Saturday, May 17, 2008

No wonder you don't listen to me...

...the things I tell you to go to suck.

I went to Inherit The Earth / The Earth Mass tonight -- it was a joint performance by Encore Vocal Arts, an Indianapolis choral ensemble, and the St. Luke's Chancel Choir, whom I used to sing with.

If you watched the video I posted (do you actually watch the videos I post?), you'll know that the Earth Mass is a combination of instrumental and vocal music, along with animal sounds (harbor seals, humpback whales, arctic wolves, etc.). What the video did not show you was how challenging it would be to be in the audience for the performance.

First of all, the concert featured WAY TOO MUCH soprano saxophone. Tom Meyer (our saxpert for the evening) is an excellent musician, but I'm afraid one Kenneth Gorelick has ruined the saxophone for all of us, forever. When Mr. Meyer ably and professionally played his first song, I thought, "Huh. Not what I was expecting, but nice." By his third solo in about an hour, I was done.

Second of all, the introduction of animal sounds into a musical performance is interesting in concept, but the implementation can lose a little in translation. It is possible that my opinion is colored by the fact that I sat right in front of one of the speakers broadcasting the whale, wolf, loon, and seal noises OR by the fact that the animal with whom I share a home makes no noise to speak of. But by the time we got to the end, I was all grunted, moaned, and barked out.

Third of all, the emcee for the evening (Trisha of the cleverly branded crime-fighting duo impossibly perky high-school cheerleaders stereotypical preppies in an 80s movie where the stereotypical misfits ultimately triumph over the stereotypical preppies news anchor team Todd-n-Trisha) was either improperly miked or improperly oriented to the sanctuary's acoustics. Almost everything she said was garbled and, even though she's great on the evening news, it was damn near impossible to understand her this evening. In fact, there were lots of times when the choirs were unintelligible, too.

Fourth of all, the audience was encouraged to stand and sing along a few times throughout the performance. The first time, "All Creatures of Our God and King" was the hymn - traditional, familiar. But the other two times, we were invited to sing songs that we had just heard for the first time seconds before, and I hate when that happens.

Here are some excerpts from my notes, sanitized because this is a family blog:

  • I didn't realize this was a Kenny G concert.

  • I'm glad I didn't pay twenty bucks* for this.

  • Too many typos on the screen with lyrics. (One is too many. Three is way too many.)

  • No, audience, don't clap. That wasn't all that good. (Although Tommy V. was rockin' out.)

  • I didn't realize this was an effing Kenny G concert.

  • Audience populated mostly by women with sensible haircuts and sturdy footwear, affirming St. Luke's as an open community, but not a lot of St. Lukers here tonight.

  • Singing in English?

  • I didn't effing realize this was a gee-dee Kenny effing G concert.
Overall, I will give the concert two dancing, if apprehensive, stars (out of four). I grant the performers a B+ for skill and effort, but the material they had to work with was way subpar (D+/C-).

Big ups for hardworking musicians, for sharing a new-to-me Longfellow poem which I enjoy immensely (and which I shall take with me to Ile à la Croix), and for promoting environmental stewardship as an act of Christian faith. Big downs for crappy musical selection and for audiovisual challenges.

* Tickets were $20 for the general public, $15 for seniors, $10 for students. I got my ticket as a gift from a friend.

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