Fourth of July Festivities

I hope everyone had a fantastic Fourth of July holiday! Mine was a mix of activity and relaxation, just the way I like it. The first part of Fourth of July involved a trip down to Madison with my chorus to sing with the Wallingford Symphony Orchestra. The WSO was holding their “July Pops” performances over the weekend, where they featured lots of patriotic music! My chorus had a short but entertaining set, and the audience was impressed with our sound. We even had a trio of little girls dancing in the aisles! Our set was later in the evening, so by the time we got back to Central Connecticut, we were famished! It was at this point a few members of my chorus and I decided to try out Lyme Grill in Avon.

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Happy 2017!

Happy 2017 from Outside my Nine to Five! Like most people, my holidays were filled with family, shopping and (of course) food. I was able to do a few things that were fun since my last entry, though! Here’s a quick recap of the end of 2016:

Not Just Another Holiday Show

After Simsbury Celebrates was my chorus’s annual holiday concert. As the name indicates, it wasn’t your typical holiday concert. We had trivia, “elves” running up and down the aisles handing out candy canes, an opera singer, and the most entertaining version of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” I have ever witnessed in my life. Picture a church sanctuary, people sitting in the pews anticipating their turn to sing along. As their day of Christmas is called, they joyfully spring out of their seats and pantomime the animal or object given that day. As time goes on they try to outdo the other groups and show that yes, their day of Christmas was indeed the best day. My chorus was standing on the risers watching the absolute hilarity occurring in front of us; wondering “How are we going to top this next year?” Needless to say, this concert was one for the record books. Continue reading “Happy 2017!”

Succulents and Singing

Yesterday was the busiest day of my weekend. After my morning exercise class, I was off to do two things I’ve never done before: Plant Nite and the Harwinton Hometown Holiday Celebration!

Plant NitePlant Nite

Plant Nite follows the same concept as Paint Nite (it’s actually owned by the same company); take over a bar or restaurant and teach people how to create a work of gardening art! My Plant Nite took place at Bertucci’s in Bishop’s Corner, West Hartford. The event was at capacity – over 40 people attended! However, I was not as impressed with the event as I probably should have been. It was difficult to find the succulents that I wanted; I had to switch one of them with an extra that was lying around. We also had a limited selection of rocks and moss to decorate with (mainly because our table had one set of rocks and moss when we were apparently supposed to have two. We didn’t get the second set until 15 minutes later). Finally, the service at Bertucci’s was less than stellar. My friend didn’t get the lemon she requested with her tea and it took two waiters to get the dessert I was splitting with another friend. Unfortunately, I would not recommend attending a Plant Nite. Continue reading “Succulents and Singing”

Opening Weekends

October is the best time of the year for many reasons: Halloween, fall festivals, and the beginning of hockey season! The past two weekends I have gone to opening night for the UCONN men’s hockey team, the Hartford Wolfpack and the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. All of the games were fun for various reasons, and all resulted in victories for the home team. Read on to see what happened!

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B – Weekend

I am not sure how this happened, but this weekend I explored places that each had the letter ‘B’ somewhere in the name. Hence, the ‘B’ – weekend!

Crystal Bees

My weekend started out with an evening at Crystal Bees in Southington for Radio 104.1’s Cashapalooza Live. This event provides the opportunity to win $104 every 15 minutes on top of other prizes. Considering I’m a twenty-something with loans to pay, the potential to win free money and prizes was a definite draw.

When I entered Crystal Bees, I was shocked to see just how huge it was. My guess is that they retrofitted an old industrial space and turned it into a massive arena of fun. One side of Crystal Bees has a video arcade with a mix of classic (Skee-Ball, basketball, air hockey) and modern games (they have Flappy Bird!), and a cornhole and bocce court. The other side consists of a bowling alley and a bar and bistro with plenty of seating. Throughout Crystal Bees, there are big screens that project either local television or a wide array of music videos.

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Higher Truth

A couple Sundays ago, I got to see a concert put on by one of the most recognizable voices in grunge rock. Chris Cornell (Temple of the Dog, Soundgarden, Audioslave) brought his Higher Truth tour to the Palace Theater in Waterbury, CT. This all-acoustic show was absolutely incredible; full of great music, storytelling, and laughter.

The Palace Theater

I haven’t had much of an opportunity to visit the Palace Theater prior to this show. When you grow up in Hartford County, you’re either taken to the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts or Hartford Stage with your school. Boy – I missed out. The Palace Theater is gorgeous! While it is a smaller venue overall, the theater is full of beautiful artwork and gold detailing wherever you look. The marble stairs and red carpeting add to the elegance, and make you feel a little like royalty. As I settled in to my seat, I took in my surroundings and thought, “This is a great venue for a show.” Continue reading “Higher Truth”

Celebrations and an Oasis in Brooklyn

My weekend was jam-packed with things to celebrate! As I mentioned in my last entry, my chorus had our annual Sweet Adelines competition in Springfield. I typically go up for the day, so I drove at dawn to make it to my 7:30 AM rehearsal. The cool thing about traveling so early in the morning is seeing the mist rising from the ground. It’s almost like driving through clouds, but with less chance of oxygen deprivation.

Symphony Hall

After I got to Springfield, I was in performance mode. From rehearsing to getting ready, the morning was a blur. Then, we made our way over to Symphony Hall for the big show!  Symphony Hall is a historic theater filled with gold ornate finishings and red velvet covering the seats and the curtains. The stone exterior is absolutely beautiful and adds to the charm of downtown Springfield. Rumor has it the basement of Symphony Hall (where the green room is) also served as a bomb shelter during World War II because of the rugged exterior.

The theater itself is a great place to view a show – there isn’t a bad sightline to be found! I enjoyed watching the other choruses, though the results of our competition were firmly in the back of my mind. We were all waiting with baited breath to find out who won; and we were overjoyed to find out we were first in our division and second overall!

As I was driving home, I called all my friends to tell them the fantastic news. It was at this time that I was invited by my friend in Bridgeport to visit New York City the next day! Continue reading “Celebrations and an Oasis in Brooklyn”

Singing in Bloomfield

Last weekend, I had a concert with the Farmington Valley Chorus at Old St. Andrew’s Church in Bloomfield. My concert itself was awesome – I love performing. What I really enjoyed though, was the venue!

Old St. Andrew’s is in a somewhat rural part of Bloomfield, near the Simsbury line. It’s not the first image that comes to mind when you think of Bloomfield, considering it’s a town that borders West Hartford, Hartford and Windsor which are more city-like. I had to take a few back roads through Simsbury and Tariffville to get there, and it was a wonderful ride. Continue reading “Singing in Bloomfield”

Singing, The Russian Lady, and Deadpool

This weekend can be summarized in three words (well, three phrases if you want to be completely correct…):


The Russian Lady.



One of the things I do outside of my job is sing. I’m a member of the Farmington Valley Chorus, which is a chapter of Sweet Adelines International. We meet every Wednesday in Simsbury, and we sing a variety of songs arranged in barbershop style. Throughout the year we have a lot of performances, one of them being our regional competition. This weekend, we had a coaching session at our rehearsal space to get ready for competition. The person who coached us was Betty Clipman, who has a reputation of being amazing. She has directed not one but two winning choruses, and is also a “Queen of Harmony” (which is pretty much the highest honor someone in Sweet Adelines can get).

Our coaching session was tough, but in a good way. She got us thinking about a lot of different things relating to how we sing, which I’ve been thinking about since then. I will  admit to being nervous at times because when someone of that caliber is working with you, you really want to do your best. Overall, it was an impactful two days. Continue reading “Singing, The Russian Lady, and Deadpool”

“Your Light Shines Brighter”

Hi! Welcome to the first entry of “Outside My Nine to Five”! I hope you’ll enjoy this blog and come back often!

So, on to this weekend’s adventures! Saturday, my buddy and I saw Breaking Benjamin and Starset at the Dome at the Oakdale Theatre in Wallingford, CT. This show was part of Breaking Benjamin’s acoustic tour, which piqued my interest. Having heard both bands before, and having an appreciation for acoustic music, I was pretty excited to see them!

“What’s so bad about Nickelback?”

Outside the Oakdale Theater
Outside the Oakdale Theater

We got to the Oakdale around six since there was some confusion about when the show would start. Our tickets said eight, but we had seen online that the show would start at seven. As it turns out, seven o’clock was when the doors opened. Thankfully, we were not the only ones waiting (and freezing) in line for the next hour. We chatted with a group of people around our age about a lot of things…including Nickelback.

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