The Cicada: Nature’s Krumhorn

A cicada playing a soprano krumhorn

This past Sunday, we held the 2nd annual outdoor studio recital in my backyard, called “For the First Time in Forever” (since it was the first time in forever that we got to sing in front of people – thanks to Nichole Feltner for the suggestion and for opening the program with that song.

It was a lovely event,  and everyone sang well, the program was entertaining, and people were supportive of each other.  However, we had a few uninvited special guests join the program. Actually, we had thousands of special guests.


I did not take these into account when I planned the recital. I had set a rain date for next Sunday, just in case. But it’s been 34 years since I dealt with cicadas (I missed the 2004 invasion because I was living in Wisconsin). They didn’t seem as bad this time, although I did recognize that they were getting louder over the past week.

This is a recording I made while walking home from Hampden on Friday:

(I wasn’t just talking to myself, this was an audio I sent to my husband.)

I notice that they all seem to be tuned to F. The other day I had toads in my pond, and they were tuning to A, so I had a nice major third going on in my yard.

And they didn’t seem to be as loud on Sunday, or maybe I was just USED to them, so I didn’t think it’d be a factor. Plus everyone was going to be using a mic, so I figured we’d be fine.

It wasn’t until I got the first video that I realized how… present… they actually were. It was like a drone. And then I realized that what I should’ve done was embraced the cicada sound and programmed around it. After all, aren’t cicadas basically nature’s version of krumhorns?

So, mark your calendars. In June, 2038, the outdoor studio recital will feature music that allows the cicada to shine. Everything will be in keys that complement the cicada, rather than compete with it. The repertoire will be chosen carefully to enhance its drone-like qualities.

Or maybe we’ll just go inside.


Three weeks till What To Know/What I Wish I’d Known About College Auditions! Reserve your spot here.
Can’t be there on June 30? That’s okay. The replay will be available through August 31 for all registrants. Registration is only $25.

Published by Mezzoid Voice Studio

Christine Thomas-O'Meally, a mezzo soprano and voice teacher currently based in the Baltimore-DC area, has performed everything from the motets of J.S. Bach to the melodies of Irving Berlin to the minimalism of Philip Glass. As an opera singer and actress, she has appeared with companies such as Charm City Players, Spotlighters Theatre, Chicago Opera Theater, Opera Theater of Northern Virginia, Opera North, the Washington Savoyards, In Tandem Theatre, Windfall Theater, The Young Victorian Theater of Baltimore, and Skylight Opera Theatre. She created the role of The Woman in Red in Dominick Argento’s Dream of Valentino in its world premiere with the Washington Opera and Mary Pickersgill in O'er the Ramparts at its world premiere during the Bicentennial of Battle of Baltimore at the Community College of Baltimore County. Other roles include Mrs. Paroo in Music Man, Mother Abbess in Sound of Music, Dorabella in Cosi Fan Tutte, Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro, both Hansel and the Witch in Hansel & Gretel, and many roles in Gilbert & Sullivan operettas. Her performance as the Housekeeper in Man of La Mancha was honored with a WATCH award nomination. Ms. Thomas-O'Meally received an M.M. in vocal performance from the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. She regularly attends master classes and workshops in both performance and vocal pedagogy, and is certified in all three Levels of Somatic Voicework™ The LoVetri Method. Her students have performed on national and international tours of Broadway productions, at prestigious conservatories, and in regional theater throughout the country.

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