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.”

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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.