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Kathryn Below are the 7 most recent journal entries recorded in the "Kathryn" journal:
February 8th, 2012
09:39 am

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Languages Redux
I keep updating this list becauseI keep adding languages to it. This is all the languages I've sung in. This iteration adds Ojibwe and takes the asterisk off of Zulu, as I have now done a piece where I actually had a straight up zulu *verse*. Including a word with a click in it.

Adunaic
Black Speech
Czech
Dutch
English, Middle
English, Modern
French
German, Low Medieval
German, Modern
Gibberish
Hebrew
Italian
Japanese
Latin
Magyar
Norwegian
Ojibwe
Polish
Quenya
Russian
Sanskrit
Sindarin
Spanish
Urdu
Welsh
Yiddish
Zulu

I need K, T, V, and X. Who wants to write an opera in Xhosa for me?

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October 2nd, 2009
11:58 am

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Languages I've Sung In: Now With More Languages
I posted this exactly four years and a day ago. But now there are more languages on the list! And I had to take one off because I realized that while I sang a piece with Khuzdul in it, I didn't actually sing any of the Khuzdul.

Adunaic
Black Speech
Czech
Dutch
English, Middle
English, Modern
French
German, Low Medieval
German, Modern
Gibberish
Hebrew
Italian
Japanese
Latin
Magyar
Norwegian
Polish
Quenya
Russian
Sanskrit
Sindarin
Spanish
Urdu
Welsh
Yiddish
Zulu *

All I need is K, M, O, T, and V. ETA D'OH! Thanks Mimi! And X! ETA2: But thanks to Susannah, I can take M off the list because Hungarian is also Magyar, even in English.




* Only a single phrase, for a hymn in church, repeated over and over again. Included anyway because, damn, Zulu? When else am I going to get Z?

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January 14th, 2009
09:48 am

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They should have paid us double
Ha ha! Is joke, you get it? Because Chorale is volunteer.

Last night we recorded Beethoven 9 for release, which was awesome. Actually there was a moment when I was scrambling to get child care so I could make my 6:15 call without having to pull Erik out of work at, like, three, and I was trying to explain to someone what was going on and I said "I have a recording session with the Symphony downtown and I have to be there at 6:15 so we can check levels" and I realized, wait a minute, did those words just come out of my mouth? That's pretty cool, that this is actually my life. I have these moments occasionally, moments where I realize that yes, it's being a member of the chorus, and not getting paid, and wearing a god-awful polyester dress and having to squeeze in on stage and having people constantly make the "musicans vs. singers" assumption -- but on the other hand, it's getting to perform with a major symphony orchestra to thousands of people, getting to sing enduring classics as well as world premieres, and just generally being an (admittedly small) part of a really awesome arts organization. But I digress.

ANYWAY, we got downtown, and we checked our levels, and we set about recording this thing, and oh my god it was so brutal. Instead of just performing, we ran it in bits and pieces, doing each bit until we got it right (as established by the choral conductor and the associate conductor upstairs in the recording booth), sometimes five or six times. We didn't have the soloists with us, so that was actually kind of hard in and of itself -- we key off of them a lot, and it's a lot harder to come in with a boisterous, energetic sound off of nothing than it is to take the hand-off from someone else.

But honestly it was just so tiring. B9 contains some of the most exhausting and taxing singing I've ever done, but in situ, it at least is broken up by instrumental interludes and other bits of singing that is exhausting and taxing in different ways. But no, when you run these same four pages over and over and over, getting more tired each time, with the conductor hoping to hear a BETTER result each time. . . let's just say that I was very glad when Joe got on the horn and told Jerry "We're not going to get better at this from this point out, they've given it all they have." Plus we couldn't sit in between takes (because noisy) and we had to be even more aggressively silent than is usual on stage, and we had to project to an audience that wasn't there.

Oh, and the AUDIENCE wasn't there. There was no woman with her face shining with tears, no couple in the first booth holding hands and grinning, no little kid squirming and clapping along. And at the end, there was no great roar of appreciation, no ovations, no applause, just Jerry saying "OK, we got it, the Chorale can take off." It was utterly draining and exhausting, and when Emma came up to me and said "I feel like I've been in a hammer fight," I could only concur. I came home and ate ravenously, and went to bed and slept fitfully, and woke up with a crashing headache, and now I fear it may take me all day to recover.

Totally worth it, though.

Current Mood: tired but proud
Current Music: let's take it again from 873
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January 3rd, 2009
11:05 am

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Best audience member ever
I sing in the Seattle Symphony Chorale, along with emmacrew (and a hundred and eighteen other people), right? So for New Year's, as is our wont, we're doing Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, which you know even if you don't think you do. B9 is literally a work of staggering genius; you could argue that it is one of the finest works in Western Classical music. Every movement is amazing, which is, ah, not always the case. We get to sit on stage for the better part of an hour while the first three movements play, and I am always happy to be there. (This is also not always the case. :-) )

In Benaroya Hall, at the front of the hall, the seats abruptly get extremely cheap. I think the first two rows are something like $12-$15 each, as opposed to $68-80 for the fourth row on back. This is because, well, you're about at eye level with Jerry's feet -- it's listed as a "partial view" on the website. I don't know if the sound is affected, but I do know that there are acoustically no truly bad seats in the hall, so it's gotta be at least a little bit OK.

I'm in the front row, because I am Short, and also because I am currently gimpy -- I sprained my ankle VERY badly on the day after Christmas, and while it is healing as fast as it really can, it still has a ways to go. I'm in my hiking boots and a big ugly ankle brace for this concert series; fortunately my dress is long! But anyway -- I'm in the front row, behind the orchestra, so my view of the audience is somewhat limited by being down on the floor. But because of the way the winds and the cellos and the soprano soloist were all lined up, I actually had a clear view along bare stage to one woman sitting in the second row. Because she was so close to the stage, her face was lit by the stage lights and I could see every subtlety of her facial expressions.

As soon as the downbeat began for the Allegro, you could tell she was really, really into this piece. She grinned when the music got sprightly and lively, she swayed back and forth during the adagio, she sighed happily at a particularly effective cadence. For the entire first hour I was sitting on the stage, I watched this woman listen to the Symphony, and it kept me engaged in the music in a way that I don't always pull off.

But in the fourth movement. . . as soon as the orchestra introduced the Ode to Joy theme, she closed her eyes. As soon as the baritone soloist began to sing, she began to smile beatifically. Her face got more and more joyful, and when we came in on our Big Entrance -- a huge fortissimo statement of the theme that is literally telegraphed with a tympani roll -- tears began to leak slowly from beneath her closed eyelids. For the entire fourth movement, she sat in her seat, arms wrapped around herself, the stage lights shining softly on her face, smiling and weeping, and occasionally taking deep shuddering breaths. When we finished it off -- the ending of B9 is a real corker even by Beethoven's standards -- she leaped to her feet with the rest of the roaring audience and applauded wildly, shouting and crying with huge great gulping cathartic sobs.

It was a particularly tight performance for us, really solid and really good, but this woman made the performance into so much more for me. I waited backstage until almost everyone was gone in the hopes that she would come back, but she didn't. Because of the angling of the stage and the sight-lines, I doubt that anyone else on stage could see her except me; I was almost like a voyeur, peeping into her ecstatic pleasure, except that she was the one in the shadows.

I feel so privileged to have watched her have this experience. When this series is over, I will have performed this piece for ten thousand people, but if she had been the only one, it would have been worth it and more.

Current Mood: gratefulgrateful
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August 6th, 2008
08:37 pm

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Symphony of a Thousand
OK, I don't pimp the Symphony as much as I probably ought to, but more you all probably wish I would. But this September, we are doing a work that's really quite incredible; for the tenth anniversary of the hall, we're doing Mahler's Eighth Symphony. Nicknamed the Symphony of a Thousand, it's rarely performed, partly because the resources involved are staggering. It was indeed premiered with a thousand people on stage, but our orchestration is more likely to put roughly half that number up. The symphony was described by our conductor as "the opera Mahler never wrote," and he's not kidding; it calls for two entire mixed choirs, each massive, divided into 8 or 10 parts at times, a boychoir, EIGHT soloists, and just a vast orchestra, even by Mahler's standards. We're actually building out the stage at Benaroya to hold the colossal body of performers.

We've just started rehearsals, and oh my gosh this piece is gorgeous. The huge, weighty orchestration gives Mahler the opportunity for beautifully lush, layered texturing. There are a few moments that sound cliche to modern ears, like a Disney movie; everyone else may have stolen them and done them to death, but Mahler did it first. It's also hard as hell, which I'm sure is yet another reason why it's not performed so often.

Tickets go on sale on 8.9.08. I suspect, sadly, that they will be spendy. But if you like big awesome Romantic classical music -- if you like the Star Wars soundtrack, the Lord of the Rings soundtrack, anything like that -- then you owe it to yourself to see if you can find the resources to come see this. It's stupendous, and you're not likely to get a ton of other chances.

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February 22nd, 2008
08:41 am

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General Update
Wow, Lillian is totally walking now. She started walking about a week and a half ago, and I've just been too busy chasing her to update. She still falls down all the time, but she makes pretty good time. Now I need to get her shoes with treads on them. *snif* my little baby, growin up.

She also has a TERRIBLE cough right now, for like the fourth time this winter, complete with fever and retracting, so we have a doctor's appointment this afternoon, which is super annoying because I'm still trying to go to the Garden Show with solarbird. Everyone assures me that it's just fine for little kids who play with other kids all the time to get sick this often, but I feel so bad for her.

In other time-consuming news, we're performing the B-Minor Mass with the Symphony. Now, the last time the Chorale performed this s work, we had 18 rehearsals for it. This time, we have 11 rehearsals, and one of them got snowed out. So we're kind of in the weeds with this. Monday's rehearsal was like masturbating with a belt sander -- "Ow! This is supposed to be fun! I do this for fun! Why does it hurt so much?!" There's just a lot of notes, and a lot of parts -- it's 5 part chorus for most of it, and 6 and 8 part sometimes -- and it's long, like 2.5 hours long.

In addition, we had the brilliant (seriously) idea to split all the women equally into 3 parts for the SSATB stuff, which is good because then we don't have to maintain a huge-ass soprano section for the rest of the season. The problem with this is that the soprano II part is really almost as high if not just as high as the soprano I part, and the alto part is quite low, so for those of us who are floating, the range of the piece covers 2 octaves plus a third. I've forgotten how to transition well into my head voice for choral singing, though I'm remembering, and as a result the rehearsals are very vocally fatiguing for me. I need to practice more, but the only solid focus time I get is when Lillian is asleep, and it's hard for me to sing full-voice without waking her up. What I need to do is knuckle down and practice more when Erik is home, but I value my time with him so much.

I took 2 days off to go to the Madrona Fiber Arts festival and take a two-day class with Nancy Bush and Judith Mackenzie McCuin on gloves, mittens, and other handcoverings -- the history, construction, and spinning of yarn for them. To say that it was a fun class is a complete understatement. I had a hell of a time, I learned an absolute ton, and I am now fired up beyond belief to knit enough gloves to keep everyone I know's hands warm.

I think that's the news from Lake Burning Hand right now. I'll let y'all know if I think of anything else.

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November 13th, 2007
10:08 am

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yesterday is fired.
Lillian is still sick. I caught her cold, and I was sick. I had one of tWO rehearsals for B9, and we were getting new music, so I HAD to go to chorus rehearsal. Just as I was getting Lily down for her afternoon nap so that I could shower and eat before Erik got home, he called -- his bike light was burned out and he needed me to come get him. Great. Pile into the car with unhappy babe, I'm filthy, still in bedroom slippers. Go get Erik. Get bike loaded on top of the car, despite Erik's fucked up wrist and the cold. Drive into town. Look around for dinner, settle on getting something from the Metropolitan Market. Drive into their OPEN AIR PARKING and

CLANNNNNGGGGGGG THUNK

They have a totally unnecessary architectural gate, with a totally unnecessary steel plate hanging down from it by two and a half feet, and this has struck Erik's bike and knocked it over. Now it's dangling over the side of the car and I am in the middle of the parking lot and Erik has to scram and hold the bike up to keep it from damaging itself further -- this is his $2500 custom bike -- and he's left his passenger door open, and there are people coming and going out, and this is on Queen Anne, and everyone is very annoyed but NOBODY IS FUCKING OFFERING TO HELP. And so Erik is taking down his suddenly non-Euclidean bike, with one hand, in the freezing cold, as people are coming ohsoveryclose to hitting him with their fucking great cars, and he has to get it into the trunk, and then I STILL have to get dinner -- which I did -- and then Erik took me to rehearsal, which was really good, because we got new music and I would have been up shit creek without a paddle had I not been there

and then halfway through rehearsal I started running a fever and I had to have erik load Lily BACK up into the car and come get me.

FUCKING YESTERDAY. FIRED.

the ONLY good thing is that at no point did Erik and I start screaming at each other.

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