I consider myself a modern-day renaissance musician. Growing up, I loved the way the fairy tales wove themselves into my very heart and being, and as The Nightbird I seek to do the same. I first became aware of a type of musician called a bard--a person who wrote their own stories and music. When I first became a singer I called myself "The Traveling Troubador" singing and telling stories to children and adults, but none of the songs or stories were my own voice. 

Somewhere during this journey I found my own voice and started writing. I also moved from performing for children (although I never did aim completely at children) and started aiming at adults. As I researched what a bard was, I realized that this type of storyteller was someone who was trying to bring to life stories told to the adult audience and young teens. This was the person I saw myself becoming. I felt that we had lost our way as a people. I heard the music we listened to and thought "where is the mysticism, where is the poetry," of music. Not for me the writing that to me was witless and often the same. I was highly influenced by my favorite writer, "J.R.R. Tolkien" and also "Mercedes Lackey." True poets, true shapers of the word. That is what I seek to do. shape the words. I want you to breathe the wind and storm I sing into the songs. Most of my best reviews will never be seen in a magazine. It is the person who hears me, turns around, and with awe on their face (this happened last weekend) says "Oh, my God she's beautiful" and stares enraptured as I weave my song around them (not truly referring to me but to my music). Or it is like one of my favorite fans who says "Your music has magic and healing, Susan, let it spin." Of course, when this friend talks about magic, he is not talking metaphorically. He is a very cool guy and just a little (a little? trust me a lot!) odd, just like all my true fans. We tend to be those who think "Here they be Dragons" means there is one in the backyard for those who look closely.

 Some of my reviews are like these from my friend and another fab artist Petrella, who I had the privilege to perform with and is renowned as the "First Lady of Country Soul" (I like that Country Soul--now this is definitely a lady to check out as well).

 "No bird has a voice like yours." Then there is the one I cherish from Mike Nardone, Director of A & R, Universal Music Group, who wrote to me saying in a review of my music "I enjoyed listening to your songs"...with "Siren Song" being another "well-written song and my favorite of your three songs" submitted for evaluation. I loved it because he complimented me on my song-craft and said "the vocalist" (that's me HA!) had "passion and confidence throughout." I was interviewed in the "Grand Junction Free Press," a local newspaper, and the writer (Gary who took me to lunch and a ride in his cool car) wrote of my "high flying spirit" as well as my "love of the moonlight...the enchantment of fairy tales, and the magic of old lore like that found in "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings" by J.R.R. Tolkien. (Told you I liked Tolkien:)

Below here are background stuff--I'll try not to bore you too much :)

 I had the privilege of playing at The Avalon Theater in Grand Junction at The Big Break in the summer of 2001 and was selected from a field of thousands as one of the top 20 acts. Fun places I've played include The Unity Walk in 1999. (I wrote a story called "Janus" for that one about prejudice, which the character has to learn to overcome). This is turning into a series of stories I hope to look at publishing in the future. I've also performed at several local Earth Day Celebrations in Grand Junction, along with various coffee shops, public events, private parties, and many fairs and festivals, including Larkspur. Since 1999, I've appeared regularly at Planet Earth and The 4 Directions Gallery at her Dark Shows, Goddess Shows, and her yearly Form and Function Shows, as MC, featured performer, and sound tech, varying my roles and having the privilege of helping others find their voices. I was the only singer from Grand Junction at a benefit concert in Loveland, Colorado that raised money for the construction of ears for a small boy who was born without them. 

 In 2002 I had a great journey when I went with my sweetheart and a good friend, Tom Averna, to Park City, Utah to perform for the New Artist Radio Awards. I was so thrilled to be elected for 2 awards (Arisen Female Artist 2002 and Best Female Folk Artist 2002) winning the former. That year I was also privileged to accompany my friend and fellow artist, Theresa Joseph, on hand percussion at a Songwriter's Invitational in South Dakota while also previewing one of my songs "Walking Between Worlds," that I wrote for Joseph and another dear friend Ambra Scarlett (both Native American flute players). A song written about the pain suffered by many of mixed heritage who stride between various cultures, suffering abuse from both sides. I believe those of mixed heritage are the bridges that can become a healing force in this broken world. (Both of these women are my sisters in every sense of the word but birth).

My past includes performances in Nashville for Affinity Music, a spot in a Just Plain Folks showcase in Denver, (what talent amongst these Indie artists, I was overwhelmed).

For many reasons, I had to stop working toward my goals in about 2007. In 2009, I began to rebuild my dream, including the desire to include others in my show. With 2011, I have realized that dream. I previewed my brand-new band, 6 strong, at the Religious Science Church, where I was the music director for some time. We followed this up with a performance at Western Slope Pagan Pride, featuring a variety of dancers and dance styles as we joyously danced and played the day away. We have recently performed at Palisade Brew Pub and will be bringing the enhanced Nightbird to The Dark Show at Planet Earth on October 28, 2011. We are also hard at work in the new studio, as we bring forth our first CD as a band, my third as The Nightbird. This CD will be called "The Nightbird Unbound." Keep your eyes and ears peeled for it!

New Notes: If 2011 was the building year, 2012 has been the cementing. We started with a group of 7, seeing who would (or could) and who couldn't. After the Dark Show last year, we also got to be part of a bellydance fest raising money for Special Olympics, so fun!) and played at Tenacious Brothers pub for the Witches Ball, our final association with the Pagan Pride group here in Grand Junction. For us, it was like being part of the champagne that launches a ship. This year, we got to be part of the private party locally called Ilumifest. It was their second year and ours, as well, celebrating creativity and community. It was our privilege to also play and run sound for "The Goddess Show," at a place I consider home base, Planet Earth and the 4 Directions Gallery, returning there to back up my dear friend Suzanne Bronson's, poet, show Poetry in EEEMotion, a wonderful experience and something I got to be part of last year. This latest event was a combination of poetry, movement, and music. The music and dance were created as the poets read.

As Susan Cypher and The Nightbird band moves forward, we find ourselves with a solid core of 4 musicians, with 2 others joining us from time to time. We have started to add in more than just music written by myself, Susan Cypher, but are adding in pieces written by Gretchen and by Howard. I also decided life was too short to not enjoy some of the songs I used to sing before I really started writing full-time, especially some of the more bluesy pieces like "Summertime," "Fever," and "Cry me a River."

From here down my musical past (Read at your own peril!)

As a musician, my influences have been many. As mentioned above, I played folk music for years, singing Peter, Paul, and Mary (still do), Janis Ian, Steeleye Span, Simon and Garfunkel, and lots and lots of others, some known, some unknown. I loved the focus on lyrics and stories. I have also played a wide variety of music including classical music, rock and roll (in several bands--some good, some we won't talk about:), country (again some good and one truly bad), jazz, some really strange music based on Israeli music I wrote for some dancers (one of my first pieces). I even arranged Gregorian chant for brass when I was in college. My love of Latin rhythms, something that seem ingrained, filters through everything. I love the calypso, tango, samba, salsa, beguine, and flamenco. My music even includes Australian dangout rhythm. I've decided the resulting music sounds like Carlos Santana jamming with a bunch of Ren Fair musicians.  

Some of the groups I have performed with are The Centennial Band, The Western Colorado Chorale, Patchwork, Mesa State Jazz Band, and the one of my own choirs, the self-named "Barnacles and Pearls." and had the privilege to play for Darlene Austin one year when she was traveling through here for a benefit concert. If anyone was there, I was the unseen keyboard player behind the huge keyboard stack--I'm rather short but very feisty!! I am also able to say I was the last official member of Windfield (out of Denver). I ran lights for their last tour here in Grand Junction and sang onstage with them as well. (Note here--good people--very, very good people)!! I've guested with The Goodman Band here locally, as well as "The Grand Junction All-Stars," a group of the finest musicians I ever had the privilege to play with.

 As I read my official bio I find I hold B.A. degrees in Vocal Performance, Music Ed, and just Education, and play a variety of instruments including: piano, guitar, French horn, and trumpet. But my favorite instrument, the one I most enjoy using, and teaching, is voice. I love helping others find their sound. For these reasons I sing--I sing because I love it. I sing because I must. I sing because without song life is a dingy place. 

More than anything I love to write and perform. Music is the magic that makes my life complete.

Susan Cypher, known as The Nightbird, has added new personnel , and is officially changing the name of the group to Susan Cypher and The Nightbird Band. Her husband, Dave, joins her on stage. Previously using his skills as a photographer for Susan’s solo efforts, he recently began adding his natural musical talent for rhythm to the sound. His desire to drum extends back to childhood. His rhythms  complement and complete The Nightbird’s songs. In the band, he is "The Owl," a wise and wonderful partner for Susan, who was called Die Nachtigall (or The Nightingale) in Germany when she sang at her son's wedding in 2001. 

Dave and Susan, who joined forces onstage about 3 years ago as a music team, with over 30 years as husband and wife,  recently welcomed Dusty Munger to the stage, a local bass teacher and native Coloradan, hailing originally from Northern Colorado. His fabulous bass stylings now feature prominently in a number called “The Song of Isis,” a piece scheduled for release on our upcoming CD--"The Nightbird Unbound." Sadly, Dusty can only join us from time to time, as his mundane job, along with his wife and baby, keep him busy. Recently, you might have caught him onstage at Rockestra, performing at the newly christened Colorado Mesa University. You can also catch him playing as a member of "Hot Tub Jazz." He, Susan, and Dave have also been busy in Susan’s new studio, dubbed “Dempsey’s Palace” for the abandoned elderly deaf cat who came to live with Dave and Susan last summer. Dempsey watches solemnly while the members of the group work on all the songs, old and new, and is their official mascot (that’s right. The Nightbird’s protector is a cat). Dusty is our "Nighthawk," a bird who makes a booming sound when it flies, as the wind whistles through its feathers. 

Joining Susan, Dave, & Dusty is another fab hand-drummer, Howard Huff, who started playing congas back in New Jersey, where he had his own band. After some down time, he first returned to the stage at Boomers playing with OlFay Soul.  Recently, he backed some members of a local poetry group during their readings. Amazingly creative, we originally borrowed him  from Wendy, a lovely belly dancer who enchants all who watch her. He accompanies her as she dances and  will be joining our band full-time in the fall, as we stretch our collective wings at Western Slope Pagan Pride Day. Susan's pet name for him is "The Mockingbird," a bird who makes a variety of interesting sounds, including one almost sounding like a rattle. Howard always has a laugh in his eyes, as well, as if he never, ever takes the world (or us) too seriously.

 Also joining us will be Gretchen McGeeney, Susan’s long-time friend and fellow performer. Gretchen is a singer/ songwriter  who has appeared at Unity Church on occasion. Her instruments include keyboards and accordion. She has quite a bio as a choreographer, and several credits as an actress. She worked previously in the Cabaret Theater and has had her own dance groups, as well as doing choreography at some of our local high schools. Susan and Gretchen have shared the stage several times throughout their lives. It is with pleasure that The Nightbird Band welcomes this powerful singer/songwriter/ performer/dancer and is thrilled she will be adding her harmonies, fantastic presence, and original work to the evolving sound of The Nightbird Band. Susan has dubbed this Nightbird the Meadowlark, a bird whose beautiful song accompanies both the dawn and dusk, the times when the fairies dance. Her haunting voice will make you believe in magic.


I consider myself a modern-day renaissance musician. Growing up I loved the way the fairy tales wove themselves into my very heart and being, and as The Nightbird I seek to do the same. I first became aware of a type of musician called a bard--a person who wrote their own stories and music. When I first became a singer I called myself "The Traveling Troubador" singing and telling stories to children and adults, but none of it was my own voice.

 

Somewhere during this journey I found my own voice and started writing all my own stuff. I also moved from performing for children (although I never did aim completely at children) and started aiming at adults. As I researched what a bard was, I realized that this type of storyteller was someone who was trying to bring to life stories told to the adult audience and young teens. This was the person I saw myself becoming. I felt that we lost our way as a people. I heard the music we listened to and thought "where is the mysticism, where is the poetry," of music. Not for me the writing that to me was witless and often the same. I was highly influenced by my favorite writer, "J.R.R. Tolkein" and also "Mercedes Lackey." True poets, true shapers of the word. That is what I seek to do. I shape the words. I want you to breathe the wind and storm I sing into the songs. Most of my best reviews will never be seen in a magazine. It is the person who hears me, turns around, and with awe on their face (this happened last weekend) says "Oh, my God she's beautiful" and stares enraptured as I weave my song around them (not truly referring to me but to my music). Or it is like one of my favorite fans who says "Your music has magic and healing, Susan, let it spin." Of course, when this friend talks about magic, he is not talking metaphorically. He is a very cool guy and just a little (a little, trust me a lot?) just like all my true fans. We tend to be those who think "Here they be Dragons" means there is one in the backyard for those who look closely.

 

Some of my reviews are like these from my friend and another fab artist Petrella, who I had the privelege to perform with and is reknowned as the "First Lady of Country Soul" (I like that Country Soul--now this is definitely a lady to check out as well).

 

"No bird has a voice like yours." Then there is the one I cherish from Mike Nardone, Director of A & R, Universal Music Group, who wrote to me saying in a review of my music "I enjoyed listening to your songs"...with "Siren Song" being another "well-written song and my favorite of your three songs" submitted for evaluation. I loved it because he complimented me on my songcraft and said "the vocalist" (that's me HA!) had "passion and confidence throughout." Recently I was interviewed in the "Grand Junction Free Press," a local newspaper, and the writer (Gary who took me to lunch and a ride in his cool car) wrote of my "high flying spirit" as well as my "love of the moonlight...the enchantment of fairy tales, and the magic of old lore like that found in "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings" by J.R.R. Tolkein. (Told you I liked Tolkein:)

 

Below here are background stuff--I'll try not to bore you too much :)

 

I had the privelege of playing at The Avalon Theatre in Grand Junction at The Big Break in the summer of 2001 and was selected from a field of thousands as one of the top 20 acts. Fun places I've played include The Unity Walk in 1999. (I wrote a story called "Janus" for that one about prejudice, which the character has to learn to overcome). This is turning into a series of stories I hope to look at publishing in the future. I also got to be at the 1999 and 2000 Earth Day Celebrations in Grand Junction, along with various coffee shops, public events, private parties, and many fairs and festivals. I also the featured performer at The Planet Earth Gallery for the Dark Show in 1999 and was the only singer from Grand Junction at a benefit concert in Loveland, Colorado that raised money for the construction of ears for a small boy who was born without them. This and the movie "Immortal Beloved" inspired a song called "Loss" that I wrote and hope to produce on my next CD about what I would feel about losing my hearing, something I fear. 

 

In 2002 I had a great journey when I went with my sweetheart and a good friend, Tom Averna, to Park City, Utah to perform for the New Artist Radio Awards. I was so thrilled to be elected for 2 awards (Arisen Female Artist 2002 and Best Female Folk Artist 2002) winning the former. That year I was also privileged to accompany my friend and fellow artist, Theresa Joseph, on hand percussion at a Songwriter's Invitational in South Dakota while also previewing one of my newest songs "Walking Between Worlds," that I wrote for Joseph and another dear friend Ambra Scarlett (both Native American flute players). This is another song planned for production this year and explores the pain suffered by many of mixed heritage who stride between various cultures, often suffering abuse from both sides, who could be seen as the bridge that might be a healing force in this broken world. (Both of these women are my sisters in every sense of the word but birth).

 

This year I played in Nashville (wow what cool people) in a showcase for Affinity Music, as well as recently traveling to Denver to play in a Just Plain Folks showcase (my God what talent amongst these Indie artists, I was overwhelmed). Both performances went very well and I met some fabulous people, not only industry people to help me further my dreams but people who I think will be friends as well. 

 

From here down my musical past (Read at your own peril!)

 

As a musician, my influences have been many. As mentioned above, I played folk music for years, singing Peter, Paul, and Mary (still do), Janis Ian, Steeleye Span, Simon and Garfunkel, and lots and lots of others, some known, some unknown. I loved its focus on lyrics and stories. I have also played a wide variety of music including classical music, rock and roll (in several bands--some good, some we won't talk about:), country (again some good and one truly bad), jazz, some really strange music based on Israeli music I wrote for some dancers (one of my first pieces). I even arranged gregorian chant for brass when I was in college.

 

Some of the groups I have performed with are The Centennial Band (she's a current member), The Western Colorado Chorale, Patchwork, the Mesa State Jazz Band, and direct and sing with our choir "The Barnacles and Pearls." I got to play keyboards in a backup band for Darlene Austin one year when she was traveling through here for a benefit concert. If anyone had been there, I was the unseen keyboard player behind the huge keyboard stack--I'm rather short but very feisty!! I am also able to say I was the last official member of Windfield (out of Denver). I ran lights for their last tour here in Grand Junction and sang onstage with them as well. (Note here--good people--very, very good people)!!

 

As I read my official bio I find I hold B.A. degrees in Vocal Performance, Music Ed, and just Education, and play a variety of instruments including: piano, guitar, French horn, and trumpet. But my favorite instrument, the one I most enjoy using, and teaching is Voice. For these reasons I sing--I sing because I love it. I sing because I must. I sing because without song life is a dingy place. 

 

More than anything I love to write and perform. Music is the magic that makes my life complete.

ListBaby Widget

"Sign in! Tell us your..name!!" Tell us your dreams, as we go quietly insane...together.