Friday, March 30, 2007

Teacher Vignette

Dramatis personae:
Me (assistant choral teacher)
JMC (orchestra teacher, with whom I share office space)

Me stomps into our office after chorus class

Me: I hate spring! I never knew it until this year, but I hate it. I wish it would go away.
JMC: The kiddies are losing focus, are they?

My uncle prophetically asked a few days ago if spring fever had hit. Well, today was pretty bad! Getting my kids to stop talking was a Herculean, nay, Sisyphean task. Getting them to focus on the music and actually sing was equally impossible. Why do they make so much noise when they talk and so little when they sing? Argh!

(Side note: I often refer to my students as "my kids." When people don't know me very well, this often gets me weird looks, and I have to clarify that they're not my offspring, they're my students. Don't other teachers refer to their students as "my kids"?)

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Construction of Boston

Hear ye, hear ye! The Boston Cecilia's final concert of the season is this Sunday at New England Conservatory's Jordan Hall. It features a one-act opera by local composer Scott Wheeler called The Construction of Boston, and also has several pieces by Virgil Thomson. The soloists are fantastic, and the chorus is sounding great.

I've heard parts of the rehearsals, and looked over the score, and the words that come to mind about this piece are "charming, amusing, witty, appealing." I find the music remarkably accessible and endearing. The text is a Dada play by Kenneth Koch, and he wrote it in 3 days as a performance piece for the artists Robert Rauschenberg, Jean Tinguely and Niki de Saint-Phalle (click here for pictures of Niki's Tarot Garden.) It's a lot of fun (you get to hear people sing the characters of Back Bay and Beacon Hill, among others.) You can find program notes online here.

As Operations Manager, I have a limited number of comp tickets to this concert. Let me know (by commenting - I am automatically e-mailed comments) if you would like to come.


Location: Jordan Hall, New England Conservatory (right near Symphony Hall in downtown Boston)
Date: This Sunday, April 1
Time: 3 pm (pre-concert lecture by the composer at 2 pm)

Come one, come all!

Friday, March 09, 2007


I may or may not have previously mentioned that I am the vocal director for the Winchester High School production of Cabaret. Well, it went up last night. And hot damn. It was good!

It has been a long week. On Monday, I was in utter despair that this thing would pull together. We hadn't had a tech rehearsal yet - we didn't have a tech week at all, all tech issues were handled during the run-throughs on Tuesday and Wednesday - people didn't get their body mics until the dress rehearsal - people didn't have all of their costumes even at the dress rehearsal - the set wasn't competely constructed at the dress rehearsal - the band wasn't holding together all the time - the dancers couldn't hear the music - transitions were sloppy - I couldn't hear the chorus - we couldn't get through anything without stopping - I could go on. Even on Wednesday, the dress rehearsal, I was banging my head into the closest solid object I could find.

And voila, opening night last night went great. It was great! My mother came to the show tonight and couldn't say enough good things. Everyone loved it, and with good reason.

I think most of the credit for this has to go to the leads. Every single one is amazing - there are no weak links whatsoever, and everyone is perfect for their role. I keep trying to think of ways to make sure they know how great they are, and I keep being sure that I must be failing, and that they won't believe me. The entire cast has my gratitude. (Oh, and you won't believe how these kids can dance. There's a dance school in town they all go to, and it really shows. There is one dance in the first act that has me laughing hysterically every time I see it.)

SO, although this posting is late, if you're not busy tomorrow night, come to Winchester High School at 7:30 pm and see a quite excellent production of Cabaret.

Having quite literally worried myself sick this week, apparently for no good reason, I will now go to bed with some hot tea.