A Weekend with Morten Lauridsen

Morten Lauridsen at First Baptist Church
Photo by Wesley Smith

This past week Furman University and First Baptist Church of Greenville have played host to composer Morten Lauridsen. Lauridsen taught several master classes at Furman, then worked with the choir from First Baptist and the Cantus Chamber Choir from the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts. The weekend culminated in a performance of Lauridsen’s Lux Aeterna at First Baptist Church, under the direction of Vivian Hamilton and accompanied by members of the Greenville Symphony Orchestra. Continue reading “A Weekend with Morten Lauridsen”

Birthday Banjo

I’ve made one more pass around old Sol. Laura says that this is an auspicious birthday because my age is divisible by both five and eleven, two of her favorite numbers. Last year was complicated by family matters, so I spent the day by myself climbing a mountain. This year was complicated by singing engagements, … Continue reading Birthday Banjo

Pubs and Music

Fitzpatrick's Pub-003

On our way back from Ireland Stephen asked me what my favorite thing was about the trip. I had to say that it was the pubs and music that impressed me most. I loved the atmosphere and life that radiates from those places. While they all seem similar and familiar, each is unique. If I could do one thing over, it would be to spend more time in the pubs listening to traditional music. Granted, we did quite a bit of that anyway. Continue reading “Pubs and Music”

Nan Herring Shape Note Singing 2015

Herring Shape Note Singing

Saturday was one of those busy days where I needed to be about five people. Between potential paddling trips, Artisphere, Furman graduation, and other local festivals, there were lots of choices. I decided to head over to Furman for the 2015 Nan Herring Shape Note Singing.

The Nan Herring Singing is held each year on “the Saturday before the Second Sunday,” using the parlance of the singing community. This year and last year the date conflicts with Furman Graduation. This was not the case before Furman went on a semester system and graduation was in early June. The last time I came to this singing was in 2008, before the change, and we were able to use Herring Hall, where we rehearse for Chorale. This time, due to conflicts with the Furman Singers needing their home space, we held the singing on the stage of Daniel Recital Hall. Continue reading “Nan Herring Shape Note Singing 2015”

Sacred Harp in Greenville

Shape Note Singing in Greenville

Each month a Sacred Harp singing is held just around the corner from my house at the First Christian Church. The singing takes place on “the Friday before the third Sunday of each month,” using the parlance of singing organizers. This singing has been going on since the 1990s, and as close as it is to where I live, I’d never attended. I decided that needed to change, so this past Friday night I decided to pay them a visit.

It had been a long time since I’d participated in a singing. I think the last one I did was the William Walker Memorial Singing in Spartanburg way back in 2009. I’ve always seemed to have conflicts with the big singing days, usually a paddling trip with my friends. I had planned to do a podcast episode on shape note singing, so I knew I wanted to take part in another one soon. Continue reading “Sacred Harp in Greenville”

GeoPodcasting Revisited

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Back in 2007 I wrote an post entitled “Geopodcasting – Adding Location to Audio.” I had just given a talk at SC EdTech on geotagging, and the post was meant to explore the idea of geotagging audio files.

There have been lots of changes in the seven and a half years since that post came out. I wanted to revisit the subject and see what tools and options are now available for for adding location data to audio.

Back in 2007 photo geotagging was just taking off. It was (and still is, to some extent) a tricky process. Back then smart phones weren’t as prevalent, so not too many people had a hand-held device that could combine GPS, imagery, and audio. Today we have iPhones, Androids, and various tablets that can do all of this. So you would think that the process would be much easier. But is it? Continue reading “GeoPodcasting Revisited”

The New Modern Prophets

TL;DR jump to audio file. Also, see the note at the end for disclaimer regarding names mentioned in this post.

Flashback – Summer, 1981

I was in-between semesters at Furman and was trying to earn a bit of cash for school by working maintenance for Laurens School District 55. This particular summer I was painting Sanders Middle School with an older guy (and by older, I mean probably in his mid-30s) whose first name I could only remember – Willie. Willie was a hard worker, and taught me lots about commercial painting, most of which I’ve long since forgotten. I liked Willie, and enjoyed my work with him that summer.

Willie was a devout Christian, and enjoyed listening to a local Black Gospel station on AM radio. I got into it, too, listening jealously to some of the piano chops these guys had. However, the one thing that made my day were the advertisements for Reverend Yuri. At precisely 11:25 am and 2:25 pm these would air.

Reverend Yuri was a spiritual advisor and reader located on Cedar Lane in Greenville. To this day I can point out his former establishment, which still looks rather weird. (I only know it was the place because there was a large billboard proclaiming it as Yuri’s, and not from any actual visits to the establishment.) His advertisements featured him using the vernacular, and started like this…

Is you tired? Is you lonely? Has your friends let you down? Reverend Yuri can help…

In the following years I’d tune in every now and then to listen to the ads, simply because I loved the use of the lilting vernacular. A couple of years later Reverend Yuri was replaced by “Sister Yuri.” I don’t know what happened. Sex change? Had I misunderstood the gender from the get-go, and the voice I was appreciating was that of the announcer? Who knows? Eventually Yuri closed shop and the ads ended. Continue reading “The New Modern Prophets”

More Moog

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Bob Moog with His Moog Synthesizers

Ken Cothran was very indulgent. He waited patiently as I tried out all of the gear in the Moog showroom. After our Moog Adventure we were having a discussion on Facebook, and he confessed that most of what he had heard sounded like noise, and he wasn’t sure how such an instrument would be used in composition. Ken wasn’t criticizing the instrument, but just didn’t have the background with it.

I explained that for the most part at the Moog Store they were just putting the instrument through its paces, demonstrating the the types of sounds it could create. This would be similar to running a few scales on a chosen instrument. The Moogs are monophonic, and are meant to be part of a toolbox of instruments, which would include multi-track recorders and sequencers.

As I was trying to come up with a good example of how these instruments could be used (Monophonic Moogs specifically, as opposed to modern polyphonic digital keyboards), the first thing that came to mind was the classic – Switched on Bach, by Wendy Carlos.

Switched-On_Bach_first_sleeve_(seated_Bach) Continue reading “More Moog”

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