“Deke Sharon is Marion on steroids!”

Well, I don’t know how Deke Sharon would react to the comparison, but I was thrilled when one of my students said this about me recently. What a compliment! I know that if I could harness even a drop of Deke’s talent I’d be thrilled.

For anyone who missed the memo, Deke is considered the daddy of contemporary a cappella music. He’s the dude that made a cappella a “thing” again thanks to The Sing-Off and the Pitch Perfect movies. The guy who has more than 6 books and 2000 arrangements to his name. Yeah, that Deke Sharon.

So being compared to him in any way is clearly super-duper flattering — at least for me. Especially because I know that there’s a lot more to Deke Sharon than talent…

Sing Portland! does Carnegie Hall.

This year my choir and I had the privilege of meeting the legend himself when we were invited to participate with Deke’s annual event, Total Vocal, in NYC. It was quite an experience: traveling with my choir members, being in the Big Apple, performing in Carnegie Hall, meeting talented singers from around the globe. It was a total whirlwind, made all the more special by the fact that we hadn’t gone looking for it. The opportunity to perform at Carnegie Hall came knocking on our door at the perfect time.

But the absolute pinnacle of all that NY excitement?

Working with Deke. Because yes, he’s supremely talented.  And yes, he’s a bundle of positivity and joy. But even more impressive, he knows exactly how to liberate his singers. Deke understands how to get the best out of every single performer.

So what’s his secret?

He takes the pressure off.

“I just want you to have a blast these three days” — that’s what he told us. So that’s exactly what we did.

Those simple words empowered us; all feelings of “are we good enough, am I good enough?” flew out of the window.  Deke assured us he was looking for our awesomeness, not our perfection. We were able to swap our nerves and our doubts for sheer joy. Without the pressure to perform perfectly, we were free to feel the music.

We focused on having a blast, and totally rocked our performance. I’ve never been so proud of my Sing Portland! family.

Back to the Big Apple.

And it’s made us want more. Singing in Carnegie Hall may sound like a once in a lifetime experience, but we’re not going to settle for that. No, Sing Portland! is heading back to the Big Apple in 2021 to participate with Total Vocal once again.

But I, for one, can’t wait that long. So for those of you who also want a more immediate hit of Deke Sharon inspired musical magic, I have some exciting news.

Drum roll please…

On September 12 I’m launching Pop PDX — a new group inspired by everything I’ve learned from Deke and his amazing musical spirit.

Introducing Pop PDX

Think younger music, more movement, more energy, more show oriented, and loads more fun. And we’ll be sticking with the familiar Sing Portland! framework of valuing participation over perfection. Because Deke isn’t the only one that believes that we’re all good enough already, that perfection is overrated, and that absolutely anyone can be a kickass performer.

At Sing Portland! we’ve known that all along.

So let’s follow Deke’s advice and focus on having a blast! I’ll see you September 12 for the launch of Pop PDX