Sunday, August 20, 2006
This weekend a thought struck me: perhaps we can arrange a program of mutual benefit. Suppose that there existed a Society of People with Big Houses, and a collection of aspiring, dedicated string players. Perhaps we could arrange a program whereby a handful of string players, perhaps twelve or so, could meet every other weekend at another of the big houses owned by members of such a society. Said string players would then have a place to sight-read quartets and other chamber music, and homeowners would get a free afternoon of music in multiple rooms of their big house.
If you play a stringed instrument, would you be interested in spending up to 26 Sunday afternoons a year reading chamber music?
I have a feeling that this is not far from a good idea. Unfortunately, I don't know how to proceed in making the idea even better, or bringing it to fruition.
Monday, July 03, 2006
We offer lunch, good fellowship, and transportation from Germantown to Williamsport and back. Other terms negotiable. If you're interested, please send me a note.
Thursday, June 29, 2006
A podcast is like a radio program, delivered (typically) as an MP3 file that you can download to your computer. You can use your computer to listen to it, or use any of the host of MP3-playing portable devices, such as an iPod or certain cellular phones. Some recent car radios can play MP3 files, including podcasts. The Brasscast shows are typically around 20 minutes in duration, so listening on a weekly basis doesn't require a major investment of time.
I find Brasscast to be instructive, as well as pleasant listening and entertainment. The show is focused on the music of bands, mostly all-brass bands, and, more often than not, bands that are conformant with the British Brass Band instrumentation. Each show features an interview with one of the featured musicians, and some of these are very instructive and encouraging.
I recommend this podcast to each of you, whether you are a brass player or not. The show features a wide variety of bands, many of whom are repeat competition winners. I find it interesting to compare the bands from week to week. Some are simply good bands playing challenging music, but some are truly remarkable in their sparkle and professional performance. I suggest that you listen to these podcasts as a means of training your own ear, giving thought to why some bands sound so much better than other winners.
If you know of other podcasts that relate to music performance, whether band, chamber music, orchestra or choir, please post a comment here.
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
If you play a brass instrument, you owe it to yourself to hear this ensemble. If you play in the MCO Brass, please rearrange your schedule and shake out your piggy bank and meet me in McLean, Virginia this Sunday evening at 7:30. Brass players, if you have ever needed to have the "brass dream" refreshed in your heart and your imagination, this concert will do it for you.
If you are familiar with string repertoire, this will be a moving experience for you no matter what instrument you play. The concert this evening contained the following numbers, and I expect to hear the same Sunday evening:
- Holst - Jig from St. Paul's Suite
- Albinoni/Giazotto - Adagio in g minor
- Vaughan-Williams - Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis
- Schostakovich - Chamber Symphony from String Quartet No. 8
- Barber - Adagio for Strings, Op. 11
- Tchaikovsky - Serenade for Strings, Op. 48 (although omitting the third movement)
This concert was particularly moving for me because I am intimately acquainted with these works in their original string settings, and observed with amazement and joy the way in which the brass transcriptions met the challenges presented. The opening Jig by Holst set the scene perfectly, showcasing the technical abilities of these musicians. And I was moved to tears again by the opening and closing of the Tchaikovsky Serenade. The full brass presention of those opening and closing chords would surely have met with approval from the composer.
The conductor, Milt Stevens, gave very appropriate commentary on the background of each of the works, and I'm glad to have thus become acquainted with Schostakovich' 8th quartet.
Overall, this was an experience that I cannot put into words. I urge you to make time in your schedule to catch their last performance Sunday evening.
See you there!
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Gabrielle was one of the student violins who played for our recent Messiah performance, and I think she attended as many rehearsals as any other orchestra player. She supported us, so lets take time to support her in this recital.
Although they are still performing in church sanctuaries, their current repertoire, as listed in their advertising, does not apparently include such overtly secular music, and so I am very eager to hear their next performance, and I recommend them to you. The remaining concerts are Wednesday evening, April 26 and Sunday evening, April 30. You can find more information on their website.
Their tickets are a little pricey, perhaps, but the performances are worthwhile and awe-inspiring.
Monday, April 03, 2006
Hello fellow musicians,
As some of you have heard, the Seabrook SDA church choir is presenting Dubois' Seven Last Words of Christ for church this coming Sabbath morning. An orchestra is forming to support the choir in this performance.
- Rehearsal - Tuesday, April 4, 7:30 PM
- Performance - Sabbath, April 8, morning service
We have openings for a few more musicians. If you are interested, please let me know.
Thursday, March 30, 2006
Hello music lovers!
I am scheduled to direct the choir at Rockville UMC for the next two Sundays, April 2 and April 9. The music will be as follows:
- April 2 - Farrant - Hide Not Thou Thy Face From Us, Oh Lord
- April 9 - Randall Thompson - Alleluia
If you know either of these pieces, I invite you to join the choir.
- April 2 - 11 AM service, arrive around 10:15
- April 9 - 9:15 & 11 AM services, arrive around 8:30
There's no pay involved; just an opportunity to sing some great music. I hope to see you there!
Thursday, March 09, 2006
Even if you expect to be out of town Easter weekend, you can help your fellow musicians by coming to choir practice and supporting (dare I say leading?) your section as we study the choruses of Handel's Messiah Parts The Second and The Third.
We need voices in all sections (SATB) to help us learn this awesome music, even if you cannot sing in the performances.
Choir practice is Wednesday night at 8:15 in Bowie, and Sunday night at 6:30 at Triadelphia. We need your help at both.
Send me a note if you have any questions, or visit MDMusic.org for more information.
Thursday, February 23, 2006
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
Monday, February 13, 2006
The final judging will be Sabbath afternoon, February 25 at a Presbyterian church in Wayne, PA. (Not all of the compositions are certain to be sacred.) The winning composition will be performed again that evening.
My folks will be visiting Triadelphia with us Sabbath morning, and we'll have lunch together before driving up to the event.
Would you like to meet us for lunch? (or for any other part of the weekend?) As we make plans, we need to know how many people would like to get together so that we can plan appropriately. If you're interested, please send me an RSVP.
Monday, February 06, 2006
I would like a way to unify the church-choir community in our area. As you all know, we're working on a fairly significant performance opportunity right around tax time. (April 15 & 16) I've seen a few other big performance opportunities go by. I would like a way to get the word out quickly to many other church choir directors and singers about what we're doing, and the fact that a) we would welcome more singers and b) we would welcome additional churches that wanted to participate and host a performance.
Similarly, when some other churches are cooperating to present, say, the Brahms' German Requiem, as happened recently in Silver Spring, I want to know about it early enough so that I can get involved.
My idea is to start a weblog and calendar for exactly this purpose. One possible title for the site would be Maryland Choral Exchange, and it might be worth registering a domain like MDCE.org for these purposes.
The calendar and weblog would provide a place for any choir to list the major performances they are proposing, along with comments and links to further information, including rehearsal schedules and locations. Choir directors and singers could watch the site (or subscribe via RSS) to see what opportunities are coming up.
How does this idea strike you? Can you imagine this becoming a useful resource? How would you reformulate or restate the idea to make it more appealing or useful to all church choirs? How would you get the word out to all these singers and directors after the site is up and operational?
As always, your comments will have a longer shelf-life if you post them directly to the weblog.
Thursday, February 02, 2006
- As was mentioned in the previous post, we're planning two performances of Handel's Messiah (parts II and III) around Easter time. You are invited to sing or play in these performances. Further information is available. If you are interested, please subscribe to the mailing list on that page.
- Chamber Music Weekend is an event focused on playing string quartets, piano quintets and other chamber works. We would like to send occasional (monthly? bi-monthly?) reminders and updates to you so that you can plan to participate. If that's OK with you, you are invited to subscribe to the mailing list using the form found on our contact page.
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
If you are interested in singing or playing, please visit this page and subscribe to the mailing list. Please also drop me a note reminding me which instrument(s) you play or which part you sing.
Here is some more information:
9:00 AM Brunch at Triadelphia (breakfast potluck)
9:30 AM Sabbath School
10:45 AM Divine Worship, including baptisms
Lunch: potluck at our house
Most of the company will be vegetarian: you may wish to plan any potluck dishes with this in mind.
Triadelphia SDAHere are directions from Triadelphia SDA to our home.
12950 Brighton Dam Rd
Clarksville, MD 21029
11726 Zebrawood Ct
Germantown, MD 20876
See you there!
Tuesday, January 03, 2006
We have not finalized plans for the rest of the day, but it seems likely that we may augment the regular potluck. We invite you to share this special occasion with our family.