Wednesday, August 25, 2010

History of the Blanche Moyse Chorale

I've just published a history of the Blanche Moyse Chorale, titled More than Thirty Years of Glorious Sound. It is essentially a survey of every concert the Chorale has given from 1976 to the present -- when, where, what and who. Introductory articles by me and Calvin Farwell, the first president of the Chorale, provide background information and an overview. Appendices include reminiscences and tributes from Chorale members, past and present; a list of all works performed; a list of venues; and a roster of all members past and present. It's 116 pages all told.

I have been a Chorale member for 35 years. In that time, under the demanding and inspired direction of Blanche Moyse, the Chorale became one of the best amateur chorales in the country. I am not alone in feeling that singing under Blanche is one of the most important experiences of my life. We regularly sang Bach Cantatas every July in the Marlboro Music Festival, from 1977-2004, and also performed all the major choral works of Bach every fall in the New England Bach Festival. We also developed an extensive a cappella repertoire, covering five centuries, usually performed in the spring. In those 30 plus years we gave over 170 performances of the works of over 66 composers in 45 venues in six states, including two concerts in Carnegie Hall. We are still performing, now under the direction of Mary Westbrook-Geha. Blanche retired in 2005, and is over 100 years old! What a wonderful legacy!

I've finished Scopes Retried and will soon post my thoughts. It has got me thinking, that's for sure.

I'm planning a film discussion series on our addiction to oil with the Dummerston Congregational Church. We'll be looking at Robert Flaherty's Louisiana Story- a 1948 film with a whole new resonance today after the Gulf oil spill, and I hope to include also an LSU documentary Revisiting Louisiana Story which recontextualizes Flaherty's film. Flaherty, of course, was a resident of Dummerston. I never knew him, but knew his wife and daughters. Stay tuned for dates.

We're experiencing a fairly severe drought here in Dummerston. Our spring is down to dangerously low levels and we have been conserving water with fairly draconian measures -- no clothes washing, infrequent showers, flushing only with waste water from doing the dishes, etc.
Not sure what we'll do if it goes down below the intake pipe.

My granddaughter, Katie, seems to be having a good start to her college career at Southeast Missouri State Univ. She is into Theater and Music and seems very enthusiastic and excited about classes and opportunities. She auditioned for a major show, Blood Wedding, and got a call-back. We're rooting for her.

I have a new grand-niece, Maeve Grace, 8 lbs 11 oz, out in Illinois. Congrats to her parents, Rachael and Brendan Costello.

Monday I sang with the Hallowell Singers at a funeral and committal service, and I got to sing as a solo a song by Pete Seeger I had not known before: To My Old Brown Earth. It's a beautiful, simple song. You can find it on YouTube.

That's all for now.

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