Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Cappella Clausura - first concert of the year!

I still have laryngitis. It's getting better, but extremely slowly. I'm trying to take every precaution, since...

I have a concert this weekend! Two, in fact - please come to one of them!

Cappella Clausura is one of the choirs I joined in September. I am really excited about being part of this group, because my fellow singers have some great voices, and the conductor really knows her stuff. It's an all-women's ensemble in Boston (Newton, actually) that specializes in music written by women, and specifically by women who were in cloisters, or "clausurae". However, this concert will not only feature music by Vizzana and Aleotti, two nuns from the sixteenth century, but also some music by Patricia Van Ness, a contemporary composer from our area. (One of the pieces we will perform was written for Peter Sykes and the First Church in Cambridge, MA.)

Whenever one hears that a concert will specialize in music by a minority, in this case women, one tends to wonder, "Am I going to hear really good music that I haven't heard before because women faced such prejudice? Or am I going to hear not particularly good music that people are trying to perform in an effort to be politically correct?" I can assure you that this concert falls squarely in the former category. I knew none of the composers on our concert before we started rehearsals (except for Van Ness) and that's a crying shame, because this music is just as good as the music written by men from the Renaissance and early Baroque that I've performed all my life. And one set of madrigals we're performing was written by a sixteen-year-old! Mozart was far more boring at sixteen than Aleotti (and set far less passionate texts!) So come and hear some new music that's centuries old.

SUNDAY NOVEMBER 19th at 4: 00 PM

Tickets $15/$12
SATURDAY at Episcopal Parish of the Messiah
EMAIL: for reservations or call 617-964-6609,

SUNDAY at Forsyth Chapel - reservations recommended!
call 617-524-3354 for tickets

Directions to both places can be found here.

I hope to see you there!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Sore throat

Don't forget, there's a Seraphim concert today at 3 pm at St. Paul's Church in Harvard Square! Sadly, I won't be there.

On Monday night I came down with a fever and severe sore throat, and I have been struggling to get well ever since. I missed 3 days of school, which is extremely frustrating, especially in a 4-day week (thanks to Veteran's Day) and spent 4 days in bed. On Saturday I returned to the world of the busy, and don't feel as sick anymore, but unfortunately I now have a big old case of laryngitis. My voice sounds quite odd, and I'm not sure how I'm going to control a classroom tomorrow. One trick I'm going to try is writing common phrases, such as "Turn to page (list of numbers)" and "Be quiet NOW!" on the board, and pointing to them when appropriate.

I'm doing my best to get better as fast as possible, especially since I have an important set of concerts coming up next weekend. Here is all the advice I've gotten so far, much of it from singing friends. Got anything to add?

If you have pharyngitis (the part of your throat at the back of your mouth) use a numbing throat spray, gargle warm salt water, or try a Neti Pot, which helps take care of the post-nasal drip problem. Most of the suggestions below will also help.

If you have laryngitis (the sign of laryngitis is a low, scratchy, breathy voice, sometimes a complete loss of voice) then do any and all of the following:

  • Vocal rest, vocal rest, vocal rest. No speaking, no singing, and definitely no whispering. Humming or speaking gently is permissible, but silence is better.
  • Suck on lozenges. Don't use lozenges with menthol, as these will dry out your throat. Chewing gum also has the same positive effect, since, as my mother informs me, "Saliva has the proper ph to kill viruses and bacteria (and also acts as an antacid in the stomach.)"
  • Don't take blood-thinning medications like ibuprofin or aspirin--stick to tylenol. It is good to take tylenol, however, as this will make swallowing less painful and make you more likely to...
  • Drink lots of fluids. Juice, water, etc.
  • Drink slippery elm-bark tea.
  • Drink tea with honey.
  • Eat soup! Chicken noodle soup is always good.
  • Fill a sink with hot water, put your face down next to it, and put a towel over your head. Stay like that for as long as you can stand - breathing in the steam will help your throat.
  • Use a humidifier.
  • Finally, my mother recommends gargling with H2O2 (2 parts to 1 part water) but since you can't swallow this, it makes me nervous, as I lack proper gargling skills.
What did I miss? What do you do when you lose your voice?

Friday, November 03, 2006

Seraphim concerts

I have more concerts to announce! At the beginning of September I joined a group called the Seraphim Singers. Then, about three weeks later, I got a job with The Boston Cecilia. Unfortunately, both groups rehearse on the same night, so I had to go with the one that had hired me. I was able to finagle singing with Seraphim through their first fall concert, but trying to juggle being in two places at the same time just isn't tenable for more than a month. So, sadly, this will be my first and last set of concerts with the Seraphim Singers.

Which is all the more reason for you to come and see it! I especially recommend this concert to people interested in new music, since we will be premiering a piece by Elliott Gyger (which is, frankly, a bear) and also singing a piece by Julian Wachner. The program is filled out with Duruflé's Requiem. There is one concert this Sunday, in West Roxbury (and please let me know if you decide to come to that one, since I need a ride back to the land of the MBTA afterwards) and one concert next Sunday, in Harvard Square. And, if you need additional motivation, I'll be part of a solo sextet in the Gyger piece. Here are the details!

First Concert
Sunday, November 5, 2006 at 3:00pm at Holy Name Parish, 1689 Centre Street, West Roxbury, MA

Second Concert
Sunday, November 12, 2006 at 3:30pm at Saint Paul Church, Corner of Bow and Arrow Streets, Harvard Square, Cambridge

MARTIN NEAR, countertenor
TIM MACRI, flute

DURUFLE Requiem (with instrumentalists)
GYGER Temptation in the Desert
WACHNER At the Lighting of the Lamps

Suggested Donation $15 adults/$10 students & seniors

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Honda Civic ad, part II

Some of you may remember this post about the Honda Civic ad. Well, now you can watch the rehearsal, too! Go to this link, and either watch the ad or wait until it's done, and then click "Watch Civic" and then "See the rehearsal."

Thanks to Christianne at Singin' in the Lane for the link!