Notes from Becky: I've been an elementary school teacher for 28 years and I love teaching. I also love singing. I get an opportunity as a teacher to sing with my students and hopefully to instill in them a love for music as well as an appreciation for many kinds of music. About six months before my 50th birthday I very nervously turned to my husband, Luther Hughes, and said, 'For my 50th birthday, I don't want a party, I don't want a trip, I want to make a CD of jazz tunes.' He turned to me and said, 'What?' (He was definitely surprised that this notion would ever enter my mind.) So I repeated myself, expecting him to say how silly I was, but he replied, 'Okay, choose some tunes...ones that are meaningful to you.' I didn't mention it again for months. In January, when I had pretty much talked myself out of this silly idea, Oprah Winfrey celebrated her 50th birthday big time! Then I thought, 'Yes, 50 is a big deal and I'm going to make a big deal of it. If I chicken out now I won't get another chance.' So, I thought carefully about my tunes. Around this time, Luther asked me which musicians I wanted for the recording. Of course I wanted to use friends and great musicians. Luckily, with my husband's connections that was no problem. So the big day comes and starts off like any other day. I got up at 5 a.m., taught all day and attended a staff meeting. Then, I was off to the studio. I knew that all the musicians were already there, and friends or no friends, I was feeling really intimidated before I even walked in the door. It turned out to be an amazing experience. During the recording sessions, Luther and Llew coached me on phrasing. I felt like they were trying to cram 30 years of experience into me in just a few days! I couldn't believe these wonderful musicians were performing for me! Three days later I celebrated my 50th birthday with family. I played the CD for them and, boy, were they surprised! I had so much fun, and at the same time worked so hard in the making of this CD. I had no idea how fulfilling the final product would ultimately make me feel. I'm so glad I did it. I will continue to sing with my elementary students because, like I said, I love to teach and I love to sing. --Becky.
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