Monday, December 05, 2011

From the Road

We've sung through four scheduled concerts (and one somewhat impromptu one at the nursing care facility of some Dominican sisters); yesterday we made our way from New York to Northern Virginia. I'm writing from our Old Town (Alexandria) convent, where I was stationed back in the mid-80's.

So far, the concerts are going well, and seem to be hitting the right "note" for the people who attend. The theme is "Our Christmas Hope" (same as our new CD, which pretty much contains the concert lineup). The times really call for a message of hope. (Who knows what burdens people bring with them when they walk through the doors?) After our Cleveland concert (that was Friday), one woman told me, "When I came here, I was really feeling down. But the concert did lift my spirits: I feel so much better now!"

Cleveland was also where I noticed a rather serious man in a front pew, his neck draped in a scarf that was woven to look like a piano keyboard. Every so often he would jot something on a notepad. Uh-oh, I thought, this is a music reviewer! Sure enough. After the concert, he introduced himself to Sr Sean, and told her to look for his review on Tuesday. Even though he represents the highly discriminating world of classical music, I am not too worried about his review. Not because I think we're that good, but because it is clear from our concert itself that we don't take ourselves too seriously. We are there to offer a message about Jesus and to give people an hour of spiritual uplift, counting on God to do the heavy lifting.

The concert was also broadcast last night on the Diocese of Brooklyn's NETNY TV channel (and on We caught most of it online. The visual presentation was wonderful. (This is the Christmas concert we taped back in August.) Unfortunately, the sound engineers fell asleep on the job: some of the songs were well "mixed" (as they say); the solos were clear and strong because the technicians made sure that the volume from the choir microphones was lower than the soloist. But on other songs, the solo microphone was put on the same volume level as the choir, which basically muted the solo. Or the solo mikes were left at full volume when the choir was supposed to take over. There were songs in which all the sound seemed to be what the cameras picked up, not what came through the microphones. What a disappointment to have such poor audio quality represent our entire music ministry throughout the wide area of NET NY's influence. Perhaps they rushed it through and lost track of what songs had been mixed, and which ones not... Hopefully, they will address this before next year. (There's not much hope they will fix it before the rebroadcast.)

Tonight we will do our family-style concert at Good Shepherd Parish here in Alexandria. (There's plenty to keep even young children entertained.) Tomorrow our caravan sets out for Boston and the final three concerts.

Have you been to any of this year's concerts? Did you catch the (unfortunate) NET NY concert last night?

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