It's been kind of epic since Christmas, if we remember back to when we had to drive from Connecticut to Michigan because of snow, various personnel changes, the very, very big National Youth Choral Festival and so much more. We've been taking Spanish Gold around the Bay Area to finish it all off - Mission Dolores, St, Francis in Sacramento and St. Stephens in Belvedere - the latter for the first time. Fred has been extremely impressed with the attentiveness and appreciation for Renaissance music of our Bay Area audiences. We've known this for 37 years, but it's all new to Fred and he's really awestruck. Before we take vacation–which is before we go to Europe in July–we're going to have the pleasure of recording a track on an album Leslie Ann Jones is producing at Skywalker Sound. Then, we'll see you in Austria. Thanks to everybody for all the support this season.
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With Fred Scott, our new Music Director, we prepared a beautiful ( we think) and challenging program of music from the Spanish Renaissance. There's a whole mass by Cristobal de Morales in it, as well as a fantatic mini-opera about sailors by Mateo Flecha, and lots of other wondrous things. So far we've performed it in Santa Clara at the mission and Berkeley at St. Mark's Episcopal. Tonight at the Mission Dolores Basilica in San Francisco, tomorrow in Sacramento, and next Wednesday at St. Stephen's in Belvedere. This kind of program brings out the early music lovers - many of them very longtime fans from the few early y ears when all Chanticleer did was early music. It's all new to Fred, and fun to see him become a member of the family and a Californian. On a little side trip he met up with Craig Russell in San Luis Obispo. Craig has been a member of the family since we became part of the revival of 'Mexican Baroque' music in the 90's. We're committed to Craig's project of exhuming and making known more and more of this music, continuing in May 2016 when we will do another tour of the California missions, preceded by a little tour of missions in Bolivia! Stay tuned.
We took a break from things Spanish and Renaissance to spend an evening in Palo Alto with the Stanford Chamber Chorale. Fred led a spirited session on Holst and Parry; they sounded great. This evening ends a residency we've had at Stanford over the last semester with workshops by Ben Johns, a performance in a residence hall, and tonight's master class.
LAB XIII's main project was to be the lab choir for our National Youth Choral Festival in March - helping Ragnar Bohlin work with the visiting choir directors and in doing so learning a lot about the flexibility needed to sing under different conductors. XIII also workshopped music of the finalists in our Student Composer Competition. There are a number of LAB veterans in this group, with Toran Davenport in the lead. He's participated in 8 sessions and XIII was his last. He's now singing with the S.F. Symphony Chorus. Many members of LAB XIII are going on to college all over the country, from Mt. Holyoke Mass, to Vancouver, and colleges in the Bay Area and elsewhere. We wish them well, hope they keep singing, and hope we'll see them along the way.
Sound installations by the geniuses of Meyer Sound are beginning to be everywhere, Soundbox in San Francisco being one of the splashier openings lately. They have also designed a system for restaurants which primarily serves to address the issue of noise in restaurants - a big issue these days. In a restaurant with this acoustic system, you can hear your dining companions better, and everybody else less. The system also has 9 settings to recreate acoustical settings in which music might be performed. Last night we had a benefit for our education program in the East Bay at Oliveto one of the first Bay Area restaurants to install the system. We demonstrated the Cathedral setting with Victoria and Byrd, the symphony hall setting with Poulenc, and the room ( perhaps a jazz club) setting with songs by Peter Gabriel, Gershwin, and others. Many people professed themselves 'blown away' by the effect of hearing a cathedral reverb in the restaurant. Oliveto's food was also very good, as it always is, and the company was great. Perhaps we'll do it again.