Concert Program Construction

This is also something I need to think about. We’re planning
the Walk for Hunger
program. Also, I’ve been mulling some of the comments I got
about the Loring-Greenough house program.

Last program

Apparently everyone found the first half of the
Loring-Greenough program a bit heavy and hard to take:

  • A friend who’s not a very experienced concertgoer said,
    “It’s all about dying, it’s so depressing.”
  • A very experienced performer told me that I should have made
    more comments, which would have paced it better.
  • A fairly experienced musician said, “There was an awful lot
    of stuff in minor keys.” I think this one isn’t even true, for
    instance, The silver swan is in a major key.
  • Another experienced performer said she thought there should
    have been more instrumental music on the first half. The
    original version of the program did have some, but it was part
    of what got cut to get the length right.

These might all really be the same reaction. I’m sure having
some instrumentals breaking up the vocals would have been a good
idea. Also, there were really two sections, both fairly dark.
The material flowed pretty smoothly between the section about
tears and frustration and the section about death, but maybe
having one of those sections on the second half, and some of the
stuff from the second half about dancing and singing and having
fun on the first half would have made a better balance.

Of course, it’s also possible that it came out so dark and
frustrating because we weren’t doing it well enough. Things
like Flow my tears and The silver swan
should be uplifting, not depressing, and maybe we just aren’t
quite good enough to do that.

Next program

Every year, the Cantabile Band plays for the Walk for Hunger. This
happens on the first Sunday in May at a beautiful spot on the
banks of the Charles River. This is one of the more reliable
times for good weather in this part of the world, and The Walk
for Hunger is one of the popular charities where it’s possible
to tell the people you work with that you’re doing it and get
them to contribute money. So this is our opportunity to play
for tens of thousands of people, although not many of them
stay to listen for vary long, even when the weather is warm
enough to sit and listen.

So you want fairly upbeat, walking tempo music; there’s no
chance of too long a section about death and dying. It will
be most of the same people who played the last concert (Stuart
the cellist is going to be out of town, but the rest of us are
all playing). I haven’t heard from anyone else who wants to
do it, but I’ve given people another couple of weeks to
decide.

At rehearsal yesterday we came up with one set that goes
together:

  • Weelkes, Pipe it up tabor, which is about the
    frustrations of a Morris team dance leader who has people with
    aching joints who can’t dance very well.
  • Weelkes, Come, Sirrah Jack, ho, which is about
    using tobacco to fix the aching joints.
  • Morley, Arise, get up my dear, which has morris
    dancing in it.

We might also include some real morris dances, and preface it
with the Dowland It was a time when silly bees could
speak
, where an exasperated king gets the last word about
the complaining silly bees.

Another feature of that spot is that it’s where I chose to
scatter the ashes of our group member who died last May, so we
do have to sing something for Bonnie, but I’m sure we’ll find a
cheerful thing she liked to sing in May, rather than insisting
on all the stuff that helped us while she was dying.

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