Thursday, November 20, 2008


My choir had their semester concert. It wasn't amazing, but it was a good start for the choir. I started getting bored with rehearsals after awhile. I tried but the boredom didn't start. Our songs are repetitive and we don't do anything to provide movement within the song (have a dynamic soloists, change keys, since a different section) for some many of the songs. It was nice that they invited a poet to fill bridge sections in two songs. That helped so much for those two songs. We didn't get an amazing turnout but for those that came they received a 1 hour concert and a full amazing meal for only R15-20! I ended up playing piano for the choir and did not sing because they needed a pianist. The temporary director made us play two songs when we were not prepared to do so. So we just messed around. It was ok. There was a marimba group that did an amazing job and they invited a music producer who was in town to play and he could really play the piano.

Two weekends ago I went to the Khayelitsha (a Cape Town township) Festival. It was great because it was the first of its kind and all the people with booths owned or ran Khayelitsha businesses or non-profits. There were no outside organizations (well almost none). It was amazing! I was really proud of them. They will judge how it went and decide whether or not to make it an annual event. I hope they include other townships and make it bigger because they all need the promotion and economic boost!

Before the Rains
Excellent movie for me. It's a suspense drama that deals with a white project manager
working in India in the 1930's who falls in love with his Indian domestic worker. Both of them are married. And what ensues is at the intersection of justice, honor, pride, shame, love, and culture. I hope it was not a true story. It's a bit sad, but good. I did not recognize any of the actors.

I don't recommend you see this. It's quite explicit. I stumbled in on this and didn't know what the movie was about. I think parts of explicit nature come about because the main characters have a severe sexual addiction and attend a support group for it, like NA or AA, but probably called SA? I'm not sure of the name. Anyway, the part I liked in the movie is the best friend who began a project in his community building something. And through the building

Oh the coolest thing with the arts these past 3-4 weeks was that there was a conference in Johannesburg about 4 weeks ago which included T. D. Jakes and Paula White. They had musical guests like Mary Mary, Yolanda Adams, Fred Hammond, and Israel Houghton. Well, Israel has some special link with Hillsong, so he came to Hillsong Cape Town the following week and did some music. I thought he was just going to lead the musical worship but they actually had him do a 1-hr musical set in place of the sermon and then added a short sermon (5-10 minutes). It was sooo good. I love Israel's music; he's one of a handful of minority (black kid [mixed] adopted by a white family who went to a Hispanic church he says) Christian songwriters whose songs are played in churches of all ethnicities. And that's a beautiful thing. Plus he really has a gospel base to his music and with his choir. I really miss that sound. I haven't come across anything as soulful as African-American gospel music. The power to emote is unbelievable.

People in South Africa have great voices according to Americans. They do. I think they are judging by an American aesthetic, though. South Africans are the Africans that to me sound the most like Americans when they sing. They even have a very similar vibrato. But when you travel to other places, the singing and vibrato style is more of a separate identity from the U.S., so much so that when I've seen African singers (who would be considered good in African countries other than South Africa) on American Idol, they are placed on the first show where people laugh at how bad they sound. It's a different idea of beauty, a different way to make vibrato, a different way of singing. But here they sound very much like they are leaning towards African-American gospel style. Because of this people think they sing really well which they do. But to me it's just an American influenced style.

But I love that style. And it was nice to have Israel and to hear that kind of music again. I miss it. We're trying to get my church more diverse. We'll see.

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