Saturday, August 29, 2009

Giving a whole new meaning to "Craig's List"

The Conspirare Symphonic Choir Season 2009-2010 has officially begun.

Today at 8:45 a.m., a little under 100 voices of the Conspirare Symphonic Choir gathered at St. Matthew's Episcopal Church to begin rehearsals for the 2009-2010 season, led by renowned conductor, Craig Hella Johnson. This season promises to be an eclectic mixture: from rich Spanish lyrics of Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda, to an organ and chorale duet favorite, Duruflé's Requiem. The excitement of this coming season already permeated. I am convinced the music is not solely responsible for the excitement. In fact, I am certain Craig is an inspiring man all on his own.

I met Craig a year and a half ago, during my audition. In the middle of the
audition room was a grand piano. And at the piano, on a black, shiny seat was Craig, playing chords. His slim body was hunched, his chin was dipped, and the blond hair tips hung slightly over his forehead. He looked my way, took his hands off the piano, clasped them between his knees and smiled a wholesome, comforting white smile. Oddly enough, his smile had an embarrassing-quality to it, sheepish even. He was so much smaller close up which struck me as odd, primarily because I had been to several Conspirare concerts, where he always had an ostentatious, revered aura about him. At that moment, he looked like a humble, blue-eyed boy.

That humility is one that I embrace in getting to sing in one of his ensembles. A feeling, I'm certain, that is shared among all the musicians that work with him. It's a magical experience to be on the Conspirare roster, or as I call it, Craig's List.

If you have yet to make it out to a Conspirare concert, I strongly suggest you make the time this coming season to experience one. It promises to be a spectacular season.

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