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...
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1 comment:

  1. Wait, you mean Suo gan wasn't originally composed for handbells?

    But seriously, it sounds like a great season!