Saturday, October 18, 2014

Am I Going Dotty?

As some of you know, I enjoy all kinds of music even though I write mostly about my first love, choral music. I also like opera, rock, punk, and sometimes country.  (My stomach flipped just a wee bit as I wrote that last word, but oh, Johnny Cash)!

U2 just put out a new album and gave it away for free on iTunes and it has caused a LOT of controversy because it was downloaded to anyone with an iPhone, whether they asked for it or not.  Of course it could easily be deleted, but still, that was quite intrusive.  Bono has issued an apology.

BUT, U2 is my favorite band of all time, including the Beatles, Queen, and Led Zeppelin!  So even though I got the album free, I had to have the CD since I have all their CDs and then some.

It came today and I found myself kissing the cover tonight.  What am I a TEENAGER again?  Kissing my first Beatles album??  Yes, I kissed it and I love it.

I must be going dotty in my old age.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Thursday, October 16, 2014

There's a New Orchestra In Town

I live in a section of the Salt Lake Valley called Cottonwood Heights, named after the beautiful cottonwood trees that thrive in this area.  At certain seasons of the year, the ground is covered by "snow" from these trees.  The Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons are just minutes away, leading to hiking, biking, camping, skiing and other outdoor sports.

Since Cottonwood Heights incorporated as a city, we now have an arts council and, this year, we have an orchestra - ta da!  The fledgling group is spreading its wings and will be performing its second concert on Saturday, October 25, 2014.

Selections will include several great Halloween-themed musical numbers, including:

Music from 'Gladiator'
Highlights from 'Wicked'
Selections from Tim Burton's 'Corpse Bride'
Berceuse and Finale from The Firebird Suite
The Complete Harry Potter
Pirates of the Caribbean
Selection from 'The Phantom of the Opera'
Suite from 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey'
Brahms' Tragic Overture
Suite from 'Psycho'

The concert will be at 7:30pm in the Butler Middle School Auditorium, 7605 S 2700 E, Cottonwood Heights, Utah.

This is the time of year when there are an abundance of musical offerings from which to choose. (Notice I did NOT end that sentence with a preposition.  My high school English teacher would be so proud).

I hope to attend this concert even though it has NOTHING choral about it.  What a loss!  We could have a community chorus and combine some concerts.  After all, I'm retired and need activity, people! 

I fully expect to have orchestral types hunting me down for a bounty that has now been put on my head.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Faure Requiem Times Two

On Sunday October 26, 2014, the Cathedral of the Madeline Choir School will perform the Faure Requiem at 8:00 p.m.  Place is the Cathedral of course!
"Gabriel Faure’s sublime Requiem was premiered in Paris’s neo-classical Church of the Madeleine in 1888. Faure became the choirmaster of the Church of the Madeleine in Paris in the spring of 1877. There he prepared and conducted daily services with a small choir of 20 - 30 men and boys that served in this fashionable neo-classic church. He began work on his opus 48 Requiem in 1887, although the work developed and grew over the course of the next 13 years. The death of his father in 1885 and the death of his mother in 1887 may have given the impetus for the composition. The Cathedral Choir and Orchestra will perform an edition that is most like the early version of this work, a version that would have been heard at the Church of the Madeleine for many years following the original performance." -
And on Sunday November 2, 2014, the choir of St. Paul Episcopal Church will also perform the Faure Requiem.  Time is 4:00 p.m.  I'm singing in the St. Paul concert as well as other members of Jubilate.  Charles Black is the director and this is an annual event.  Here's an excerpt from the 2011 concert.  The entire concert can be found on YouTube by looking up Faure Requiem St. Paul Presbyterian Church.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Out of Sorts

I came away from rehearsal tonight without the usual endorphin high that I normally have after singing for three hours.  It was an odd practice session.  I've been trying to pinpoint what was wrong but it may not have been any one thing.  Our accompanist is new and still struggling to adjust to our director and to us.  We had a new candidate - a tenor, no less!  That was a good thing as he had a nice voice and was reading the music fairly easily. We had our usual laughs laced with the sarcasm only a musician would understand.  But we weren't "jelling."  We weren't "in the zone."  Most of us have sung together for so long, we quickly find that space where we cease being individual singers and become one choir voice.  It happens at each rehearsal, usually early in the evening, but it didn't happen at all tonight.  Or maybe it was just me, maybe I was just out of sorts. 

After all, have a new tenor so we must be doing something right for the universe to bestow such a gift upon us!

Also, at one point, our director told us we were all adults...seriously, does he really believe that? 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

No Talking During Rehearsal!

Well, this seems pretty dramatic, but directors do get very frustrated by unnecessary chatting during practice time.  I must admit, I've never seen anything quite like this.

I'm one of the worst for chatting but I've been very consciously trying to keep myself in check. I love to talk to people!  What can I say, I'm a Libra.  Yeah, like that's an excuse...

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Auditions: Fight or Flight?

Jubilate usually has at least one or two new candidates at the beginning of each season, but last Monday night, no one new showed up.  Was it because of a fear of auditioning?

Nearly everyone has audition jitters and sometimes they can be incapacitating to the point of preventing you from trying out.  Even the most self-assured singer can have audition anxiety.

For instance, I'm confident that I sing very well and I have a great musical background. Intellectually, I know that I am an asset to almost any choral group. BUT, when it comes to auditions I'm just a chicken-hearted scaredy-cat.

I've been singing for 35 years and in audition situations I still feel like the above cartoon!  

Most auditions require that you sing a solo and some scales, etc. to demonstrate your vocal range and abilities.  This seems to work for large choral groups but it does nothing to help the auditionee  feel comfortable and it can sometimes lead to accepting members whose voices may be great for solo work but not at all good for ensemble singing. When that happens, you really have a problem!  I have been in groups where a solo voice just did not work out at all and it's very hard to tell someone after the fact that they just don't "fit" into the choir.  I've seen directors lose their cool with people whom they thought were going to be real assets to the group.  Their auditions were great but the reality of merging with an ensemble was an entirely different experience.

Jubilate, being a small choral ensemble, is able to audition new candidates differently and in so doing, we can minimize the anxiety and agitation that auditions can create and maximize the likelihood of a person fitting with the group.

We simply ask that you come to rehearsal three consecutive times and sing with us.  At the end of that time period, our director and the rest of the group have a very good idea of your vocal range, voice timber, and sight-reading capabilities.  So....

We rarely have to turn people away.  If it does happen, it's usually because of sight-reading problems rather than vocal difficulties. 

So if you're reading this and you live in or near Salt Lake City, Utah, USA and want to sing with a choir, please come and join us on Monday night at 7:00 at Mt. Tabor Lutheran Church, 195 S. 700 E. We would love to have you sing with us.