Valerie Estrella began preparation for this performance in August 2018. Alina, her Maestra presented it to her and she instantly liked it. At first she only worked on the English version but then later decided to add the French version to the beginning of the song.
The event was the 15th anniversary of Alina’s Music Studio and Alina had put so much time and thought into her event. It was a fundraiser and it was called Classics and Super Heros. Alina who is a violinist and actually a multi-media artist because she can, sing, dance, play violin, conduct and she did the media displays. You know the back drop behind all the singers. She did that too.
Valerie does not speak French so she relied on YouTube videos and then she found out that she did not have the correct pronunciation after all . So it turned out that her friend Farrah who coincidentally was a French Major at University of Hawaii was able to coach her and this was the end result. Alina also provided correct pronunciation but you know friends always come through for you in the end.
People asked Valerie how she rehearsed the crying. “It was not rehearsed at all.” Valerie said, “I wasn’t nervous to perform until I went out on stage. As soon as walked out it was pitch black in the audience and then I started to feel nervous and I could feel my stomach start shaking. Camille, the Pianist was getting set up and I instantly engaged my entire core and I knew I had to make it through the song. My legs were literally trembling. Towards the end, I just lost it. I thought about my brother, Chris who passed away in 2006. When I sang, “Since you went away, the days grew long” I thought of Chris and by the time I got to “But I miss you most of all, that’s when I couldn’t hold it together anymore.”
As soon as she came off stage her fellow singers and musicians ran to meet her and hug her and give Valerie a lot of support. One violinist just said, “I was so nervous I couldn’t feel my hands. They were numb.” And they hugged her. It really made Valerie feel so much better. “These teenage musicians were so kind and supportive of me during a scary time. It’s not everyday you cry in front of people. And how people treat you after you cry is even more important.” These musicians had such compassion. It was really beautiful to see and it gives me much hope about humanity.”
When Valerie saw Alina she said, I wasn’t able to finish the song. Alina said without blinking an eye. The woman who literally does not miss a beat or a breath or a timing, said, “You felt the passion of the music and expressed it.” And then she ran off to take a picture with DeadPool. Valerie knew it would be OK…
Valerie Estrella was raised in Stockton, California but her parents called her by her middle name which is Georgianna. They called her Georgi for short. She was born in 1967 in the Summer of Love or actually Fall of Love. Her first-generation Mexican American Father was a musician and her Mother was a nurse. The Apple didn’t fall far from the tree because Valerie definitely has a passion for music and as a health coach for healing.
Valerie was the youngest of four children. She has three older brothers. When Valerie was born, the Dr. lifted her by her legs to show Leonora her baby girl. That’s when Leonora exclaimed, “Look at those legs, she’s going to be a dancer.”
When Valerie celebrated her 8th birthday, her mother gave her a black leotard with pink tights and Georgi just died. Her gut instinct was “NO I DON’T WANT TO DO IT.” Leonora was gentle and said let’s just try it and see how you like it. She didn’t have a choice so she went. Turns out she had a blast and fell in love with dancing. She studied with Judy Ratto at Judy’s Dance Studio in Stockton, CA. She progressed to point shoes within a year as she had very strong ankles and feet. After a little while she started to take tap and jazz. She enjoyed it and danced consistently for 5 years.
When she was 13 she decided she was too cool to dance. So she did what parents dread and she quit. Although she took a break from dancing in a dance studio, in high school she was a Song Leader at Del Mar High School in San Jose. Valerie transferred schools her Junior year and decided to go by her first name which was Valerie because Georgi was too much of a nickname. When you transfer schools your Junior year of high school you kind of want to blend in. She got tired of having to explain why she had a boys name. Valerie, as she was now known, was able to choreograph some of their dances at Del Mar High School in San Jose and had fun. She was able to dance at the 49ers HalfTime show with about 500 other teenagers who went to the United Spirit Association Camp. It was a routine to Footloose by Kenny Loggins in 1984. Joe Montana was the best!!
In college Valerie studied ballet at San Joaquin Delta College with Dorothy Percival. Dorothy was really good with technique as she carried a little stick and wasn’t afraid to use it. Just that little extra bit to get you set up correctly. This is where Valerie became really flexible. She graduated with her Associate of Arts Degree in General Education in 1988. She finally decided she needed to pick a career. She really wanted to be independent so she ended up majoring in Criminal Justice at California State University Sacramento. She graduated in 1991 with a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice.
After she had been working for about 10 years for the State of California she really was experiencing pain through her back, severe insomnia, depression, and anxiety. She had just gone through a stressful divorce and had relocated from Southern Central California to Northern California. Valerie knew that yoga would be her cure for back pain.
She started taking yoga at her local gym and one day she heard an ad on the radio about becoming a Yoga Instructor. Her eldest brother, Christopher had recently passed away. He was very much into Eastern philosophy and studied meditation and energy. She decided to become a yoga teacher in honor of her brother. In 2008 she completed her Ashtanga yoga 200 hour Yoga Alliance Certification with Michelle Paisley Reed. Michelle went on to become a best selling author. This is where Valerie first heard the concept of being able to manifest. Valerie was really happy that she had learned so many different ways to stretch. And in 2009 she started teaching at Millennium Sports Club in the North SF Bay of California.
Valerie became absorbed in the gym culture which involved maintaining certifications, getting new training and continuing to get stronger and develop herself. The Millennium provided her with opportunities to get excellent training in Les Mills Body Flow, Les Mills CX Worx, Zumba and U-Jam Fitness.
Zumba is where Valerie really got the confidence to dance in front of people. She also participated in many Zumbathons for Party in Pink, ToyAthons and many other fund raisers. Valerie was having so much fun because she was dancing and helping the community.
In 2012 Valerie was still experiencing quite a bit of stress from work and was exhausted, moody and just feeling overall no good. So she went to a work shop called Growing Wild in Santa Cruz with Joy Smith who was also a Zumba Trainer and a health Coach. Joy encouraged participants to become a health Coach. It was dancing and juicing and clean eating for 3 days and after doing that Valerie began to feel better and decided that she needed to learn as much as she could about healthy eating. So she decided to become a health Coach in 2013 through Institute of Integrative Nutrition.
In 2015 Valerie began to study voice with Alina Adams. It was divine intervention that Valerie began to study voice. It is because Valerie had paid for her daughter to have voice lessons who did not want to do it anymore. So Valerie started to take lessons and she really started to enjoy it. Alina really worked with Valerie. Zumba gave her the courage to get in front of the crowd. She decided to Sing Like Nobody is Watching You can watch her sing here.
After a few years the Millennium, it was bought out by In Shape SportsClub. Well, it was beneficial because the Millennium was suffering from the 2008 recession and was getting ready to shut their doors, it started to feel like it was work. Logging into websites for training, too many small changes pushed her over the edge and she decided she didn’t want to deal with all of these changes. She was working a stressful job and she was at the end of her career. She had to work until October 2017 and it was just getting to be too much. So she decided to resign from teaching.
After she resigned from teaching she created EnlightenYourLives.Com as she knew that she had so much information to share with the world and felt that a Blog would be the best way to share it with the world. She could influence more people on a global basis than taking a few clients here or there. She also wanted to focus on her own dancing and began to study with Angeline Lucia of Dio Amore Dance and Fitness. Angeline has a large background in dance. Not only is she a fantastic dancer but she’s an excellent instructor. Valerie studied, Ballet, Tap, Salsa, Hustle and too many to list. (All you have to do is go to one of her dance socials and you are doing Waltz, Fox Trot, Tango, Salsa, Bachata and so on and so on and so on. Angeline was instrumental in getting Valerie prepared for a performance at her retirement party in October 2017.
Valerie definitely decided that she was going to continue to dance and that’s what she has done. She stopped taking dance lessons because it was time for her to dance to her own beat. To take everything she has learned through dance, yoga and fitness and begin to integrate it into what works for her. She really started to have fun with improvisational dance. You can catch up with her on her Youtube channel.
She’s having fun dancing to whatever her heart desires. Ballet, tap belly dancing. She’s exploring and enjoying her freedom and Belly Dancing is in the air for 2019. In March 2019, Valerie will perform at a restaurant in the SF Bay Area. Here’s wishing her much success in 2019 and beyond.
Recently I did a performance and many people were telling me that they admired my courage to sing in front of people. I told them that I just decided that I was going to be brave and not worry about what other people think.
I read a really good book which I highly recommend for anyone that wants to pursue their dreams or goals. The main thing I got from this book was that you have to do what makes you happy and forget about what everyone else thinks or says. Also if someone criticizes you, then tell them to come and do a better job. So that attitude really resonated with me. The name of that book is Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert.
Just to be clear that I am a student. I am not a professional. My preparation to sing this song began about 11 months prior when I first started listening to this song by Lindsey Stirling called Shatter Me and I just really fell in love with that song. I listened to that song over and over on a road trip.
I wasn’t sure I would be able to sing that song because it seemed like a difficult song to me. I spoke to my voice teacher and she said, “Let’s do it in G Minor.” So I got the music and we started working on it in December 2017. It was very brutal at first. Just painful to listen to. But I just kept working on it.
After a while I asked my music teacher if maybe someone could accompany me on the violin. So she was able to find an advanced student to accompany me. (Please note that she did not want to be videotaped. We had to actually edit her out because she did not want to have her images on the web. But Rebekah is beautiful and an amazing violinist.) The first time we rehearsed together was brutal. Imagine trying to sing with someone banging drums right in your ear. I couldn’t believe how thrown off I was. My music teacher said it’s completely normal. When the violin accompanies me, I was listening to her play and my timing was off and it was way more difficult than I thought. It’s like I am distracting her by singing and she was distracting me by playing the violin. The thing is we had to be in sync with our timing.
In any event this is the results of the preparation. I watched numerous George Michael Videos. I became a bit obsessed with him (which is a completely different story.) In any case this is the result. Thanks for watching and any kind words are appreciated. Also remember I am a student. Think of your kid that’s been singing for a couple of years. T
Valerie is a Health and Wellness Coach. She has a passion for singing, dancing and following her heart. She encourages everyone to do the same. Please subscribe to her Youtube channel and Follow Enlighten Your Lives to support everyone’s dreams. Namaste
Can you believe it’s Christmas again? Isn’t that what everyone always says. There are two types of people around Christmas time. Those that get all into the Christmas spirit with the decorations, presents, holiday parties etc and there are the other folks who bide their time until December 26. I’ll let you guess what type of category I fit into.
This year is my first Christmas with my puppy, Amber. So needless to say I’ve been spending quite a bit of time with her house training and getting her on a schedule. It’s really like having a baby all over again. I think I could have new parents hire Amber to puppy proof their house. She will find every piece of plastic, glass, rock or choking hazard. So needless to say, I am constantly catching her with stuff in her mouth.
So long story short is, I didn’t decorate a whole lot this year. I wasn’t sure where I was going to put the tree and so I just got a really small tree and didn’t do a whole lot of shopping either (except for Amber). I made quite a few gifts: bath bombs, granola and actually one of my gifts is the song: Merry Christmas Darling.
This is my fantasy Christmas decorations. It’s nice to Dream
I sang this song at Merriment on Main. I started working on this in October (you have to prepare way in advance). Christmas songs in October just isn’t my favorite thing. I mean that’s even way before Thanksgiving. But I have always loved Karen Carpenter from the Carpenter’s and I really enjoyed rehearsing this song.
When you sing live, you just never know how it’s going to turn out. Maybe you’ll forget the words or won’t hit the right notes. But it’s always a thrill.
So here’s my rendition of Merry Christmas Darling. Wishing you all a Merry Christmas Darling
Valerie is a Yoga Instructor, Health and wellness Coach. Her hobbies include singing and dancing. She lives in Northern California with her daughter and puppy. You can contact her at enlightenyourlives.com/contact.