fold with students. I see each singer I work with making progress more quickly because my tools are more sophisticated and effective. I’m grateful!

Oh, and not to be overshadowed by all this travel, in July we really started to dig in with our voice workshops, offering two each month on topics such beginning singing technique, creating a character and belting! This is an area we anticipate growing dramatically in 2015, so be on the lookout for a workshop that will appeal to you.

In August, Missy and I made our first visit to the Night Ministry, a teen homeless shelter here in Chicago. I had been looking for a way in which we could use our talents to give back a bit, and since we were trying to up our workshop game, especially for the non-singer, this seemed like the perfect fit. We are looking forward to continuing this partnership in 2015 and are open to others if anyone has suggestions!

September was a big month for Davin Youngs Voice as our team grew to three! Remember earlier how I mentioned client Kathryn Bartholomew’s acting workshop and how it got me thinking? Yea… it got me thinking, if she’s game, she should join us! Many of the singers who come through our door also have an interest in acting, and given Katie’s experience as a student of singing at Davin Youngs Voice and in the Chicago acting scene, she was the perfect fit. Not to mention, she has a stellar personality that you’d be hard pressed not to like. Since September, Katie has offered two workshops and begun private coaching sessions. We’re looking forward to opportunities to grow her client base in 2015!

One more thing about September; I got to be on WGN Radio! Twice! Two of their hosts were going to be singing at Wrigley Field and asked if I’d come in and share some quick tips. Again, this was such a fun opportunity to share more about what we do and how singing positively impacts people’s lives!

I don’t have much to say about October other than it was our biggest month ever at Davin Youngs Voice. More people came through our door than ever before and I got a little excited about what that could mean for 2015… but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Jump ahead to December and we again participated in the Fine Arts Building annual holiday open studios event. Personally, I love this event because so many come through our door! Between food, wine and caroling, it’s one of my favorites and this year was no exception. It does make me wonder about getting a bigger space, but I suppose for now it’s fun that it is cozy.

That brings us to January! Since I’m writing this on December 31st, I can’t really speak to what January 2015 will bring, but looking back on all that we’ve accomplished in the past 12 months, I’m optimistic about the next! Regardless of the specifics, I’m grateful to be surrounded by wonderful people, music and joy! Take all the rest away and I’ll still be good. Thanks to the many of you who have supported and participated in this! Thanks to Missy, Katie and Jeanne for their dedication and support and thanks to every singer who has come through our door! Oh and…

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