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Boston Symphony Orchestra vs. Karaoke?

July 13, 2009

This week-end, I was at Tanglewood, Masssachusetts, attending a performance of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. It was a delight. But when it comes to musical experience, I prefer karaoke.

At the concert, I got to watch and listen. That’s about it. The extent of my creative involvement was to pontificate with my wife about Joshua Bell’s interpretation of Max Bruch’s first violin concerto (“the only one, really”). I could bring parallels to my own high school cello career (“his vibrato is a bit stronger, but he has the advantage of playing on a Stradivarius”). We could plan a wonderful picnic around the performance. But when Joshua came on stage and played, all I could do was listen and clap at the end (I always suspect these standing ovations at Tanglewood are caused by the discomfort of sitting on those lawn chairs for too long).

With karaoke, I’m involved. Three years ago, on a drunken wager in a suburb of Philadelphia, a colleague got me on stage to give a rendition of Lose Yourself by Eminem (with the urging that since “co-creation originated at the University of Michigan, I betcha you’re good at that Detroit rap stuff”). I had never tried hip-hop, and let me tell you, it ain’t easy. The first verse (do they have verses in hip-hop?) is an apt description of my mental state on the stage of this little suburban bar: His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy…

Figuring out when to come in was hard. Is it chorus time already? O gosh, this sounds like the accompaniment for the second verse. The only thing I nailed was the fade-away (“You can do anything you set your mind to, man”, although I have doubts this applies to my hip-hop career). I have been practicing ever since, and while I may never have the guts to get back on a karaoke stage, I’m sure going to nail those lyrics.

To give the Boston Symphony a fair chance, I have inquired about co-creation opportunities that would involve me. They suggested that I make a donation.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Tim Jarrett permalink
    July 13, 2009 1:46 pm

    You could always try out for the Tanglewood Festival Chorus. We're all volunteers and get the pleasure of "co-creating" with the Symphony on a regular basis. It's a little more organized than karaoke, though.

  2. Francis Gouillart permalink
    July 13, 2009 2:03 pm

    But would John Oliver and James Levine want to co-create with me? I can side-read, but doubt that my baritonish falsetto would add much to the professional quality of the ensemble. How about a sing-along requiring no audition whatsoever, just enthusiasm?

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