November 29, 2003
An upcoming episode of Fox TV's Arrested Development will contain three barbershop singers of note....they are: Tenor, John Sherburn of The New Tradition (1985 Intl Champions SPEBSQSA) along with Bill New (noted studio singer, The Diamonds and barbershop quartet Nickelodeon), and Dan Jordan (The New Tradition, 139th Street Quartet and The Perfect Gentlemen.
Dan was contacted for this gig through Tim at Primarily A Cappella! Through many changes in the script and costuming and available singers, the group emerged as a trio to appear on screen with David Cross (who sings lead on an old barbershop classic...Swanee River). It seems that David has joined a "men's club" and has got into a quartet. It turns out that the club is a men's "leather / biker" club and he's at the center of things with three other "leather men" in this episode. The group is called the "Whip and Snaps." Look for it to air on either November 30th or December 7th, 2003.
Sydney Morning Herald
The press gallery's a cappella choir, the House Howlers, looked to disco diva Gloria Gaynor for inspiration when preparing its satirical contribution to the gallery's big annual dinner at Parliament House. They reworked her big hit of 1979, I Will Survive, as a musical message from Simon Crean to Kim Beazley, whom he had defeated in a party room ballot just two days before.
The new lyrics invited the academically inclined Beazley to "Take some dusty job at some old university, cos that's the only way to stop you coming back to bother me."Another prophetic line which went down big with the audience of several hundred political insiders went: "As long as there's a Ferguson, I know I'll stay alive." And it ended with an entreaty for Beazley to do "just one last thing for free, Would you show me how to make those bloody voters vote for me?"
November 26, 2003
Germany's six-time Formula One champion Michael Schumacher and rock singer Sting will take part in next month's 2006 World Cup qualifying draw. Brazilian great Pele will join FIFA president Sepp Blatter among the 3,500 spectators at the December 5 event, one of the first major milestones en route to the finals in Germany. Sting will also help to provide the entertainment along with American a cappella act Naturally Seven.
Organising committee officials told a news conference on Tuesday that over 100 countries are taking live TV coverage and several hundred million people are expected to watch the draw. About 700 journalists have registered for the event.
Dallas Star Telegram
One of the year's fresher records, When it Snows, comes from The Blenders, an a cappella quartet from North Dakota. Their sound is a tad . . . er, Caucasian . . . a bit like Manhattan Transfer playing in a blizzard. But who else would perform Sleigh Bells to the tune of Lou Reed's Walk on the Wild Side? Not the chicken guy, anyway.
America Sings! has once again created a large singing ensemble, made up of school and community youth choral ensembles from across the United States, to perform in the upcoming Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
November 24, 2003
Musical malfeasants The Bobs are simply one of the most beloved and original a cappella groups ever, writing such classics as "Slow Down Krishna," "Kill Your Television" and "Drive By Love." Not only were the Bobs acclaimed for their original material, they were also beloved for their hilarious and technically masterful renditions of cover songs including "Psycho Killer," "Helter Skelter" and "Purple Haze." Along the way they were Grammy-nominated, appeared on PBS in their own one hour special and were added to the Smithsonian Institute's Museum of American History! "Best of the Bobs" a.k.a. "Twenty Songs from Twenty Years" is an instant collector's item, with rare outtakes, 12 previously unreleased tracks in all including three brand new songs. No greatest hits re-hash, this CD takes you through dark and winding passages into the very center of the Bobs' twisted psyches, behind the scenes to the core of the Bobs' creative genius. Listen to Robot Store
In a night dedicated to reality TV and Jessica Simpson's bowel movements, among other zany, year-end pop-culture tributes, it was a timeless, world-class a cappella performance by the venerable Al Green that gave everyone goose bumps at VH1's Big in 03 Awards. As Green's "Let's Stay Together" filled the Universal Amphitheatre Thursday, presenters Katie Holmes and Bernie Mac began a waltz that inspired fans of even "The OC" to grab a partner and sway.
The misbehaviour of Jeffrey Archer and other Tories has been immortalised in 15-part vocal harmony in a new show subsidised by the taxpayer. The hip group The Shout blend a cappella singing and theatre to create “barbershop opera”. Their latest show, Deep Blue, explores many aspects of love, including a section on lust and betrayal. Which is where the Tories come in, of course.
As the centrepiece, the group has devised an extended section in which its members sing, shout and warble the words “Jeffrey Archer” in dozens of different ways. They intersperse with Archer the names of David Mellor, the former Culture Secretary, and that other Tory adulterer John Major in tones of contempt and revulsion. Taking musical inspiration from Eastern Europe and Africa, their work has been likened to a cross between the Andrews Sisters and Prokofiev. More
Happy Birthday to Manhattan Transfer's Alan Paul who turned 54.
November 22, 2003
"Gilmore Girls" mother Lauren Graham poses with the Whiffenpoofs. The group recently guest starred on an episode of the show as themselves.
Yale Daily News
Why is it that when other students at colleges around the world are presented with Thanksgiving break, they bolt out of their dorm doors faster than one could say "turkey, turkey," but when Yale students are extended the same offer, they keep their feet firmly planted and refuse to leave?
Two words, one hyphenated: Yale-Harvard Weekend. What makes this weekend so utterly gratifying? The clashing of the football teams? The bacchanalian revelry of the tailgates? No -- above all, it is the euphonic sweetness of a cappella. For this Yale-Harvard Weekend, seven a cappella shows will be going on. That's seven times the number of football games happening, more than one could count on a hand. And the best thing about these shows is that they are amalgamations of Yale-Harvard talent. These young, musically inclined men and women are overlooking their educational loyalties so that the two scholar communities can see that there is more to this weekend than raucous rivalry. Take it from Eddie Higgins '06. a member of the Spizziwinks, he has put aside his own interests to host the Harvard-Radcliffe Pitches in his common room. Now where other than Yale would you find such a chivalrous young man selflessly offering shelter to Harvard's oldest all-women a cappella group? More
The Rock and Roll Museum announced Thursday that the The Dells are to be inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. Well-known to dedicated R&B doo-wop fans, the Dells have fairly quietly managed to put together a career with hits in each decade since the 1950s without completely overhauling their basic sound. Their tight harmonies got them hired on as backing vocalists for other legends, including Ray Charles and Dinah Washington.
From their first hit, the classic 1956 ballad Oh What a Nite (which charted again in 1969), through 1965's Stay In My Corner, all the way to 1991's A Heart is a House of Love from Robert Townsend's cinematic valentine to vocal groups, The Five Heartbeats, The Dells have kept the flame alive for classic R&B harmony groups, and the group still features a few of the original members.
“Working with Tandy Beal is a joy,” says Sunshine Becker, a 31-year-old member of the vastly talented East Bay a cappella group SoVoSó. “She has a vision, but is open to other people´s ideas. She knows what SoVoSó does and what we do in our element can be very, very good. She´s doing the same thing in the dances.”
The first half of “The New Nut!” will feature SoVoSó singing in its innovative style, original songs and holiday numbers. Beal is slated to dance alongside the singers. When Act II hits, everything is transformed and a small plot is introduced. On a video screen, the audience watches the singers of SoVoSó load into a car in the East Bay and travel to a party. But they´re late and become disoriented, driving right by the Mello Center in Watsonville and coming upon a sign that directs them to Los Angeles. Then they see a sign to Candyland. On screen, the singers get out of the car and the video turns off. They then walk on stage and enter the stunning, fictional world of Candyland. Once there, they meet roller skaters, jugglers, dancers, aerial artists and more. With Bobby McFerrin, Beal has staged an opera, choreographed a video for MTV and choreographed an Emmy Award-winning PBS program, which led her to her relationship with SoVoSo. More
November 20, 2003
You could probably count the groups that have made it past their 40th anniversary on the fingers of one hand. In fact, not too many names spring to mind other than the Rolling Stones and the Swingle Singers. Unlike the Stones, the latter may have changed its personnel several times over the past four decades, but the world's premier a cappella group appears to be going from strength to strength.
Last August, the British-based vocal ensemble was enthusiastically received at the Red Sea Jazz Festival in Eilat. Next week the group will be back for a series of five concerts with the Israel Kibbutz Orchestra although, naturally, the repertoire will be somewhat different from the jazz standards-based program it performed in Eilat.
"We try to sing something different everywhere we go," says Swingle Singers artistic director Joanna Forbes, who is also one of the group's nine vocalists. "We also try to sing something from the local repertoire, if we can."
Of course, if you're going to sing in Hebrew, it helps to have an Israeli in the group. Kinneret Maor-Erez joined the Swingle Singers earlier this year, and has no doubt helped Forbes and her other colleagues with their Hebrew pronunciation.
"Yes, it's been great having Kinneret with us," says Forbes. "We met her on a previous tour of Israel, and she expressed an interest in joining us. A few months ago, one of our members left, and Kinneret fills the gap very well." More
Yale Daily News
Despite persistent complaints from aggravated neighbors, members of the Baker's Dozen a cappella group will likely remain at their current house on 235 Dwight St. The city also ended its investigation of a house on 229 Dwight St. that houses six students. The New Haven zoning board has decided not to pursue its demands that Off Broadway -- the company that owns the property -- go to the zoning board for special-use permits for the houses.
Irritated neighbors had opposed Off Broadway's efforts to appeal and hoped to see the Baker's Dozen evicted altogether. The group was using a house zoned for two families as a rooming house for six students. The Baker's Dozen has had strained relations with its neighbors for most of the five years that members of the group have lived at their current location on Dwight Street. New Haven Police have been called to the house 28 times since 1999. More
November 19, 2003
Many of you have probably seen the trailers for The Haunted House, starring Eddie Murphy, and the barbershop-singing statutes.
Noted barbershoppers and Disneyland regulars The Dapper Dans provided the singing voices for the stone busts that appear throughout the movie. The members of the foursome are: Tenor, Tim Reeder (a member of The Perfect Gentlemen, 2002 National Harmony Sweepstakes Champions), Lead, Shelby Grimm, Baritone, Bill Lewis, and on Bass, Jim Campbell (also a member of The Perfect Gentlemen). The trailers ("coming soon" and other variations of that tag line) were recorded by The Dapper Dans, with some assistance on tenor by Bob Hartley (lead of the current SPEBSQSA 3rd place International quartet medalist's and 1998 Harmony Sweepstakes Champions, Metropolis).
The latest release of toys through Fox TV and The Simpsons features the singing voices of two of the current and two alumni members of The Dapper Dans.
In 1993, the quartet sang for the Simpsons episode, Homers Barbershop Quartet. This episode is the number 4 listing of all-time favorite episodes (Rolling Stone Magazine). It featured George Harrison, David Crosby and the cast of The Simpsons along with the singing voices of The Dapper Dans (Mike Economou as Apu, Shelby Grimm as Barney, Dan Jordan as Homer and Jim Campbell as Principal Skinner). The new toy is part of their ongoing release of characters that talk and sing. The quartet harmonizes the song "Baby On Board." Look for it in stores during the holidays.
It’s kind of a drag to be in this quartet. Not that it’s bad to be in the Kinsey Sicks. But it’s a drag because, well, that’s what they do. The Kinsey Sicks are an award-winning a cappella “beautyshop quartet” who dress in drag for their over-the-top comedic performances.
“If you haven’t done drag, you need to, you’ll find out things you never knew about yourself,” Dilley said in a phone interview.
Witty musical parodies, like the Celine Dion riff “Why Does Celine Go On?”, the fellatio ode “I Will Swallow Him” and the soon-to-be Christmas classic “A Lay in a Manger,” have garnered acclaim from critics and fans alike. San Francisco Guardian readers named them “Best of the Bay” this year and they’ve been nominated for a Drama Desk Award for outstanding lyrics for “Dragapella!”
These queens aren’t like the ones who lip-synch to Cher - they are genuine a cappella talents. Sometimes people don’t take them seriously, said Keller, but that’s because they’ve only seen the Kinsey’s and haven’t heard them. More
Some controversy in the barbershop world as The Society Board voted against lifting the disqualification of the Big Apple Chorus from the Manhattan Chapter, MidAtlantic District and therefore they are not eligible to compete at International Contest in Louisville, KY in 2004. The Society does have rules regarding dual chorus membership during the competition cycle, which were apparently violated, but many feel the punishment far outweighs the offense.
November 18, 2003
Theater often can bring you to your feet. It's not every day it brings you to your knees. Shadow Theatre Company is mounting the 40th anniversary production of "God's Trombones," James Weldon Johnson's timeless old-time revival that weaves fiery Biblical sermons with 33 moving spirituals sung in an a capella rhythm by a powerful cast of seven, each representing one position on "God's trombone." The trombone, director James Mapp says, is the instrument that above all others "possesses the power to express the wide and varied range of emotions encompassed by the human voice." More
Fourteen a cappella groups will perform tonight in the annual Big Sing-Off, one of the more harmonious events between Stanford and UC-Berkeley traditionally held during Big Game Week. “Big Sing is a night of good music and a rare chance to hear most of the a cappella groups from the two schools together at one time,” said senior Gautam Raghavan, president of the Harmonics, the group that organized the show this year.
“It’s a lot of fun and gives the 14 groups involved a chance to hear each other and show off their own talents,” Raghavan said.
In past concerts, there has been tension and problems with “disrespect” according to Raghavan. The event is not explicitly competitive, but some groups will usually adjust lyrics to make fun of the rival school. “A few years ago it was a pretty negative experience for some of the groups involved,” Raghavan said. “It’s tough to perform while representing your school to an audience that’s half hostile to your being there.” More
November 17, 2003
Let’s try to be positive about this: you would pay a fortune for two hours of holistic vocal therapy anywhere else in the West End, so Bobby McFerrin’s London Jazz Festival show can probably be considered a bargain. He did not help my stress levels one bit, to be absolutely honest, but everyone around me was eager to give him a standing ovation at the end. Some people, I’m afraid, are so star-struck that they would hand over good money to watch Elton John go shopping.
There is no question that McFerrin, a walking synthesizer with greying dreadlocks, is a charismatic talent with an omnivorous appetite for music and a rare gift for communicating with audiences. While most of the world still remembers him as the man who gave us the irritatingly catchy Don’t Worry, Be Happy, he has built an unconventional career as a classical conductor, as well as a proselytiser — on albums such as Circle Songs — for the joys of a cappella ensemble singing.
For all that, there was a terribly lax quality to this display. McFerrin is very good at making car noises, among other things, but for most of this concert the vehicle’s engine hardly got beyond second gear. For much of the time he did not even seem particularly interested in leaving his garage, content instead to simply stand around polishing the bonnet and playing with the windscreen wipers. More
The relevent authorities are still trying to sift through the rubble that is left of Cinema 2 in New Kingston after American gospel group Acappella utterly destroyed it on Saturday night with a performance that has placed them on the 'most wanted' list.
The all-vocal quartet delivered an astounding performance that supported the notion that instruments are overrated and that the voice is the mother of all. Without a smidgeon of a doubt, the crowd favourite was Gary Evans, who was armed with a bass voice that could topple the hugest of mountains.
When Evans opened his mouth, it was as if he had an earthquake that measured 9.9 on the Richter scale trapped in his belly. Evan's voice shook the very foundations of the venue; patrons had to hold on to their chairs in order not to hit the deck. Additionally, the group was the epitome of harmony, as Nic Dunbar (baritone); Matt Nunally (high tenor) and Sean Samuel (second tenor) proved that their voices were worth their weight in gold. More
Voices -- artfully layered and vulnerably alone, shouting and near-whispering -- filled the double bill of Friday night's sold-out concert at Clowes Hall. Blended and complemented as cannily as Rockapella and the New York Voices can do, voices enhanced by a flawless sound system reached out to about 2,000 hearts and twice as many ears in a generously proportioned program.
Rockapella entered to a stage cleared of everything except microphone stands. Scott Leonard, an Indianapolis native who happened to do much of the talking for the group, offered an oral "ingredients label" in which he assured everyone that even the incredible array of percussion sounds supplied by Jeff Thacher has no artificial enhancement.
The group offered vigorous, concise treatments of several old Top 40 favorites, including "House of the Rising Sun," "Here Comes the Sun" and "Dancing in the Street." Leonard and fellow tenor Kevin Wright carried much of the solo burden with aplomb. Wright's best outing in the portion of the show I was able to hear was his "Change in My Life," with the tenderly impassioned support of his four colleagues. And in a song that baritone Elliott Kerman wrote for his wife, Thacher handled the"fills" as deftly as such hard-swinging drum masters of the wire brushes as Ed Thigpen and Joe Morello. But that was just a small, if vital, part of the stylishness that characterized Rockapella's performance. The group, though it stretches itself less than the New York Voices artistically, shows mastery of any music it chooses to apply its talents to. More
A special award was handed to Ladysmith Black Mambazo for their contribution to South African music. The annual Metro FM Awards took place at the International Convention Centre in Durban on Saturday.
November 13, 2003
Only slightly less startling than the prospect of electable Tories is the emergence of cool choirs. And the 14 professionals in the Shout are deeply cool. They prefer to play nightclubs rather than cathedrals. They dabble with satire and sing about sex — things you don’t often encounter at, say, the Royal Choral Society.
Their music, mostly written by their composer-directors Orlando Gough and Richard Chew, is a fashionably eclectic mix, very much “late-night Radio 3”: minimalist riffs, rich jazz harmony, sensuous world-music modes, overlaid with heavy breathing, yelping and other avant-garde effects. And they sing mostly from memory. That’s vital. Not only does it allow whole medleys to be staged as dramatic narratives; it also immensely heightens their communicative powers. Alone among the performing arts, classical music still wrestles with this huge visual and psychological problem: that performers have their heads buried in their scores. The Shout’s virtuosos show what a difference a little eye-contact with the audience makes. More
Hours after company members of the dawning musical, Harmony, were told their show was shuttering due to undercapitalization, producer Mark Schwartz told Playbill On-Line he shares their heartbreak. Although he wasn't at the 10 AM Nov. 13 company meeting in Manhattan — where cast members were dumbstruck, shocked or in tears from the news that they would not be shipping out to the Philadelphia tryout in the coming days — Schwartz said he knows that the troupe's feelings are aimed at him.
Schwartz said he raised only $3.5-$4 million of the $6.5-$7 million capitalization needed for the show's Dec. 2-Jan. 4, 2004, run at Philadelphia's Forrest Theatre. The rest of the money did not come through in recent weeks, despite assurances from potential investors. It was hoped by all involved that the next stop after Philly would be a Broadway theatre.
Making the project more desirable to investors might be the $500,000 box office advance or the presence of Tony Award nominee Brian d'Arcy James (Sweet Smell of Success, Titanic). "I'm still looking for the White Knight," Schwartz admitted. "With all the people that came, no one stepped to the plate, I was the only one." More
A&E TV recently invited Anonymous 4 to their studios in Manhattan to tape a segment of "Breakfast with the Arts." They performed pieces from both "Wolcum Yule" and "American Angels" and were interviewed by the show's host Elliott Forrest. Air date is scheduled for Sunday morning, December 21.
New York Times
Many countries with small military budgets arm themselves with culture. Art tells outsiders what a people think and feel; it also provides a rallying ground and common cause for those within a nation's borders. Never underestimate its power.
Maybe this is why musical visitors from Eastern Europe - in this case the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir at the Angel Orensanz Foundation on Nov. 5 - seem to arrive literally brandishing their homegrown creative impulse. Despite a rainy night and the out-of-the-way location on Norfolk Street on the Lower East Side, this shabby chic ex-synagogue was nearly full, with an audience split evenly between the young and the curious, and older people hoping for brief contact with former homelands.
If the music ran from the 17th century to the present, the Orthodox Church was never out of earshot. Recent pieces like Galina Grigorjeva's "On Leaving" (mournful, stately), Arvo Pärt's Two Slavonic Psalms (pushed along by uneven phrases) and Alfred Schnittke's Three Sacred Songs (with gently subversive inner harmony and changes of key) more or less ignored the 20th-century world of sound around them.
The Estonians, singing a cappella, were house-proud for their own Mr. Part but also embraced neighboring music from Russia and Ukraine as well as that of two 18th-century Italian transplants, Baldassare Galuppi and Giuseppe Sarti. The chorus sang richly, faithfully in tune and with the expected conviction. Under the British conductor Paul Hillier they were precise without being fanatic about it. It is a nice sound.
The Recording Industry Association of America apologized recently to Penn State University for sending an incorrect legal notice of alleged Internet copyright violations to Penn State's department of astronomy and astrophysics. Department officials at first were puzzled, because the notification invoked the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and alleged that one of its FTP sites was unlawfully distributing songs by the musician Usher. The letter demanded that the department "remove the site" and delete the infringing sound files.
But no such files existed on the server, which is used by faculty and graduate students to publish research and grant proposals. Matt Soccio, the department's system administrator, said that he searched the FTP server "for files ending in mp3, wma, ogg, wav, mov, mpg, etc., and found nothing that would precipitate this complaint."
Except, that is, when Soccio realized two things. The department has on its faculty a professor emeritus named Peter Usher whose work on radio-selected quasars the FTP site hosted. The site also had a copy of an a cappella song performed by Astropella about the Swift gamma ray satellite, which Penn State helped to design. The combination of the word "Usher" and the suffix ".mp3" had triggered the RIAA's automated copyright crawlers.
Sydney Morning Herald
Architects use computer software to construct three-dimensional models so their clients can see how a finished building will look. Now some of them are also creating computer models that simulate the acoustics so that clients can find out how it is likely to sound. As computers have grown more powerful and programs that once took a weekend to execute now take only hours on a laptop, the simulation process, known as auralisation, is being used to plan more commonplace locations.
One problem is the scarcity of appropriate recordings for tests. "The sound samples you are using have to be recorded in an anechoic chamber - a room with no echoes," according to Lily Wang, a professor of architectural engineering at the University of Nebraska.
Ronald Freiheit, director of design engineering at the Wenger Corporation, a maker of equipment for music education and performance in Minnesota, decided to fill the gap by creating an anechoic choral recording. Wenger arranged to collaborate with 3M in St Paul, where 3M has a large testing room lined with wedges of soft fibreglass to absorb sound. Freiheit also lined up the St Olaf Cantorei, a singing group at St Olaf College in Minnesota, to perform.
About 80 members of the choir and their conductor recorded a program in the chamber standing on a grid above the fibreglass packing while singing, among other works, a six-part mass and a motet by renaissance master Orlando Gibbons. The choral music, for example, will be helpful to architects and clients planning churches. "It's really necessary to simulate what a space will sound like," he says. "Otherwise it's like trying to describe a painting without actually showing it to anyone." More
November 11, 2003
Judging from the title he's given his new production, "Black Burlesque (revisited)," choreographer Reggie Wilson wants prospective ticket buyers to think: Girlie show. Low comedy. Cootch dancing by people of color. Thankfully, he delivers quite a different package. Bringing his New York-based Fist & Heel Performance Group together with the Zimbabwean a cappella group Black Umfolosi and dancers from the company of Trinidad's Noble Douglas, Wilson has created a lush, reverential display of African-derived music and dance.
What you come away with is a sense of the African base as an endless font of inspiration, through the eyes of the program's three artistic directors: Wilson, Douglas and Black Umfolosi's Thomeki Dube. Interconnectedness was not just the theme of "Black Burlesque"; it was also its mood and decorative motif. The performers shared a glowing camaraderie, greeting one another warmly, joking and chattering among themselves. Wilson chose the cast wisely; the vocals had the quality of hushed rainfall, and the dancing was pliant and smooth. More
A candidate for most interesting name for an a cappella group must be the Washington DC based male choral ensemble The Suspicious Cheese Lords.
THE OLDEST A CAPPELLA GROUP?
On Friday the St. Petersburg State Academic Capella Choir performs at Yardley Hall at Johnson County Community College. The 500-year-old vocal ensemble, created under the reign of that inveterate music lover, Ivan the Terrible, will be making its first area appearance on a worldwide tour celebrating the city of St. Petersburg's 300th anniversary. Both Ivan and Peter the Great sang in this choir, which has 65 singers.
Soulful, spirited, sumptuous and stirring -- vocal harmonies flooded the Warner Theatre on Friday night when Sweet Honey in the Rock celebrated its 30th anniversary before a devoted hometown crowd. Like so many of the ensemble's other appearances over the years, the concert featured voices sufficiently resonant to match the sound of a big-band reed section, moving from barely audible purrs to full-throated roars -- and then, ever so nimbly, back again.
What set this performance apart was its far-reaching scope and cross-generational thrust. Dubbed "Eveningsong," the program was both collage and collaboration, an eloquent depiction of myriad vocal traditions and a vigorous embrace of contemporary folk-rock music. More
Thanks to everybody who helped make the West Coast A Cappella Summit such a success this past weekend. Great performances, informative classes and opportunities for all to sing made for a highly enjoyable weekend. A special thanks to all the attendees and we greatly appeciate your support and interest in a cappella music.
In a Premiere magazine feature article on former Princeton Tigertones member Wentworth Miller he talks about his time with the group. "We toured around the country during the year, and we went to Europe in the summer. On a dime we would throw down a hat in every piazza and plaza we could find to get a little lunch money. It was just the best way to see the world." More
November 6, 2003
Sorry if the news items are lighter than usual this week but we are all busy working on the upcoming West Coast A Cappella Summit being held this weekend. We will be back in full swing next week. Ed.
KWBU-TV and Brandenburg Productions have collaborated to produce a new holiday feature, “Christmas at Baylor,” shot in High Definition Television (HDTV) format, that will be broadcast nationwide on PBS stations this Christmas season. Produced and directed by Emmy Award-winner Phillip Byrd, the program is PBS’ only new Christmas release this year. The 150-voice Baylor Choral Union and 100-piece Baylor Symphony Orchestra are joined by the Baylor Chamber Singers and the Baylor A Cappella Choir.
The CMA Vocal Group of the Year Award was won last night by The Rascal Flatts.
November 5, 2003
Happy birthday to Jimmy Hayes of the Persuasions who is 60 today.
Unforeseen delays in the construction of delivery of the set of Harmony have prompted the producers of the Barry Manilow-Bruce Sussman musical to begin a week later than expected in Philadelphia. The Broadway-aimed musical will now begin performances at the Forrest Theatre Dec. 2 rather than the announced Nov. 25. Opening is now Dec. 17. Performances will continue as planned to Jan. 4, 2004.
Minneapolis City pages
Conceived by 15 Head's artistic director Joe Stanley, the seed of Sacred Space was a portfolio of 26 of Stanley's favorite paintings, later distilled to 15, by artists such as Salvador Dalí, Lyonel Feininger, Edward Hopper, René Magritte, and John Singer Sargent. The company created vignettes based on their collective responses to the artwork, and then added a cappella music to the mix. Like Stanley's set design and Mary Anna Culligan's costuming, the music is impressively polished. It includes Samuel Barber's "Agnus Dei," some postmodern doo-wop lifted from the Bobs, and a traditional piece learned from the great Bulgarian State Radio and Television Choir. The dense harmonies are frequently pretty, and Kathryn Jensen and Lori Barrett-Pagano are especially excellent singers. Still, the swing and doo-wop is of a sanitized variety, and stuff like the Bulgarian piece, though impressive for its pluck, seems to be missing something. Bulgarian women, perhaps. More
November 2, 2003
New York Times
The Bobs get quoted in the NYT
The seasonal Santa Ana winds, which fan the devastating fires that periodically engulf parts of Southern California, appear throughout the imaginative literature of the region. In novels, essays, short stories and rock lyrics, the dry, hot Santa Ana often symbolizes an unnamable menace lying just beneath the sun-shot surface of California life. Some examples follow.
From the lyrics to "Santa Ana Woman," by the Bobs
The next thing I knew
there was a pain in my head
like my sinuses were cracking.
The Santa Ana winds had come back
and the whole city of L.A.
was acting like it had PMS.
Cleveland Plain Dealer
The chapel is where the presence is most keenly felt of the blacks who built the place and kept it going through the Civil War, when Union troops burned most of the buildings, and after emancipation, when blacks found they lacked the means to leave. Inside the one-room chapel, a continuing audiotape emits the sounds of an a cappella group singing songs of God and slavery in the staccato rhythm of Africa. The style is called "ring-shout" because participants formed a circle and sang with only rhythmic hand clapping for accompaniment.
The songs sound mournful in the bare little chapel. It's as though the 19th-century abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass - who remembered these things from his own slave days - was here when he noted: "Slaves sing when they are most unhappy. The songs of the slave represent the sorrows of his heart and he is relieved by them, only as an aching heart is relieved by its tears." More