Thank You, Steve Dresen and the Bonneville High School Choir

April 24th, 2014 Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

In what has to be one of the more touching, pleasing, best-mood-making results of writing my book about singing in a choir, the Bonneville High School Choir of Idaho Falls, Idaho, came to a rehearsal of the Choral Society of Grace Church and sang for us.

Last year their choir director, Steve Dresen, who had read my book, asked if would be okay if they stopped by when they were in New York this year. I put him in touch with John Maclay, our choir director, and then I didn’t hear anything until last week, when John emailed everyone to say they were going to visit us at out next rehearsal (this past Tuesday).

We weren’t sure if they were going to make it in time. Their flight was due to arrive not long before our rehearsal start time, and you know cabs and NYC traffic. When they walked up the aisle about midway through, all 46 of them, (if I counted correctly) we broke into applause.

I recorded them singing for us. This is a very serious choir, as you will hear for yourself. I couldn’t get over how carefully, professionally, and full of heart their sound is. They gave me chills, especially when they got to the part “Oh where is the key to the kingdom,” in the second piece. We kinda descended on them afterwards, it was just such a pleasure to have them there and they were all so freaking charming. And tired. They had to get up at 5am to get their flights, they told me!

For almost all of them, this was their first time in NYC. John invited them to move here when they graduated and to join our choir and I hope they take him up on the offer. They are singing at Carnegie Hall on Saturday at 8:30 (with 16 other choirs) and tickets may still be available.

Group shot! Don’t you want to just adopt them all?? The movie I made of them follows. Unfortunately, you can’t see them well, they were standing in a spot that wasn’t well lit. I wish I had gotten up and moved closer.


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Cara Swann Has Been Busy!

April 22nd, 2014 Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments »

Former reporter/editor Cara Swann, who stops by here from time to time, has made 11 of her books (novels and short stories) available on Amazon. They are all Kindle editions and since I still live in the dark ages I can’t download them! But according to her author page on Amazon, her “fiction is dark romantic suspense influenced by Southern and English Gothic stories with similar elements to Ann Radcliffe, Phyllis A. Whitney and Victoria Holt but adapted to modern-day 1970 through 1995. Also a few crime/suspense novels influenced by Elmore Leonard.”

It looks like Season of the Serpent, is selling the best. Congratulations and good luck Cara! Her books are generating feedback like, “This book was absolutely a page turner that I couldn’t put down,” and “Swann’s prose is effortless and conveys the story beautifully, flowing from one believable scene to the next.” (The second quote was about The Secret of Crybaby Hollow.)

Cara’s blog is Mad, Mad, World.

I was browsing through the New York Public Library’s digital archives and came across this picture of the NYPD Glee Club at the 1939-1940 New York World’s Fair. I love that stuffed reptile in the background (although poor reptile).


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WDAV – Choral Showcase

April 20th, 2014 Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

I’ve been emailing links to my TEDx talk about singing in a choir to choir directors, and getting mostly lovely responses back. I recently heard from Theresa Woody, who hosts a show called Choral Showcase on WDAV, (Saturdays at 5pm). She’d already read my book and had nothing but good things to say about it so of course I LOVE Theresa Woody! She is also the music director of UU Fellowship of Lake Norman in Davidson, NC, which is why I emailed her the link. Her plan for next Saturday’s Choral Showcase, April 26th:

Hear My Song: Music For Remembering The Holocaust

Today’s offering observes Yom Hashoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day. Mostly choral, with a few selections for instruments and for solo voice too, today’s mix honors and remembers the victims of the holocaust, especially the artists and musicians whose work—and lives—were cut short. Little-known composers such as Carlo Sigmund Taube and Viktor Ullmann are featured, along with works by Gorecki, Landowski, Partos and Avni.

A pretty door, I forget where, but perhaps Gramercy Park? It looks Gramercy Park-ish.


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Rest in Peace Gabriel Garcia Marquez

April 18th, 2014 Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Every once in a while you read a book that makes your world explode, although not always in a good way. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee broke my heart for instance, and ended my innocence forever, but that was completely necessary. Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s novel One Hundred Years of Solitude was not that kind of explosion. It demolished all the rules, rules of writing, of living, and made me realize anything goes, as long as you do it well. All bets were off, game on.

One Hundred Years of Solitude is just so full of life it’s as if every page breaths, vines grow out of the book binding, and if you turn it upside down and shake it sand and dirt and rocks (and ants) will fall out. It was so exciting and enchanting to read. Life’s a mess, get on with it. Oh and try to have a sense of humor about it all while you’re at it. I’m so glad I read it when I was as young as I was (college-age) because it set the tone for the rest of my life.

According to Wikipedia, William Kennedy called it “the first piece of literature since the Book of Genesis that should be required reading for the entire human race.” And yet, on Amazon 83 people gave it one star. That’s beyond unfathomable to me. Not to your taste perhaps, but one star?? Time to re-read!

I took this on Wednesday when I walked past this tree, and turned around to look again. Springtime in the city at night!


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If Congress Were a Choir – Well, Parliament is!

April 16th, 2014 Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

I’m pretty sure I’ve posted about this great essay written by Margaret Evans, titled If Congress Were a Choir. She makes so many perfect points about compromise and working together in order the create something great and worthwhile. I spoke about her essay at Harvard last weekend. I conceded that the trick would be getting a group like congress to form and participate in a choir. But Parliament has managed it!

A glimpse of spring I caught last week. Apparently spring has been postponed, however. (It’s freezing out here.)


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