In this issue:
- Replies to my post about attending concerts of colleague organizations
- Nasty, lingering cold
- What’s next for SMCC
- This Week at St. Andrew’s
Some interesting replies to my query last week about ideas for motivating people to attend the concerts of colleagues and colleague ensembles. Some of the replies weren’t quite what I was asking, but that’s sometimes doubly interesting. Here are some of them, in no particular order:
From Christina Lynn-Craig (whose choir Aster is having concerts in a couple weeks – check it out at www.asterchoir.org):
I think that having a ‘clearing house’ with all of the concerts which are being offered by all the local groups posted in one place would be very helpful. Then it would be easier to make choices about which concert(s) one might be able to attend in a given quarter. I know that each group has a website and that each group sends out publicity/postcard or e-mail reminders, AND, it would be great to see everything listed in one place. It might be overwhelming to include all the Tier I and II groups, but they could be included as well.
I think that attending with other members of the ensemble could be fun, especially if driving a distance to the concert. Perhaps the group which is presenting the concert could suggest a local eatery to patronize? Discussing the music afterward would be beneficial to all. Taking into account that every ensemble has its strengths and weaknesses and each has different goals or missions.
Similar thoughts about a “clearing house” (Consortium) from Katie Schmidt, the (relatively new) director of the Denver Early Music Consort (which also has upcoming concerts: http://www.denverearlymusic.org/):
My vision was that, in a few years, as the Denver Early Music Consort becomes more established, that all of the early music ensembles in the region could form a consortium, in which much musical ecumenism could flourish.
But here is a solution that we can all enact right here and right now. We could call our partnership something like the Colorado Chamber Consortium. We could start a website for it, and allow the marketing lead for each group to have access to editing the website. A step we could all take TODAY would be to create a Facebook page for the Colorado Chamber Consortium, and again, each marketing lead or director would be granted administrative access to the page. Then, each organization can be responsible for uploading and sharing their own event. Anyone who “likes” the Consortium’s page would be provided with regular event updates for ALL the groups they like, and some they may not even know about. The Facebook page, and the website, would essentially function as a communal event calendar and announcement board to which all the groups contribute. This kind of page + website would be a one-stop shop for finding out information about all the amazing musical offerings Denver boasts. (Common ticket sales, even??? Combined subscriptions???)
This is the perfect time to create such a strong union among these small groups. As Denver is growing and flourishing, we can all surf on the strong economic tide we’re enjoying here, and the strong surge of population, particularly of young people with disposable income who want to get in on the “Denver scene”. It’s also the perfect time, because we’re at a point now where the smaller groups that had been startup “pick-up bands” 10 years ago are now established fixtures in the community. We’ve got enough cultural diversity that if we unite together, we strengthen our ecosystem, and my God, would that unity create buzz and excitement for all of us! Not only are we stronger united, but our strength makes it possible for NEW groups to form, for NEW entrepreneurs to come up in the community and create something unique. By creating a consortium, we build a foundation for the success of the ecosystem to diversify with new “species”, as it were!
It’s a very exciting prospect, and with a few quick emails back and forth between the directors of our bands, we can get the ball rolling even as soon as this week, for the Facebook page, certainly. It goes without saying that I and the Denver Early Music Consort would like to be in on the ground floor of this kind of effort. I’ve got the enthusiasm and energy to put forth the initial work, and the momentum we build together will change the entire landscape on which we stand. Denver can be a model for how successful arts orgs can work together to create something tremendous. I’m ready to participate in making that happen.
Nothing like this yet exists. I checked the SCFD website just before writing this email and found nothing promoting performances except a hidden little blog which didn’t at all satisfy my desire to see all SCFD-funded music events at once. So, you want something done, you have to do it yourself sometimes, as my Colorado Singers Call List demonstrates.
If anyone would like to get in touch with Katie, let me know, and I’ll forward your e-mail to her (I don’t want to publish e-mail addresses in this public forum).
Although this is really exciting (and I hope it generates more energy in this direction), my query was more about some ideas for encouraging/persuading busy people like all of us to attend the concerts of our colleagues, as I don’t think lack of information is the problem (I’m usually aware, for instance, of when BCOC or PMCCO or Seicento concerts are taking place). So here are some replies in that direction:
Brock Erickson, formerly E. D. of SMCC (and still a singer in that ensemble), wrote:
I think that anyone who can make the effort (or find the time!) to attend events by other groups will then bring a different, richer perspective to their own “home” organization. It should also foster more opportunities for off-stage contact between performers, and could encourage more empathy and appreciation and less competitive or territorial feeling. Try as we might, it is so easy for that really counterproductive attitude to creep in when everyone in another group is a stranger.
What about coming up with some kind of “performer pass”? It could be a free pass that would let the holder attend 10 events for free during a year. I don’t see it cutting into ticket revenues, because the ticket holder would probably not have attended the event without the pass. We could start with the choral groups in town (or some other small collection of organizations), and if it worked it could be expanded to other kinds of groups. Someone would have to manage the program, of course, and there would need to be some provision for groups to make some events not eligible, say in anticipation of a full house or something.
Tim, if some kind of project like this might be attempted I’d like to be involved. It has always been a special interest of mine to try to get more cross-contact between our arts organizations.
(Katie and Brock, take note of each other… 😉
Christina Lynn-Craig also provided a paragraph along these lines in her e-mail:
Cantabile does something which is really nice, generous and helpful – they offer two comp tickets to music directors of other groups, and you don’t need to RSVP or anything – which means you can decide at the last minute to attend the concert, they just have your name at the door.
I like this idea so much, I’m going to propose it at the next SMCC board meeting!
Abbie Bettinis, Minneapolis-based composer (-extraordinaire, I might add), contributed the following about the Minn./St. Paul scene:
One of the things the Twin Cities choral scene has recently been doing is challenging others choirs to “sing-offs.” I think it started with the One Voice Mixed Chorus (Jane Ramseyer Miller), who challenged Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus & The Singers—Minnesota Choral Artists to a Broadway showtunes-based evening of singing and trivia. Supporters from each chorus come out to vote for quartets that represented each chorus. The defending champs then host and invite another Twin Cities choir. (The choir Eric and I sing in, VocalPoint, was challenged this year by The Singers, defending champs) My hunch is that it builds audiences for all choirs involved, but I’ll know more after we try to beat the pants of them. Ha! 😉
The Twin Cities also has a #NewMusicMN hashtag on Twitter, so if a group is performing a lot of new music on their concert, they use the hashtag to connect with the new music audience who will come to any concert of new stuff. That’s not just choral, but all ensembles. You can see it here: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23NewMusicMN
I think mutual fandom is such a critical part of sustaining and building on an already-so-artistic community… and often overlooked.
And finally (for this go-around at least), Abbie added the following from Minnesota Public Radio (I know several CPR people receive this Weekly – this might be an idea for you all [let’s see if any of you have actually read this far!])
Another really cool thing that Minnesota Public Radio has been doing is a little weekly spot called Art Hounds. MPR handpicks artists from anywhere in the state and asks what we’re looking forward to attending this month. It’s really fun — they bring you into the radio station and give you the mic for 2 minutes or so to geek out about something — but the rule is, you can’t be at all involved in it yourself. You have to be completely just a fan. It’s fun to hear ballet dancers recommending another company’s work, or composers getting psyched about a friend’s premiere. They’re tiny spots on the radio, but then everyone can share them, of course. More here: http://www.mprnews.org/topic/art-hounds
More comments (and comments on comments) are welcome.
I have had a nasty, lingering cold these two weeks and more. My apologies to any to whom I owe an e-mail or a reply . . . I’ve really fallen behind and am just trying to keep my head above water at this point.
St. Martin’s Chamber Choir has just begun rehearsals for our early June concert, the finale to our 22nd Season, which in its entirety has been called “Stories in Choral Song.” In this final concert, entitled “Short Stories in Song,” each number on the program tells a short story of its own. Some are arrangements of folk tunes, some are poems; some are jolly and light-hearted, others are poignant and sad (MB told me she cried three times while sight-reading through one of the pieces Sunday afternoon!). I’ll give a complete list of works to be performed in a subsequent Weekly. For now, put these dates on your calendar, and plan to come see SMCC’s 22nd Season out:
- , June 3, 7:30pm, Montview Blvd. Presbyterian Church, Park Hill
- , June 5, 3:00pm, St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church, Cherry Hills Village
Tickets can be purchased in advance at (303) 298-1970, or www.StMartinsChamberChoir.org.
The Season is winding down – there are just 7 choral evensongs left before we break for the summer, and each one has some good stuff in it. Many people of my acquaintance say they love to attend Evensong when they visit Britain – one of England’s best-kept secrets. Well, there’s a church in Denver that does it every week, so imagine that you’re on vacation and come hear us! We really do put on a beautiful service 98% of the time (yes, there have been a couple of times we’ve sung a service that I’d rather not remember – there was once a train-wreck in a Victoria anthem [my fault for trusting the women to read strange clefs], and there have been occasional tenor passages that have ruined the tuning of a piece, or basses that have gone ruinously astray. But usually the musical quality at these services is quite high – nearly that of an English cathedral, I’d say!). And spread the word to your Anglophile and music-loving friends. Our average attendance is around 30, but I’d love to see 50! 100! This Thursday it’s one of the more intimate services, an a cappella quartet singing the following, to honor the life and witness of Edward Demby and Henry Delany, two of the Episcopal church’s first African-American bishops:
April 14, 2016, 5:45pm, Choral Evensong: Demby and Delany
Preces & Responses: John Repulski (2006)
Canticle of Light: “Let my prayer” by John Blow (1649-1708)
Psalm: 119:161-168, plainchant
Service: Stephen Elvey (1805-1860) in A
Anthem: “O Lord, give thy Holy Spirit” by Thomas Tallis (c.1505-1585)
Office Hymn: 526 (Dundee)
I almost programmed an African American spiritual, but decided that it might come off as patronizing. I am fine programming spirituals when the person being honored actually loved and worked with them (Henry Burleigh, Frederick Douglass, etc.). But programming a spiritual just because Demby and Delany were Black would be like someone programming a Ländler Waltz in a service for me because I have a German surname. Not that I’d mind a Ländler, but those who know me know I’d prefer something English! J
Stephen Elvey, though holding Oxford posts for most of his life, wrote the above service at the age of 20 while a lay-clerk (singer) at Canterbury Cathedral, as a continuation of/companion for the (at the time) well-known morning service in A by William Croft. Elvey was the older brother of the more famous Sir George Elvey (“Ah,” you’re saying, “now I know why the name sounded familiar!” [I’m being facetious, obviously. I expect only my friend Stewart Taylor, my old professor Lionel Pike, and possibly Alan Lewis, have ever heard of (and probably don’t care for the music of) either of the Elveys!]). I find this a typically “jolly” service of the late-18th, early-19th centuries that I like so much for a cappella quartets (Boyce, Arnold, Cooke, Kelway, Ebdon, King – household names, in other words!).
This Sunday, the Fourth Sunday of Easter, is popularly called “Good Shepherd Sunday,” and here’s the music I’ve planned:
April 17, 2016, 9:00 and 11:00am, Easter 4: “Good Shepherd Sunday”
*Introit: “Salvation belongeth to our God” by James Kent (c. 1700-1776)
Psalm 23: Anglican Chant by Herbert Oakeley
Anthem: “The Lord is my shepherd” by Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924)
Communion motet: “These are they” by John Goss (1800-1880)
Hymns: 181 (St. Ethelwald), *645 (St. Columba), 343 (St. Agnes), 708 (Sicilian Mariners)
*11:00 service only
The Stanford is an old chestnut, a favorite for many. I especially like the bit where the men of the choir sing with virile gusto, “Thou shalt prepare a table before me” followed by the absolutely winsome tune sung by the women to “But thy loving kindness and thy mercy…” The Epistle is from Revelation, as one might be able to tell from the Introit and the Communion motet.
That’s it for this week. I hope you all are in better health than me at the moment!
Timothy J. Krueger
Choirmaster, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Denver
Artistic Director, St. Martin’s Chamber Choir (professional)
Affiliate Music Faculty, Metropolitan State University of Denver