Monday night. Off to Oratorio Society to practice singing Handel’s Messiah.
I’m not alone. Hundreds of local singers all over Western New York are preparing for what’s become a holiday ritual. Adding up the performances from my group, the Rochester Chamber Orchestra, The Publick Musick, and dozens of smaller choirs, you could probably hear Messiah live twice a week until Christmas. Beats shopping.
In a feeble effort to live a more mindful existence, I recently started taking notes during rehearsals.
My notes look like this:
“All WL Sheep like NBC theme.”
“Poor Eric w/ broken arm!!”
“Gates have no heads.”
According to today’s Toronto Star, the National Arts Centre (NAC) and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) plan to establish a major new summer music festival. Presently, they’re calling it Project Niagara. The Shaw Festival folk are thrilled.
The performances would be held on a covered stage area with lots of seating on the lawn.
From May to September, this “Tanglewood North” would be a place to hear the NAC Orchestra conducted by Pinchas Zukerman and the TSO, led by Peter Oundjian.
Imagine you’ve shelled out $31 for a ticket to hear the RPO. The players are warming up. The lights dim. A lanky young man walks out on stage. He’s wearing jeans and a T-shirt. He flips back his bangs and makes a short speech about the importance of the orchestra, asking the crowd to support it as much as possible.
Ohmygosh! It's Rochester teen pop idol Teddy Geiger! Talking about the RPO!
He finishes his speech and saunters offstage. A few audience members are whistling and clapping. Others are scratching their heads.
The site is organized by genre and by type of music including live concerts, studio sessions, artist interviews, profiles, reviews, blogs and podcasts.
NPR Music is a creative collaboration with KEXP and KPLU Seattle; KUT Austin; WBGO Newark; WDUQ Pittsburgh; WFUV and WNYC New York; WGBH Boston; WGUC Cincinnati; Folk Alley.com (WKSU) Kent, Ohio; WXPN Philadelphia, and Minnesota Public Radio.
Maybe WXXI will be part of this partnership in the future.
6:15 p.m. on Friday. Swathed in black velvet and hunched over a small plastic tub of macaroni and cheese, it occurred to me that much of my life revolves around the very High and the very Low, sometimes both at the same time.
It was Friday night, at the end of a crazy-busy day at work. I showered, dressed, and headed back out to the Rochester Early Music Festival.
Until that moment, the whole day had felt stuck on fast forward. Then someone hit the pause button.
Riding the bus last night, I was thinking about Rochester’s Early Music Festival and how to make this Friday night’s event sound exciting in the age of Facebook, Avatar, and Tim Horton’s.
Truth is, I realized, I can’t.
People are drawn to music written before the 18th century for the same reason they like home-brewed beer and hand-stitched books. It’s slow to unfold. It’s a walk down a leaf-strewn path for no other reason than in hopes of glimpsing a flash of feathers. It requires time, patience, and the willingness to park on a hard, wooden bench.
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