It started off innocently enough... get some ladies together to sing at the VA Hospital for Christmas. My son was a Marine in Afghanistan, and it seemed like a better thing to do than worry and cry. Five other "Blue Star Moms" joined me that holiday season-- 7 years ago. From that one performance, with music from a boombox, "The Singing Blue Star Moms" was born.
We sang for donations to the Blue Star Mom organization for several years. Learning tunes from the WWII era and though the 60's, we entertained numerous veterans organizations and senior groups. But difficulties and varying agendas within our East Bay Chapter soon had our little singing group longing to be independent. Since our sons and daughters had returned from war, we struck out on our own-- but soon were "courted" by the USS Hornet Aircraft Carrier Museum.
Since we didn't want to start a business, this relationship with a famous WWII icon seemed like a good fit. Additionally, we continued to bring in new singers and lose some over time. We wanted to keep the group small (fewer than 8) so that it would be manageable. We started getting pickier about who could join us. Now they have to have talent and be able to sing. In the beginning, it didn't matter. Now they have to be able to "move" as well as sing-- and they must fit into our uniform. Now, we sing all of our own harmonies and use karaoke or other instrumental tracks; we no longer sing over another artist's voice-- which was how we started out.
Though the "growth process" has had its pains, we are at a fantastic place. No divas, everyone trying really hard to improve all the time-- and still maintain a sense of fun. It's great to add new songs and challenge ourselves to learn more than one part, so we can be somewhat "interchangeable." The amateur group that used to sing free for anyone who wanted some singing is now able to charge a fee for performances. We are doing well over 70 performances a year and have been doing this for the last few years.
This brings me to the reason for this blog. Our dreams include:
1. Singing on a patriotic themed float in the Pasadena Rose Parade.
2. Singing in Washington DC for an event that honors our veterans. The Whitehouse would be great.
3. Singing for the opening celebration of the new Pearl Harbor Memorial Center in December 2010.
We're not sure how to get to these goals, but keep making contacts (phone calls, letters, in-person meetings, free performances for the right exposure) wherever we can. We keep trying to improve the sound. We have recorded a CD of 11 songs from the WWII era.
I'll keep writing about our progress. If interested, anyone can see photos of all our recent performances on our Facebook page-- Singing Blue Stars.