Monday, August 7, 2017

Proud Mama Bragging

OK, all you theater folks, be glued to your computer screen at 5 p.m. PDT tomorrow (Monday) night (8 p.m. Boston time).  Go to this web site. and watch a live broadcast of Jeri's summer high school students doing selections from Chicago.  It is part of Berklee College of Music's annual "Five Week Vocal Night," which Jeri has been helping to organize and conduct for the past 10 or so ears.  The streaming video is generally excellent.  This year Jeri's group is performing first, so there is not even any guesswork about when to tune in.

To add a bit of suspense to the evening, see if Jeri is conducting with a short baton or a long baton.  She broke her baton two days ago and is trying to find a place in Boston where she can get another (everyone tells her where to order one on line!).  Jeri says "It's supposed to be a 24 minute show, and you should get a glimpse or two of me."

My daughter is not only a musician, she is also a poet.  Two years ago, I gathered several of her famous "bikus" (haikus she writes in her head, to relieve the frustration, while biking round Boston and then posts on Facebook) and had them put into a book for her.

Today she outdid herself with a multi stanza baiku:

baiku, long form:
You gunned your motor,
Leaned on your horn, and sped past
Flipping me the bird

I yelled in panic.
I used some profanity.
I'm not proud of that.
I'm Polite Cyclist.
But the shock made me vulgar.
So what's your excuse?

The road's to be shared.
We all must work together.
Why so much anger?

We had a nice chat this afternoon.  She tries to call on Sundays, either me or Walt (she just beat Walt, who was about to call her.  Phil was barbequing heir dinner so she had some time to chat.  It sounded like except for the fresh tuna steak he was putting on a tuna shish-kebob, most of what he was cooking came from their garden.

In addition to filling me in on all the information about tomorrow's concert, she was telling me how much this concert means to the young musicians.  One went out and rented a tuba because he didn't have one and his part called for one.  Another guitarist learned how to play the banjo because he would need to do this in the show, and a brass player from Japan, who had no mutes for her instrument, contacted her mother in Japan and asked to have them sent to her.  Jeri was very proud of how seriously these kids are taking this concert and how they are going the extra mile to be sure it is perfect.

It reminds me of the awe Walt and I have always had for Acme Theater Company here in Davis.  The company is now in its 30-something year.  Jeri and Paul were founding members and performed for several years.

But the kids give up their summer every year to rehearse and perform the classics -- usually Shakespeare, but this year it was The Odyssey, a show the director assured me is very difficult, yet I felt it was one of their better productions and the youngest kid in the cast, a 14 year old who is new to the company this year, gave one of the best performances.

Theater/music kids are very special people.

The show we went to see on Saturday night was definitely not in the "classics" category.

It's called The Robber Bridegroom and is considered a "bluegrass fantasy" based on a 1942 Eudora Welty book.  It's about a guy who is a good guy by day and a bad guy at night--Robin Hood in the reverse, since his misdeeds are solely to benefit himself.  The cast includes brothers, one of whom is a disembodied head pushed around the stage by his brother. I never did figure out why, or what their importance to the so-called "story" was.

It's such a strange show I was amazed to discover that when it opened off Broadway, the leads were played by Kevin Kline and Patti Lupone.  It must have been a better show than Walt and I felt this one was!  But it was fun, nonetheless, with all that bluegrass kickin' music.  And the talent was excellent, which was its saving grace.

Quite different from My Fair Lady, which we had seen the night before!

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