Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The August Rush

A groan for the cheesy post title reference, I know.  But it's truth!  Lots of things are coming to the foreground, now that the start of the season is imminent, and this has been an extremely productive day.  

KO efficiently and effectively deals with our donor records - with a smile!.
We've got auditions in less than a week, with only a few open spots left - very exciting!  We're getting our donor database in good solid working order, the better to recognize our constant and wonderful supporters for their generosity, thanks to the concerted efforts of board Vice President Katie Oman. We've received our first shipment of new music for the 2011-12 season, and it's beautifully clean and smells of fresh paper and ink - there's so much possibility in new music.  (As chorister Mark Falstein commented on our Facebook post, "It smells like... applause!")

Our various board committees are establishing tactics to accomplish our season's goals, and we're sure to have good luck this year - a dragonfly spent the majority of the afternoon in the office with us, and even alighted on my hand.  That's got to be good news!

Our season brochures have gone out, and it seems that our audience members are as excited about the coming concerts as we are. If you expected to receive a brochure and didn't, please contact us - we try very hard to keep our mailing lists up to date.  

More to come soon - enjoy the sunshine and these excellent photos, and throw on a Seattle Pro Musica CD.  Nothing goes better with a beautiful Seattle afternoon than a world of choral beauty...!
KS is pretty excited about new scores.  A whole box of Bach!

This guy spent the whole day with us - dragonflies are good luck, and he floated around for hours, checking out everything BUT the open window.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Summer Activities

Today's blog comes from our wonderful sun-loving and rule-breaking Artistic Director and Conductor, Karen P. Thomas.

August - and the sun is actually shining in Seattle! This means I get to spend some time gardening and hiking, two of my favorite activities... after conducting, of course.
Karen, ignoring the signs in the Tetons -
National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson, WY
August is also a time for planning and preparing for the start of Seattle Pro Musica's season. The concerts have been planned and repertoire selected and ordered. The rehearsal schedule is in place for the year, and the season brochure has been mailed. I'm in the midst of hearing soloists for our performances of Bach's "St. John Passion" in March 2012, and the end of the month will bring auditions for new choir members.

Another summer activity for me is to spend many hours listening to our recordings of last season's concerts, and selecting the very best ones to be uploaded to iTunes and Amazon. We are also uploading some videos on our YouTube page - a new one every week this month, check them out!  (Below is a selection from the Rheinberger Mass for Double Choir (Cantus Missae, Op. 109) - performed in St. James Cathedral in May, 2011.)

High fashion hat-modeling
at Yellowstone National Park
This week we are working on putting together diction recordings for the choir, for use in preparing our December concert - "Celtic Christmas." We will be singing in Welsh, Irish and Scottish Gaelic (in addition to English and Latin), and mastering the pronunciation of those languages takes a little extra work for the choir. Thankfully, we have some wonderful coaches and native speakers to help out! 

My favorite piece for the Celtic Christmas concert is the Magnificat for double choir by C.V. Stanford, who is from Ireland. It's a little bit Bach-inspired, and a real tour-de-force for the choir. You can see a great video of the Trinity College Choir of Cambridge performing this piece on YouTube, here.

My second-favorite piece - the Welsh lullaby 'Suo gan' in a beautiful arrangement for the men of the choir. Most people will recognize this as the piece used in the soundtrack for the film, 'Empire of the Sun.'

Speaking of the sun... it's calling...
What do you want to know about Seattle Pro Musica? Send us an email here: - and ask us your burning questions!