It was a treat to be interviewed last week by Sara Clarkson, who wrote about our upcoming Encore Rocks! Hinsdale summer session, which meets Wednesday evenings from 6:30-8:00pm at The Community House, for 10 weeks starting June 14th. She clearly had a great time learning about us. I got to send her this fun picture from last summer in Hinsdale, too.
What I Enjoyed in the Interview
Sara was interested in the whole picture about Encore—how we got started, what inspires our music-making, who’s drawn to our Chorales for older adults, and more. I enjoyed doing a quick recap of our growth in the Chicago area. Click on the Tribune link above to see her writeup.
What The Article Left Out
One of the things that didn’t get into the article was something Sara asked about toward the end of the interview: what was particularly rewarding for me in working with the kind of singer who sings in Encore. Her question allowed me to explain, for someone not in our choir, something that we talk about in rehearsal often: the commitment to communicate the emotion in the lyrics of a song. She was alluding to the fact that there are children’s choirs, high-school choirs, and so on, and implying that not every direct seeks out a non-auditioned group of older adults!
I told Sara that I love the part in the rehearsal process that usually starts about halfway into the session, when the notes are getting more comfortable and people are starting to internalize the music. It’s that magical time when we really start to talk about the emotions and how to deliver them to the audience. I described how much I get out of encouraging each of the singers to process the lyric through his or her own emotional history and personal landscape—and how that individual work from each singer shapes how we sing together. I told her, “When we did ‘Send in the Clowns,’ and I asked the singers to sing from their own experience of being rejected in love, they all had something to draw on… you can’t get to this age without having your heart broken at least once, and we really do draw on that in performance. High schoolers just won’t give you that depth of emotion.”
Of course, it’s a real high when we succeed at this challenge. On May 3rd, the son of one of our singers in Hyde Park attended the concert at Montgomery Place to cheer on his mom. He told me, after our performance, how that song had affected him more than any other on the program: “I confess, I got a little teary during that one.” That seemed like a high compliment, since he’s a musician too. He wasn’t the only one, either. All of our Chorales got to that point with that song this spring; it’s a testament to what we are able to accomplish in Encore. It’s also a compliment to Sondheim that his music and lyrics can get that sort of chemistry from all of us!
Here’s the link to the article again:
If you’d like to see more about the summer choir, click here: Encore Rocks! Hinsdale.