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NED ROREM TELLS ALL!!!

Posted by on Apr 9, 2018 in Blog, Concerts, Lenny & Friends | 0 comments

NED ROREM TELLS ALL!!!

NED ROREM TELLS ALL!!! (Sixth in a series.) By Denis Whitaker  “I conceive all music…vocally. Whatever my music is written for— tuba, tambourine, tubular bells— it is always the singer within me crying to get out.”   “Arguably no artist grows up: if he sheds the perceptions of childhood he ceases being an artist.” — Ned Rorem “If you want to know how much I love Lenny, listen to my songs.” —Ned Rorem, speaking about his friend on Medal Day at the MacDowell Colony, 1987. Larissa MacFarqujar interviewed Ned Rorem for The...

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The Protégé—Stephen Sondheim

Posted by on Apr 5, 2018 in Bernstein, Blog, Lenny & Friends | 0 comments

The Protégé—Stephen Sondheim

The Protégé—Stephen Sondheim (Fifth in a series.) By Denis Whitaker “Steve is the most important force in the American musical theater. He combines wit and intelligence in a very special way, and he’s willing to take chances.” Leonard Bernstein  “Maybe you could show me how to let go, lower my guard, learn to be free. Maybe if you whistle, whistle for me.” From “Anyone Can Whistle,” reported to be Mr. Sondheim’s favorite of his songs. As I write this, Stephen Sondheim has just celebrated his 88th birthday. By now every acolyte knows the story...

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An Interview with William Sauerland on Lenny & Friends

Posted by on Mar 28, 2018 in Artistic Director, Bernstein, Blog, Concerts | 0 comments

An Interview with William Sauerland on Lenny & Friends

The Artistic Director of the Oakland East Bay Gay Men’s Chorus, William Sauerland (known to the chorus as Billy), easily expresses his passion for the music of the 2018 spring concert, Lenny & Friends:  A Centennial Celebration of Leonard Bernstein. His emotional connection to the music on the program stems from early childhood when he immersed himself in the music of the stage—both musical theatre and opera. One of the first shows he remembers listening to was West Side Story. As a child, he knew it was escapism; it was not until he was...

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Lenny on Broadway

Posted by on Mar 17, 2018 in Bernstein, Blog, Concerts | 0 comments

Lenny on Broadway

Lenny on Broadway (Fourth in a series.) By Denis Whitaker “The song ‘Some Other Time’ is full of emotion. In wartime, it had a tremendously poignant feeling.” —Betty Comden “To achieve great things two things are needed: a plan, and not quite enough time.” —Leonard Bernstein Lenny was 19 when he met Adolph Green in the summer of 1937. Lenny had just finished his sophomore year at Harvard, and was working as a music counselor at a camp in the Catskills. Adolph, a self-described “aimless bum” at the age of 22, was hired on to guest...

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The Patron Saint—Edward MacDowell

Posted by on Mar 10, 2018 in Bernstein, Blog, Lenny & Friends | 0 comments

The Patron Saint—Edward MacDowell

Link to the second article in the Lenny Bernstein series. The Patron Saint—Edward MacDowell (Third in a series.) By Denis Whitaker “If my music has been connected in people’s minds with America, if people find some reflection of the American spirit in my music, then certainly the Colony must have some of the credit.” —Aaron Copland, in his acceptance speech on Medal Day at the MacDowell Colony, 1961. “So,” you ask, “‘Lenny & Friends,’ right?” That’s right… “So, how’s a guy that died, what, 10 years before Lenny was even...

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The Mentor—Aaron Copland

Posted by on Mar 2, 2018 in Bernstein, Blog | 0 comments

The Mentor—Aaron Copland

Link to the first article in the Lenny Bernstein series. The Mentor—Aaron Copland (Second in a series.) By Denis Whitaker “You compose because you want to somehow summarize in some permanent form your most basic feelings about being alive, to set down… some sort of permanent statement about the way it feels to live now, today.” “If a literary man puts together two words about music one of them will be wrong.” “’Is there a meaning to music?’ My answer would be, ‘Yes.’ And ‘Can you state in so many words what...

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New Member Story | Adrian Ray Avalani

Posted by on Feb 18, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

New Member Story | Adrian Ray Avalani

I find that joining a chorus is often, quite literally, like joining a family. From what I’ve seen – though second- and third-hand – of married life, it starts out a little awkward at first, being around strangers about whom you know nothing besides your mutual love for a single someone. But gradually meetups become less awkward, and your conversation topics shift from the person you have in common to topics any two friends might discuss. Like mutual interests, the recent sports game, or whether any of your family members are cute and single....

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Bernstein at 100. An appreciation.

Posted by on Feb 2, 2018 in Bernstein, Blog | 0 comments

Bernstein at 100. An appreciation.

First in a series. By Denis Whitaker “Darling, I have gone mad over your back muscles. 
You must come and have dinner with me.” Tallulah Bankhead to Leonard Bernstein, after he conducted a concert at Tanglewood.   “To be a success as a Broadway composer, 
you must be Jewish or gay. I’m both.” 
Leonard Bernstein “West Side Story is not only a classic musical, it is also one of only a handful of landmark shows that fundamentally changed the form of musicals.” 
Library of Congress website “One of the most prodigiously talented and...

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We are Nearing the Holiday Season | Part 3

Posted by on Dec 6, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

We are Nearing the Holiday Season | Part 3

This Year, Oakland East Bay Gay Men’s Chorus (OEBGMC) is working hard on some classic tunes that remind me of my roots. This is the third blog in my series, “Whatever happens or what may be, here is what Christmas time means to me…” My father was a musician, our neighbor was a dance choreographer, my mother loved the arts. I saw lots of dance and theatre when I was a kid, and I fell in love with the performing arts. Maybe it was the tights and the dance belts, or maybe it was the stories set to music and told by flowing arms, legs and jumps....

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We Are Nearing the Holiday Season | Part 2

Posted by on Dec 4, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

We Are Nearing the Holiday Season | Part 2

This Year, OEBGMC is working hard on some classic tunes that remind me of my roots. As we sing in “Silver Bells,” “Whatever happens or what may be, here is what Christmas means to me…” Thanksgiving at our house always began the seemingly interminable Christmas Season. It began with the smell of turkey roasting on that often overcast Thursday morning. My grandmother cooked the Turkey in a roaster in her basement, and even though it smelled like it was freshly roasting, I was always pretty sure she had started it sometime around Halloween. Like...

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