Summoning Light turned out to be a wonderful experience. As always, we never have quite enough time. The last few rehearsals were rather rushed, as it is clear that the priority has to be making sure the choir sounds perfect, and once we got into the space the room turned out to be rather dead so we were making a number of last minute changes. We were all in the space together for probably less than 4 hours. Hardly any time at all for a piece with so many moving parts. I am particularly in awe of Emily Keeler and Natalie Greene and the dancers of JT Lotus Company. They pulled together such beautiful delicate yet strong dances together to all kinds of different pieces, including a poem. It was to a Robert Frost poem On Looking Up By Chance At The Constellations, and as I told Natalie, I felt the cosmos in her movement. The spoken artists were also very spot on, and I think fit in quite effectively. They were from all kinds of sources, from internet blogs to Frost poems and I felt gave a real anchor to the piece. I was a little shocked at one point because one reading really pushed the envelope. It was a non-partisan letter from a soldier that spoke of duty and honor, and how it is not fair to equate casualties to the worth of the war. It implies that their deaths are meaningless or in vain. One man was incredibly rude. Making noise through the entire piece and then even Booing at the end. I was tempted to ask him to leave.

Of course I haven’t even mentioned the choir. Needless to say they were the essence of the evening. The eclectic mix with not so many “Christmas” songs I think was a little unexpected to the audience. That said, I think with the pairings and the flow of the evening it still captured the spirit of the season. They completed the stage pictures with a most visceral sound. Of course there are certain unique challenges when dealing with choirs. They often have music and they often need to look at a conductor. Their instrument isn’t necessarily tuned to staying as aware of themselves in the wider kinesthetic sphere. I had to often be extra specific in describing what I needed, which in all honesty was a good exercise for me. However, they kept up with the fast pace of the rehearsal process and looked and sounded beautiful.

All in all this seemed a unique and memorable experience for the audience. I am looking forward to getting more concrete feedback when I debrief with Vince. I really encourage him to do more work like this. These unique, soulful events are what truly sets Choral Chameleon apart.

 
Before the new year, I’d like to suggest a little assignment. Courtesy of Jasper Kump I have begun to select a "theme" for the year as opposed to the so-easy-to-break resolutions.  My theme for this year was "Joyful Forward Motion". This was a bit of a hard lesson for me, but I think that at a number of points when things got a little bit rougher over the course this year it was a nice touchstone for me to remember that these are growing pains, and I will happily move through them go become more of who I want to be. Its also been easier for me to look back at those rough patches and see what good really did come out of it. I have moved through them certainly, and at my best with positivity. I’ve set goals, and for the most part I achieved them. Even recently I met a financial earnings goal I set for 2011 (thank you to Choral Chameleon and Summoning Light, more about that experience later). Either way, I feel as if I have made big preparations for myself for next year.

And now… the theme for 2012…

COURAGE

This is going to be a big year. I can feel it. And who knows, the world may be over before we see 2013. For that alone we will need to take courage. Even if the world doesn’t end, the world needs healing and we must be the ones to sew up the wounds.  Existential questions aside, I am deciding that it will be big year for my career. I am making the decisions that I think will make major changes in my life from the micro up to the macro. I will take the next steps of my journey, and like any journey that is worth it, there will be some risk. I am resolved to move forward with valor.

…surprise surprise I made it something melodramatic and epic. But hey, the theme has got to last me a whole year! Go big or go home.

Wishing everyone a glorious 2012.

simply,

Greg

 
I have one more semi-angry opera update. In what is now my 30th year, I am resolved, among many other things, to stay positive. But this fact, not that I’m upset or anything, seems very relevant to my previous arguably umm… ill-tempered threads.  I received my rejection e-mail this week. No surprise there. But the guy who interviewed me signed his name. For some reason they did not release who was in the room beforehand, and I had only caught their first names in the interview.  But now sir, consider yourself googled. This man was an accompanist and an administrator. If I didn’t want to leave it behind me and perhaps didn’t care a little more about blemishing my reputation I would call them and ask for my money back (still can’t get over that! A bit of a scam I think…) But it was a bit of a disappointment to find out that I was turned down by someone who wasn’t even directly involved in my field. He was the one who told me that he was as comfortable doing “Sondheim as he was doing opera”. I was essentially told that I wasn’t qualified for job for which they don’t necessarily know the qualifications. In a way though, that is a comfort. Hopefully next time I interview I will be able to have a discussion about my strengths with peers rather than one focused so squarely on my weaknesses.

 
I went to my first Choral Chameleon rehearsal for the concert going up on December 14th. They sound beautiful. It was really gratifying to see the pieces come together that had been theoretical for about three months now, at least for me. It’s a refreshing blend of material, with far less than the standard fare of holiday music. But I think that the emotions evoked by the songs (and the spoken word pieces I’m sure) still very much give the sense of holiday spirit. Whatever that holiday may be for you. In fact, it makes perfect sense that it would be light on the Christmas Carols – since we are looking to encompass so much more than that. But in the electric light of Christmas, everything else often is eclipsed. The warm ritual of Christmas Carols is only a part of what we hope to evoke from our audience. It is about strength and kindness and family and togetherness and of course, light. That transcends all religions.

We will be putting all of the moving pieces together next Saturday, complete with the dancers! I am really looking forward to that.

I want to share with you my Director’s Note for the concert so you can really get a sense of what we are wishing for our audience:

Putting up a Christmas tree is my favorite part of the Christmas season. Even now as I write this I am stopping to enjoy its twinkling lights. I don’t think I’m spoiling a big secret when I say that the tradition of the tree is a carryover from more ancient pagan-based traditions. But now it has become far more than even a Christian symbol. It is an unmistakable symbol of the season. Every New Year’s Eve people around the world, regardless of where they place their faith, share kisses with their loved ones and cast their dreams into the year to come. There is an undeniable magic to the season which transcends a person’s individual faith – in one way or another this palpable feeling is shared by all. It is in this time more than any other that we reach out to strangers, come together with family, light a candle and wait for the coming of the warm rebirth of spring. That is why we have gathered here together tonight. We bring you offerings from a variety of artistic disciplines which we feel exemplify the universal themes which in some way encapsulate this special time: the end of one year and the birth of a new. We seek here, in this place, to light a candle of our own – one that you can bring out into the world with you to bring light unto the world for this year and the years to come.

Get your tickets now for Summoning Light. www.choralchameleon.com