Voicing

This past Tuesday for the gay chorus, we did something called “voicing” during the Bass sectional.

What this entailed was having all of the lower basses line up side-by-side, and sing “You Are My Sunshine” in adjacent groups of three.

The first three would sing while the chorus director (Ben) listened. We only had to sing the first line or so, thank Buddha. After each rendition, Ben would either leave the three untouched or he would ask a couple of the guys to trade places. Then they would sing again.

This process continued down the line of basses– sometimes with an entirely new group of three, or a blended version of two from one group and then the next guy in line. He would listen, and shuffle guys as he saw fit, then listen again.

Occasionally a guy would me moved to an entirely new area of the line and tried there.

The reason I bring this up is that you would be absolutely astounded how much difference can be made just by making two guys (who are standing right next to each other) swap positions.

In some of the trios I was singing in, the sound reaching my ears was uncomfortable and awkward. Then with a simple positional switch it was like the sun coming out on a cloudy day.

It all has to do with vocal timbres, oscillations, tonal brightness and blend. Basically it was acoustical physics in action– and the engineering side in me was jizzing all over the musician side in me!

It honestly was mind-blowing. And it was fascinating to see the upper basses go through the same exercise and hear the differences from an audience perspective. The sound was night and day!

And even more mind blowing was the fact that I have never gone through a voicing exercise before. Not once in all the years I’ve been singing. And it really impacts the overall choral blend!

Anyway- it just thought it was cool and I geeked out over it a bit.

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Damn, I’ve Been Absent!

I sure wish I had good stuff to write about, but alas. I do not. So I’ll just do some brief updates in case you are interested.

After all the traveling I’ve been doing, I’ve managed to avoid getting Ebola. So that’s good.

Chorus goes well. I feel better about singing in OutLoud! and am excited by some of our repertoire. We got the Franz Biebl “Ave Maria” which is a damn fine piece. And our Xmas repertoire prep is going decently. I am getting nervous about the Gloria “solo” as we have yet to rehearse it. The first time I have to sing it on front of the full chorus, I’ll plotz!

Erick update. Things are pretty much done, I think. The company he works for lost part of a contract they had, so his hours/responsibilities have been severely cut. Which has added tons of stress for him. He’s trying to find a new job and sort out his living situation, so he’s busy. And he’s almost stopped communicating with me entirely. I keep letting him know that I’m here and available– but… Well. You know.

It was nice while it lasted, I suppose.

My new iPhone should arrive today. It should have been in my hands yesterday, but our condo office people were gone and UPS wouldn’t deliver it. I hope I have that sorted for today.

I am NOT getting the classic, souped up Mini Cooper. It was going to be too difficult to manage parking/storage. Plus insurance and upkeep. While it would have been fun, it was completely impractical and I have better uses for my money. Like saving it.

The audit at work went well– so it looks like I’ll keep my job, it seems. At least for the time being. But the rest of my year is going to keep me quite busy.

That’s about it for now. Oh! And I’ve recently been having sex with a cute, furry, exceedingly horny 28 year old. Evidently I’ve graduated into a full-fledged daddy, and it’s attracting the young’uns. Go ME!

And how many times does 28 go into 45? As many times as it wants.

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Coveting redux

Damn my coworker.

I work with a guy who’s a “car guy”. He knows about all sorts of cars and engines, and he works and tinkers and rebuilds all things automotive. From brake jobs to performance engine modifications– you name it, he does it.

He even has helped his son build street racers (like their current mustang that has 800HP and runs the quarter mile in 9 seconds or something ridiculous.

But my coworker especially loves older cars — like rebuilding classic cars and making street rods. His particular niche is with old Fords. He’s won awards.

Anyway, he runs in the automotive circles and therefore he gets wind of occasional cars for sale. Cars that I may have mentioned to him in the past that I wouldn’t mind owning.

Like, say, a performance-modified 1976 Mini Cooper S.

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The asking price is downright cheap, and lord help me I’m honestly considering it.

My favorite shot is the ass end of the car– it looks fucking hot. Wide and low and “racey”.

Of course the interior has been completely modified for racing, not comfort. Roll cage, 5-point harness seatbelts, gauge clusters, etc. And it’s a right-hand drive.

Things I don’t know if I like: the soft, unsnap top, the air filter/intake sticking out of the hood, the exhaust pipes reported out in front of the rear tires, etc.

But I sorta like the aluminum interior and door skins. And it has a 1300cc turbocharged engine!

Could be fun as a spring/summer toy.

The only real drawback right now is parking. I don’t have a spare space at my condo and I’d have to find a garage for it somewhere. Plus then there’s insurance and other fees.

Le sigh.

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First Rehearsal

Last night was the first rehearsal for OutLoud!– the small vocal ensemble in which I was selected to participate. Aaaaand? Phew! Fears allayed.

Somewhat.

I was worried going on about what our repertoire would be (legit vs campy) and was wondering if we were going to have a big show in the spring like in years past. Plus I was wondering if I’d be nervous to sing with these guys.

Everything was good on all fronts. We got five pieces of music for the Christmas season and all of it was legit repertoire. We will be doing three of them on our upcoming Xmas concert, and all are decently challenging and cool. The piece “Some Children See Him” has some wonderful chord changes and textures– like serious “ooo, that was unexpected” moments!

And another piece (not really xmas) is just for our base repertoire and it’s called “Grace”. It uses the Amazing Grace text but the tune is a different famous piece. It’s fairly simple to start (unison), then second verse is in canon. Then the third verse gets very harmonically diverse with some good crunch chords. When we get it worked up, it will be quite lovely.

We also will NOT be doing a song and dance extravaganza show thingy this spring, so that’s good too.

And I wasn’t nervous around the guys at all. We just “sang” and it was all good. However, I do feel a bit like an interloper as at least 9 of the 12 are former OutLoud! members and they all know each other very well already. So I wonder how (or if) I’ll fit in. And I hope they don’t look at me like “he took our buddy so-and-so’s spot!”

Anyway– I see lots of music practice in my future.

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Audition News

Okay. As many have already read, I was selected to sing a “solo” of sorts in our upcoming gay chorus Xmas concert. (It’s a duet and trio actually). Which I’m both excited and excited about.

But last weekend I also auditioned for a position in one of the two small ensembles that are available in the chorus: the Chamber Singers and OutLoud!

The chamber singers is like a 20-30 voice ensemble, and OutLoud! is a 12-member select group. It was one audition, and on my audition card I selected the Chamber Singers, but also mentioned I would consider OutLoud as well. Depending on if either group wanted me or where they thought I might “fit”.

Well…

I was offered an invitation to sing in OutLoud! and I accepted it.

I’m really nervous about this. OutLoud! performs at every concert and also has their own show in the spring. Or has had their own show.

But this is a transition year where the previous director of OutLoud! has stepped down and a new guy was hired. So there is a big X-factor with regard to expectations, repertoire, etc.

Not to mention that I’ve never sung in such a small ensemble before. Everything will be so exposed!

And speaking of “exposed”, this group has a bit more “outness” to it. There isn’t any hiding or the relative anonymity of being in a large ensemble. So I’ll definitely more front and gay center.

Am I ready for this? Did I make the correct decision?

This is like drum corps all over again. Whenever I commit to a musical ensemble, I seem to go all the way with it and end up with all sorts of extra responsibilities.

What have I done??? I’m freaking out a bit here.

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Day two of audit hell…

Sorry I’ve been so absent. This is the week of a big audit here where I work, and I’m sort of running the show.

It sucks.

Audits are like a tap dancing magic show and I’m the beautiful assistant. It’s just exhausting and thankless.

So another day and a half of this and I get to come home. And then work to fix all the issues that were found.

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Musical Production Awesomeness

I don’t know if y’all are watching American Horror Story, but ya should be.

Because of things like this:

Not only am I entranced by the whole “freak show” aspect of this season, but production moments like this I find ridiculously creative and they make me ever so giddy.

I mean, anachronistically taking a 70’s Bowie song, and having Jessica Lange “Dietrich” it all up in a 50’s freak show venue (replete with sideshow orchestra) while splicing in plot moment cutaways….

Brilliance.

Someone had real creative vision to put this together.

And Jessica Lange? Damn bitch! You pulled that shit OFF!!

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GLORIA!

In excelcis Deo!

So. As many of you know, there was a gay chorus retreat this past weekend where I auditioned for a “solo” of sorts. The results of the auditions were announced last night during chorus rehearsal. Aaaaaaand…

*** drum roll ***

I was selected to sing the Baritone part for the duet/trio in John Rutter’s Gloria.

This is in the second movement, toward the end. It starts with high tenor singing a solo “Miserere Nobis”. Then Tenor 2 and Bari (me) sing a duet on the “Sucipe deprecationam nostram”. Then trio on the final “miserere Nobis”.

I’m a little surprised, very excited and a LOT nervous. My tummy went immediately all oogy with the announcement. And rather than feeling an enormous sense of pride at being chosen, I mostly felt… Exposed. Self-conscious. Even a little embarrassed.

Why was I selected? Was I the best or was it “we want to encourage new guys to audition and not just always give it to the same people”? Was it politics? Was it because the director is a bit sweet on me?

And will the other auditioners hate me now? Will they be all judgy and stabby? And will the baritones hate me because I’m a bass and i snaked one of their solos?

Sigh. I can never just enjoy something. I always have to analyze and overthink.

Now I will say that more than one person came up to me (baritones, even) and told me before the results were announced that they hoped I would be selected. And after the announcement the baritone section leader said to me, “When I heard your audition, I knew you were going to get it.”

So, there is that.

Now I just have to worry about doing myself proud and being above reproach every time I sing in front of the chorus.

No pressure.

I will say this, though. “Miserere Nobis” is my favorite liturgical Latin to sing. It feels good in the mouth and the meaning of the words always lends gravitas to the music.

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T-minus One Week

And counting before a big quality system audit at work. So things are cray-cray and not in a good way. And not for play-play.

I’m so not looking forward to it because 3-day automotive quality system certification audits suck dirty b-hole. They are mentally and physically exhausting and almost always create busywork for the quality department.

But I’m so looking forward to it because I just want it fucking done already.

Of course, since my boss dumped being in charge of these audits in my lap, I want it to go well. But a small, secret part of me wants it to go horribly awry in order to justify all the concerns I’ve been expressing to our management team for months.

But mostly I just want it over because audits are stressful because of the “unknown”. You just don’t know what path the auditor is going to go down and if they are going to be an asshole or not.

Uggh. Calgon take me away.

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Li’l B*Hole Comix

Hey hey hey! It’s fat bastard!

Time for more comix. I meant to post these on Friday, but…. Better late than never bitches!

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