Monday, August 31, 2009

Gayest Thing, Ever...

OK, there are a lot of competitors for the winners of this post's title:

Just too many others to list.

But, this is one of my first memories of such utter, fabulous gayness that I feel I must share it with you now...

Once again, for Music Monday, we return to Queen, and the inimitable, late Freddie Mercury:
For something equally sensational and marvelous, please watch this video of Freddie performing with the magnificent Monserrat Caballe at the Barcelona Olympics. I nearly peed myself when I was watching the coverage of the games (I was 20)...later I owned this CD.

Now that I think about it, this video/song may win: (Freddie Mercury + Monserrat Caballe) x Summer Olympics Theme Song = Way Gay.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Song of Unquenchable Desire

New Orleans (and the rest of southeast Louisiana) has always tolerated life with a sense of an acceptable level of tragedy, knowing that each year, some hamlet would flood or a shrimp boat would sink or 500 more residents would be murdered or several more politicians would be indicted but seldom convicted or that someone's favorite restaurant would close or that the school board would find new ways to deny our students the education they deserve or another legendary musician would pass on to the next Big Gig.

All of those, individually and sometimes collectively, were always all bearable...and often were the very things that allowed us to see all the other extraordinarily beautiful treasures around us, even if it was the simple, earnest hello from another local as you passed them on the street. It took me far too long to get over my initial reaction to that--you would never greet someone so idly, so carelessly - especially a stranger - in my former life in New England, without first counting the cost or benefit. For the longest time, I was sure that people were "smiling in my face, but peeing in my cocktail."

I could not have been more wrong.

It is exactly that predisposition of locals (and those who eventually become locals) to engage the rest of the world, to invite y'all to nothing more than a passing pleasantry and make the day the slightest bit better for it.

It is qualities like this, and the desire to take care of each other and every single person who ever sets foot in our fair city, that reassure me that there will always be a kind of Mardi Gras every year, even though it will almost but not quite entirely seem like something I remember...and that the word "debris" will take on other layers of meaning, but will eventually once again become associated with blissfully messy, gut-churning po'boys...that I will marvel at how azure blue the sky is over all the rooftops and think how very lucky I am that the city picked me to live there.

To be sure, for now there is great disquiet in New Orleans, but there is also great it really any coincidence that the word "Desire" can mean so many different things to so many people on one day, and the all the same thing the next?

One day, the desire will give over to pride - that we did it ourselves. We were here, putting it all back together, rebuilding homes and lives, making new ways, shoring up old ones, making festivals happen, loving our friends...and living.

Truly living.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

One on the List

I've sung many funerals and memorial services. Families choose the music, mostly...and for the most part, it's favorite hymns and the like.

A good friend of mine is a glorious soprano with whom I've sung for nearly 18 years. She wants a particular Vivaldi choral work at her funeral...there are only parts for tenors, basses and altos...with the soprano line symbolically silent.

On the rare occasion, we've been able to front a small choir for services for close friends. Those are tough to sing.

For many years, I've known what music I want at my service. It has changed little over the years.

And while there will be some live music, there will have to be a couple recordings. I cannot ask my friends or anyone involved in making the service happen arrange for what I want as the finale.

This is not the best video, but you'll get the gist. I have the clean audio copy that I want played, as conducted by The Maestro himself.

It still gives me chills...and it's truly the sentiment I want people to leave my funeral with, on their way to the fabulous party that going to go on afterward. Make Our Garden Grow, the finale from Bernstein's Candide.

So, here's June Anderson and the late Jerry Hadley...and Leonard Bernstein.


Monday, August 10, 2009

Promise of Living

I went to DCI Championships this past weekend.


The corps that did the most phenomenal, artistically powerful and subtle show did not win, but placed 2nd. They opened with a stunning arrangement of Aaron Copeland's The Promise of Living from The Tenderland.

When a video of their performance worth posting is available, I will put it up. Until then, here's is a lovely setting of The Promise of Living.

I was in tears after just their opener...and the show continued to get more spectacular. Kids, you are just amazaing and should be so proud of your performance this year.

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