Thursday, April 29, 2010

April: our program for teachers - "Open Door."

The Walter and Elise Haas Fund has been very supportive of Chanticleer's education programs as they have developed over the years.  Long ago when we wanted to start an education program, they funded Singing in the Schools, and  later helped us create the Middle School Choral Festival.  This year they helped us with a new idea we had to offer special opportunities to choir directors and general music teachers.  We have called it "Open Door."  This season we've offered 7 such events - 4 here at the Kanbar Center, and 3 in the context of our youth choral festivals.  All of these programs which were launched with the much appreciated support of the Haas Fund are now a regular part of our curriculum.

Today we have our last Open Door event of the season.  20 or so students and teachers  will come to rehearsal this afternoon.

The idea of Open Door is to invite Bay Area teachers ( who may bring students) to observe Chanticleer in its working environment as well as to find out how we can  be a further resource to them.  This means interactive observation of a rehearsal; our guests ask questions, can move around the room - even between singers - to get a real sense of our process.  Education Director Ben Johns, invites them upstairs to our conference room for discussion of any number of issues -repertoire is a big one- as well as asking them how we may tailor our efforts to help them.   The Choir Directors and teachers, needless to say, are the key to the successful realization of our education program.  They are the ones who make the scheduling possible, maneuver around the rules and requirements of their respective schools - especially when it comes to bringing kids to our festivals and other events.  Open Door is one way of keeping in close contact with them - and hopefully giving them a hand.

We are joined by the choir director and a number of students from Washington High School in San Francisco, after rehearsing by ourselves for our forthcoming tour - yes another one!

Washington High School has long been a part of our education program and has sent choirs to our Youth Choral Festival several times. After the rehearsal downstairs, they came up and had a look at our office to get a bit of an idea about what it takes to keep us going. The map of everywhere we've been is always of interest. The students' time with us concluded with a conversation with Ben Johns about what they had heard in the rehearsal.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

April: Lima and Cincinnati, Ohio

We're nearing the end of a big spring tour. We have had great times and memorable concerts and master classes in New York State, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee. Now we're in the last state of our springtime tour of the eastern seabord + Ohio.
Yesterday a masterclass and concert in Lima, and today a concert in St. Peter in Chains in Cincinnati, a traditional stop for us to which we always look forward. Tomorrow, home to prepare for our next Bay Area concert series in June which will be a fantastically beautiful program of music written under England's Tudor monarchs. We want to see all you Bay Area people there! Before that we will take a quick swing to Malibu and Santa Barbara to the south of us, and after that - an appearance at the Ethnic Dance Festival in San Francisco and THEN, to bring this busy season to an exotic close - off to Expo 2010 in Shanghai. Details about the latter are changing by the hour - so there are sure to be exciting and unexpected things to report. What a season it will have been...

From this tour - here's a review from North Carolina - that was a whole week ago!
And Dylan settled in for a meal at Packard's in Lima.

Classical Voice of North Carolina
Chanticleer has been called an "orchestra of voices," and this concert of a cappella singing showed why. You would expect to hear a nice blend of voices ...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

April: Tenn Tech

A picture perfect sunset as backdrop for our concert on the beautiful Tenn Tech campus.  The concert is free to the public. Scores of students were in attendance. Master Class earlier was fantastic; the Univ. sang works by Monteverdi and Lauridson with great skill.  Have been enjoying the local delicacy fried green tomatoes whenever we can!

April: twitterpause at Shenandoah University

Monday we were at the acoustically very nice Armstrong Hall at Shenandoah University in Winchester, VA, where the audience was very enthusiastic. We invited them to tweet and photograph during the last number - something we did for the first time during our National Youth Choral Festival in Davies Hall last March.

On Tuesday we moved on to Cooksville, Tennesee where we patronized the Waffle House this morning before our mid day masterclass. Tonight we'll be performing in Wattenbarger Auditorium at Tennessee Technological University. Brian and Gregory - who come from these parts, more or less - will have family in attendance.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

April: Premiere of Sametz work, standing ovation in Bethlehem, PA

This performance at the Zoellner Center included the premiere of Steven Sametz' three-movement "Not an end of loving" to poetry by Walt Whitman. Chanticleer's repertoire has long included Sametz' "I have had singing" and "In time of..." (the latter having given its name to our tour program this year.) Steven's music has always been a huge audience-pleaser, and we are sure that "Not an end of loving" will have the same effect wherever it is heard. The audience in Bethlehem certainly seemed to appreciate it, and we loved singing it.

Matt Oltman and Steven Sametz

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

April in New York, everything in blossom

Back to New York for a lovely private event on Fifth Avenue  this evening.  Everyone loves New York in the spring, of course.  This year the pollen count is off the charts -they don't even have a chart big enough!  We all know about singers and allergies - they seem to have more than the general population.  Your average opera singer in New York today would be residing in the drugstore or a windowless room.  So what about us?

Gregory: I know a lot of singers who get really testy about flowers indoors, and I know  people who wouldn't know the difference between Spring and Winter if it sneezed on them. Amateur singers and students tend to react negatively, but perhaps because Chanticleer sings practically every day, in sickness and in health, even the boys who may have some issues don't seem to be concerned.  In answer to my question - do you suffer from allergies, and if so what do you do about it?

Adam Ward (with absolutely no expression): Nope. (This is to be expected, since nothing on Earth really seems to be able to affect Adam's voice.)

Ben Jones: Not really. If I do, I do, and there's not much anybody can do about it.

Jace Wittig: As soon as winter is over, I take a Claritin every day. (When asked if it was preventative in the way of keeping him from being ill he responded:) It's preventative, period. If there is pollen in the air, it's not that bad for me. I get itchy eyes, but it doesn't make it hard to sing. It's just easier.

Cortez Mitchell: No...not really. I mean, I'll sniffle if there's a bunch of flowers inside, but it's not that big of a deal.

Gregory again: I used to think that I had no allergies at all. My mom had horrible allergies, so the fact that there weren't portions of the year where it was difficult to breathe for me meant that I assumed I was free. Now, I know that when there's a lot of Spring in the air, I'll feel it, but that's about all. I try not to stress out over it.

So now you know - that's us and allergies, on a cloudy but beautiful blossom filled spring day in New York City.  

Monday, April 12, 2010

Day off in Boston: Matt Curtis eats for charity

Matt Curtis joined the Josh Beckett (of the Red Sox) challenge at McGreevy's sports bar.  All you have to do is order it, pay $30 for it and eat it all.  A portion of the price goes to the Josh Beckett Foundation.  Here's what Matt ate (in a good cause:)  the McGreevy's Beckett Burger, approximately the size of home plate, 100% beef, weighing a total of 1 pound 9 ounces with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and cheddar cheese.  If you finish it you get a t-shirt, and if you don't, you get a t-shirt.  Perhaps we'll have a picture of Matt in his...

April: Jordan Hall, Boston

On the last day of our three day/three concert run around the Northeast, we left New York at 8am and arrived in Boston at 11.30am. The Celebrity Series kindly had lunch for us in the dressing room, and the concert started at 3pm. The Celebrity Series is another longtime presenter which has a faithful and wonderful audience for us. We take this opportunity to thank Marty Jones and her staff for their kind welcome. Since Marty will retire next year - we also thank her for many years of such hospitality in Jordan Hall and Symphony Hall in Boston.

Jordan Hall is in the New England Conservatory of Music and has many solemn reminders of the great tradition of classical music in which we play our part.

A beautiful hall, just the right size, with a warm acoustic.

It was a beautiful afternoon in Boston - many people stayed around to buy CD's and talk to us.
Hopefully it will be another warm and sunny day tomorrow for our DAY OFF here!!!

National Youth Choral Festival: thanks, Bishop Amat Memorial High School for this video!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

April: 48 hrs/3 states/3 concerts

7 hours after leaving Keene,New Hampshire we arrive at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (having dropped our bags at the hotel and grabbed a snack at Fairway across the street)on a gorgeous spring day for a 7pm performance of "In time of.." Thanks to Hilde Limondjian, longtime head of the Met's Concerts and Lectures, we've been performing there for 20 years, over 50 performances - ever since Eric's been around - so it's our home in New York. We don't, however, remember ever performing in the Temple of Dendur with light pouring in the windows. It's always an audience full of friends and colleagues we're happy to see, and it was Cortez' birthday!
Tomorrow at 8am we get back in the bus for Boston, where our 3pm concert in Jordan Hall for the Celebrity Series will be the last in the weekend triple-header.

Friday, April 9, 2010

April: Fasten your seatbelts - 3 concerts in 3 states in 48 hours!

The day after our debut in the wonderful and relatively new Verizon Hall in Philadelphia on a hot and sunny day spring day, we drove 5 1/2 hours to Keene, New Hampshire for the first of these three weekend concerts, happening hundreds of miles apart between 8pm Friday and 5pm Sunday. Life is never boring. The northeastern mini-heatwave which we enjoyed in Philadelphia seems to be over - it's cold and rainy in our little corner of New Hampshire.

Our concert was in the Colonial, built in l924 for vaudeville and movies - a very cozy theater with an incredibly receptive audience - possibly the most ecstatic response to Orlando Gibbons we've ever seen up close from the stage on the part of one audience member! Lots of choral people were there.

$3 popcorn and all the candy you love to have at the movies were available in the lobby!!!

We'll leave for New York at l0 tomorrow morning to for a 7pm concert in the Temple of Dendur at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The last stop in the weekend whirlwind will be Jordan Hall in Boston on Sunday at 3pm. Usually we'd be driving, but we thought better of it, and will be letting the bus driver stress about getting us there.
Oh yes, before Philadelphia we were in Buffalo. Here's a review.

Chanticleer's unorthodox lineup ranges from medieval to modern
Buffalo News
By Mary Kunz Goldman Chanticleer charmed the crowd Tuesday at the Ramsi P. Tick ... Chanticleer will be back, too. So if you missed this performance, ...

Thursday, April 8, 2010

April: seeing America

We're still basking in the fun and success of our first National Youth Choral Festival - you can read some of the feedback on Facebook. We'll be streaming some of the concert soon on Chanticleer Radio. Back down to earth after those four incredible days - and we're off again - already to Buffalo and now Philadelphia where we perform in Verizon Hall, and have some time for tourism.

Time to see a little bit of Philadelphia, Gregory writes:
City Hall, blocks from the hotel and from the Kimmel Center, Verizon Hall, where we sang. This is still the largest municipal building in the US. Gorgeous. Philly today was summer hot and sunny, completely contrary to normal climate. I had a hard time getting enough building in frame because the sun kept ruining the picture from most angles. Our hotel is *steps* from the first library in the United States. Benjamin Franklin founded a subscription library (because books were not readily available in the colonies and were far too expensive and difficult to find for single owners). This building also served as the Library of Congress until the Capitol moved 1800 and was the largest library in the country until 1850