This morning, I took off on my own for a little while, grabbed lunch, and walked to Marion Square. There was an art fair and farmer’s market happening, and it was refreshing to be alone in the midst of such a joyous crowd. There was a marching band and lots of art to see, of course food (I had some freshly made crepes with Nutella and bananas – yum!) I found a shady spot under a tree near one of the sound stages and read a few chapters in The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle.
This book was first recommended to me by Dr. Dirk Garner, director of choral studies at Baldwin Wallace University and a conducting fellow of the Westminster Chamber Choir. We first became acquainted in the summer of 2011, when we sang the Duruflé Requiem together in this ensemble, and where he gave a compelling presentation combining ideas about flow [as expounded by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi] and what talent really is. I had been saving The Talent Code as reward reading for after Commencement, though I regret not having read it immediately upon learning about it.
After a while, I wandered to the fountain in Marion Square and listened for a few minutes to a saxophone player, improvising on old jazz standards with a tone smooth and rich as velvet. I met up with a bunch of choir folks at the TD Arena to see Company Käfig perform Correria/Agwa (Running/ Water). The troupe’s founder and choreographer Mourad Merzouki encountered the young dancers, mostly from the favelas in Rio de Janeiro, for whom dance was a vehicle for expression and for survival. The show blends elements of hip-hop, capoeira, bossa nova, and samba, and it follows theme of water and running throughout is artful and novel ways.
This was also the opening night of Mese Mariano and Le Villi. The house was completely sold out, and there was a massive amount of energy running through the entire cast and crew. Most of the chorus from Matsukaze came to support us and experience the production for themselves. They were alternatively impressed and terrified, just as we had hoped. We have six more shows, and six more opportunities to get better and better. You can read a review of the opening performance here.
After the opening, it was time to celebrate. A good majority of the Westminster Choir headed to Pantheon for an evening of dancing and merriment. We met up with some of the member of Company XY, the troupe performing Le Grand C (more on this show in the next post). We had fun until late, and we were even joined for a short time by Dr. Amanda Quist and Dr. Ryan Brandau. These two arrived just after the opening night gala, said their hellos, danced for a brief moment, and were gone in a flash. Many members of the choir had asked them to please come for a little while, and we were so delighted that they did.