As I watched and listened to a Verdigris (new ensemble) sing this evening a three-year-old girl happened to sit next to me. The choral group transfixed me with their sneak preview of the “Becoming Alive” a musical narration of the Velveteen Rabbit. But, I was surprised to see that the spoken sections of the story were not nearly as intriguing to this little girl as the singing. That’s a testament to the group’s mesmerizing skill and showmanship.

If the preview is anything like the complete work I’m going to love it! In just the few snippets they sang for about an hour at Interabang Books in Dallas, there was such a unique variety of textures and styles.

Verdigris bunny

“Once you are real, you can’t become unreal again.”

My concert-attending friend, the blonde-haired girl, played with her dinosaur but when the singers beat on their chests to create a rhythm she giggled and tried beating her chest too. Then she put down the activity book they provided and watched and listened intently. So did I! But, well I’m supposed to have a longer attention span, I guess. The Renaissance style section of lined-up harmonies reminiscent of Gregorian chant reverberated, and even though some voices occasionally stuck out a bit louder than others at climaxes the overall sound was a fine and aligned blend. There is a fun moment when a baritone (or tenor?) gets away with involving the audience in a response and then  begrudgingly gives up the limelight when conductor Sam Brukhman chastises him. With rows of books in this lovely new bookstore (open for only a month!) and plenteous carpeting, the singers had their work cut out for them–no acoustic help from that absorptive environment! But they met the task and saturated the room with lovely accapella harmonies, interpretive crescendos and delicate diminuendos. This new group certainly charmed me and it was fun to see a young man the same age as my daughter up there conducting a fine ensemble with vim, vigor and voracity. They have a mission to “inspire audiences through innovative choral programming that engages more than just the ear of the listener.” I would have to say “mission accomplished” this evening.

Their actual concerts are held in churches with assuredly friendlier acoustics. You can email info@verdigrismusic.org for info about upcoming concerts or go to:  https://www.facebook.com/verdigrisensemble

Verdigris Full group

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Buzzbrews June 2017

Not tea for two

Last night I went to a local classical open mic–not the type where people show up and sing badly and no one dares to take the mic away, but one wherein there are trained opera singers, and professional instrumentalists.  This is my fifth year attending it, and this time I took a different approach to selecting my pieces. I thought about what I truly adore singing and also what seems to have the most joyful affect on the listeners. My conclusion: German Lieder would be my music of choice. So many people have said, “Your Italian is nice, and your French is good, but I love it when you sing in German. You really show emotion with each word.”

The other aspect, I’ll admit, of going to this open mic in the past has been that perhaps I’d meet someone who likes this genre of art, classical music, as much as I do, someone I might love, and may love me. Lately I’ve just been thinking I must be the only liberal opera lover in the city of Dallas. So, I pondered. “I must do something different to be happy. Tonight I’m just going to sing, sing well, maybe sketch a bit, but most importantly–turn off my soulmate-seeking radar.” And, I did!

By the time the evening was done I’d sung Mozart’s “Das Veilchen” and told the audience about the clueless violet who hopes to be picked by the maiden and held to her breast and then she stomps on the little flower and kills it. After that came a strophic piece by Schubert called “Seligkeit” which means bliss. One verse affords me the opportunity to wink at the audience (eine Blick). Finally, I ended with my favorite Schumann song, “Du bist wie eine Blume.” This is a song to say my love you are as beautiful as a flower–pure and whole. I adore the words and how the piano and voice play off of each other. And at the end I reveled in staring lovingly at no one at all whilst the pianist had his final say in the last measures.

After all my music-making was done and my chamomile tea was consumed I found that I’d also finished a 5X8 watercolor of the bar in front of me. After the painting dried, the waitress received her $1.00 tip,  I said my goodbyes and then slipped on my backpack. As I drove home listening to the John Duke song that I’ll sing this Sunday called “I carry your heart,” I thought, “I am finally carrying my own heart.” Thank you for the text e.e. cummings.

The whole night I’d done exactly what I’d wanted to do and didn’t go hunting or aim to please anyone else. I was fulfilled. Passersby, loved my painting and several people commented on my songs. I can’t lie and say that the compliments meant nothing to me but the best one was what I gave to myself, permission to please… me.

The notification of a random “like” on my 2016 June-Day blog caused me to reread my thoughts that occurred nearly a year ago. I was job searching. And just like a play within a play that was a day within a day. In that blog I rolled myself back 35 years to when I was 18 by examining an old diary entry.

Tonight I decided to see if ruminating on this day in May as a 16-year-old provides any value to the overDiary stack Read the rest of this entry »

As I sat and wrote a poem to get this feeling of loneliness out of me I kept hearing chatting and laughing in the hallway. I could’ve opened the door and said, “Would you please quiet down” but instead asked, “May I join you?”

Two large kitties stretched on the floor and three younger women sat cross-legged sipping glasses of wine. I sat down on the floor with them and read to them the poem I just wrote. They were sweet and I simply loved chatting with them. If I’d decided to call security about the noise in the hallway it could have ended with such a sour note. Instead my cats met theirs, they saw my little place with my piano, and I have learned quite a bit from this, i.e., be open to what the world offers and embrace people instead of  carefully following all the rules.

And the poem emanated from a desire to “be nice” when saying “no” to a guy asking me out and then the loneliness that crept up and caused me to cry a little:

Nonexistent guy

I wake up in the morning and think about him

I want to text him and he wants to text me back

I compliment him and mean it

he actually sincerely means his compliments to me

they aren’t generic “You’re pretty” words but

ones that show he appreciates my mind

I like the way he smells

I want to kiss him

because he knows how to kiss me

and finds that place on my neck that

drives me crazy

he doesn’t think my opera singing

sounds like a dead cat screaming

he has been outside of the United States

and knows the rest of the world exists

he won’t berate me for my liberal views

and even shares many of them

he doesn’t try to convert me to a particular

religion or tell me to not accept all humans

if I cry about something he lets me

and never tells me to suck it up

he doesn’t mind that I can be messy and

would rather hire a maid if he really needs a clean house

he can cook or go out to eat but doesn’t expect me to be

a Betty Crocker wife with pearls around my neck waiting on him

hand and foot

oh lordy those days are long gone!

if I want to paint for hours he will not keep

asking me if I’m done yet.

he wants to travel and see bits of the world within a reasonable budget

he doesn’t spend himself into debt and is realistic about

what his and my finances can manage

he doesn’t hate my two cats

he likes to be passionate

and have an active sex life, because I

am alive and well in that department

he takes care of his body and doesn’t watch tons of TV

he doesn’t ramble on about sports because I don’t

know two bits about any of that, nor do I want to

he cares about his appearance and doesn’t wear

jeans when a suit is in order

but he will wear jeans or shorts to walk on a nature trail

in fact, he wants to go for walks with me

ah, he, the proverbial he who reads books now and then

and doesn’t think that Shakespeare is a bore

I think that I have not met him yet

and I am 55 and it may not happen

I may not meet that man who is my equal and does not

wish to lead me around by a ring in my nose

I don’t know if I will ever wear a ring on my

finger again. yes, I may be bitter, but at least

I am wise enough to know that having the wrong

warm body in the bed next to me is much worse

than having no body there

the kitties lay next to my pillow

and are warm and soft

and don’t ask me to do their laundry

or wash their dishes

they never watch porn

or pound a hole in the wall when they’re angry

or call me names

or cheat on me

or ask me to give me their freedom back

they just purr

perhaps I need a man that purrs.

Painting on the trail

Pause and paint

I’m branching out and blogging more places. Here’s a link to my art and culture blog on the Fort Worth Convention and Visitor’s Bureau website:moon-caught-by-trees

6 Fun Facts About Fort Worth’s Top Museums

A few days ago I had a rather lovely déjà vu.
I had added power steering fluid to my car, wiped my hands with a napkin, and then picked up a piece of bread with butter and jelly on it to take a bite. I saw my hands were still kind of stained by the grease, but I ate the bread anyway. I was SO hungry.

I remember watching my dad lean up against the big wheel of a tractor, and eat a sandwich made with white bread that my mom had brought to him out in the field for lunch. As he ate the white bread  became gray from the field dirt on his hands–he ate it anyway because he was SO hungry.

I would say, “Dad, your bread’s dirty!”

He would answer “Ach–a little dirt never hurt no one!”

I smile now to think of my dad. It may be 24 years since he left this world, but I think of him still and miss him so.

Dad Me first birthday

Dad helps me unwrap a present on my first birthday.

What brings me back to this particular theater company? I was enjoying a nice slice of pumpkin pie and it occurred to me that I might take in a show this evening. With so much theater available in the DFW area, what’s the deal with this little company on Vickery Blvd. that keeps pulling me in like a magnet?

I guess there’s just a certain charm about Stage West Theatre …with its walls of art and casual preshow wine and dine. Wait–no, that’s not it! Hah! They simply put on a fine show–hands down good theater. I wouldn’t keep coming back to a company with fine art, food and wine unless my appetite for a well-performed drama or comedy was not consistently satiated. Tonight my theatrical appetite was well-fed.

Stage West’s presentation of David Ives’ “The Heir Apparent” was brilliant, boisterous and frankly–fun! Sure, the costumes were charming, the set well constructed and the lighting apropos, but well, the acting was silly, charming, ridiculous and highly entertaining. The cast embraced the rhyming couplets with a vengeance and spewed them out with obvious pleasure. The audience was delighted, as was I. This poetic style of writing can fall flat as a five-day-old open can of soda, but not in the hands of this talented cast and director, Krista Scott.

With excellent directing, Scott wove a complicated comedic tapestry from what the playwright, David Ives has concocted in his English adaption of this 18-century French comedy by Jean-François Regnard. It’s a wonderful blend of the old and the new. Smooth references were inserted about healthcare costs and other modern-day issues. There were also coy lines full of puns such as “Here’s to holy matri–money” and “he’s a lawyer no bigger than a loophole.” That’s some fine writing going on there.

The plot’s pretty straight forward about heirs trying to get rich from a cranky dying relative. Jim Covault as Geronte played crotchety to a tea. Lucy Given as Isabelle was a naughty nursemaid with an eye for seizing the moment. Taylor Whitworth as Lisette was gloriously gaudy in puffy pink gown that reminded me of a  snowball cupcake. Whitworth was obnoxiously sweet and fabulously fluffy with subtle facial expressions that were a saccharine success. Jesse Elgene as Eraste managed to walk the line quite well of a dedicated but certainly a deviously-motivated heir apparent. Even Madame Argante, the matronly gold digger charmed me. Judy Ketih had obvious fun playing this character.

The constant weaving about of humorous antics and silly action twists by all the characters kept viewers on their toes. I can’t say that the ending gave me any shockwaves of “Oh my God, I can’t believe it ended like that!” But who cares? I witnessed a short-in- stature, but long-on-wit lawyer shuffle around the stage, Randy Pearlman as Scruple. And I adored the shining performance of Jeff Wittekiend as Crispin who donned an additional costume to  fool the lawyer. But I shant tell too much more to be at risk of giving the story away. Do stop in and check out this farce that’s chocked full of flamboyance and tomfoolery. The show runs until December 13th.

Playing in the same theater is a holiday-themed show with a twist, “Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol” by Tom Mula and directed by Garret Storms. But you can see both. I snuck in to preview the set and take in their newer more intimate space. This set looks interesting and I’m told that Emily Scott Banks, playing multiple characters, makes energetic use of every inch of the stage. This show runs until December 20th.

For more information visit: http://stagewest.org/ or call their Reservations Line 817-784-9378 (STG-WEST) Location: 821/823 W. Vickery Blvd., Fort Worth, Texas 76104

 

Heir1340

Lucy Given as Isabelle. Jeff Wittekiend as Crispin. Jesse Elgene as Eraste. Photo by Buddy Myers

Heir0132

Madame Argante played Judy Keith. Photo by Buddy Myers