Monday, February 02, 2009

Episode 233 which religion is foisted upon the unsuspecting masses, and one attendee fires off an unappreciative letter.

Hi Mrs. *******,
I feel compelled to share with you that this year's choral performance at the District III Music Festival left me feeling nonplussed. Between the couple of songs sung in the perhaps less-than-mellifluous (simply by virtue of its judicious use of fricatives) language of Hebrew, and the Hebrew soliloquies which required translation for the uninitiated, well, it started to feel like a ceremony celebrating the Jewish faith. Is that what you had in mind? I was left thinking maybe so.

Curious choice, particularly in the nondenominational setting of a public school.

Though certainly in this neck of the woods French is a more common language, yet another song ("Amani") sung in a foreign language for an English-speaking crowd only served to further abandon the concept of accessability. Had only one song been done that way it would've stuck out as something unique, but when three out of five songs are performed in a foreign language, they take on a life as "another one that we won't be able to follow", even with those brief (and presented without context) translations between selections.

As a choral director, I'm sure you agree that music is best when words and melody combine to evoke emotion. By and large, the audience were denied that experience for much of Saturday's performance. We struggled to ascribe real meaning to the emotion that the words and music were trying to convey. Consequently, by removing this key element from our appreciation of the music, I think you may have shorted yourself in that we didn't get a chance to see your skills flourish in this area.

I'm well aware that, by expressing these thoughts, I'm subjecting myself to the prospect of being written off simply as closed-minded or intolerant, but please understand my approach is much more circumspect, and I ask you to please look at this situation as objectively as possible. If 3/5 of the songs were sung in Gaelic, I'd have the same concern.

Thank you for your time, and thank you for your effort.

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