My name is Craig Burley, and my wife and I have both been taking singing lessons and/or singing in choruses in the area for many years now.
We currently are members of the Heritage Chorale in Framingham, Massachusetts. Barb sings Alto; I sing Bass (Baritone).
For many years we each took lessons (often together) with two excellent voice teachers, in Newton and Natick, Massachusetts. Each of these teachers held several student recitals per year, in which we were sometimes able to participate, or at least attend. (We switched from the teacher in Newton to the one in Natick largely as a result of a change in my employment and, hence, location.)
In March 2003, I sang in my first (and, so far, only) "full" recital. That is, a recital not for a large number of voice students, each of whom sings one, two, or three pieces, but for just two singers. We each sang a number of solo works, and then joined to sing several duets.
Whether organized or "just for fun", singing has brought each of us much joy, and both of us closer together.
As the hymn says: How Can I Keep From Singing?
Some of the various singing-events in which we've participated, or which we've attended, are described below.
My recital went very well!
My wife and I sang with the Heritage Chorale in its "to every thing there is a season..." Pops-style concert. It went well! I particularly enjoyed wearing "reindeer antlers" for the Winter portion of the program, as my "contribution" to the props-wearing fun. Barbara wore a floral hat for Spring. And I got to sing with an octet that performed two pieces by P.D.Q. Bach, one of which was backed up by the entire chorus playing kazoos!
My wife and I each sang two solo selections at our voice teacher's (Judy Goff's) recital for her students. It was held at Boston Piano and Organ in Natick, Massachusetts.
Barb sang "Woe Unto Him" from Mendelssohn's "Elijah" and "I Can't Get Started With You".
I sang "Se Florinda e Fedele" by Alessandro Scarlatti and "The Vagabond" by Ralph Vaughan-Williams.
The other singers included a few "grown-ups" and several high-school students.
My wife and I attended a performance of Mendelssohn's "Elijah" by the Handel & Haydn Society at Boston's Symphony Hall.
That may well be the best performance we ever hear of that beautiful piece (which we've sung with our own chorus -- by the way, our conductor played the organ, as well as rehearsing the massed choruses, for this H&H performance).
I got some feedback from someone who attended an earlier rehearsal, as well as the same Friday concert (which was repeated Sunday), that the choruses coming together hadn't worked too well at that point, so he'd expected (and hoped) the performance to be "adequate". But he was very pleasantly surprised with the result!
Every H&H concert we've attended has been thoroughly enjoyable, including the ancient song all the way through to modern jazz performances by artists such as Chick Corea!
My wife and I attended several events during this weekend in Princeton, NJ, USA.
We stayed at Tenacre, visiting a relative, where two musical programs were given by Dr. Robert Rockabrand and his wife. One (consisting of two short sessions) was on less-sung hymns in the Christian Science Hymnal. The other (a day-long session) was on Mendelssohn's "Elijah", which my wife and I had sung with our chorus a few years ago (and which is a gorgeous piece).
If you have an opportunity to attend a lecture given by Dr. Rockabrand, take advantage of it! Especially if you consider yourself "lukewarm" about the topic he's lecturing on -- he brings not just a passion for music, but a way of explaining what he loves about it directly. (In fact, I'm listening to "Elijah" as I write this; his lecture did that good a job reminding me of how much I love it, even though Barb and I listened to it several times during our trip to Tenacre in April.)
We had scheduled the trip so we could attend these events. A friend who works at Tenacre, and who knows of our musical interests, told us about a concert being given that Saturday night by the Westminster Choir College choir. This was an awesome concert, conducted by Joseph Flummerfelt, and which included several pieces that our own chorus (in Framingham, MA) had sung over the past several years! It was great hearing them performed with such enthusiasm by such an outstanding choir, accompanist, soloist(s), and conductor!
We can definitely recommend any performance by this choir (and probably any of the other "formulations" of choruses consisting of students of this college) to anyone.
(In talking with others about this wonderful concert, a few have mentioned St. Olaf's College as also having an excellent choir!)
Copyright (C) 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 James Craig Burley
Last modified on 2007-06-10.