And the Calendar Takes Another Turn

I admit, I’ve been neglecting my blog.  It’s been an incredibly busy year, and I haven’t had a lot of time to reflect.  But it’s New Year’s Day, and I’m fighting the start of a cold, so it seems the perfect opportunity to take it easy and catch up on a few things.  Including the blog.

There has been a lot of music this year.  I’ve (finally) turned over the trombone concerto to Haim and Ovidiu.  It’s called “Dreamcatcher,” and although it is technically a single movement, it has three very distinct and different sections.  They’ll be travelling to Moscow in a couple of weeks to record most of the works for the upcoming CD, and I can’t wait to hear it.  I won’t be travelling with them, but I will be at the recording session via Skype, so it’ll definitely be a new experience for me!

Now that the score and parts are completed and handed over, I can admit that it was a daunting project for me!  This was my first foray into orchestral composition, and it was a little overwhelming at times.  But I did work my way through it, and I am very proud of the result.  I’m ready and eager to take on more large-scale works, so bring ’em on!

As for other works from this year, I already talked about “Elemental Suite” and “Woman A/Part” in a previous post.  I’m hoping to revisit “Woman A/Part” again this year, in order to expand it into something much more substantial.  I’m also in the midst of transcribing a work for Contrabass Flute with Flute Choir called “J.C. Dist” by Jelle Hogenhuis, who made my contrabass flute, as well as working on another flute choir work with a contrabass solo.  If all goes well, we’ll work on those for the spring concerts with the Central New York Flute Choir.

I’m also very excited that Trio Casals has included “Three Songs” into some of their programming, and have plans to include it on at least 2 more concerts.  You can hear it in Lewes, DE in March, and in Cazenovia, NY in July.  (Details on dates, times, and venues are all available at my website.)

I’m also in the early planning stages of a collaborative project that I’m very excited about.  We’re not ready to present any details about it yet, but I will absolutely keep you up to date as things progress.  

And what else has kept me so busy?  Well, working a 40 hour week at the radio station, of course.  After so many years of absolute freedom in dictating my own schedule, it’s been an adjustment.  But I love going to work every day, getting my hands deep into so much classical music, hearing new releases of new and old works.  I’ve also discovered that I really love doing interviews!  I’m bringing in folks almost every single week to talk about their work in the arts, and sometimes give us a short performance.  It is an absolute blast getting to chat with so many artists, both local and national!  And working on my weekly show, Feminine Fusion, has been absolutely incredible!  It’s going well, and getting very good responses from listeners.  And I’m learning so much about other women in the classical music world, and their achievements and struggles.  It’s giving me a whole new level of respect for those who have led the way in the arts community.

Let’s not forget performing, either.  I’m still a regular member of Samba Laranja, and the Central New York Flute Choir.  And, at the moment, I’m also filling in as second flute with the Onondaga Civic Symphony Orchestra, for their February concerts.  And I still translate and run the supertitle slides for the Syracuse Opera Company.  Add in the non-musical activities that I hope to do this year (dog agility, regular rides on my trike, cheering/heckling my husband during his cyclecross races, just to name a few) and it’s definitely going to be a busy 2017!

So, before I wrap up this entry, let me give you my sincere hope that your 2017 is filled with music and joy!  

Oh, What to do on a Sunday afternoon? . . .

How about a trip to Camelot?

One of my favorite things about living in the Syracuse area is how accessible and affordable the arts can be.  Today was a perfect example.  The Syracuse Opera Company presented a semi-staged performance of Lerner and Loewe’s Camelot in Thornden Park in downtown Syracuse.  Even better was the cost for admission . . . Free! Professional musicians, professional vocalists, and a wonderful musical.  What a great way to spend a bit of a sunny Sunday afternoon.

With about a dozen musicians in tow, the tremendous voices of the Syracuse Opera Company took the stage with great confidence.  Bear in mind, this was a “semi-staged” production, meaning there were no elaborate costumes or sets, no choreography, and the actors’ movements were geared toward the best use of the 5 microphones set near the front of the stage.  And, with very limited rehearsal time, the leads kept their scripts in hand throughout the presentation.

None of this detracted from the experience, however.  Rather than costumes, all the citizens of Camelot wore white shirts and khaki pants or skirts.  Mordred (oh, how evil he was) came on wearing a black shirt.  Then again, he was bent on destroying Camelot, and made no secret of it, so why try to blend in?  Even the musicians, occupying the stage right along with the actors, were clearly from Camelot, dressed in their own white & khaki ensembles.  And, while they may have had scripts in hand as they walked the stage, the actors did not walk through their performances.  Each and every one gave a strong performance.

Strongest of all was perhaps Joshua Fingerhut as Arthur.  His clear singing voice and natural delivery carried through from beginning to end.  Even at intermission, as “King Arthur” pulled the raffle winner’s name from the box (a bit easier than pulling Excalibur from the stone, I suspect), Fingerhut never broke character.  Guenevere (Laura Enslin) and Lancelot (JJ Hudson) were convincing as well, as the doomed, chaste lovers who broke Arthur’s heart as well as their own hearts.

A strong chorus and a troupe of supporting actors completed the afternoon.  I must say that while the action centered around the line of microphones (out of necessity, particularly in an outdoor amphitheater such as this one), the actors moved fairly naturally from one to another.  Rather than simply lining up, speaking or singing, and exiting, they used the various mics to their advantage, moving together or apart without getting lost in the transitions.

I also want to make mention of my friend Bruce Paulsen, who was wonderful in the role of Merlyn.  Bruce’s wonderful bass voice is perfectly suited to the sage and commanding presence of Merlyn.  I’m just sorry Nimue led him away so soon!

As for the audience, I thoroughly enjoy seeing the variety of people who come to events such as this.  As I mentioned, Thornden Park is an open-air amphitheater, so folks come bringing their lawn chairs, blankets, and picnics to spread out along the hillside and enjoy the performance.  I saw all ages, from toddlers in strollers to senior citizens, a couple of folks with their dogs (who were very well behaved, I must say).  Thornden Park Amphitheater is also relatively accessible as well.  There is ample room to sit at the top of the hill if you cannot physically manage the steps between tiers.  The audience was a very good size, and quite appreciative.  What better way to introduce your children to the theater?