So, when I went to New York City right out of high school, I did a lot of things wrong. I can say with certainty, however, that I did one thing right. I took vocal instruction for a time with Steve Sweetland. Looking back, I didn’t fully appreciate how valuable the instruction would prove to be. I believe that Steve taught me how to use my voice in such a way as to be able to sing 10 nights in a row with a band at varying nightclubs, to sing with a cold or bad allergies, and (years later without realizing it would be a benefit) to use my voice wisely when giving instruction in group fitness classes, all without losing my voice. Ever. In the last eight years, I cannot recall a time when I had to cancel a gig or class because I had no voice, and I credit that to Steve.
Recently, I was listening to NPR as I usually do (and on a separate note, I really need to start donating to NPR), and Fresh Air with Terry Gross was doing a piece on Seth MacFarlane, of Family Guy fame. I caught a part of the broadcast, enough to hear him mention a vocal coach with the last name “Sweetland.” Thinking it would be far-fetched that I would have had the same coach, I investigated further, only to discover that the same instructor I had the fortune of working with was in fact working with Seth MacFarlane, creator of one of my favorite television shows. Seth (Mr. MacFarlane?) was working with Lee and Sally Sweetland, Steve’s parents, who had the privilege to work with the likes of Frank Sinatra and Barbara Streisand. He also began working with their son, Steve. Here’s a link mentioning Steve specifically, and here’s a link about the Sweetland family.