Spoleto Festival USA: May 22, 2013

We had another Westminster Choir rehearsal in Wellbrock this morning, and continued to work our way through our concert repertoire.  We sang through Annie Laurie, again in quartets, and spent some time hitting some of the tricky parts in Daniel Elder’s piece, The Heart’s Reflection.

I shared lunch at Nick’s BBQ with Dr. Miller, Mary and Kyle.  I am trying to narrow down possible dissertation topics before beginning my doctoral studies, and we spent our lunch hour talking about them.

Later, it was off to Pearlz for happy hour, where I shared raw oysters and specialty beverages with soprano Shari Perman (one of the Giordano 5 – she is singing the role of the Contessa), tenor Justin Su’esu’e (also one of the Giordano 5, and the incoming president of the Student Government Association at Westminster), tenor Shane Thomas (first year choral conducting graduate student) and Allie Faulkner (another of the Giordano 5, singing the role of Suor Celeste.)  We were biding our time, staying near the Dock Street Theatre because we were hoping to see the final dress rehearsal of Matsukaze.  Tickets for this production are not easy to come by, and so it follows that our participant badges, which get us in to any Spoleto performance where there are empty seats, may be insufficient means for entry.  After slurping up briny, salty, delicious oysters, we decided to stop by Wet Willies for a quick slushie to round out the afternoon.

We got in to Matsukaze!  What a tremendous, astonishing piece of art this work is.  I had heard members of the Krazy 8 talk about how challenging the work is.  I thought the singing was immense and impressive, and the world that was created by the cast and the production crew was disturbingly effective.  It was not a terribly dramatic story line, though it was sad and memorable, but the slice of human experience represented was exquisite and jarring.   Here’s a link to a review of the performance.

The best possible way to follow an hour and half of atonality is obviously with karaoke.  Kyle found a place near to our lodgings, and a bunch of us reveled in some pop music until the wee hours.  If you have seen any of the Westminster Choir concerts this year, you have seen tenors Kyle and Justin sing the roof off in our finale, Ride in the Chariot by Brandon Waddles.  You may also delight in picturing these two mammoth voices honking out hits by the Righteous Brothers to a surprised crowd of fellow merry-makers.  It was as entertaining as it sounds.

Meet the chorus of Matsukaze
Will Berman, baritone
MM, Vocal Pedagogy and Performance, 2013

  • Favorite Charleston Restaurant:  Hominy Grill
  • If I were a natural element, I would be: earth because I stay grounded in who I am.
  • Favorite Spoleto memory so far: coming back into Westminster Choir rehearsal to sing the Holst after we had not sung together for so long.

Ryan Brown, baritone
BM, Music Education, 2014

  • Favorite Charleston Restaurant: Eli’s Table!
  • If I were a natural element, I would be: water, because I am fascinated with incorporating ‘flow’ psychology into the creation of music
  • Favorite Spoleto memory so far: getting pedicures with Dr. Quist or lounging on the beach with my fellow Matsukrazys!

Jeffrey Cutts, tenor
MM, Sacred Music, 2013

  • Favorite Charleston Restaurant: Hominy Grill
  • If I were a natural element, I would be: air because I always try to find ways to fly!
  • Favorite Spoleto memory so far: the copious magical instances of extraordinary music and extraordinary friendship!

Madeline Apple Healey, soprano
MM, Vocal Performance and Pedagogy, 2013

  • Favorite Charleston Restaurant: Jestine’s
  • If I were a natural element, I would be: air – I feel akin to birds.
  • Favorite Spoleto memory so far: long walks with friends.

Elizabeth Hermanson, alto
MM, Choral Conducting, 2013

  • Favorite Charleston Restaurant: Pearlz!
  • If I were a natural element, I would be: wind in den kiefern (the tree) because Matsukaze is slowly but surely overtaking my being!
  • Favorite Spoleto memory so far: watching Will laugh hysterically while receiving a pedicure

Mary Hewlett, alto
MM, Vocal Pedagogy and Performance, 2013

  • Favorite Charleston Restaurant: Kickin Chicken because I love fried chicken
  • If I were a natural element, I would be: is butter an element?
  • Favorite Spoleto memory so far: The Punch Brothers concert I went to tonight!

Anna Lenti, soprano
MM, Choral Conducting, 2013

  • Favorite Charleston Restaurant: Virginia’s (for the cheesy grits)
  • If I were a natural element, I would be: water because I’d get to hang out with my favorite animal, the otter!
  • Favorite Spoleto memory so far: the unplanned singing of the Holst Nunc Dimittis at a Westminster Choir rehearsal

Joshua Wanger, tenor
BM, Voice Performance, 2013

  • Favorite Charleston Restaurant: Husk
  • If I were a natural element, I would be: water because I am pervasive.
  • Favorite Spoleto memory so far: pedicures with the Krazy 8 and Dr. Quist

    Image

    Matsukaze chorus, left to rrght
    Front row: Mary Hewlett, Madeline Healey, Ryan Brown
    Back row: Will Berman, Elizabeth Hermanson, Anna Lenti, Joshua Wanger, Jeffrey Cutts

About Westminster Choir

Westminster Choir is composed of students at Westminster Choir College of Rider University, a center for music study in Princeton, N.J.
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