Posts Tagged 'music'

Tuxedos readied

tuxedoshirts It’s the last formal concert of the spring season tonight. We’re excited to be singing this repertoire of American standards, and hope that anyone who swings by to listen enjoys them too. Shenandoah sounds amazing from the risers (hopefully the same for anyone in the audience). It’s always interesting what pieces I’ve managed to memorize, and which ones demand a quick glance at the music binder during the concert, just to make sure I’m on track with the rest of the altos. (Last night, after the concert, someone broke the exciting news about the triple crown winner. We were up singing during the races, with no aspirations beyond not dying under the heat of the lights.)

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The power of more voices

Our chorus has had a sudden addition of altos, sopranos, tenors, and at least one extra bass. And so, even though we’re struggling with learning the Spring concert music… there is more sound.

But there are also more interpretations of what a dotted eighth rest is when a piece is marked in 6/8 time. Eventually it will all lock into place, but for now there’s a bit of untamed sounds hooting in places that should be silent as we learn the new stuff (including a version of Shenandoah that is lovely, but with very challenging discordant bits [Link to Mormon Tabernacle Choir of one arrangement, and to another by University of Richmond from 1971]). I’ve put both links up to the different versions of the song, because they’re both lovely.

Thoughts after singing a premiere work in concert

Our LGBTS community chorus did the premiere of a new piece of music by Nathan Hall (I am in Love with the World), and now I’m sorting out my feelings about it. It was like 40 of my friends all chose to go out on a vocal tightrope, and trust that we were singing the music the way the composer wanted, based on the thoughts of our director, who had only heard the notes played on piano/electric keyboard. It’s based on Maurice Sendak’s words (not his creations), and many of us are fans of his work — The Night Kitchen, Where the Wild Things Are. So we wanted to do justice to his life with an amazing 15 minutes of song. Continue reading ‘Thoughts after singing a premiere work in concert’

Gearing up for 2 concerts

Quick:

  • Is your music in order? (yes)
  • Are your clothes neatly pressed? (working on it)
  • Do you have a cold? (yes — I’ll pack cough drops)

I’m currently panicking over music and the echo in the church, worrying that I’ll revert to second soprano in several places, and hoping the ice storms don’t come. But at least I haven’t been shanghaied to play the piano for a Children’s Chorus (a fatally bad Christmas day experience, when the normal choir mistress suddeblueangelnly took ill).

Anyone else singing for Christmas or Holiday concerts? Ours is very early this year, so we have lots of Chanukah music for a nice change (at least I hope the audience likes it). We’re also trying a song that will be very beautiful if we can hear one another to sing a cappella — The Real Group’s World for Christmas. If you’re over near Church and Graveyard, drop me a line. And if you too are struggling with concert prep, feel free to let me know. We can commiserate.

A slice of city life with the start of summer

Last Saturday as evening was falling, I heard music in the distance. I looked over at the church out back, and saw two people walking slowly towards the Church road. They were two preteen boys, and the one with red hair was singing and strumming a ukelele. They kept walking, stumbling every so often because they were focusing so hard on singing Jason Mraz’s song, “I’m yours” [link here]. And I thought, as I listened to the soft voices and the jumpy ukelele strumming, that this could only happen at the corner of Church and Graveyard. The fading light made the moment magically timeless.

School is out, the kids are out strumming musical instruments… and summer has begun on a gentle note. (We ignore the gritty things that have happened in the neighborhood and the horrors of the evening news for now.)

Bonus video for a Jason Mraz song that I’ve heard on the radio a lot lately, “I Won’t Give Up“, with absolutely stunning photography.

Quite a bit of rain, hail, and high winds

… and we ended up having a dress rehearsal by candlelight, because the church lost power. It is somewhat magical to be in a darkened room, with faint light coming from the windows, watching the shadowy form of the director (who is squinting at a page of sheet music faintly lit by a flashlight). One really does listen for the piano cues.

One of the songs we’re singing is “In the Morning, Joy“. Another is a rendition of Edna St. Vincent Millay’s poem, “Afternoon on a Hill”. Lovely stuff, and it’s amazing how much of our program we have memorized.

Songs that benefit from orchestral treatments

Much of Tears for Fears sounds truly wonderful in full-blown orchestral performance. Check out Mad World . Lush, memorable, and really uses the chorus to great effect.

Here’s the same song in 1982.

The second I would love for zipping around in my car, getting to work in the morning. Somehow, early 80s synthesizer music is really wonderful for commuting. Well, that and Bonnie Tyler or Pat Benetar’s Love is a Battlefield (I’ll get you started… “we are young…”).


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