Performing in a desert climate is not an easy feat. JAMES and I have found this to be the case nearly from day one. There’s even a condition called, “Vegas Throat”. Many big named performers refuse to sing concerts in Las Vegas because of the effects it has on instruments and voices alike. As many of you know, we spend our “off time” in Santa Fe, New Mexico performing 5 nights a week at a music venue called Vanessie attached to a boutique hotel. It really is SUCH a wonderful gig for us financially and socially. We actually have steady work when we’re not out on the road doing other types of concerts. I get to sit at the piano (except when James does) which is excellent practice for me. I’ve become much more confident accompanying myself whilst singing. The patrons that come in are incredibly supportive of everything we do. We’ve been able to add thousands to our mailing list and have accomplished a great deal through the support of our audiences here. The only drawback to this gig is that it requires performing in a desert climate. Santa Fe sits at #34 of the top 101 cities in the United States with the lowest average humidity. In addition to having very low humidity, Santa Fe also sits at 7,000 feet, making the altitude a challenge. It is not uncommon for many to have altitude sickness, suffer from dehydration and in some cases die from over-exerting themselves.
So what does this mean? For me, when I first started coming here, I thought there was something seriously wrong with my voice. But then I’d go out of town to play other gigs and could sing just fine. After some time, I began to realize how much the climate REALLY does effect my singing voice. Sometimes it’s raspy; sometimes it’s hard to breathe through and finish a phrase. I have issues with stamina and my top range has lost a few notes on it. Keep in mind, I’m also generally sitting when I sing which is not the greatest for any of these things aforementioned. For James, it means that he has portable tubed humidifiers that sit in his “F Holes” on his cello to try and keep it moisturized. He’s had his bridge replaced three times in the last 10 months. Because the bridge sinks into the cello, it changes the relative position of his hands. This affects his overall technique. I’m not sure if some singers and instrumentalists are more susceptible to the perils of arid climates or not, but it certainly does not help our case for great performances.
So for now, we spend time in our apartment with two humidifiers going at once. One for the cello and one for the voice. I’ve taken to allowing for a couple of extra hours of vocal rest in the mornings (which probably drives JAMES crazy because I have to write everything down and show it to him). Maybe we’ll get used to it someday. Anyone else have issues that arise from Performing in a Desert Climate? Let us know by commenting on this blog.