Monday, July 27, 2020

COVID-19 REMEMBERED IN MUSIC BY FAMOUS AMERICAN COMPOSER


Much has been written about the pandemic of 1917-1918, and its trail of worldwide devastation.  In  the same manner, many stories about the current COVID-19 pandemic will be written about it when it ends.  But how has this silent enemy become the subject of interest to music and musicians?

The world has been in lock down due to the corona virus since March, and people have been encouraged to self quarantine and avoid gathering in crowds.  Musical performances of every genre have been forced to close down.  Singing in large groups were stopped, and singers were branded as super spreaders of the corona virus. 

World renowned composer and choral conductor, Eric Whitacre was stunned by the news as he saw the musical world come to a grinding halt on a global scale.  The very thing he loved so much - gathering people in a room to sing was suddenly such a dangerous thing. 

Last March, Eric Whitacre thought it was time to do something positive amid the global pandemic and bring singers together.  Within several days, he composed the words and music to "Sing Gently". A song written for 4 part chorus, represents his dream of a world without borders, where everyone is good and kind to each other. 

At the present time, performers have started to use the digital world as the only way of continuing to work.  Eric is no stranger to this medium.  In 2009, he created the Virtual Choir, which is an experiment in social media and digital technology.  He and his producers and staff wanted to make it very easy and accessible to singers all over the world to join.  He made announcements of his projects over social medias like Spotify, I Tunes, Facebook, and You Tube, etc.  He made videos of himself conducting each voice part, and posted them.  The singer would upload his/her part,  make a video and send it. Each one of the videos is then syncronised and combined into one single performance to create the Virtual Choir.

"Sing Gently", is the Virtual Choir 6 video performance, which was released on July 19, 2020 on ww.youtube.com. It is a beautiful song, with beautiful music and lyrics sounding a note of hope in this unsettling time we are living in.  The words are:
                                                            May we sing together always
                                                            May our voice be soft
                                                            May our song be be music for others
                                                            And may it keep others aloft.
                                                            Sing gently always, Sing gently as one
                                                            May we stand together always
                                                            May our voice be strong
                                                            May we hear the singing,
                                                            And may we always sing along.

The number of participants in Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir has grown over the years.  This year, Virtual Choir 6 included 17,572 members, who come from 129 countries!  The technicians managed to included everyone in the video which lasted 3 minutes 22 seconds.  At first glance, the photo above looks like ceramic tile.  Actually, it as an attempt to get everyone in one photo.

Denise Mechan, Director of Communications for Ms. NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA, INC, and NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB Showcase Coordinator, has participated in several Virtual Choir performances over the years.  Her children watched the video and managed to find her singing among the thousands of performers.  Imagine that!

On the lighter side, Whitacre posted another video on You Tube entitled: "Virtual Choir 6 - Foils & Follies", which includes outakes of the mistakes and comments the singers made while making their videos.  It is amusing and funny to watch.

It is highly recommended to watch/listen to Eric Whitacre's newest choral piece "Sing Gently".  It is elegant, emotional and beautiful, with a message so relevant all over the world today, and especially in the United States.  Its deep meaning seeks to bring people together, during this dark time, if only for a moment, and bring joy to it.

FYI:  Go to the website: www.youtube.com/ericwhitacre

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

TERRY MEADE, RECOGNIZED BY JERSEY'S BEST MAGAZINE


When Johanne Santori/MSNJSA'06 and Chairperson of Ms. NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA, INC needed a Director of Pageants, she searched for Jersey's best, and so it came to pass that she appointed Terry Meade.

 

Over the years, Terry's boundless energy and tireless efforts have been recognized by Ms. NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA, INC, for creating and directing  magnificent Pageants at Harrah's in Atlantic City.

She does, however, share this same energy and passion for another organization, the NEW JERSEY SHARING NETWORK.  Mark, her husband suffered a serious heart attack, and for many months, he laid in a hospital bed, waiting for a heart transplant.  Luckily his story ended happily, because the NEW JERSEY SHARING NETWORK found a matching donor.


Today, Terry and Mark, live each day, giving thanks to their anonymous donor, who upon dying, gave Mark the gift of life.  They have become one of many spokespersons for the NEW JERSEY SHARING NETWORK, and have been involved in many activities that promote the awareness of how organ and tissue transplants can save lives.  Together, they have become warriors for such a worthy cause.

Jersey's Best magazine, wrote an article about the NEW JERSEY SHARING NETWORK, entitled, "The Gift Of A Lifetime," which is featured presently in their summer edition, and can be read on line at: www.jerseysbest.com.

 cover, courtesy Terry Meade
Terry was pleased to have been selected by the magazine to be on the cover, and recognized as one of "Jersey's Best."  The article acknowledges the many individuals who have donated lifesaving organs in 2019, yet, the need still falls short of the demand. 

The NEW JERSEY SHARING NETWORK, had planned to celebrate their 30th Anniversary, by staging the 2020 Donate Life Transplant Games later this month in New Jersey at the Meadowlands Entertainment Complex.  However, due to COVID-19, the 6 day event has been rescheduled to July 16 - 21, 2021.  The mission of the Transplant Games is "to allow people to come together to demonstrate the amazing gift of life, the miracle of transplantation, and the need for more organs."