Archive for August, 2010

Staying in iTouch

Posted in Ireland on August 29, 2010 by Tracia

So now I’m testing out posting to the blog from my iPod touch, which I actually purchased specifically for the trip to listen to music or watch movies on long plane rides, etc. Never thought I might use it to blog…

Now that I already feel confident about the state of our music, I’ve been able to concentrate on packing and getting everything ELSE in order. Making sure there is spare batteries and storage for the camcorder….Trying to figure out how to pack the portable recording equipment….spare buttons and needle and thread….the pitch pipe, the backup pitch pipe, and the backup backup pitch pipe….CDs and music (even though we memorized everything)…. Oh and I suppose I should pack some clothes, too.

Luckily I had some lucky finds like a new raincoat (my old one was some 15 years old and in considerable distress), and the perfect size rolling duffel to hold the darbuka drum (sadly a djembe is just too heavy to travel with).

Shopping specifically for the needs of this trip have helped it cross that invisible line from dream to reality. But I’m still not sure I’ll truly believe it’s happening until I find myself deboarding that plane (well, the third one anyway) and look over the cliffs of moher with a group of people that have come to mean the world to me. Hrm. Probably not even then, considering how that description certainly defies reality, doesn’t it?

Speaking of which, a somewhat surreal experience I’m looking forward to: one singer discovered that a spa in Kilkenny offers “seaweed wraps.” Considering our sorted relationship with a certain piece on our program (and it’s tricky Gaelic) I really cherish the thought of getting literally wrapped up in dulaman!!!

Next time you hear from me will probably be from the airport. Stay tuned! 😉

– Tracia Barbieri (director)

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Breaking ground

Posted in Concerts, Ireland, News on August 27, 2010 by Tracia

This season for VAE has been a series of unique experiments in pursuit of our goal of sharing exquisite music through artful musicianship.

The whole fact that we even had a summer season to begin with was already unique, as most choruses (VAE included) often take the summer months off to regroup, relax, vacation, and maybe even build up a little choral withdrawal…

But considering we had our performance tour of Ireland planned for September, our summer has instead been packed with rehearsals, home practice, logistics training, memorization clinics, optional sings, quartet practice, gigs….all while trying to skate around the fact that 20-25% of the chorus was usually absent at any given rehearsal due to vacations, family weddings, summer work schedules, and what not.

In fact, it was not until our ‘Bon Voyage’ concert in Davis on August 22 that the entire chorus was actually all together for the first time!! It is no mean feat to try and develop a polished and blended choral sound when it was constantly changing and we weren’t even sure what it was until we did it for an audience! (and I do mean the actual performance…not even the dress rehearsal had everyone present)!

It’s enough to make you crazy! 🙂

The tour was also the excuse to set our sights a bit higher towards a more professional image and execution, experimenting with ideas of a unified concert attire that can coordinate with our concert repertoire — Renaissance motets, modern choral masterpieces, and ethnic choral music. It was only through persistence and a rather lengthy process of collaborative communication (not to mention a great deal of late night sewing by Jeannie Nishikawa and Jeri Ohmart), that we managed a travel-able look that is both modern and timeless, coordinated and individual, not exclusively American but not exclusive to a particular culture….and more than anything formal yet comfortable enough to sing in. The most amazing part is we even got it in time for our August 22 performance for our family, friends, and loyal supporters before our tour! Many thanks everyone!

But alas spiffy performance attire is rightfully only icing on the cake, and it has been the dedication to blend, balance, finesse, and detailed musical execution that has broken the most ground this summer. I’m very proud of our performance last weekend, and can’t wait to take it abroad in the churches and cathedrals of Ireland!

So please stay tuned for details about our adventures….this blog was created by request from some of our audience members, and is another experiment in sharing our musical experiences with our community. Please check back and feel free to post your comments, ideas, suggestions, and feedback!

– Tracia Barbieri (director)

Backstage at the Ireland tour “bon voyage” concert

Posted in Concerts, Ireland on August 24, 2010 by Britta

Hello from backstage! Concert went great!

Hello world!….Literally!

Posted in Ireland, News on August 24, 2010 by Tracia

VAE is about to partake on a new adventure with our performance tour of Ireland that starts next week! So we’re created this blog/journal to help keep our fans posted about our latest news and happenings. Enjoy!