The Army Chorus and I performed at the Aspen Music Festival this past weekend. Yes, even I sang. I travelled there on your (the American taxpayer’s) dollar, so I thought it appropriate that I do something other than walk around feeling self-important. Plus, it was an opportunity to put myself back into a singing ensemble to see first hand what I would want from a conductor. It’s good to get back on the other side of the podium (baton?).
Let me take a moment to welcome those of you who are reading this only because “Army Chorus” set off your Google alert. Hello! By the way, the Chorus is the most manly, masculine musical force ever to walk the face of the Earth. So there.
The Chorus was on hand to supplement the Colorado Symphony Chorus in Schoenberg’s Gurre-lieder, his beyond-massive magnum opus for three men’s choruses, gigantic mixed chorus, and a ludicrously-sized orchestra.
The score calls for seven, count ’em, seven harps. Because six simply wasn’t enough, I guess. (There’s only six in this picture, but the seventh would come later.) You can also see a few of the ten required horns, some of which doubled on Wagner tubas.
And here’s the huge bassoon section, complete with two contras.
All in all, it was a 160-piece orchestra squished into the music tent. The venue itself was quite beautiful.
And here’s a shot of the choruses in rehearsal with Duain Wolfe, conductor of the Chicago Symphony Chorus. He came and worked with the Army Chorus a few weeks ago to prep us for this performance. He is quite brilliant.
He sneaked in behind me the evening of the performance and it turned out to be a pretty nice shot.
Overall, it was a tremendous experience. I don’t know exactly how much I contributed vocally (hopefully, not too much), but it was a rare treat to sing with such a huge ensemble…on a piece that is rarely performed…under the baton of David Zinman…at scenic Aspen, Colorado.