Sunday, March 29, 2009

2009 ACDA performance- Cantoria Alberto Grau

(Maria Guinand)

The 2009 ACDA convention performance by Maria Guinand's Cantoria Alberto Grau brought tears to my eyes- just amazing tears of joy. In fact, as they danced and swayed off the stage after an incredible performance, the sheer joy of the music and the act of profoundly beautiful musicmaking overcame me. First some little tears and then more- and finally to the point that manly me thought I might totally lose it and cry like a total baby! So... of course being a manly man I did fight back the tears, but really RE-learned how much sheer simple joy music can bring and just how strong its affect on the emotions can be. This was a choir that wore colorful costumes, sang silly songs, did some campy antics on stage, and brought us all immense childlike happiness. God, how I wish our American concert choirs could put away the funeral clothes, the straight Puritan faces, the stiff posture and lack of facial expression and loosen up- is that just too hard to do? The DVD of this performance should be required viewing for all of us!

I have watched Maria Guinand in workshops (without her choir) , and while she was quite interesting to listen to as a clinician , nothing prepared me for how much joy her choir projects from the stage-- often while Maria herself takes a comfy backseat to the action, often just playing the claves.

Another fun thing to do was to read the translation of some of these folk texts into English. Some are so delightfully silly and refreshing already in their native tongue that direct translation into another language is nearly impossible- but the translation attempt into English just pointed out even more that this culture is far beyond us in its embrace of the whimsical, the sly, etc.

Like the Incheon City Chorale from Korea, the Cantoria Alberto Grau blew away the audience at ACDA and received a standing ovation that went on for a very long time. They gave us the gift of a rainbow of color, both musically and with their costumes, and sang with their hearts on their sleeves and a knowing wink of the eye. Bravo!

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