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Changes in The Western Wind

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Steve Lanser
01:07 PM ET (US)
Hi all:
I attended a Western Wind mini-workshop and seminar on Saturday Jan 20. Although it was a brief session, my impressions were highly favorable. The new members will be fine workshop facilitators and new WW Board of Directors President Zach Nelson and his colleagues are highly capable people. I urge the workshop community to support the group strongly and to continue our participation. I will be in Brattleboro in February and hope to see many of you there.
Love to all:
Michael Steinberger
05:02 PM ET (US)
Dear All,
just to clarify - info@equalvoices.net may take several days to work.
Neil Farrell
12:21 PM ET (US)
Thanks to Deborah Malamud for reminding us that we need a way for you folks to get in touch with Equal Voices. We've just acquired the domain name "www.equalvoices.net" and hope to have a website up sometime early next year (probably you can understand that with the holiday season upon us, not to mention two kids scampering around the house, our webmaster's a bit busy to do it sooner!). We'll be sure to let you all know as soon as it's ready.

In the meantime, you can e-mail the group at info@equalvoices.net. We look forward to having more news for all of you shortly.
Roger Cutler
08:42 PM ET (US)
On the other hand, workshops spanning July 4 save vacation days for those of us who have this problem. This has, in fact, been a strong influence on my workshop attendance.

And, of course, let me add my small voice of welcome to the Equal Voices. I am Sooooo glad to hear from you folks ...
Steve Lanser
03:00 PM ET (US)
I'm thrilled to learn about Equal Voices and wish Phyllis, Kathy, Neil, Jon, Robert, and Mike all the success in the world. As Zach said, we now have 2 great vocal ensembles to enjoy and support. Deborah and I will no doubt see many of you at the upcoming Western Wind concert. Regarding a Smith workshop overlapping July 4 weekend, my feeling is that it may hurt registration because people set aside that weekend for other interests in many cases. In any event, I usually attend the second summer workshop rather than the earlier one. I attended a recent concert by Cerdorrian, now directed by new WW soprano Kristina Boerger, and it was wonderful. Kristina radiates a lot of positive energy and I'm sure she'll do the same as a WW member. Like all of you, I'm eagerly awaiting Equal Voices' first concert.
With love to all:
12:04 PM ET (US)
Hi all-
I am also thrilled to hear that we now have TWO awesome a cappella groups to enjoy! Best of luck to Phyllis, Kathy, Mike, Neil, Jon, and Robert.

In other news, the WW is trying to determine whether a Smith workshop that straddles July 4th would help or hinder registration. Certainly those of you who are subscribed to this threaded discussion comprise a representative sample of workshop participants, so the WW would greatly appreciate it if you would send your opinion to workshops@westernwind.org in addition to posting it to this messsageboard.

Also, just as a reminder, the Western Wind is holding its first New York concert in its new configuration on December 18 (7:30pm) at the Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew, 86th St. @ West End Ave. A post-concert reception will provide an excellent venue for everyone to get to know the new singers (and catch up with Bill and Elliot). For more info. (and to order tickets on-line), go to www.westernwind.org/holidaylights.htm.

Thanks for your help and have a very happy holiday season!

-Zach :)
Deborah Malamud
11:34 AM ET (US)
Congrats on Equal Voices (and I love the name). Does the group have a preferred e-mail address I can provide to those well-wishers who ask?
09:33 AM ET (US)
Equal Voices?? Wonderfulllllll! Just wonderful. Even just thinking about the kick-off concert is a pleasure! When will it be? Oh, joy... la la ...
Edited 12-07-2000 09:36 AM
John Isner
12:38 AM ET (US)
This is truly exciting news (about Equal Voices). Can't wait to hear about your plans!
Martha Sullivan
12:19 AM ET (US)
Hey, kids,

I am SOOOOOOOOOOO excited to see what will happen next with Equal Voices (formerly known as The Four)... Knowing all six as individual singers and being enthusiastic about them as such, I can't wait to hear what amazing stuff they'll come up with together!

Thanks for the post, Kathy. Boing!

Kathy Theil
06:39 PM ET (US)
Oh heck! I thought I caught all the typos. I meant WITH affection!

Kathy Theil
06:38 PM ET (US)
Hi Everyone,

We're extremely proud to introduce to you the new vocal ensemble, EQUAL VOICES! Phyllis, Mike, Kathy and Neil have combined with two extraordinary musicians, Robert Isaacs, countertenor, and Jon Szabo, bass/baritone. Our goal is to bring to you cutting edge music from early through contemporary, jazz and pop. We hope to focus on the contemporary end of the spectrum.

During the past few months, we auditioned a number of terrific singers. Any of them could have rounded out our ensemble brilliantly. Each and every person we heard was a stellar musician. After listening to the audition tapes, we finally made our decision based on what we thought would ultimately be the best blend of voices. The discussions were animated and very opinionated...I'm sure that doesn't surprise you! We weighed our strengths and weaknesses against the strengths and weaknesses of all of the auditionees. Finally, we came to an agreement and invited Robert and Jon to join us. They're both very excited to be a part of this new group and we've begun rehearsing and making plans!

No doubt you're all very curious about Jon and Robert, so here's a small paragraph written by each of them to say a sort of hello and give you just a little info. Here's what Robert wrote. "Robert Isaacs has worked as a street juggler, a high-stakes test coach, and a freelance writer; currently he teaches choral conducting at the Manhattan School of Music." Jon wrote: "Jon, although enjoying NYC as a freelancer these past seven years, still reminisces about his model trains back in Ohio. Perpetually excited about his state of matrimony, he and his wife Katie have settled their differences about what to put on a bagel." Needless to say, we're having a blast with these guys!

It's very difficult to express in words how excited we are about this venture! So picture this...Phyllis is breathing deeply and centering her body; Kathy is bouncing around and gesticulating; Neil's eyes are flashing and he's grinning a mile; Mike is calmly watching the rest of us with a cheshire-like grin on his face...he's more excited that we'll ever know!

We want to thank all of you for the incredible support you've shown us during the past few months. What seemed like a dire situation has turned into a fabulous opportunity. We look forward to sharing our music with you very, very soon!

We affection,
Phyllis, Kathy, Mike and Neil
Roger Cutler
03:22 PM ET (US)
Since there seems to be a request here for opinions about what poeple would like to see the WW do, here's my 2 cents:

I am interested in eclectic ensemble workshops. The more variety the better, but "rooted" in early music seems best to me. It has seemed to me in the past that a bit more from the 19th century might be good. Short workshops are not real useful for me because of the travel involved. For the same reason I have no stake in what they perform, unless they would like to come down near where I live -- which would be nice but seems unlikely.

It seems to me, however, that the repertoire used in the workshops is actually less important than the format, the way the group dynamics are handled, and the singers that attend the workshop. About the last, perhaps it has been a "luck of the draw" thing, but it has seemed to me that the workshops I have attended have suffered considerably from lack of tenors. I'm not quite sure what one can do about this -- I doubt that kidnapping is a viable alternative -- it's just an observation.

Activities other than singing are important in a workshop, if only because there is only so much singing that the human body can stand.

Finally, I sure would like to hear something about what "the four" are doing, either together or individually. I care about those people a lot.
Steve Lanser
11:59 AM ET (US)
Elaborating on my previous comments, I endorse single-genre concerts. However, I favor workshops devoted to eclectic repetoire, as I feel they offer an opportunity to develop and enhance skills in different areas.
Love to all:
02:31 PM ET (US)
Let me continue with the movement favoring early music (and see comment below). Regarding early music and workshops, I've been in some with Alex Blachly of Pomerium who carefully promoted Just Intonation -- both theory and practice. The results were wonderful (at least as experienced by the singers). Also, Phyllis's workshop on Hildegard's music was inspiring -- especially again with the effort on intonation. I guess what I'm promoting is that workshops have sessions that are different from merely singing -- for those who would enjoy such diversion. And experimenting with intonation would be one possibility. In fact, experimenting with any non-standard repertoire might be fun: Machaut, hockets, etc.? I think that either the present WW six or the previous four could pull off such sessions in their workshops. Perhaps, with the break in the order of things, it's time for new directions as well as some continuity.

Comment: great early American music is much more than Billings.
Margaret Hasselman
05:44 PM ET (US)
Hello, all. Let me put in a plug for early music, especially with work on the tuning appropriate to each repertoire. How about medieval motets as well as Renaissance?
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