Thursday, March 5, 2009

ACDA - Oklahoma Day II

Another beautiful day in Oklahoma. My wife let me know that Edmonton received probably a foot of snow overnight, add the blowing snow to that and it was most unpleasant to walk or drive anywhere. Well, it's not the case here. It was a day to walk with out a coat on, eat lunch outside, and watch people drive by in their convertibles. That being said, I have spent most of the day indoors.

Another fantastic concert this morning, including the finale by the 8 voice "choir" from England called Voices8. A sort of King's Singers style spin-off group, this time from Westminster Abbey choristers, with two young female sopranos. This young group was quite fantastic, not quite at the standard that the King's Singers are at, but give them time, they will be an octet to be reckoned with.

I went to the Conducting Competition for a while, but left partway through, mainly due to the "heat" in the room, both the actual temperature, and also the uncomfortable feeling one gets when watching conductors in a competition like this. I may post more again about conducting competitions. Having done a few in my life, both successfully, and unsuccessfully. For example though - the candidate which I felt had the strongest "technique" of the seven that I saw did not advance. The rehearsal technique wasn't as strong, perhaps this is why the candidate didn't advance. What is a "conducting" competition supposed to judged on? Conducting? or Rehearsing? More on that another day. A quick lunch (outside on the patio as mentioned above!) followed by an afternoon interest session on doing group auditions was then followed by a spending spree at the Exhibits (I bought one of these for half-price to replace an aging and outdated minidisk recorder) I've now bought all I need, or can, at this conference. The evening interest session or Jazz choir concerts didn't spark an interest for me, so a little R&R back at the hotel was in order.

I'm now enjoying a brief rest once again, catching up on some emails and concert prep for next weekend (and watching .. ahem .. American Idol ... please don't judge me), and then I'm off to the feature concert of the Evening with the Oklahoma Philharmonic Orchestra and various choirs with a convention world premiere, and Vaughn Williams' "Dona Nobis Pacem". Mmmmm.. RVW!
Update: Back from the concert - which was great, particularly the RVW. The commissioned work had its moments, but it wasn't as inspirational as I had hoped.
I'm particularly looking forward to tomorrow's interest session on technology, i.e. blogging, podcasting etc, for conductors and choirs. It's a "Bring your own laptop" event. Podcasting is something I've always been interested in, and is something that our church is exploring. In fact, Vidcasting is what we are gearing up towards, and the more I can understand the process, the better prepared I'll be to enter the 21st century!


Anonymous said...

I would say that regarding the concert you speak of it was emblematic of one of the glaring weaknesses of choral musicians. I am sure Dr. Howard-Jones is an excellent choral musician but with an orchestra there was much to be desired. The Argento piece was an opportunity to make something special happen musically but I was dismayed by the lack of attention and detail the conductor payed the orchestra and the overall lack of inspiration. Orchestral entrances were, on more than one occasion, rough and gestures were far to choral for an orchestra to respond well. By this I mean that gestures were unclear and not reflecting the musical and sonic needs of the instrumental parts. Finally the conductor spent just about the entirety of the concert mirroring with both hands when expressive gestures could have been highlighted by using each hand independently. Orchestral musicians have needs that are very different than choirs and mixed choral/orchestral repertoire is even more demanding. Too often choral conductors forget that and the result is timid, uninspired and even sloppy conducting.If it is our goal to create and foster conductors who can speak (as far as gesture is concerned)to any ensemble then our conferences (ACDA etc.) should model that.

Anonymous said...

Oops weakness of musician is it so???
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