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Musical workshop

Cindy Tonkin - August 2, 2008

No idea which curse is over. This is a small fabric piece (maybe 10 cm across) glued to a lamppost. The fine print mentions supporting local artists. There is a purely decorative safety pin at the top.

Spent this morning at the Art Institute of Chicago. I went 2 weeks ago but only had 45 minutes.

Today I had 1.5 hours (about my limit at a museum anyway). I saw 27 miniature rooms – some society dame commissioned and managed a project to create American, European and even Chinese and Japanese rooms. So they were 1 inch to 1 foot replicas of dining rooms, drawing rooms, libraries.

The coolest thing about them was that although the focus was on one room, the other rooms which led to it were also fully furnished. Sort of like a back story. So you’d see the conservatory off the dining room (but only through the doorway), or the front hallway, or even the garden through the window. Much like when James and I visited mansions in Connecticut, what they showed you was ok, but what you could glimpse was even more enticing!!

Also saw some cool photography and the impressionist works I missed last time (gotta love The Monet).

Having done the architecture tour and begun a book about the architects of the 1893 world’s fair, some of the architectural features displayed at the Institute had more meaning (grilles, iron lace, windows).

And I found 3 Joseph Cornell boxes in the Children’s section!!

This afternoon’s improv was a musical workshop. Nine students (there was an enrolment fiasco which demonstrates yet again that good improvisors do not always make good improvisors).

The session leader was Dave Asher, who worked in Boom Chicago in Amsterdam (and Josie O’Reilly was the first director he worked for!!).

He is now the resident musician at iO. They have a musical team called the Delltones, which I am yet to see.

He shared their format with us; basically
1. ask-for generates an all-in moving tableau
2. Someone in the tableau sings a chorus (it could be as simple as “drip drip drip” or more complex) and others join in
3. That number plays (chorus, verse, chorus, verse, bridge, chorus)
4 scene 1 begins (using some chorus verse etc format)
5 scene 2
6 scene 3

I imagine they do a second or third beat on those scenes (we only did 20 min sets). And finally

7. Closing number, which ideally brings the themes together

We did a closing today which was basically a madrigal featuring the choruses from the opening and 3 scenes – Dave said he’d never seen it before… And of course he will never see it again!

Warm up games: given a suggestion (eg diamond), create a whole group sound “picture” (with few words if any).

An articulation warm up: Many mumbling mice are making midnight music in the moonlight mighty nice. It’s on a minor chord and plays around on 135 of the scale (I could put it on a stave if I had one – I think the tune is less important – just improvise one which repeats).

Ended on blues: the words go:
All: Oh X I got the blues (where X is the ask for)
Player: Line 1
All: Oh X I got the blues
Player: rhymes with line 1
All: repeat rhyming line.

Phil Willis did something similar with us, but it’s always good to expand the repertoire!!

Off to a couple of shows now!!

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