Episode #200 — Opera Singer Marily Sampson

The world is still abuzz with reactions to Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee Celebration, and we get it. No British monarch has ever made it to 70 years on the throne before, what with all the palace intrigue, wars, rare diseases, abdications, and beheadings. Queen Victoria came the closest at 63 years, and that’s despite giving birth to nine children in the nineteenth century — which ought to give her bonus points. So, Victoria’s great-great granddaughter Elizabeth II got a fabulous celebration with air shows, horse shows, musical celebrations, and endless memes of her great grandson Louis being sassy.

We don’t want to take anything from the Platinum Jubilee, but we’re also celebrating a major milestone this week. Today marks our 200th episode, and we’re probably not blowing it out of proportion to think of it like a bicentennial celebration. (Yes, we know bicentennial refers to years, but if it’s technically a record of a 200th anniversary, it still counts.) However you’d like to refer to this arbitrary number, we’re beyond excited to have made it this far, and look forward to the next 200 episodes. And we want to thank everyone who has supported us along the way through listening and responding to what we put out there. Whether you’ve been with us from the very start or just joined us last week, we appreciate you!

We’re very lucky to count our families and friends among those supporters, and though we fully acknowledge how it sounds to say our mothers think we’re great, they really do. (Or at least they tell us that and we choose to believe them — we’re not emotionally equipped to handle our mothers saying our podcast is not their cup of tea.) Lucky for us, and our listeners, our respective mothers are just as fascinating as our other guests, so for the next couple of weeks we’ll be interviewing them. It gives you a picture into our own lives, and while our knee-jerk reaction is to yell, “you’ll learn only what we selectively choose to tell you about our lives!” we figured we owed you this quick glance into our psyches through our moms. You’ve stuck with our show this long, but don’t get used to us over-sharing.

This week’s guest is opera singer Marily Sampson, aka Heidi’s mom. She was a professional opera singer (as a lyric soprano) for many years, and to this day elevates a family Christmas carol sing-along to the sublime. We spoke with Marily about how she got into singing in the first place, and what it means to be the caretaker of the gift that is her voice. Make no mistake, though — calling her voice a “gift” in no way implies it appeared out of nowhere and doesn’t take serious work. Marily explained what goes into being a professional opera singer, which composers and styles best suit her voice, and who she has performed for. She also elaborated on what it means to be in peak vocal form and why she decided to step back from her professional life as an opera singer.

While we expected, and were intrigued to hear, about her opera days, we were equally delighted by her philosophical outlook on her own life and the world around her. Not to mention, Marily might be our biggest hype person out there. She had wonderful, thoughtful things to say about our podcast, and we promise she wasn’t coached. Like our other listeners, she’s excited to learn something new every week … even if the co-hosts end a week’s particular interview thinking about how their moms are going to hear it and have awkward questions.

We hope you enjoy this glimpse into Marily’s world. She was this blogger’s first voice teacher (and 2nd mom), so trust that this episode merely scratches the surface. Hopefully you’ll get to meet her one day. (If you hang out in the Egyptian wing of any national museum, your chances of that will increase exponentially.) Thanks for all your support through these first 200 episodes, Marily! Next week it’s Luke’s mom’s turn, so get ready …


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