Songs for the Season

Unique Musical Programs

A Season for Shakespeare

From Imbolc to Shakespeare’s Birthday on April 23 this is a great time of year for enjoying Shakespeare and poetry. As a status report on where things stand with the “Lyrics by Shakespeare” project, it is apparent that this will be a project in development for some time and I don’t see bringing it to production until next year at the soonest (winter 2014).

I was just reviewing Bob Harrington’s advice* on how to learn a song and prepare it for performance. Basically he advises that you analyze the lyric as a poem and then act a paraphrase as if it were a monologue. I love this approach and I do some of this work intuitively. I’ll make a resolution to do it more concertedly with this material, which cries out for it.

The pre-production preparation for “Lyrics by Shakespeare” is in progress. I have been granted access to the compositions of George Windt who, as the long time music director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, set most of Shakespeare’s songs to music in the style of the period. I’ll be trying out his versions of Sigh No More Ladies and Who Is Sylvia, two of the songs for which we lack music and can only conjecture about the original settings.

Also, I’ve met with a Chicago based composer who writes music in period styles and we are exploring a possible collaboration creating the music for the four songs that need compositions.

I’m still thinking about how to approach the musical style of the program. In general, I know that I would benefit from work with a vocal technique teacher (singing coach) and if I could find one with some experience in Renaissance (Early) music that could be a way of addressing some issues. My friend at Terra Sounds thinks I may need more than one person to help me with my general technique and to meet the unique challenge of the material.

Add to that the need for contemporary arrangements and I have three really specific needs to address while looking for a collaborator for “Lyrics by Shakespeare”.

So I’m shopping around for a new voice teacher.

Meanwhile, I have made some exciting contacts within the Chicago Cabaret Professions as I seek guidance on finding the right Musical Director for Songs for the Season in Chicago. I’m quite excited to get started on the spring program which will be up next.

*Harrington, Bob and Eaker, Sherry (ed.) The Cabaret Artist’s Handbook. Back Stage Books: New York: 2000.


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