I used to think if I went over the piece again and again the Goddess of Music would smile down on me and fulfill my wish. Then I realized I was memorizing the way I DIDN’T want it to sound or feel.
So, I learned how to practice AND get better, a lot of it from hearing others practice and observing my own habits. Come to a FREE workshop at the New England Conservatory this Wednesday, September 26, from 8-9:30pm in Pierce Hall, 241 St. Botolph Street. I’ll share some of my best practices (couldn’t resist) and there will be handouts. Open and free to all, no NEC affiliation required.
I grew up with fog, and sang on the way to Oakland High madrigals at 7:30 in the morning. It made my hair wavy like Janis Joplin…
On Saturday September 22, I’ll be singing with a fog/art project at the Arnold Arboretum. Maria Finkelmeier’s piece for voices, brass and percussion lasts 20 minutes, so we’ll do it three times: 4:30, 5:30, and 6:30, right by the front gate and Hunnewell building. Free and you are invited to wander around us as we make music!
Water Music: 5 premiers, sung and played at the Esplanade on the longest day of the year…this is what I call new music heaven…percussion, brass and voices. I can’t wait to hear what they all sound like out there, and I cannot imagine what the audience will experience as they wander through the Esplanade island near the Hatch Shell, among and between us performing musicians. It’s sure to be a great event–I have done other large-scale pieces with Maria Finkelmeier, the organizer (“In C”, “Inuksuit” at the Arboretum, playing the wall of the Green Monster during a light show), and trust her implicitly. These compositions are by Maria herself, Marti Epstein, Anthony Green, Neil Parsons and Manuel Garcia Albornoz. 7:30-9pm on Thursday, June 21, 2018, the River Charles in Boston…
I’m excited about the upcoming recital at the new Middlebury Song Fest this Friday evening, May 18. Favorite songs written in the recent past, very accessible tunes on New England poets, with a bit of improvisation and whimsy thrown in. Peter Cirka on piano, (until I play on my own arrangement of a Ricky Ian Gordon tune). We’ll also teach the audience a few settings of Emmas Lazarus’ famous “Give me your tired…” and a fun song about the library by Deborah Henson-Conant.
Bonus for Boston area friends: an open dress rehearsal at the JP branch of the public library on Wednesday May 26, 2:30-3:30. (30 South Street, Jamaica Plain, downstairs).
“Up on the Roof” is a classic Carole King song–or is it? In my Carole King Anthology songbook, published in 1973, she credits “Words and Music by Gerry Goffin and Toni Stern”. So I’ve always given them credit. But now that JP Jubilee is singing my new arrangement of the song on their upcoming concert, a lot of singers have looked up the song and find it attributed to Carole alone. The mystery continues, and it is a GREAT song and a Very Fine Arrangement that fits our SATB group. I’m proud of them and also delight in hearing them rock out on “Love Potion #9” and a fun take on a Mozart round, using the theme of procrastination, rather than scatalogical references to music critics. All performed in less than an hour, with ice cream afterwards at JP Licks…
What a delight to come together with my pals to revisit some delightful 21st century song cycles by Fran Trester and learn some new tunes! Celebrating Scott Woolweaver’s birthday (Mr. Viola to you), John McDonald has written a gorgeous new tune on a poem of Scott’s friend, Cheryl Savageau, called “Equinox”. It’s about a goldfinch, natch, because we are all a bit bird- and nature-crazy in this trio. John plays piano for the rest of the pieces, but this bird song is just contralto and viola and it might rival John’s “The Mockingbird of Mockingbirds”, which was written for a big birthday celebration of mine in 2004.
Here are the details for the two concerts, both at All Newton Music School 321 Chestnut Street West Newton, MA 02465 (617) 527-4553
Sunday March 11, 3:00pm Scott’s birthday bash with nice reception afterwards. Free, lots of good music for viola and I will be part of the 2nd half. Includes “Domestic Affairs” by Francine Trester (10 songs on domestic life, including raccoons in the garbage and a bird named Ruffles) and “Equinox” by John McDonald (premier, described above).
Friday March 23, 11:00am All-Mockingbird Trio in an informal setting, which includes lunch afterward. $30, reservations required. Program includes Howard Frazin’s “A Wren” and “Lullaby”, song cycles about birds by Francine Trester and John McDonald, his new “Equinox” and “The Mockingbird of Mockingbirds”. Some on poetry by Denise Levertov; Fran writes her own fabulous lyrics. Howard Frazin’s Viola Sonata is also featured (premier, also being heard on March 11 concert).
How fun is this? For me, nothing more delightful than singing beautiful 21st century music that was written for me and my pals, on gorgeous texts and getting to play music with them again after a hiatus (John was on sabbatical, after being dept. chair and other grown-up duties).
Sing/play Bach arias this semester at NEC–class begins Wednesday February 7, 7:30-8:30pm. Learn how to choose great arias, rehearse them as chamber music, and make a recitative sound like a great story…details: NEC voice classes
Appropriate for singers who can learn this wonderful music on their own and are comfortable singing in German; also welcome: flutes, oboes, strings, keyboard players…please pass this on and questions welcome…
I recently attended a workshop on improvisation*, and one of the interesting topics was practicing. Not just figuring out how to improvise over a jazz standard, although we did some of that as well. Finding new ways into the music, ways to make it more creative and a lot more productive. I was fascinated, because I had already been invited to offer an evening workshop at the New England Conservatory about the very subject. I had a lot of ideas before and now I have even more. The free event, for adults of all persuasions (beginners are encouraged), is coming up soon. Here’s the scoop:
Wednesday January 31, 8-9:30pm, Pierce Hall, New England Conservatory of Music, 241 St Botolph Street, Boston. Free to all, no NEC affiliation necessary. Appropriate for all styles. Bring your questions or even a bit of a song you’d like to ask about…there will be handouts, so if you’re coming, shoot me an email so I know how many to prepare. No one is required to sing, but there will be opportunities for the group to try exercises together.
*it was a weeklong workshop with two master performers/teachers, Rhiannon and Laurence Hobgood. In Hawaii. Poor me. I did, however, suffer through Boston’s Big Chill before earning the right to get warm. There was also an exciting false alert sent to my phone about incoming missiles. Some people have all the fun.