Music “Trivia” for Musicians

We had an enjoyable Grand Philharmonic Choir annual dinner last evening. However, there has to some kind of better after-dinner activity for a bunch of mildly-inebriated musicians than the sort of “Name That Random No. 1 Hit” type of trivia contest that hundreds of millions of non-musicians also enjoy and at which they undoubtedly do just as well.

How about actually performing some songs? (Duh!) Start with a fake book and a piano, and give out prizes for people who remember and/or figure out suitable introductions, best approximate synth patterns, vocally replicate riffs and guitar solos, add bass lines, bang out some drum fills on a table, get the vocal harmonies right, and so on.

I would REALLY prefer to engage with more than the first three seconds of each song! I can play “Name That Tune” whenever I want with my own iTunes library and with tens of thousands of songs—as opposed to a handful of former top pop hits. Musicians should certainly be able to deal with things other than “lowest common denominators.”

Carmina Jehanna

Carl Dreyer’s silent film The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) combined with Richard Einhorn’s cantata Voices of Light (1994) was a quite memorable and moving experience in which to sing. I think it could also have been called Carmina JehannaSongs for Joan – with (as in Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana) often-fortississimo choral Latin, olde-tyme versions of one or more modern languages, and, according to the programme notes, Joan’s personal associations apparently being less “saintly” than one might have expected. I also think the cantata (or at least several key parts of it) would have worked just as well as a “progressive rock opera.” The performance featured not only our Grand Philharmonic Choir and the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, but also my early-2000s Elora Festival Singers’ “peeps” and others in the TACTUS Vocal Ensemble, all conducted by Mark Vuorinen.