NEC Chamber Singers: Facing Forward
This blog was begun by members of NEC Chamber Singers preparatory to their March 2013 tour of mid-Atlantic cities.
I’m Matthew O’Donnell, a bass-baritone-singing, basketball-playing, gallon-a-day-water-drinking, music-all-day-eating-and-breathing, almost-never-sleeping freshman voice major here at NEC.
I happen to be stuck here on this imaginary island after straying away from a concert tour of Bermuda at coordinates- 25.0000° N, 71.0000° W- (Some people have called this strange area I am in the Devil’s Triangle, but I think I’m just getting stir crazy from not having my tunes and fresh drinking water.)
If you are reading this, please, kindly send the following selections on a solar powered iPod with at least a 50-gallon drum of fresh water and a compass to the above coordinates. Better yet, make that an iPhone with GPS, and please tell Ms. Washburn that I think I’m going to be late for Monday’s rehearsal!
For some reason being here all-alone is making me very reflective on my music choices.
Tunes to place on that iPhone you are airdropping (don’t forget to charge it first!):
1. Mozart-Le Nozze di Figaro, Non Più Andrai
This is the tune that I learned from my first classical vocal teacher, Stephen Bryant, and was my audition piece for my entry into the Juilliard Pre-College Program.
I love this piece and had the opportunity to sing it a number of times in some really neat spaces. I sang this most recently at a sing-in with the NY Choral Society. My parents made me go with them and suggested that it would be a good excuse to work on my sight singing before coming to NEC. I was glad I joined them. (Please don’t tell them, just concentrate on getting me that water.)
3. Eric Whitacre-Cloudburst
This is an amazing piece that I had the chance to sing with my High School Chorus in Nutley, NJ, as well as with the All National Chorus at the Kennedy Center. This piece uses the human voice to make environmental sounds in addition to some really cool close harmonies. I never get sick of hearing, or singing, this work. (Is that really the wind?)
4. Dan Hill-Sometimes when we Touch
Old school introspective. Call me a softie…I just like it.
5. The King’s Singers-Oh my Love is like a red, red Rose
Just great choral singing…in tune and musical! (Water….water…)
6. Dietrich Fischer Dieskau-Im Wunder schonen Monat Mai
The best of the best…A big influence on who I am striving to be.
7. Luciano Pavarotti-Nessun Dorma
Why do people on all of those talent shows insist on singing this?
Probably because they never heard it REALLY sung or perhaps they need to drink more WATER!!!!
8. Mumford and Sons-Thistle and Weeds
Something draws me to their music…perhaps the folk-like quality yet it’s still modern.
9. John Williams-Buglers Dream
Prolific composer John Williams is someone that I really like. Since I was a young lad I was hooked on this Olympic Theme and can relate to the message of hope and inspired perseverance (and eventually being rescued) that has become his trademark.
10. Z. Randall Stroope-Amor de mi Alma
I had the opportunity to sing this under Mr. Stroope last year with the All Eastern High School Chorus. Mr. Stroope is intense and this song is about all things love…in life and in death…save me… - - - … I’d love a glass of… - - - … oh yea…- - -… make sure it’s an iPhone…not an iPod…
11. Tower of Power-You Met Your Match
Feel good soul music…5 horns and this one has guest Joss Stone.
12. Chanticleer-Die Lorelei
I heard this group from San Francisco and was blown away. They sang this and had the audience in the palm of their collective hands. This song is about giving the sailors a message where perhaps the Sirens are beckoning. Are the fair maidens of the sea calling too close to the rocks? Look, for crying out loud….OK…help me out here…iPhone and water…better yet a boat, sub, canoe…you get the idea.
Forget Die Lorelei…here are the guys singing Ave Maria! Maybe those Navy guys can find this place!
Hope to see you soon!
NEC Freshman, Vocal Performance
Hi there! My name is Jonnie Comfort (or “Comfy” as a couple of friends lovingly named me). When I found out we were only allowed 60 minutes of music for our Desert Island Recording picks, I tried to organize what songs I would want to bring. This is difficult when your library of music on iTunes lasts 13.4 days. So, I picked music that I listen to constantly and could never tire of. I hope you enjoy my list. I’m kinda an opera buff so it is mostly classical (and by “mostly” I mean that there is only one non-classical song!). This first set of songs are arias that close friends and/or colleagues sang and that I completely fell in love with second I heard them. Eccomi… Oh Quante Volte from I Capuleti e i Montecchi by Bellini Montserrat Caballe Allons il le faut… Adieu Notre Petit Table from Manon by Massenet Beverly Sills Temerari! Sortite!- Come Scoglio from Cosi Fan Tutte by Mozart Elisabeth Schwarzkopf No Word from Tom from The Rake’s Progress by Stravinsky Dawn Upshaw —- Funnily enough when I first heard Maria Callas I reeeeally disliked her voice and didn’t listen to her for a long time. That is, until I heard this piece and now I honestly cannot get enough of her. She is one of my favorite singers and I could easily bring solely albums of her singing. But then this list would not be very interesting and I would miss Caballe way too much! Addio, del Passato Bei Sogni Ridenti from La Traviata by Verdi Maria Callas —- This is one of my favorite arias with my favorite singer. Her voice is amazing and when she sings in her upper register…..ugh. It gives me feelings of happiness. “Casta diva” from Norma by Bellini Montserrat Caballe —- This is one of my favorite interpretations of Schubert’s Erlkonig, for the sole reason of how distinctly Jessye Norman created the four characters (Narrator, Son, Father, and Erlkonig). It was between this or Mild und Leise from Tristan und Isolde (see what I did there? technically it is not apart of the list but it is here in spirit!). Erlkonig by Schubert Jessye Norman —- I know, I know…these are not the original words but I really love her ornaments in recording…and her. But can you blame me?! Morirò, ma vendicata (Enchanted Island) from Teseo by Handel Joyce DiDonato —- Tosca was the first opera I saw. I was given free tickets to the Met through a family friend and sat in Orchestra, Row J. To this day Tosca is my favorite opera and this aria is just beautiful. Oh, and it is Caballe again… I just like her, okay?! Vissi D’Arte from Tosca by Puccini Montserrat Caballe —- I feel as though this would be such great calming music. A good time for when I start to draw a face on a coconut while on the island and talking to him. It? Anywatm I chose this song cycle by Debussy! Fetes Galantes by Debussy Frederica von Stade —- Wait…what?! I have 2 minutes and 46 seconds left, and there is never a bad time for some Barbara! Don’t Rain on my Parade Barbra Streisand Jonathon Comfort NEC Freshman, Vocal Performance