Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Recognized Again on the Mouth Off Show!!

Clearly Vocal was awarded Runner-Up for "Where Did They Come From?" (a.k.a. best a cappella newbies) on this week's Mouth Off Show! We're in the segment beginning around 34:20. You might notice that the other runner-up was Voices of Lee. Then you might also notice that the winners were Sonos and Nota, and they both have label contracts! Just to be named among those groups is such an honor!! Thanks, Dave and Christopher!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Are YOU watching?

The Sing Off: a special 4-episode reality show on NBC similar to Idol. The difference? It's all a cappella! Not your "typical old-school boring a cappella," which is what so many people think when they hear that term, but exciting, new, and all different styles of vocal singing. Oh, the amazing power of the human voice! What a gift!

Here's a clip about the groups competing:

Here are some things that make this competition so special to Clearly Vocal:

  • We know Courtney Jensen, the beatboxer in the all-female group, Noteworty!  She was at SoJam, taught a class, and said she loved hearing us sing! And she's the nicest person in the world.
  • We saw Voices of Lee live in Nashville a year and a half ago when we went to go hear The Real Group. They were some of the college winners at that a cappella competition who opened for TRG.
  • We know Deke Sharon, the main guy who is working with the groups and doing the arranging for the new songs. He arranged the opening act, "Under Pressure!" Deke is the president of the Contemporary A Cappella League, of which CV is a member. Deke went out of his way to compliment us in front of everyone in one of his SoJam classes! We sing several of his arrangements. He sings with the vocal band, The House Jacks.
  • The intro and transition music you hear throughout the show is performed by The House Jacks! They also performed at SoJam and are working with each Sing Off group on their performances.
My biggest concern about the show is that I'm afraid groups are getting voted off because of bad mixing. Several of the judges' comments had to do with not being able to hear the soloist. That's a soundman error! I wondered if the mix we were hearing through the tv was better than what they were hearing live, sitting right in front of them. I could hear the solos just fine.

Yes, of course, Clearly Vocal is dreaming of The Sing Off, 2010. We'd have to learn to bust a move out there, though! That could be a stretch for (some of) us! ;)

Tonight is night two of The Sing Off! I'm so excited! This is a great thing for contemporary a cappella singing!

What do YOU think?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Since then ...

... we've been doing a lot of singing! From restaurants, to school choir concerts; outdoors, indoors; full shows and guest appearanes, for young people and old people; we've been doing a lot of singing!

We kicked off our December singing at the Bullard Middle School/High School Choir concert. Their director is Cindi Galletly, a friend of ours who sings on the praise team. She asked Clearly Vocal to make a special appearance at "halftime." That was fun, but I think it was more fun to watch Cindi direct her choirs! I really appreciated the mutual respect that Cindi and her choirs had for each other.

And we did awesome. And here's what they sky looked like that night:

Our all-female singing group from church, The Blessing, sang up in Hawkins, TX for their annual Christmas in the Park. It was the absolute worst singing conditions I had ever sung in. Outdoors, 39 degrees, a cold wind bouncing off the lake, using someone else's sound equipment, monitor levels incredibly high, and a train that ran past every few minutes, blowing its horn. Imagine trying to give pitches 1/2 step higher than the second note in the train's own little chord. Wow. HOWEVER, it was worth it, and I'd do it again in a heartbeat. Those ladies are troopers!

Clearly Vocal then trekked out to downtown Ben Wheeler to carol for a couple of hours. They have this guy out there who I think is trying to single-handedly grow Ben Wheeler from the ground up. He told me that he wants to turn Ben Wheeler into a Mountain View, AR, kind of a place, and then snickered, assuming I had never heard of the place. He was totally taken aback when I told him that I have been to Mt. View almost every year of my life since I was 12! Then I was taken aback when he told me that he had never actually been there! Ha! I think they're up to ... maybe five or six stores? Including the restaurant, Moore's Store. You'll be hearing more about Moore's in future posts.

Anyway, we bundled up and sang outside for a couple of hours. Chelsea also came with us and took some pics! Aren't we cute? :)

The very next day, we performed our full Christmas show for the Meadow Lake holiday party. Meadow Lake is the newest retirement community being built in town. Looks really nice ... family? ;)

Tonight, The Group Therapy Band will be gigging at KE Cellars from 6-9!

When we're not singing, we do see our children from time to time.

See? Here they are reading books. Wait, that's only two of them ...

There's the other one! He's wearing an outfit that was John's! Thanks, Momo!

Here's this one, singing at the top of her lungs. (Never take pictures while driving.)

And here's this one. Trying to tell me something, Jonas?

And here's what happens when you try to organize all of Grammie's recipes:

You get some AMAZING boiled custard and leave the rest of the recipes to be organized another day!


I'm a little behind, but alive and well! Here is the Thanksgiving post.

Kalleigh had her little Thanksgiving feast at school. Each class sang a song for the parents, but I couldn't get a good picture of them with just my iPhone. (Remember, I dropped my camera on concrete while in Galveston. Yeah, been without a camera since September. Bleh.) So, here's Kalleigh enjoying her feast in her Indi- ... uh, Native American head gear. :)

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving break. The kids and I got all the Christmas decorations up on Monday and Tuesday while John was at work.

Ahhh, my tree. In front of the window that faces the street. The determining factor in the choosing of this house!

Johnathan put up the kids' tree all by himself! All he needed help with was the bow on top!

JohnaClaus. :) If you can't tell, his mustache/beard (that he made by himself) is held to his face by tape. Because as you know, tape is the answer to so many problems.

Wednesday was full of baking desserts and bread for the next day. Thursday morning we drove to Bonham to stay at Jay and Tracy's beautiful bed and breakfast, Granny Lou's.

We enjoyed a yummy traditional Hodges meal with Martha, Jay, Tracy, Kevin, Laurie, Brenna and our five. We were lucky to catch Jayson and his wife Ashley before they had to go. They're expecting their first in May!

Uncle Kevin takes on the kids in Monopoly.

We came on home that night. I nearly took a six point buck home on the front of our car, but thanks to good breaks, we "missed out on that opportunity!"

Friday, we played the Wii, snacked all day and avoided the crowds! We also did some work. John worked hard on a video editing project for a friend and we did all the filing that had been piling up.

Saturday, we drove over to Ft. Worth to Kevin & Laurie's house to be with the Hodges crew again. This time, Martha's sister Marilyn also joined us. John and Kevin played with the kids in their beautiful backyard while lunch was cooking.

Laurie had asked us to bring the Wii, since they were thinking about getting one for Christmas. I think their decision was finalized! Tracy tore us all up bowling, but Johnathan proved hard to beat!

Thanks Jay and Laurie for hosting Hodges Thanksgiving! We had a great time!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Jonas words

I love when the child starts speaking enough words that he can actually communicate what he wants. It's just so pitiful when all they do is cry and scream and you play this hysterical guessing game until the child calms down either because you successfully guessed what the problem was or because he got distracted by something else so that he forgot what he was upset about in the first place.

"Words, a letter and a letter on a string, will hold forever humanity spellbound." --Anders Edenroth, The Real Group.

So Jonas is beginning to string letters together to form words and a couple of words together here and there to make "sentences." It's so precious to a mother, and I don't want to forget his little language. Here are my favorties right now:

Mbvoo = balloon
Bah-boo = dog (originally Bison, but now he calls all dogs bah-boo)
Bah-bah, Daddy
Hah deh! = Hi there!
Ooo-wee! = Shewee! (as in poopy diaper)
Ot = hot
At = hat
Oots = oops
Hah-oh = hello
Ra-ra = Dora (the Explorer)
Ah-ro = Mario
Deh! = There! (when he accomplishes something)
Oosh = shoes

Again, these are just my favorites in his list of words he can say, or uh, communicate. :)

Sweet Kalleigh "reading" to her baby brother.

Love those kids!

Monday, November 16, 2009


Not this past weekend, but the one before that, Clearly Vocal went to SoJam.

"SoJam is a weekend-long a cappella extravaganza brought to you by The Contemporary A Cappella Society (CASA).  Held in North Carolina and now in its 7th year, the festival is jam-packed with Concerts, Competitions, Master Classes and hands-on workshops led by some of the biggest names in the vocal music universe! SoJam has quickly established itself as one of the most exciting a cappella gatherings in the world." --SoJam.com

We had no idea what to expect, but whatever we thought, it exceeded our expectations! Things I took away from SoJam:

We are not the only group out there singing contemporary a cappella music.
We hold our own in comparison to the other semi-pro groups.
We are very professional in some ways and relatively amateur in others.
Some of the nicest people are gay.
We need a CD, but only if it's done well.
I can do vocal percussion if necessary.
I can blow raspberries on pitch, and therefore "sing" bass if necessary.
We had the tightest harmonies of any group there.
Apparently, we need to be much more organic and evocative.
Contemporary a cappella is almost completely missing from the state of Texas.
We do not have the same style as everybody else, and we're good with that.
My big toe can be pretty articulate if I would breathe deeply enough to listen to it.
I need to be arranging and writing original stuff.
Eclipse and The House Jacks are now two of my favorite a cappella groups, but I will never abandon The Real Group.

We had so much fun together as a group. We ate, sang, joked and laughed a lot!

AND we got mentioned on the Mouth Off Show! How exciting!

"Mouth Off is the weekly podcast show that brings the world of contemporary a cappella right to your ears.  From news to reviews to personal views, Dave Brown and Christopher Diaz dish it out every week with characteristic sarcasm and wit." --mouthoffshow.com

"They were just so spot on! Their pitch was so good!" --Dave Brown
"Not only are they the nicest people in the whole universe, they can really, really sing!" --Christopher Diaz

Click here to listen to their entire wrap up, or just go to 17:50 and listen for about 1 1/2 min to our little time in the spotlight!

We made a lot of new friends and there was a ton of good networking that took place. SoJam was SoGood for Clearly Vocal!

Friday, November 13, 2009


Oooh, sorry! That took way too long to post the good set of pics! It's been a little crazy, but such is life.

Anyway, there were so many good ones, thanks to Chelsea, but these are my favorites:


Tune in next time when I'll do a full recap of Clearly Vocal's weekend at SoJam!

Thursday, November 05, 2009


I love when Deborah posts her picture rejects, so I'm going to do the same thing. You just never know what you're going to get when taking pictures of kids!

You will put your arm down if I have to tickle your armpit to do it!

Apparently Jonas was the only one who was "Sure." The other two are checking.

Mom! Isn't this a cool thing I can do with my leg?

Johnathan's not sure if squishing Jonas is the best idea. Kalleigh has no problem with it.

We'll call this, "mid-sentence."


"Lah-Doh!" (Water. He's looking at a pond.)

Kalleigh, plotting against her brothers while Johnathan realizes, "That's cold!"

Are we done yet?

I'll post the "real ones" in a few days. Clearly Vocal is going to SoJam tomorrow for the weekend! See you Monday!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Trunk or Treat '09

All ready to go! Mario, Cinderella and Mr. Pumpkin. All 3 kids have worn that pumpkin outfit! 

Silas & Johnathan, a.k.a. Luigi and Mario

Abby & Kalleigh, a.k.a. Miss Kitty and Cinderella

Claire and Jonas. Isn't that the cutest girly Zebra costume?!

John is dealing with acute sinusitis, so he missed out on the evening's festivities. But no worries; we brought home enough candy for us all!

Saturday night, we're playing at Breakers, so we have a faithful babysitter coming to watch the kids. I think I'm going to steal Tiffany's idea and encourage all three of us to dress up like rock stars! Yes, we'll take pictures ...

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Visit from Colorado

Last weekend, Lindsey, one of my basketball girls from Colorado Springs, came to Tyler to visit for the weekend! I couldn't believe that she flew all the way down here just to visit! This was her first time in TEXAS, much less Tyler.

I took her to the Rose Garden first. They don't have too many roses in CO, especially this time of year!


 Stopping to smell the Tyler roses!

The sign says, "Tyler Rose Park."

Then I took her to eat some mighty fine southern cookin' in an atmosphere that'd  make a horny toad feel at home. We went to Daniel Boone's. I tried to link it to their home page, but I don't think they even have a web page! A super-southern environment makes this place a classic to take guests from out of Texas. And the waitress did it just right. She walked up to the table, and in the best East Texan she could muster said out of the side of her mouth and with a sly grin, "Welcome to Texas." THAT's the picture of Lindsey I wish I had taken. Her reaction was hilarious. A shocked, jump-back-from-the-waitress, is-she-for-real-? look. I laughed so hard!

In thinking of places I should take Lindsey, it became clear to both of us that I really value our food because those were the only places I could think of that I really needed to take her! Other than Daniel Boone's, we hit Kickers, Breakers, Stanley's BBQ and even Brookshire's. That's a whole other story!

I took her to Brookshire's for two reasons. One was for her to experience grocery shopping in the south, and also to find a candle from the Tyler Candle Company that Brookshire's always has. Would you believe that 1.) They did not offer to carry our groceries out (!) and 2.) They did not sell any Tyler candles anymore. Not only that, but I talked about how I ALWAYS see someone I know at Brookshire's, but of course not that day. Sorry Brookshire's. I'm usually a big fan, but you let me down.

Friday night, Lindsey came with John and I to our praise team party. She did know this ahead of time and had the option of going with us or staying home and babysitting! Ha! She was fascinated by the "properness" of the casual party put on with much expertise by Linda Carey. Yes, she did get to rub shoulders with some of the classiest southern ladies I know!

Saturday morning we all went to the Caldwell Zoo. The big cats were active that morning, so that was fun. See? I knew our family pass would come in handy eventually! And it was a beautiful morning, too.

Saturday night, Lindsey came to Breakers with us. She plays bass in her worship band, so I told her she should've brought her bass and jammed with us! Lindsey ordered THE CRAB. That thing must've been a foot wide and about 6 inches deep! Really cool presentation. She was a trouper and stayed with us there for 7 hours! We played until 12:30. Brandon, the owner, was so nice and gave her a Breakers t-shirt to take home with her. That ended up being her only souvenir since the Tyler candle thing crashed and burned!

Then we were out the door by 7:30 Sunday morning to drop John off for praise team practice. The kids had spent the night with the Deans (yea!!), so Lindsey and I hung out at Starbucks and drank our caffeinated beverages in an attempt to wake up before church! She helped me teach cradle roll that morning, too. :)

After church, we ate at CiCi's. I wanted to take her over to Atwoods for the full East Texas experience but we ran out of time. It was already time to take her back to the airport!

What a fun weekend! Thanks, Lindsey, for making such a huge effort to come hang out! Love you, girl!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Race Day

For some reason I could not sleep the night before. You know, the night you're supposed to get a really good night's sleep. By the time it was time to actually get up, my mind had already run a half a marathon!

So, at 6 a.m. I got up and made some oatmeal. I put on my fabulously cute running clothes, which we all know is the most important thing about running. As long as you look cute, right? :) By the way, Mom, my running jacket that you bought me while you were down here worked beautifully!! My iPhone went in the appropriate pocket and I was protected from the 44 degree weather early that morning! Thanks!

John got the kids ready, thankfully. I was so nervous/excited that I could hardly function! We drove off right around 7:00 to get to UT Tyler where the start/finish line was.

It was so exciting to be there with so many other runners. Well, a little strange, to be honest. For some people, running is their life, and it's obvious. There were all kinds of people warming up by sprinting across the parking lot or meditating under trees or stretching. It was then that I really felt out of place. What in the world was I doing? I'm not like them! I warmed up by, together with John, keeping the children in sight. I loved seeing other moms there with their children cheering them on! Then I didn't feel quite so alone!

I signed in and watched other people put their timing chips on their shoes before I attempted to put mine on so I wouldn't be so obviously a rookie! There was music playing and water and Gatorade and bananas around. I took three bananas and gave them to my children for their breakfasts, since I'm not sure they had eaten anything that morning.

Then we headed on over to the starting line. I kissed the fam goodbye hoping that I would, indeed, see them again. I figured I'd live, but there was just a little bit of doubt! Still, it was pretty exciting. I was amazed at how many people were running with a group or at least one or two people that they knew. I did know two other guys from church running, but one was Matt Madison, Mr. Marathon-Super-Triathlete-Dude, and I figured he wouldn't want to hang out at my pace! The other was David Bailey, who is also an experienced half-marathoner. Both guys did great, by the way.

And so that left me to face the 13.1 miles on my own. But by that point, I was so psyched up for the race, I didn't care! Bring It On!

I guess the gun went off, for people started running, though I didn't even hear it! But that's when it got even more exciting. The first part of the race sort of wound back and forth so that we got to see those in the front of the pack; those we would never see again after the path straightened out! Wow. I had heard that it's a cool thing to be running with so many other runners, but I had never really experienced that. Until then! I must've looked so stupid because I couldn't stop smiling for like the first 4 miles!

It also helped that the first 6 miles were basically downhill. Right before we got to  the 6 mile mark, we went down a nice long hill. There was a beautiful view, and although I think it was Katy Perry's "Hot 'N Cold" blasting in my earbuds, I was worshipping!

Then came The Hill. The Hill that everyone talks about before, during and after the race. It's a steady, steep incline for a full mile. That's where I saw, and passed, the first walkers. Thankfully, Flint is pretty hilly, too, where I had been running all summer, so I managed to keep up the pace okay. It was hard, but I just kept going.

After mile 7 came, though, I felt like I could conquer the world! I was over halfway there, and the hardest hill was behind me! What I hadn't remembered, though, was that the rest of the backside was mostly uphill and some down. Nothing much level at all! That made since, though, since those first 6 were downhill and we were ending where we started! In this case, what goes down must come up!

At mile 8, I called Kreg. No, seriously, I did! My fantastic phone can use voice commands to call people. Kreg and I had talked about how past mile 8 had been new territory for him when he did his 1/2, and so it was an exciting marker. I was feeling great, and was so encouraged! It was at that point that I started passing a lot more people than there were people passing me. "If I can just get past those people ..."

Miles 9-11 were sort of a blur. I did a lot of thinking, since I had all that time. The crowd had really thinned out by that point, so I was running by myself a lot of the time. I was starting to get a little tired, but not too bad. I thought about Papaw Curtis, who would've turned 83 the day before, and about all the running he did hunting rabbits and raccoons through the night! I bet he could've run 13.1 miles in his hunting days! See? Even after he's been gone almost 10 months, he's still encouraging me to do my best!

John called around mile 11.5, and I really needed it. That's where I hit my wall. I knew I could finish because I only had a mile and a half to go, but my legs were burning pretty good! So John called and played on of my favorite songs from the Real Group for me. Then he let Johnathan talk to me and tell me that I was doing a good job! That was definitely a highlight of the race.

At mile 12 I called Mom. I just needed to hear one more person I loved say "Run, Kimberly!" Kristi was with her, so they both cheered me on!

But we were STILL going uphill! And I couldn't see the finish line. I think there's something about that extra .1 miles that just does played with my mind! But finally I did see the finish line, and I ran it in strong.

I was so excited to have finished! My time was 2:11:17, which put me just barley over a 10 minute mile. I was kind of hoping that with adrenaline and all I might break 10 minutes, but I keep reminding myself that I'm 30, have 3 kids 5 and under, and had never run a race longer than 800 meters in my life!

So, all in all, it was a great experience. I was super tired, but still was able to function. I didn't cramp up while on stage with Clearly Vocal just 2 1/2 hours later, so I'd call that a success!

Here are a few little pictures of poor quality that I snagged off of the photographer's website. I did order a couple of prints to scrap!

Toward the beginning of the race with my goofy grin!

Feelin' good!

Mile 12. I'm pretty sure I'm on the phone with Mom!

Big finish! I'm looking over at John and the kids who are cheering me in! Thanks guys! You were a welcome sight!