Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Serenade! Choral Festival

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For the past three years, my boyfriend and I have attended the Serenade! Choral Festival at the Strathmore. Actually, we met there in 2013, so now we consider it our "anniversary" and go every year.

However, this year we were very disappointed. In the past, there were mostly adult singing groups, and there was an emphasis on a capella performances, which I think are amazing. But this year, there were mostly children's groups, and they were choirs rather than a capella. I don't care for children's groups: I personally don't like their voices, and I'm not as impressed because they haven't worked for years to perfect their voices like adults have. And choirs (in general) sing religious songs, which just aren't my cup of tea unless I'm in church (which is pretty much never). So to me, the whole afternoon was a wash.
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The only group I really enjoyed watching was Eya. These three women have amazing voices, and I was very impressed. Since they are based in Washington, DC, I hope I can see them perform again sometime!

I realize that this is a singing performance and not a fashion show, but as a very visual person, I did NOT like the outfits of almost all of the groups. What were they thinking?! Here are some examples:

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These are the girls from Pro Musica-Magnolia from Slovakia. While they had great energy and were the most fun group to watch with their choreography, I was not a fan of the garish outfits they had to wear. Those bright colors! Eek! Maybe they looked cute on the little girls, but for those in high school, the dresses just looked like cheap, ill-fitting costumes.

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This is the Los Angeles Children's Chorus. Who wears sweater-vests anymore (especially in California)? The girls had it even worse than the boys: while the boys got to wear regular ties, the girls had to clip these stupid rosettes to their collars. Ew. And I couldn't help but cringe when they all put on sunglasses and started singing a choral version of "It Don't Mean a Thing." It was a very weird arrangement, and just an odd song for this type of group to sing.

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These outfits aren't even as bad as what the Transfiguration Choir of Boys and Girls actually wore on Sunday. They all had black robes on with white frilly collars underneath their necks. What is up with that?! Elizabethan collars on children? And might I add that pretty much none of these children were smiling during the performance; none of them looked happy! My guess is they were all recruited for the choir but don't actually want to be a part of it or like to sing. I was also appalled to learn that the church they are linked to ("The Little Church Around the Corner") allows the boys choir to sing five out of every six weeks, while the girls choir only performs once out of every six weeks. How unfair is that?!

Three of the groups featuring older women (40's and up) wore dresses that were NOT flattering at all. You could see every lump and bump, bra strap and Spanx.Who picked out those unforgiving fabrics?! They should pick outfits that flatter all body types, especially when you're going to be on stage in front of hundreds of people!

And might I add that there was a lack of organization of this final program on Sunday. There weren't enough programs for everyone, the groups did not perform in the correct order, and some songs were scrapped from the performance and other ones were added. The whole point of a program is that all of us know who's performing, what they're singing, and when the whole show will reach intermission and end. So when you mix everything up, the audience gets lost and doesn't know what's going on. That confusion takes away from the [potential] enjoyment of the show. You have a script: you should stick to it.

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