Last night millions of Americans witnessed the birth of Clash of the Choirs, NBC’s glitzy, Prozac-driven TV competition of amateur choirs. Singers were picked and prepared by celebrities Michael Bolton, Patti LaBelle, Nick Lachey, Kelly Rowland and Blake Shelton. Over four nights, starting Monday, each choir will compete for the votes of American viewers and a quarter-million dollars in prize money for charity.
Music geek that I am, I was excited by the possibilities, imagining millions of viewers transfixed by the beauty of Morten Lauriden’s Lux Aeterna or Mozart’s Requiem. Lives would be changed!
Twice this weekend, I zipped up my black boots for the drive to Eastman Theatre to sing Handel’s Messiah with the Rochester Oratorio Society and Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. I could go on at length about the wit and drama in conductor Christopher Seaman’s interpretation, what a pleasure it is to sing for him, and how, for me, the oratorio gets better each year like a vintage bottle of wine.
I had the privilege of interviewing writer Alex Ross of The New Yorker last Friday. His new book, The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century, a cultural history of music since 1900, was named one of the top ten books of 2007 by The New York Times and various other publications. He’s a clear and vivid writer, and I will die happy if I ever write something one percent as illuminated and coherent as his book.
Many students are leaving school without the necessary tools, education and experiences to help them succeed in life.
The disconnection is largely because current educational approaches do not emphasize how education directly ties to economic value; for the most part students can’t see the link between what they are learning in the classroom to skills needed for the workforce or to run a business.
Last night when I got on the bus, four or five middle-aged women were singing “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer.” They were sitting toward the front of the bus, smiling at each other, wearing puffy coats, and hugging their purses.
"All of the other reindeer
used to laugh and call him names.
They never let poor Rudolph
join in any reindeer games!"
I was tired, hungry, and distracted, and the singers cheered me up as I passed them on my way toward the back.
"Rudolph with your nose so bright
won't you guide my sleigh tonight?"
Their heads bobbed back and forth. I sat down and pulled out a newspaper.
Jean-Claude Brizard came straight from the airport to the WXXI studios this morning.
After asking him about the many challenges he faces taking over as Superintendent of the Rochester City School District, I asked him what he thinks the district's strengths are.
He talked about the outpouring of support he's getting from all corners - not just from people in the city, but from state representatives, suburban leaders, and local universities. Brizard says that's a good sign change can happen here.
While I was talking to Brizard, WXXI Capitol Bureau Correspondent Karen DeWitt was in Albany interviewing Governor Spitzer. She says he was more introspective than usual. We'll find out what she means on Friday.
Welcome to our first International Reader! Bruce Leslie is a friend and visiting scholar at the University of Cambridge. The SUNY history professor is also a devoted fan of WXXI hosts Simon Pontin and Richard Gladwell. In a recent e-mail, Bruce writes that he was streaming Richard’s show “With Heart and Voice” on Sunday morning, and he sent a picture of his residence in East Anglia with an 11th century Saxon church in the background. Inside the church, he says, is a plaque to the American airmen from the nearby base who died during World War II.
I subscribe to multiple newsletters and educational organizations in an effort to try and keep up in regards to what is going on in the educational world. My inbox today held an interesting article regarding parenting styles titled Parenting Styles and Adolescents.
I encourage you, even if you don't have children, to read the above article.
Behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people!
Unto your TV set will be born a reality show that will bring peace and goodwill toward men. This will be a sign to you: you will find the show broadcasting on an NBC station, marked by the peacock logo. It’s called “Clash of the Choirs.” Based on a series from Scandinavia and produced by the BBC, this show sends musical superstars back to their hometowns to form amateur choirs. Lo, a great company of the heavenly host, including Michael Bolton, Patti LaBelle, Nick Lachey, Kelly Rowland and Blake Shelton, will descend on O Little Towns with cameras and producers and all the company of heaven to prepare a host of amateur singers to compete live in studio for the title of “America's best choir.”