Tuesday, July 31, 2007

best music experience ever

I had the best musical experience of my life this weekend as I sang with the Gay Mens Chorus of Los Angeles. We had four concerts this weekend singing a selection of numbers from opera. The first half of the program was classical european opera. The second half was American compositions, including Gershwin, Copland, and selections from Bernstein's "Candide" and Sondheim's "Sweeny Todd" that fall somewhere between opera and Broadway.

I spent my entire childhood playing in bands and orchestras. I also studied music at UCLA and Cal Arts, and performed my own compositions with friends for several years after graduating. But this series of concerts was by far the most fulfilling. Not only was the quality of music making excellent - we're really good, I have to say. But the emotional quality inherent both in the musical seletions we performed, and in the nature of the chorus itself, were emotionally thrilling. We sang Beethoven's chorus "O Welche Lust" from Fidelio, portraying political prisoners allowed for just a few minutes to emerge from a dungeon and stand in the sunlight and open air. We sang of freedom for the oppressed and I cried. And I cried again when for the encore we sang Copland's "The Promise of LIving" from The Tender Land including the words, "The promise of living, the promise of growing, is born of our singing in joy and thanksgiving."

It was beautiful. What a privilege just to stand there on the riser and be surrounded by that beauty. And then to know that I had a small part in creating that beauty, truly wonderful

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