Gregory G. H. Rihn (milwaukeesfs) wrote,
Gregory G. H. Rihn
milwaukeesfs

Cream City Chorus: Whirled Music

Last season, the Chorus experimented with a form they are calling
"choral theatre," with the very serious and moving piece "Safe Harbor:
Signs of Compassion." This year, they came up with "something completely
different." (And the "Monty Python" reference is not off base.)

What can you say about a concert that included "The William Tell
Overture" (yes, a choral version--); Burt Bacharach's "What the World
Needs Now," and "The Witch Doctor"? Well, you'd probably say it was a
bit weird, and so it was, but pleasantly so.

The plot concerns a reclusive composer, (J. Rubin Piirainen) who both
works and orders in everything he needs via his computer. His work and
lifestyle both come to a halt when his system is corrupted by a virus
called "Spin" which starts by scrambling the icons on this desktop, but
then contaminates all his music files with "Mary had a little lamb," no
matter what the style. (Imagine Gregorian chant "Maria tenet parva
agnus" (or words to that effect--).)

The Composer calls on his friend, The Geek (Joel Kopischke), who "rides
to the rescue" (William Tell, here). After a struggle and numerous
musical interludes, narrated by Timothy Ruf in a meter of Dr. Seuss, the
Geek realizes that his friend is in danger of becoming housebound, and
makes excuses to extend the job until he can drag the Composer out to
dinner and meet some people. Composer discovers that it's nice out
there, and ends by moving his composing operation to the park via a new
netbook.

I have to say that the plot, such as it was, wasn't very well
constructed and lacked any kind of punch line. It served as a device to
hang a lot of musical jokes and other bits of playfully recontexed music
(the "whirled music" of the title) upon. The chorus members provided the
musical effects, most of the songs, backups, visual aids, and everything
necessary to move things along, while obviously having a lot of fun with
the whole thing. We, and the rest of the audience had fun, too.

The "choral theater" idea as a form is well worth pursuing, but as with
any form in early stages of its evolution, it needs work.
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