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Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

An annual tradition, this year’s performance by the 13-member Solstice Singers on December 21 and 22 was a delight. Held in the 1878-built Woods Hole Community Hall, audiences were treated to a potpourri of musical pieces in the style of the Renaissance.

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Performances included a variety of songs by the Solstice Singers – from soulful to silly – and an elegant dance by three couples.

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Instrumentals and accompaniment by Ensemble Passacaglia blended beautifully with the light voices:  Jan Elliott on recorder, Lisa Esperson on percussion, Molly Johnston on viola da gamba, and Tom Hanna on lute.

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A solo by baritone Dan Hotchkiss enchanted the audience.

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The second set began with a traditional dance by Vineyard Swordfish led by Jan Elliott.

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An annual favorite, the Boars Head song and processional has been sung by the group since its founding 21 years ago

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A new twist this year was a mini-play written and directed by singer Wendell Bishop, with acting by a handful of the singers.

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The lilting voices of the Solstice children, all of whom have participated for a number years, rounded out the show.

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Kudos to artistic director Lore Loftfield DeBower and to all performers for presenting such a colorful and entertaining show in celebration of the winter solstice.

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I had the opportunity to capture a variety of dramatic images of Artistic Director John Yankee conducting the Falmouth Chorale & Orchestra performing The Creation by Franz Joseph Haydn. Concerts were held on March 16th and 17th to packed houses at the Falmouth Academy in Falmouth, Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Here are a few of my favorites, reflecting the many facets of the emotionally-charged connection between conductor, chorus and orchestra as they interpreted this well-loved oratorio celebrating the creation of world.

Artistic Director John Yankee conducts Falmouth Chorale

Artistic Director John Yankee conducts Falmouth Chorale

Artistic Director John Yankee conducts Falmouth Chorale

Artistic Director John Yankee conducts Falmouth Chorale

Artistic Director John Yankee conducts Falmouth Chorale

Artistic Director John Yankee conducts Falmouth Chorale

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Historic Highfield Hall of Falmouth, Cape Cod was built in 1878 as a “summer cottage” of the Beebe family. Its long history can be viewed here. Since extensive restoration was completed 5 years ago thanks to extraordinary support by donors and volunteers, the hall has become an architectural and cultural treasure of Cape Cod, hosting a variety of programs, musical events, and art exhibitions year round.

I had the pleasure of attending Holidays at Highfield several times during the past three weekends, as well as performing with our recorder group. Tempting aromas of fresh baked cookies and music continually filled the air. Here are a few of my favorite memories.

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Highfield Music director, Steinway Artist and Smithsonian Scholar Robert Wyatt gives an insightful talk on the history of holiday music.

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The Sansonnette duo of Barbara Blair and Ron Geering perform French tunes and answer questions about their fascinating instruments…

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Notescape harmonizes on holiday tunes to the delight of Highfield visitors…

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A magnificent array of sparkles and colors decorate both floors of the halls thanks to the cadre of volunteers that make this happen each year.

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I thoroughly enjoyed covering the Solstice Singers concert this past Sunday at the Christ Lutheran Church in Falmouth. It’s always an aural and visual pleasure attending the choral group’s performances. Thanks to the amazing low-light capabilities of my Canon 5D Mark II camera, and also knowing I could reduce “noise” in my digital darkroom, I was able to shoot to my heart’s content in the dark interior of the church.  No worries about distracting the audience with flash.

If any of my students or other photographers are wondering, all images except the first four were shot at ISO 12,500 (not a typo!) with around an f/4 aperture and 1/50 second shutter – always a balancing act between controlling noise, depth of field, and subject motion when lighting is dim. Here are a few of my favorites.

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It’s a fine day when music, photography and sunny weather on Cape Cod intersect. Yesterday we had a fun photo shoot for Solstice Singers, a Renaissance a cappella group I’ve sung with during past years.

Solstice Singer 2009

Joining the Solstice Singers are members of the ensemble Passacaglia, Vineyard Swordfish dance troupe, and Les Enfants Children’s Chorus. This image will be used to promote their December 12 and 13th concerts at the Community Hall in Woods Hole. For more info on the group and upcoming performances, visit www.solsticesingers.org.

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In high school, I wrote an essay that compared Picasso’s 1907 “Les Demoiselles D’Avignon” – the first cubist painting – with Stravinsky’s 1913 “Rite of Spring.” Both works of art created violent uproars. Influenced by an African statue he saw at Gertrude Stein’s home, Picasso’s “Demoiselles” strove for absolute freedom of expression. He painted not what he saw, but what he imagined.

Stravinsky’s “Rite” was also born in imagination. The music reflected a solemn pagan rite, distorting tonality with outrageous dissonances and eccentric rhythms never heard before. The greatness of both works of art was not realized until later, when people began to accept that old rules don’t always have to be followed.

Today, one century later, photography is experiencing its own revolution. Purists expect a photograph to be “real.” Not altered. Printed as is. A common question overheard in galleries today is: “Was it Photoshopped?” But why place boundaries on photographic art? And why even assume that what a camera captures is in fact “reality?” Each camera model interprets a scene differently, and further variations are made when photographers customize settings and print with different inks and papers.

Why not simply ask: “Does it speak to me?”

Autumn Walk

This is an exciting time to be a photographer. Just as legend Ansel Adams made good use of the tools of his day, altering images in the darkroom to create captivating photographs, the extensive palette of digital tools today enables photographers to create art in ways that could not have been imagined even decades ago. Indeed, old rules don’t always have to be followed.

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I bit the bullet and joined the blogging world. Stay tuned for occasional postings from my experiences as a professional portrait and fine art photographer on Cape Cod.

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