Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Julia A's mom made a CD of her original music. The CD stars MANY chorus parents, and the video stars many chorus students! How many Bigelow singers do you recognize?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

This. Is. Awesome.

I've seen several 1-man a capella covers, and they are cool. but this one breaks it down at the end to show you each individual part. Whether for one person or a whole group, this is how a capella covers are written- by breaking a song into its elements. Rad.

And here's why you join choir: So that someday, when you're on TV, you're ready:

p.s. yep, that's how you look when you sing. Adorable, no? That's why I'm smiling at you while conducting.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Welcome Back, 8th Graders!

We missed you. By we, I mean Ms. Tan and the 7h graders. I did not miss you, since I was there. Anyway. Never mind. Look! A video! Pretend it's not a commercial, and everyone will enjoy this nice a cappella flashmob.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Audition for the musical/Apply for Tech Crew!

There's an info session on Monday, Nov. 22 from 3-4:15 where we will answer ALL your burning questions, probably twice.
Meanwhile, download the appropriate packet for the basic info here.

Note that there is one packet for actors, who need to read carefully through it to prepare for their AUDITION. Meanwhile, there's a separate packet for tech crew, who don't have to audition, but do have to write an APPLICATION. Pit band has no packet at all- just talk to Mr. Livingston.

Go go go Joseph!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

7th/8th- Stones Taught Me to Fly

Dear students,
I left yesterday's class feeling dissatisfied. Yesterday was such an important class, and not only did I not know exactly what to say, but it was hard to think of what to say to all 75 of you at once, to meet each of you where you were, and where I was. So I fear I wound up giving something of a Bland Teacher Talk, which is disappointing, because choir is where I feel like we can be most real together.

So here's what's true: what happened this week is upsetting, for me and for you, and I don't have any answers. What we do have is each other. (Gah. cliche, but true.) So if you want to come hang out, or talk about it, or talk about something else, I'm here.

In the meantime, here are some songs I've been listening to, some hopeful, some sad, that speak to me right now. Feel free to share what you're listening to in the comments.

If I'd gone all Mr. Schuester and had a song to break into, it'd have been this. I, too, wonder, what's going on?

From the musical Next to Normal:

This is the supremely dorky Greg Greenway. I love him. The song starts at 1:30.

And the classic Beatles song, In My Life:

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Thoughts on the Uses of Music, Part the First in A Continuing Series

Before I was a music teacher, I worked in Washington, DC, changing government policies. I loved singing, but it didn't seem very useful. Feeding people who are hungry, making sure we don't destroy the planet- that was useful. Music was fun- but I couldn't see how anyone other than the very wealthy could justify spending much time on it.

Then Sept. 11 happened. The whole country was on red alert- especially Washington, DC and especially Capitol Hill, the neighborhood where I worked. Going to work seemed awfully scary.

When I was too scared to get up and go to work, I turned to music and poetry. And they gave me enough of a grip to get up and head in.

That was when I first decided art might be useful.

Recently, my uncle died unexpectedly. The only time the whole week I was home that I felt even a little bit ok was during the funeral, when my cousin and I sang. (She sang the tune of Adonai Roi, The Lord is my shepherd, and I wrote a harmony part that morning to go with it. Video of a choral version of the song below.) I was reminded again how very useful music can be.

Why do you think music is useful?

Friday, November 5, 2010

7th/8th El Grillo Quartets

As discussed today, Parts C and D of El Grillo will be sung by quartets- 4 people, each singing a different part (soprano, alto, tenor, or bass.) You can audition with 3 other people as a quartet, or by yourself, it doesn't matter. Quartets can have 7th and 8th graders mixed, and boys and girls mixed. Only boys can audition on the bass part. Boys and girls can audition on the soprano, alto and tenor parts. You can hear Ms. Tan sing the parts here.

Auditions will be after school on Friday, November 19. Good luck!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

7th/8th Grade Chorus Reminders

1. Junior District forms are due Friday.
2. PLEASE practice your music for a few minutes EVERY DAY. This is not optional. Your singing through your music for 3 minutes makes a HUGE difference.
3. Come see your colleagues/friends/section leaders in Romeo and Juliet, Thursday and Friday at 7:30.

See you Friday!


Here are 2 different versions of Oye! They are both very good; but they're also different.

First, the Young People's Chorus of New York City, a diverse group of 7th-12th graders.

Next, a Belgian choir, all girls, I think high school age. Remember- both English and Spanish are foreign languages for this group!

What is similar? What is different? What do you like about each version?

El Grillo - Josquin de Prez

This quartet is outstanding, in addition to possessing the superpower of being able to speak faster than humanly possible. Seriously, how do they say those words so fast?