Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Monteverdi live broadcast

Andrew Megill (professor at Westminster, former teacher of mine, awesome musician, and all-around mensch) is conducting a performance of Monteverdi's Vespers tomorrow in NYC at 7:30 at the Trinity Wall Street Church.

Of course, you should go see it if you're in New York.

But if you're not, you can watch and listen to a live webcast! Nutty and amazing times these, eh?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Weekend Concert Calendar, 1/24/08

It is really late, and I am really tired, so you get the cliff notes version!

First and foremost, I'm singing in a concert with the King's Chapel Choir this Sunday at 5 pm. (I'm a sub, and delighted to be singing with a fun and talented bunch of people.) We'll be singing various settings of New England poetry, including two works commissioned for this concert. As a singer, it's a delight to sing really good poetry, something that doesn't always happen. Stop on by and hear some neat new music, and some tried-and-true music as well.

Here is your acrostic guide to the rest of the weekend.

The Dream of Gerontius by Elgar, performed by the TFC and the BSO -
Heppner solos with others. Another option -
Exsultemus presents Behind the Vespers for St. Louis.

Halalisa Singers or
Ave Maris Stella Vocal Ensemble? Perhaps
Passio and the Elm City Consort or
Pizmon will please

Convivium Musicum is a winner. Or how about
Halalisa Singers
or a
Requiem by Verdi by the Westford Chorus?
so many good options!

Monday, January 21, 2008

More links

A couple more links from my Dad.

This is a great musical college prank. Kid breaks out into Broadway song in the middle of lecture. I got it via this college prank round-up by The Chronicle. I recommend watching the Chronicle link for prank #3 - "It's Drinking Time!"

Also, need a baton?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Paul Potts

My father sent this to me a long time ago. But it is still cool. So here you go!

"An unassuming Welsh mobile-phone salesman who had always wanted to sing opera makes it to the “Britain’s Got Talent” show. Even Simon Cowell was in awe of Paul Potts’ performance."

Even if opera doesn't usually turn you on, I think you'll find this thrilling. Here's the original page with links to all the videos. Here's the first round video, and here's the finals.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Weekend Concert Calendar, 1/17/08

At last - Boston has recovered from its new year's excesses, and once again you are inundated with choices for concerts this weekend, so many that perhaps you feel exhausted just thinking about them and want to stay home. Never fear, I am here to lead you through the tangle! And please, if you go to any of these concerts, drop me a comment and let me know how it was!


My choice for Friday is Ladysmith Black Mambazo! The world-famous South African crazy-awesome mbube group will be at Sander's Theater at 8pm. Mbube is a style of South African a cappella singing, and if you've never heard it, it's smooth and rich and joyous. More details on the WorldMusic/CRASHarts site. (Oops, I just looked on their site, and this concert is sold out. Sorry to get your hopes up. Um, moving right along.)

Also on Friday:

The Cantata Singers are at Jordan Hall at 8pm. See under my pick for Sunday.

The Lexington Pops Chorus will present Mozart's Missa Brevis in F Major, and a medley from The Fantasticks, among other pieces. 8 pm, Hancock Church in Lexington Center. More information is here. This will also be Saturday at 8 pm.

The Greek Byzantine Choir will be in Manchester, NH at 8 pm. See under Saturday for more details (when they are singing in Boston.) Details are here.


My choice for Saturday is the Harlem Gospel Choir, which will be performing at 8 pm at Sanders Theater with the Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School Vocal Ensemble and the OrigiNation Dance Troupe. The concert is called "Joyful Noise" and it celebrates Dr. MLK. This looks like a crazy fun concert. Details are here.

Also on Saturday:

Convivium Musicum is presenting "Josquin was here: Franco-Flemish musicians in Italy." Convivium Musicum is an excellent amateur Renaissance choir, and my experience has been that they are pretty stellar programmers as well. They will be performing Saturday in Hamilton at 8pm, Sunday in Andover at 4pm, and also next week in more public-transit-friendly locations for those of us Boston-bound. More details are here.

The Greek Byzantine Choir is in town, courtesy of BEMF. They will be performing at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of New England at 8 pm, and will be singing Medieval hymns and psalms from the Byzantine tradition. I suspect this is a relatively rare opportunity for a glimpse into a choral tradition not entirely familiar to most of us.

On Saturday at 7:30, the Boston Globe has an intriguing snippet about the Cambridge Chamber Singers, who will perform at the Arlington St. John's Episcopal Church. The concert is called "100 Years of Music: A Tribute to The MacDowell Colony." Details, such as they are, here. They are enough to get you to the church on time, should you be interested.


My choice for Sunday is The Cantata Singers, who continue their year-long exploration of Kurt Weill. This concert features "Propheten," from The Eternal Road and a world premiere by Lior Navok called Slavery Documents 3: And the trains kept coming . . . This will be Friday at 8 pm and Sunday at 3 pm at Jordan Hall. There will be a pre-concert lecture with Navok, and the PALS Children's Chorus and Spectrum Singers will also be participating. More information is here.

Also, not choral, but a couple of things need to be mentioned anyways. First, David Daniels is in town on Saturday! For those who don't know, Daniels is one of the greatest countertenors alive today.

Second, the Tuvan throat-singing group ALASH is in town. They will perform at the Lilypad in Cambridge on Saturday at 8pm. They will also be in Framingham on Saturday and Sunday, and give a masterclass on how to perform Tuvan throat-singing on Monday in Jamaica Plain. Details of their tour are here.

And in the category of "Save the Date," the BSO will be performing Elgar's Dream of Gerontius next weekend on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Advanced word from members of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus is that this is going to rock. Just so you know.

As always, if I've missed anything, please let me know!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Libana offering classes

Calling all singing women!

Libana is a professional Boston-based group of women who sing world music. If you went to the Revels this year, you heard them singing Balkan music, which is one of their core repertoires. Their founder and artistic director, Susan Robbins, is offering an 8-week course this winter called The Art of Group Singing. It will be on Tuesday nights, January 22 through March 25th. The class will primarily explore Balkan and Persian singing traditions. For more information, call (617) 628-0916 or e-mail srlibana@aol.com. This is for women only. Below is a quote from the e-mail (I'm on their mailing list) with some of the goals of the workshop.

* how to use your voice in healthy ways
* how to find the power in your voice in an opening and non-pushing way
* how to open expressively within these styles
* how to open to the exhilaration and vibrancy of ensemble singing in non-western vocal production
* great songs from other parts of the world!

As I previously mentioned, if one of your goals for the new year is to sing more, here you go!

Friday, January 11, 2008

non-musical interlude

It's not musical. But this is as funny as all get-out.

Weekend Concert Calendar, 1/11/08

Whoops, I'm a little late on this. However, better slightly less early than never!

Either things are getting off to a slow start in January, or else the craziness of December skewed my idea of how much choral stuff goes on in Boston on any given weekend. I would have expected there to be slightly more than this, but I suppose everyone is still getting into the swing of the new year.

Friday (tonight!)

The Harvard Chamber Singers is performing tonight at First Church in Cambridge at 8 pm. They will be singing British Renaissance music - it looks good. More info is here.

I'm pretty sure this isn't choral, but Handel and Haydn is presenting a concert called "Baroque Jewels" which features "Baroque vocal and instrumental music." More information is here. I have to say I am a little cranky about the way they listed "singers" and "actors" on the website. Singers ARE actors. Why manufacture an artificial divide? Perhaps reading the online program notes will put me in a better frame of mind. This concert is Friday at 8 pm at Jordan Hall, and also on Sunday at 7 pm.


By far the most exciting thing this weekend is the Musica Sacra program on Saturday at 8 pm at the First Congregational Church near Harvard Square. This is programming I can get behind. I will quote from their website: "Featuring Morten Lauridsen's Mid-Winter Songs, Earl Kim's Some Thoughts on Keats and Coleridge, and works of Edward Elgar, Randall Thompson, and others." Now that looks like some interesting choral music. And how refreshing to have a group schedule their concert after Christmas, and concentrate on winter, rather than winter celebrations.

Bonus: You can tune in to Weekend America this Saturday, January 12 to hear an interview with music director Mary Beekman about Musica Sacra's upcoming concert, Blow, Thou Winter Wind. In the Boston area, this conversation with Marc Sanchez will be broadcast shortly after 3:30 on WBUR, 90.9 FM. You can also stream it live or download it as a podcast from http://weekendamerica.publicradio.org/.

Also in the exciting program category falls the Nashoba Valley Chorale's concert this Saturday at 8 pm at the Congregational Church of Littleton in Littleton, MA. They will be doing the Cherubini Requiem, Schubert's Mass in C, and Hugo Wolf's "Der Feuerreiter". Cherubini's Requiem, if I'm recalling correctly, is a piece that made a huge impression on many composers, including Beethoven, who had great respect for him. It is rarely performed now, so this is a neat opportunity. More info about the concert is here. They are also performing it on Sunday at 3 pm at the Pepperell Community Church, Pepperell, MA.


See above re: Nashoba Valley Singers and H&H.

On Monday, you can go audition for the Boston Gay Men's Chorus. (And no, you don't have to be gay, you just have to want to sing with a good chorus.)

Also, next Tuesday you can go to an open rehearsal of the Somerville Community Chorus, which has just a SMASHING accompanist (he's a friend) and see if you'd like to sing with them for the spring. Details here.

Man, now I'm feeling torn. I didn't intend to go to the Musica Sacra concert, and made other plans, but writing it up made me really excited about it. Maybe I'll have to go.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

More news - Schizophonic is back!

More good news from the new year is that Schizophonic (remember that women's vocal group I put together last year?) is back! We have two new members, and we just had our first rehearsal yesterday. It went really well, and I am excited and invigorated for the future! Feel free to pass gigs our way - we would love to take on all possibilities!

We are probably going to change the name, however, since I have been getting not universally positive reactions to the whole "schizophrenic" punning, which strikes people as odd, potentially insulting, and open to misinterpretation. So stay tuned for news on the name.

One of the books I got for Christmas is A Circle of Quiet: The Crosswicks Journals, Book One by Madeleine L'Engle. It's a collection of her ideas on all sorts of things, and includes the following beautiful and relevant quote:

"There is a lovely Talmudic story that when the Children of Israel reached the Red Sea, and Moses struck his staff on the shore, the waters of the sea did not part to let them through. The Israelites stood there at the edge of the water, and nothing happened until one of the men plunged in. Then the waters rolled back."

Here's to plunging!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Job Announcement!

This actually happened before Christmas, but since I just signed the contract today, and since I also just today went to my first committee meeting (ever! Now I'm a real UU!) I feel that it's safe to make the announcement. I'm going to be the Music Director at First Parish UU in Cohasset, MA starting on 2/1/08. I am delighted that my determination to work for the UU church has given me such a great opportunity!

Also, I now need to buy a car, since it's an hour away. So, if anyone knows of a kindly-used Honda, Toyota or Subaru (preferably four-wheel drive, and I would love a stick-shift) for sale, do please let me know.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Some open rehearsals

As previously mentioned, this is one of the two times of year to join a chorus. And several choruses are having some open rehearsals in the upcoming weeks. So, if you want to join a chorus, there are some options for you, particularly for those out in the 'burbs. These are all women's choirs - sorry, guys!


Cantilena, an all-women's group, is having open rehearsals the first three Mondays in January. More details are on their website.


The Concord Women's Chorus, a 45-voice chorus directed by Jane Ring Frank (who also founded and directs The Boston Secession) will hold open rehearsals on January 15 and 22, 2008, at 9:30 am at Trinity Episcopal Chorus, 81 Elm Street, Concord, MA. Brief auditions will be held at the end of the 9/25 rehearsal. For more information see their website or call (978) 772-2445.


The A Cappella Singers, an all-women's group, is having open rehearsals on 1/14 and 1/21. Click on their website to get a general idea of their personality and repertoire. However, the website doesn't appear to have updated open rehearsals details, so here they are:
Where: Fisk Methodist Church 106 Walnut Street, Natick, MA
When: 1/14 and 1/21, 7:00-9:30 pm
What: Open rehearsals and auditions for those interested.

I'm sure some of you have made a New Year's resolution to start singing again, or singing more, or to just do something artistic in the coming year. Here's your chance!


Correction - the concert I am in tomorrow is at 2 pm, not 3. 2 pm! Don't come at 3 pm, or you'll miss almost the entire thing!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Weekend Concert Calendar, 1/3/08

Happy New Year to all! It is time for the first concert calendar of the new year. I left this until rather late today, as I stayed up too late playing Settlers of Catan with my brother and his fiancée. Luckily for my sleep schedule, your options this weekend are pretty short.

In fact, the only interesting thing I can find for you on Friday or Saturday is a performance of Amahl and the Night Visitors being put on by the Cape Cod Opera Company. These performances are, unsurprisingly, being held on Cape Cod. Details here.

Sunday there is a little more variety. My pick is, of course, moi-self. Cappella Clausura (including yours truly) will be performing at Forsyth Chapel at the Forest Hills Cemetary (near the Forest Hills T-stop) at 3 pm this Sunday. This is a reprise of our November performances, so if you missed it, you are in luck - you get a second chance! Gorgeous music! And, er, oh crap, I just remembered that I think I have some solo bits. Hm.

Moving right along, we have a few other options. Lowell House Opera at Harvard is hosting a masterclass with David Stockton on Sunday at 1 pm, and you can sit in and listen for free. If you are in East Weymouth, you can attend "A Little Christmas in Jackson Square," which is an Epiphany concert at 3 pm. And...I think that's it. No worries, there will be more next week!