Sunday, December 27, 2020

A Virtual Smorgasbord of Treats from Seattle Men's Chorus

Seattle Men’s Chorus Holiday 2020
(through December 31)
Also! A second little treat to watch to celebrate the advent of vaccinations:
A terrific song by the Seattle Women’s Chorus starring Andi Alhadeff
We know you can’t go without every Holiday Comfort just because you can’t go out. And what about that annual treck to Benaroya to attend a Seattle Men’s Chorus Holiday Extravaganza? I’ll bet you think that’s just an impossible dream for 2020.
Hold On! You absolutely can still get almost all the grins and feels of an in-person event, because Seattle Men’s Chorus managed to somehow rehearse ! and perform !! their Holiday Concert this year and even found the perfect guest star to host!
With the help of Nina West, and an inventive new Muppet-like little guy called Holiday Harold (think Herald, too, from the mind of Chip Sherman), the whole family can gather around a streaming screen and enjoy an hour of all the “normal” entertainment you’re used to. They’ve even included a dance number - Festival Gloria (graced with Nahshon Omari’s original dance accompaniment).
They’ve put together an hour’s worth of wonderful productions and patter, and this year, you don’t have to cover the kids’ eyes for even a second. The whole thing was undertaken way, way back in the late spring as they contemplated what would surely be a dark winter.
Paul Caldwell, artistic director of the Men’s and Women’s Choruses, and dozens of people, worked for many months to learn new technologies, apply new techniques for rehearsing and suddenly become able to create a professional-looking holiday concert to stream. Caldwell talked to SGN about how that worked.
“We realized we weren’t going to be able to do an in-person holiday show,” he said, “But we wanted to do something. We started with the instrumentalists recording their part alone and then it was sent around to the other musicians and they sent their parts to an audio engineer who took them all and stacked them together so they sounded like a band.”
In fact, because this is zoom-like, you get to see the musicians up-close and personal, too, which is a special treat.
Caldwell continued, “Then I sent the instrumental to select section singers and they recorded their section part - alone - and sent that back and at the end of the day, I had the instrumental and a quartet.
“Once we had the quartet, it went to the whole chorus and each person put the track on their headphones and each singer would put their phone in front of them and video themselves singing just their part. We were able to get individual recordings from 140 of our members! Of Each Song!
“Then the video guy accessed the individual videos of singers and he was sort like making a quilt out of all the swatches of singers. They’re like music videos of each song with visual wizardry!”
Along with standard choral sounds of Here We Come A-Caroling, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, Deck the Hall and Auld Lang Syne, they’ve sprinkled in some original music, too.
Largely written and production-managed and directed by the amazingly versatile Kathryn van Meter, our local songmeister Rich Gray was enlisted to create an original song, Your Recipe is Perfect to Me, for Nina to sing that goes along with the funny framework of Fruitcake.
van Meter recruited a slew of adorable children who are quizzed about their fruitcake knowledge by Harold and give some hilarious answers.
The Supertonics, their “pocket choir,” brings in the macabre with an original Eric Knechtges composition called 12 Days of Quarantine.
On the first day of Quarantine
My true love gave to me
A roll of the fancy T-P!
On the second day of quarantine
My true love gave to me
Two facial masks….
Three French wines
Four frozen pizzas
Five hours on HOLD!
On the sixth day of Quarantine
My friends all said to me
Six feet of distance!
On the seventh day of Quarantine
Netflix gave to me
Seven episodes of Tiger King
On the eighth day of Quarantine
Thanks to Uber-Eats
Ate some Chinese food…
On the ninth day of Quarantine
I managed to stress eat
Nine pints of ice cream
On the tenth day of Quarantine
Insta-Cart was free…
Ten bowls of cereal
On the eleventh day of Quarantine
My eyes began to bleed
Eleven hours on Facebook
On the twelfth day of Quarantine
The Feds gave to me
Twelve hundred dollars…

(oh, but it doesn’t end there…….)
There’s more to see and enjoy, so get comfy and get ready to be fulfilled and grateful that your holiday traditions are not entirely missing!

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