Category Archives: Musical Theater

I guess it’s time to blog again

I’ve been reading some blogs lately… new friends, old friends, family continue to use blogs in creative ways.

When I started blogging, I was in a rut at work. I loved the people I worked with but wasn’t feeling particularly fulfilled. I had my church gig and I was still conducting an orchestra for a high school theater program but I longed for more creativity. Oddly enough, I lost my job and immediately felt like I’d lost my identity. Even though I cried and prayed on the way to work that morning, getting laid off wasn’t the answer to the prayer “Please let something happen. I can’t stand this stress anymore.”

Since that fateful day (almost 5 years ago to the day), I’ve been fortunate to be working where I’ve dreamed of working for a  long time. It is stressful, being one of two people responsible for 700 computers, several servers and networking, is always a challenge but it is fulfilling.

And it leaves me time to be involved in other projects that I love. I just directed a musical at our community theater. First time I directed a community theater project.  Presently, I am music directing Pippin, a show that I’ve always loved. I am also working on A Festival of Lessons and Carols at our church. There are so many cool people involved – people from my current job, people from my church and other churches in the area, people from the theater, people of other faiths, children as young as second grade, adults as old as, well, me.

The other night, I facilitated a group of alumni who had participated in marching band at our high school. We cleaned out the room that holds all of the instruments that could be played by band members… if we had a band. These alumni are committed to help grow the instrumental music program at our alma mater.

It was during this alumni meeting that I injured my left hand. Musicians know how devastating a small nick, cut or squish of an appendage can be. When I began my freshman year in college as a music major, one of the sophomore trumpet players was recovering from a car accident. He hadn’t been badly hurt, but he split his lip, requiring stitches. The lack of practice over the summer, set him back in his studies. The scar tissue caused him to have to redesign his embouchure.

So, when my fingers got caught in the wooden hinge of an aging xylophone, I tried to jerk my hand back but it was getting crushed. The person on the end of the crushing realized what was going on and folded the hinge the other way, apologizing profusely adding that he saw the stars I was still seeing. Three days later, they’re stil tender, even while typing. Not sure how I played guitar last night at church. I think sang more than played.

But heck, I’m doing what I love – providing opportunites for others to be creative. Makes this fortune all the more sweet!

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Filed under Music, Musical Theater, Work

Anticipate

Sunday Scribblings gives us the writing prompt:

#174 – Anticipate

What are you looking forward to, for better or worse?

Remember that song by Carly Simon? Anticipation? The ketchup ad?

I found this on YouTube the other day. It’s a wonderful take on the old song. Carly’s children, Ben and Sally, sing and play with her. Listen to the whole tune if you have the time. Come back later and enjoy it again. It’s just that good. I love that James and Carly perform with their children. I love the mix of music and family. It’s one of my core values! I’m blessed to belong to a family of very talented musicians, artists, gardeners and writers. Music is something we all enjoy and appreciate.luaunfest 025

I love good music. I love tight harmonies. I love live music and acoustic music. I guess this is why I last weekend was so wonderful. The University of Pennsylvania radio station, WXPN-FM,  hosts a live music event every year. It has become the highlight of my summer. It starts on a Friday night at 5:00 PM and goes until 9:00 PM or so on Sunday evening – more than 25 hours of great, live music. You can bring in coolers with food and non-alcoholic beverages although you can purchase all kinds of food and beverages, as well as craft items and clothing. The cost for this festival – $30, if you’re a member of the radio station. 30 bucks for 3 days of the best live music you’ll ever hear in one weekend! And the best thing about the weekend is that because it’s so affordable, you can go with family and friends and share the experience of hearing old favorites and finding new favorites.

So thinking of live music and Carly Simon got me to thinking of another Simon sister, Lucy Simon, Carly’s older sister who is also a songwriter and composer. In fact, she composed the score of the Broadway musical, The Secret Garden. This is what I’ve been anticipating lately:

 

Rehearsals began at the end of June. This was the first blocking rehearsal for this scene and the quality isn’t great because I used my Crackberry. I can’t wait until we open in September. It will be fun to go back and compare this scene to the final product!

I am really blessed to be able to do so many things that I enjoy. I’m praying that I never get so old or grumpy that these joys become a burden. Shows are a lot of work and a huge time commitment. The relationships that are formed make the teamwork and creativity that are required easier to handle. Many times over the course of the last few weeks, I’ve regretted having to leave my family and friends to go to a rehearsal. I haven’t been down the shore once this summer. I’m not sure if I’ll have an opportunity to get down there between rehearsal schedules for two shows, a wedding and my full-time job (even though we’re on summer hours right now).

Still, I’m looking forward to the next few months. I’ll post updates as we make progress.

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Filed under Family, Friends, Music, Musical Theater, youtubes

Yahoo Horoscope 4/25/08

I’ve been sitting here trying to stretch my work into next week. In between drinking coffee and trips to the ladies’ room, I’ve been hitting the job boards and getting the old resume’ out there again. Yep, I’m starting to hyperventilate over unemployment and I haven’t even finished THIS gig!
Granted, there’s not too much left to do here and I’m thinking that the project manager could pull the job when he gets back from vacation. My co-worker-in-crime isn’t even here today. I know he’s busy searching out management positions and trying to get his own business sold.
So as I found myself second-guessing my skill set and picking up the behaviors that started bringing me down in my previous unemployed life, i clicked on my daily horoscope. Of course, I put as much stock in horoscopes as I put in fortune cookies but because I believe that there are no coincidences with God, I decided to pay attention to this one:

Instead of focusing so much on your future, focus on day-to-day living. Play a bit.


Yeah, I think I’ll heed this one…
Godspell again –

So don’t waste your time asking “What am I to eat? What am I to drink?”
What AM I to eat?
HE SAID “DON’T ASK THAT!!!!”

Perhaps I’ll spend the day blogging…

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Filed under Life, Musical Theater

God Save The People

For all of my friends and family out there who are too far away or too busy or too tired or just can’t be here for whatever reason any of these show nights – here’s a clip from today’s show.

This was after 4 days of rest and no rehearsal in between. It’s a show that serves as a dress rehearsal but we have a small audience from some of the local elementary schools. I put my little digital camera on the platform, crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. There’s a lot of piano because the amplifier was right behind my camera – but that’s a-ok because Cameron is an awesome pianist! You can hear Neal playing guitar in the beginning and you can hear some of Lou on bass. Every once in a while, you can catch Nathan playing drums – he did a great job today! I’m real proud of him. But mostly I’m proud of the students and their directors who have worked very hard toward these days and nights! I’m kind of sad for those of you who can’t see it in person because it is very well done – better than most high school productions and in the top 5 of the high school shows I’ve done.

Something cool about this show – the director is a graduate of the high school’s theater program and when he was in 8th grade, his school came for a performance like we gave today and the show was Godspell. He’s a pretty incredible person which was evident even back in 1999 when, as a junior, he played Don Quixote in Man of la Mancha. He said that seeing the production of Godspell in 1996 made him think “I want to do that when I get here.”

That production in 1996 was very emotional for us. My brother’s Lou and Neal played bass and guitar. Our friend Paul played drums. The previous October, we had buried our mother. At the luncheon following her funeral, my girlfriend, Susan, who was the director of the many shows I did at our high school, and I stood in front of some wonderful collages that my sister had put together. In the middle of one of them was the insert from our Godspell CD. Our family really loved the show and the album was often played in our home. That’s when Susan said, “I guess we’re going to have to do Godspell in the spring.” Needless to say, my brothers and I shed a lot of tears during the run of that show. 

There are some other cool things about this show – notice a girl with pigtails in a black track suit with pink stripes who sings and dances pretty much in front of my camera and later a girl in a denim skirt and red top. They both had mothers that are alumni of the school and who participated in musical theater productions when they were in school.  Also, the daughter of a former guitar student who played at liturgies back at our old parish. And even cooler – I was able to get the same musicians to play for the show – Lou, Neal and Paul. And even luckier to get my good friend, Nathan, to sub for the shows that Paul couldn’t make. And the cool thing about Nathan – he goes right along with the insanity. He doesn’t get too much time to play or practice but he worked his butt off to do a great job! And the two keyboard players – well I can’t say enough about them. I really am blessed because at church, I have 2, count them – 2, awesome keyboard players and one of them is Cameron and he has done a wonderful job this year. The other keyboard player for this production is the nephew of a friend of my sister and brother-in-law and Ryan does a really nice job as well.

On another note, I spent the afternoon unwinding…
My favorite time on the beach

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Filed under Life, Musical Theater

Godspell

Godspell Set Yep – I’m still tired and I really need to sleep – but I wanted to give you a preview. I think it’s pretty well done – as long as the students remained focused and centered. I’m very proud of the director and my pit! which is actually on stage for this production – over there to your right! Stage left.

And here’s a YouTube of the Prologue:
 
Unfortunately our monitor wasn’t working so the sound isn’t great – but the kids are! And the directors are wonderful!

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Filed under Life, Musical Theater