On June 5, I will be hosting a showcase featuring 12 of my current students performing primarily ensembles from musical theater, opera, and nu-folk.
The performance will be at Trinity Episcopal Church in Towson at 3pm and is free to the public.
I have done a few studio programs since I’ve been back in Baltimore which included some ensemble pieces, but not to this extent. This format goes back to the kind of programs I started doing in 2002 in Milwaukee and did annually (except 2012, when the planned performance date conflicted with the Tommy Awards, in which I had multiple students involved) until I left in 2013. I talked about why I first started this format in a blogpost in 2009 called Scratching the Directing Itch.
Most of the years were wildly successful, if I do say so myself. Even the years that weren’t great (2007, I’m looking at you), had great moments, which I have to keep reminding myself of.
Here is an overview of some of the years and pieces that stand out to me:
- 2003: “He will gather us around,” Dead Man Walking, Heggie
- 2004: “Unlikely lovers,” Falsettoland, Finn; “Black Swan,” The Medium, Menotti; “Stepsister’s duet,” La Cenerentola, Rossini; “Letter #4,” Passion, Sondheim;”Mama, I’m a big girl now,” Hairspray, Shaiman
- 2005: “The music still plays on,” A New Brain, Finn; “New Music,” Ragtime, Ahrens & Flaherty; “Everyone hates his parents.” Falsettoland, Finn; “O happy we,” Candide, Bernstein
- 2006: “How Glory Goes,” Floyd Collins, Guettel:; “Sailing,” A New Brain, Finn; “Always look on the bright side of life,” Spamalot, Idle; “Sull’aria,” The Marriage of Figaro, Mozart; “Amor,” Bolcom; “Ballad of Guiteau,” Assassins, Sondheim
- 2007: “Tripping hither, tripping thither,” Iolanthe, G&S; “Papageno/Papagena,” The Magic Flute, Mozart; Trio, Die Fledermaus, Strauss
- 2008: “Best of all possible worlds,” Candide, Bernstein; “Kiss me/Ladies in their sensitivities,” Sweeney Todd, Sondheim; “Salve regina,” Dialogue of the Carmelites, Poulenc; “Ballad of Sweeney Todd,” Sweeney Todd, Sondheim; “Ain’t it a pretty night,” Susannah, Floyd; “Song to the moon,” Rusalka, Dvorak; “Not getting married today,” Company, Sondheim; “I feel so much spring,” A New Brain, Finn; “Graduation,” Die Fledermaus, Strauss [Champagne song with graduation lyrics]
- 2009: “Stars and the moon,” Songs for a New World, JRB; “Count your blessings instead of sheep,” White Christmas, Berlin; “Look for me in the songs,” Carnelia; “Grateful,” Bucchione
- 2010: “If we only have love medley,” arr. O’Meally; Then you may take me to the fair, Camelot, Lerner & Loewe; “Climbing over rocky mountains,” Pirates of Penzance, G&S; “Ohio,” Wonderful Town, Bernstein; “Quintet,” The Ballad of Baby Doe, Moore; “Romeo & Juliet,” Reefer Madness, Studney; “Steal me, sweet thief,” The Old Maid and the Thief, Menotti; “How I saved Roosevelt,” Assassins, Sondheim; “Children of Eden,” Children of Eden, Schwartz
- 2011: “Superboy and the Invisible Girl,” Next to Normal, Kitt; “The more you love someone,” Avenue Q, Lopez; “The fire within me,” Little Women, Howland; “Some things are meant to be,” Little Women, Howland; “The song that goes like this,” Spamalot, Idle; “You could drive a person crazy,” Company, Sondheim; “On the streets of Dublin,” A Man of No Importance, Ahrens & Flaherty
- 2013 (this was a best of and featured music we’d done before): “Elegance,” Hello Dolly, Herman; “Moon in my window,” Do I hear a waltz?, Rodgers; “I wanna be a producer,” The Producers, Brooks; “Never mind the why and wherefore,” HMS Pinafore, G&S; “Our children,” Ragtime, Ahrens & Flaherty; “Opening scene,” Amahl & the Night Visitors, Menotti; “Forget about the boy,” Thoroughly Modern Millie, Tesori; “Twenty lovesick maidens we,” Patience, G&S; “In his eyes,” Jekyll & Hyde, Wildhorn; “Girl in 14G,” Tesori; “Unworthy of your love,” Assassins, Sondheim; “Will you medley,” arr. O’Meally; “Dear one,” Kiss of the Spider Woman, Kander & Ebb; “Make our garden grow,” Candide, Bernstein
The songs that are bolded will be performed again on the upcoming program; there are a couple of others that are repeats as well (Matchmaker, The I Love You Song). There are only 17 songs in this program, and our forces are roughly 1/3 of what I had on some of the showcases (I streamlined them over the years to only feature high school kids to keep the numbers – and length – more manageable). The 2013 showcase had 30 performers on it.
But for the most part, we’re doing a lot of new material, including a song by Irish nu-folk singer/songwriter Emma Langford, who was one of the artists in last year’s World Voice Weekend. The showcase will open with her song, “Birdsong,” sung by an a cappella ensemble – I transcribed the parts from this recording:
This song is a salute to the women of the Mise Fosta movement in Ireland.
(I’ll be talking more about Emma in a few weeks, because I will be hosting her in a house party in August! More details to come!)
The closing medley, and title of the showcase, comes from a variety of sources – “If we only have love,” by Jacques Brel, from Jacques Brel is alive and well and living in Paris, “When you believe,” by Stephen Schwartz from Prince of Egypt, and Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” I arranged these songs for the 2010 recital, and re-arranged them for this program. There are reasons why I put these together in the first place, but the reason we’re doing them now is because there is so much turmoil in the world that I think they express a call for hope, belief, and love.
We’ll start from a place of strength with Emma’s song and close in a place of hope. I think it’ll be fantastic.
If you’re in the area, I hope you can make it!