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Bullet Points for a Busy Week

June 10, 2011

Brief roundup as I'm nearing the end of a hectic week.

1. The Chorus America Conference is in full swing here in San Francisco. Everyone's talking social media. Tweeted my way through a discussion at the Conservatory of Music between Grant Gershon and John Adamas. Some interesting stuff on working with singers in France who have trouble pronouncing the "the" in "the" correctly. Bit of a nightmare when you write a line that has a lot of "th" sounds in it and the chorus keeps insisting on singing "ze."

2. Attended two fantastic choral concerts over the past couple of evenings. Chanticleer's "Out of this World" was true to its name. It provided the perfect overview of what this superlative group can do, which is to say that they can do everything. The program careened from Palestrina to Schumann to Sean Crouch to Harold Arlen and ended with a gobsmacking a cappella rendition of the cheesy pop song "Change the World" by Tommy Sims which soloist Ben Jones made me appreciate anew. The only downsides were a) that the group sounded a little tired in places, and b) the choice of Matt Oltman's arrangement of the Adagietto from Mahler's 5th Symphony as an encore. A really long, po-faced downer after the euphoric programmed finale. You could tell the singers were enjoying it about as much as the audience. The San Francisco Girls' Chorus concert last night was sonic perfection. I am so proud to be living in the same city as this organization. The singers have a beautiful, glassy tone and, like Chanticleer, there seems to be no end to their ability to sing a broad range of stuff. I particularly relished both pieces they performed with the Cypress String Quartet - Brian Rosen's arrangement of Bach's "Wachet Auf" from Cantata 140 and Chen Yi's "Angel Island Passages." But the video that went along with the latter was a bit heavy-handed with its images of Chinese immigrants looking through bars etc.

3. The above was long for a bullet point.

4. Check out Jeanne Carstensen's fun article in the Bay Citizen and New York Times about a dust-up between a violist and unhappy audience member in San Francisco: The story was broken by the forementioned Brian Rosen in his blog, here.

5. And here's a link to my latest piece on The Ring in The New York Times / Bay Citizen.

6. Finally, I was gazing up at an enormous (and, frankly, unattractive) wool tapestry made in the 1970s that's hanging in The Wattis Room at Davies Symphony Hall during last night's Chairman's Reception for Chorus America insiders and donors when someone came up to me and told me that the tapestry was hung the wrong way around. Apparently neither the artist nor the person responsible for commissioning the work at the Symphony had thought to ask or share information about the dimensions of the wall upon which the tapestry was supposed to hang. I don't think it would look any better hanging the right way up, mind you.

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