September 30, 2011
Boys Don't Sing Soprano?
KELO TV (SD):
It's every student's dream to earn All-State honors. From the hardwood to the stage, those opportunities abound across KELOLAND. But one Yankton student was turned away because his talent breaks the rules for a state-sanctioned event.
14 year-old Garrett Adam is good at many things. Music is one of them. “I play the flute and piccolo in the band,” Garrett said. “And I've been interested in singing a long time now, really interested in singing.”
He's been in junior honor choir, band, marching band and more. And as a freshman this year at Yankton High School Garret had his sights set on an even bigger challenge: all-state chorus. He signed up under the part he sings every day in choir: Soprano.
Two days after his audition, Garrett's teachers pulled him aside and said he might not make all-state because according the state, guys don't sing soprano. “I was mad because when you say that you're good enough and you're not accepted, that's just not right,” Garrett said.
“Discrimination is bad enough anyway in adults,” Rochelle said. “But when you do this to high school kids, high school is hard enough the way it is.”
Rochelle took those concerns all the way to the South Dakota High School Activities Association in Pierre. According to the organization's constitution each school must send quartets, a soprano, alto, tenor and bass. In their eyes, that's two boys and two girls. In fact, the organization's constitution says "no entry is to be less than a mixed quartet made up of two girl singers and two boy singers."
“If somebody can explain to me how this isn't discrimination, okay, I'd be alright with that,” Rochelle said. “But anybody I've talked to can seem to do that.” Read more.
I don't understand this as the term boy soprano has been around for ever. See here the Wikipedia definition. Paul Phoenix (pictured) was a famous boy soprano and is now a member of the King's Singers. Is this a tradition or are some people simply uptight about making sure each gender sticks to its predetermined place. This rule baffles me.
September 28, 2011
Canada Sings auditions
For our northern neighbors here is an opportunity to sing on national TV. They are now accepting applications for next season. From the press release:-
"Canada Sings is a six-part original series that challenges ordinary Canadians to form extraordinary glee clubs with their co-workers and compete against another workplace team for a $10,000 donation to their charity of choice.
Hosted by television personality Matte Babel and with Jann Arden, Simple Plan’s Pierre Bouvier and Rob Van Winkle aka Vanilla Ice as the three celebrity judges, each singing group must prepare for the musical performance of their lives under the guidance of world-class choreographers and vocal coaches. With their reputation on the line and a donation to their chosen charity to be won, each episode features two glee clubs competing in front of the judging panel and a packed studio audience. " Read more.
September 26, 2011
Chantey Sing invites everyone to join in
San Francisco Chronicle:
Just before 8 on a foggy Saturday evening, national park Ranger Peter Kasin boards the old sailing ship Balclutha, rests his Smokey Bear hat on the bench beside him, and opens his mouth as if to begin a tour.
Instead, without warning or introduction, his voice drops into a deep and thunderous baritone, and the first words out are, "The anchor's aweigh and the sails they are set." It comes as a shock to any unsuspecting visitor, but even more shocking is when the people aboard answer his call with a melodious response of "Away, Rio."
Singers are suddenly pouring through the low doors of the shelter deck and joining the chorus: "And it's away boys, away. Away for Rio. So fare ye well, my Frisco girl, and we're bound for the Rio Grande." The voices are so full and vigorous that you can hear it at the other end of the ship, 301 feet away, down the gangway and out the Hyde Street Pier.
The monthly Chantey Sing is under way, breathing life into the ancient work songs of sailors. Kasin describes it as "an open session where anyone can lead songs," and if that sounds corny and geriatric, it isn't.
Chantey Sing is more of a hip artsy scene than it is a tourist scene, and it may be the most authentic and organic San Francisco-specific thing going on a Saturday night.
There are no written rules, but there is a protocol. The person who introduces the song sings the song. Everyone else sings the chorus and only the chorus. To maintain its allegiance to the seagoing tradition, there are no lyrics sheets. These songs were made for deckhands to sing while pulling on ropes to raise the sails, and those salty dogs did not pass around sheet music.
The songs keep coming for an hour, and people keep pressing in. When the seats are filled, the visitors press along the walls, singing, "Way haul away. We'll haul away, Joe."
The applause at the end of one song barely dies down before someone else starts in from their seat. Time is kept by toe-tapping on the wooden deck, with the Golden Gate Bridge foghorns bleating out the backbeat.
September 23, 2011
Back to The Future a cappella
Matt Mulholland is back at it. Here's the skateboard scene from Back To The Future with an a cappella soundtrack. Pretty cool.
September 22, 2011
Founded in 1978, San Francisco-based Chanticleer annually performs 20-25 Bay Area concerts, and tours an average of 25 weeks across the U.S., Europe and Asia. Chanticleer's wide-ranging repertoire includes Gregorian chant, Renaissance, pop, jazz, gospel and contemporary commissioned works. Chanticleer has a total of 30 recordings released under the Teldec Classics International and Chanticleer Records labels. Chanticleer offers full-time, salaried positions (starting high $30s) with benefits. More info
Check out their blog to get an idea of life with Chanticleer. Looks like they had a great summer!
September 20, 2011
Sing-Off Kicks Off
A very entertaining opening show for season three of the Sing-Off and I think everybody did a great job. I like new judge Sara Bareilles and enjoyed her light-hearted yet astute comments. Good to see some familiar faces including one of the most ubiquitous people in contemporary a cappella Richard Steighner (Urban Method), the only person to compete in two different groups on the same night in the Harmony Sweeps National Finals (and win). If you missed the show you can watch it for free on Hulu.
September 19, 2011
International Talk Like A Pirate Day
Ahoy there maties! September 19th is International Talk Like A Pirate Day an annual tradition now for the past 9 years. Me, the wench and the nippers will be joining the fun by singing some chanties arrr cappella.
I just learnt that Mister Tim and The Plumbers of Rome released a single today to commemorate this occasion. It is called "We Arr Who We Arr." Listen Here.
September 17, 2011
Committed release new CD
Last season's Sing-Off champs Committed has released their new CD and the video (above) of the track "Break Free" has already racked up over 500,000 views on YouTube. The series starts this Monday 8pm.
September 15, 2011
Swingles explain more
Clare of the Swingle Singers comments further on their change to a septet.:-
"With regards to the "artistic possibilities", the group has been moving into more modern music, a more contemporary sound, and the double-quartet line-up is a very classical one. With the two basses often doing the rhythm section parts, we were left with two male voices and four female for the harmony parts. This often meant more female solos than male, and could sound girl-heavy in the harmony part. With our newer material, we're exploring different ways of mixing up the roles within the group. "Excited by the artistic possibilities" is genuinely our feeling. We wouldn't do it otherwise. We would just replace the singer." Read more.
September 13, 2011
Sing-Off opens big
Check out this opening number from the upcoming Sing-Off. Wow! Words fail me. OK one word - legs!
September 12, 2011
The new "girl Bob"
In it's close to 30 year existence The Bobs have had only three "girl Bobs" (one only lasted a year or so) and now there will be a fourth. The wonderful Amy "Bob" Engelhardt is attending graduate school at Columbia University and has relinquished her position. Big shoes (literally) to fill but thankfully a great new replacement has been announced and Angie Doctor will now be the new Bob. A veteran San Francisco group harmony singer I have known Angie for years not only as a performer in the Sweeps winning group Clockwork but also as our esteemed MC at the past several Harmony Sweepstakes National Finals. Angie will be a great addition and I recommend highly that you see the new line up when they are next in your town.
September 11, 2011
Fired for being rude to John Rutter
The Daily Mail (UK):
Westminster Abbey has dismissed one of its organists after he is said to have criticised a leading composer who played a key role in the Royal Wedding. Insiders say the Abbey acted after organ scholar Edward Tambling posted derogatory comments on Facebook about John Rutter, a favourite of Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge.
According to one source, Mr Tambling used 'colourful language' to criticise the skills of Mr Rutter, who composed one of the highlights of the spectacular ceremony on April 29 and who has been described as the world's most popular living choral composer.
The Abbey refused to comment beyond saying Mr Tambling, 23, was told to leave for 'disciplinary reasons'.
The incident will embarrass authorities at the Abbey, which has been used for coronations and Royal Weddings for centuries, because they commissioned Mr Rutter, 65, to write the choral work especially for the occasion. His anthem This Is The Day The Lord Hath Made was performed by the Abbey choir
A little harsh but it was a rather "pip-squeak" comment don't you think. A 23 year old rudely dissing the skills of John Rutter in a public forum. Where's the respect these days?
September 7, 2011
Rene Clausen piece to be featured at NYC 9/11 event
A musical piece composed by a Concordia College professor will be on center stage in New York City for the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Rene Clausen will conduct “Memorial” on Sunday at Lincoln Center. He was commissioned to compose the piece based on the events of 9/11 for the American Choral Directors Association National Convention in 2003.
Clausen’s work will not only be featured in New York City’s major concert for the anniversary of 9/11, it also will be performed by choirs around the country on Sunday. “It kind of takes my breath away,” Clausen said. “Mostly what I hope is that the music can be healing and cleansing.”
About 50 members of the Master Chorale of Fargo-Moorhead, which is directed by Clausen, will be among the approximately 300 singers from around the country to perform Clausen’s piece at Lincoln Center.
The group rehearsed Tuesday night at Concordia and will rehearse in New York on Friday and Saturday with the other choirs. “It’s going to be an amazing experience,” said Bob Rohla, president of the Master Chorale. “It’s kind of a thrill for everybody.” Read more.
September 6, 2011
Singing Protesters Disrupt Israeli Orchestra
New York Times:
For the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, marking its 75th anniversary, it was a jarring first, and in a city that has been one of the orchestra’s most welcoming hosts: the repeated disruption of its concert at Royal Albert Hall in London on Thursday night by pro-Palestinian demonstrators, to the point that the BBC cut off its live broadcast and played recordings of the evening’s program instead.
The protesters included a core group of professional musicians, who gave what amounted to a counterconcert, breaking into vocal choruses in a bid to drown out the orchestra. A statement by the protesters said that they were members of “a new vocal ensemble” called Beethovians for Boycotting Israel, and described their behavior during the concert as a “debut performance.”
The statement quoted one of the singer-protesters, Deborah Fink, whom it identified as a soprano, describing the group’s first disruption as “intricately interwoven” with the Israel Philharmonic’s first piece, Webern’s Passacaglia.
“We thought we’d liven up the Webern a bit,” Ms. Fink was quoted as saying. “The performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony at the previous night’s Prom was so exciting that we decided to treat the audience to our own version of the ‘Ode to Joy.’ ” She then cited lines from the protesters’ bitterly satirical version of the 18th-century poem by Friedrich Schiller that is sung to Beethoven’s score:
Israel, end your occupation:
There’s no peace on stolen land.
We’ll sing out for liberation
Till you hear and understand.
The possibility of disruption had already been well flagged. Earlier in the week, a letter signed by 23 professional musicians, including Ms. Fink, a music teacher who has been active in Jewish groups opposing the Israeli occupation of pre-1967 Palestinian territory, was published in a newspaper, The Independent, castigating the BBC for inviting the Israeli orchestra.
“Israel deliberately uses the arts to promote a misleading image of Israel,” the signers said. “Through this campaign, officially called ‘Brand Israel,’ denials of human rights and violations of international law are hidden behind a cultural smokescreen.” The conductor, Mr. Mehta, kept his thoughts to himself after the concert, declining all requests for interviews. But perhaps anticipating trouble, he had given his views on the orchestra’s political and social significance in an interview with the BBC before the performance.
“The I.P.O. is a cultural ambassador for Israel, and it is not ‘whitewashing Israel’s crimes,’ ” he said, quoting a pro-Palestine boycott campaign. “People who make music have to be politically aware; we have to know what’s going on. We have to bring people together. In Israel, for Arab and Jewish audiences, and on quite a few occasions every year, at least for two-and-a-half hours, there is some sort of peace in the hall.”
September 3, 2011
Anna Kendrick for Pitch Perfect movie
Anna Kendrick has been scaling the rock wall of fame. Probably most recognizable for her role as Jessica in Twilight, the actress has more recently expanded her notoriety to Elsewhere (in which she starred), Up in the Air, and the more-fun-than-skeeball movie Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. Now, she'll be headlining a romantic comedy called Pitch Perfect, which sounds a little like the Glee movie we may never see.
The film will be set at a college, at which Kendrick will play a gothy-type student. She, naturally, resents the fact that her father, yet to be cast, is a professor at the same school. Through a series of events and plausibly after a good deal of resistance, Kendrick's character comes to be the star member of the campus a cappella team.
Anna Kendrick is a winner in spades. This role in particular sounds perfectly suited for her: at her best, Kendrick is brazen, a little antisocial, and unflappable. And in this role, it is unlikely that we will see her become flapped whatsoever. The film is based on a nonfiction novel by Mickey Rafkin that covered the high-stakes underworld of competitive a cappella. Read more.
September 2, 2011
Dr Who a cappella
These same singer, multiple part YouTube videos are rather overdone these days but for those Dr Who fans out there here is the theme song a cappella. I have been watching the Doctor on and off for over 35 years and if anything the show is getting better and better.