Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Gig report: Clausura in CT

So yesterday Cappella Clausura went down to Sacred Heart University in CT. We did a masterclass there (with their Catholic Music class, I believe) and then performed in the evening. I got home at 1 am.

The masterclass went well - many of the students were relatively well engaged (some were texting or surfing the web on their laptops, but so it goes.) We did get some questions, although I was hoping the theorbo would have gotten more shock value. I mean, come on, it's a theorbo, and I know most of them had never seen one before! And yet nobody said "What the hell is THAT?!?" the way I was hoping they would. The funniest moment probably came when Amy (the director) had us demonstrate a drone, which we use in some of the chant we do - half the group just sings a single note on a single vowel while staggering our breaths so the sound never stops. It is probably the most brutally hard thing I have to sing in with that group - definitely the most difficult aspect of this particular program. It's hard to explain properly if you haven't experienced it, but sitting on one note can rapidly make your throat and entire body get very, very tense, and having it be on one vowel, so nothing is physically changing, makes it that much harder. (Mike, it's basically the equivalent of playing Reich's Piano Phase.)

Anyways, we stood in a circle, and all droned together, and then Amy invited students to come up and stand in the middle of the circle to hear a surround-sound version of droning. So a few did, and duly expressed the opinion that it was cool, and then with the third kid Amy moved into the circle and sang a half-step down against us. The guy in the middle, who looked like an affable jock, immediately freaked out, and said, "Stop, stop! That's too weird!" and backed out of the circle. It's not often you get such a violent reaction to dissonance. :)

Then after some down time during which we all felt aimless, we went to a little reception in the university art gallery, with some very good food. (Little coconut-crusted lobster rolls on a stick, yum! Also, half a glass of wine before a concert has no deleterious effects - note to self!) Then we sang the concert, which went well - it's a program we've sung a number of times before, so it was quite comfortable and familiar. We had a pretty good crowd - it was in the university auditorium. And afterwards they fed us a very nice dinner. Nothing warms my heart towards an institution like good food - the way to a singer's heart is through their belly!

The drive home was quite exciting - massive rainstorm, big thunder, heavy wind. Luckily I wasn't driving, and mostly dozed through the whole thing. And that was my day yesterday.

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