Handel’s Messiah in Niles, IL

December 11th, 2014
Featured soloists of Handel's Messiah

Featured soloists: Todd von Felker, Elise LaBarge, Scott Brunscheen, John Eckhardt, Jennifer Kosharsky, and Marek Rachelski. (From the Chicago Tribune, Posted by Dick Barton, Community Contributor)


Rejoice Greatly

December 2nd, 2014

My sister-in-law gave me a beautiful gown years ago that I wore for my Master’s recital.  I secretly hoped I’d get to wear it one day to sing the soprano Messiah solos, and today’s the day.

Elise LaBarge MM recital

My Master of Music recital at Washington University in St. Louis.



Kurt Weill Cabaret

October 8th, 2014

With Kurt Weill’s career as her guide, Elise LaBarge steps through the bawdy Weimar Republic of the 1920’s, the romantic, frivolous Paris of the 30’s, and the stylish, swinging New York of the 30’s and 40’s in this cabaret concert. Stephen Hargreaves joins on the piano, and Rebecca Richey on violin.

The show is Sunday, November 16th at 7pm. Please reserve a table ahead of time to guarantee a seat in the music room by calling 773-465-9801.

Uncommon Ground‘s delectable dinner, drink and dessert menu will be available throughout the evening, and the $15/person cover charge will simply be added to the final bill.

Please note: this is at the Devon location!

Weddings, Expense, and Love

August 13th, 2014

I spent my Monday at the Art Institute, listening to and chatting with folks in the wedding industry. Wedding Wire hosts its educational event in multiple cities throughout the country, and I was fortunate to attend the Chicago stopover. We heard several wonderful speakers who shared their wisdom about marketing, blogging and technology, which will be of use and assistance to small and large businesses alike. We all ate breakfast and lunch together and swapped business cards and told our stories. It was lovely.

In the middle of all this vital information sharing and gathering, of this attempt to gain more work and grow in the industry, no one talked about how to get more money out of an engaged couple. No one talked about the industry’s notorious reputation for taking advantage of the person paying for the wedding day, or that the inclusion of the word “wedding” means you can up-charge at least 50%. Of course no one talked about that, you might think. No one wants to talk about those things. But if they had, we would have all agreed that weddings do take a lot more time and effort than the average job, because weddings REALLY matter to the engaged couple. It’s our job to make sure they are happy, and we do have to charge enough (but jeez, not too much!) to make sure we can financially afford to devote the necessary amount of time to that important day.

And then Katheryn Hamm from gayweddings.com stood up and talked about weddings in a way that got to the heart of why I (and probably most people, at least when they started) want to be involved with weddings, and that is love. If you offer your services to any kind of couple with love, then, well, then you can’t go wrong. Cheers to that.

And cheers to all the people who made our wedding in May about as love-filled as a day could possibly be, including the professional photographers in our families who captured memories as they were being created. We are happy.

Pies and flowers: Mom, Belgain host mom, Sisters-in-law, Sisters-in-laws' moms.  © Tim LaBarge

Pies and flowers: Mom, Belgian host mom, Sisters-in-law, Sisters-in-laws’ moms.             © Tim LaBarge

Set-up: Siblings and Friends. © Tim LaBarge

Set-up: Family and Friends (who might as well be family). © Tim LaBarge

Location and Extras: Rainbow Ranch and Coco and Candy the Camels. © Jason Redmond


Day of wedding coordinator: Friend and Equity Stage Manager/Law Student Gina Savoie. © Tim LaBarge

Minister and Groom

Minister: Friend Suzanne Webb from Union Avenue Christian Church. © Todd Studios Photography


Ceremony Singers: LaBarges. © Todd Studios Photography

Gift Table.

Gift Table: Angela Armstrong © Todd Studios Photography


Help in every way, shape and form: Parents. © Todd Studios Photography


Poetry Break

July 14th, 2014

I am currently working on the supertitles for Union Avenue Opera’s 20th anniversary season. For those unfamiliar, supertitles are the live version of subtitles. The opera’s words/English translations are projected above or next to the stage so the audience can more specifically understand what’s going on during the performance. Creating PowerPoint presentations of these lengthy libretti (the words of an opera) can be tedious, but sometimes I get to do Google searches to inform my titles.  Today’s search started because Blanche and Mitch are quoting something in the 3rd scene of Act I of A Streetcar Named Desire by  André Previn. “And, if God choose, I shall but love you better after Death.” Sounds familiar, but what is it?

And for a moment, I am transported back to English class and am looking at a poem I’ve heard a million times. Today, however, I’m reading it at my own pace and because I want to read it. Sometimes we all need a poetry break.


March 11th, 2014

I spent this February working on a production of “The Marriage of Figaro” in Quincy, IL. I usually hate February, but this year, stepping into little Cherubino’s shoes, his many costumes, and his thoughts about ladies…well, I had a hard time hating anything. Even February.