Monday, May 18, 2009

Swingle Singers

Several years ago the Swingle Singers appeared at one of Dunedin's Festivals of the Arts. My wife and I paid what seemed a very large amount of money to go and hear them, as the SS sound had been something I'd loved as a youth, when I first started collecting records.
I was a bit disappointed with the concert, even though the group (not the original group of course, which had long since gone its way) was utterly professional and polished and superb in their singing. I was disappointed because they didn't sing any of the famous Bach pieces that had made the group famous.
I was reminded of this because my wife bought me for my birthday last week a turntable that connects to the computer. Old records that haven't been heard in years can be put on it, with all their hisses and scratches, and turned into digital files. The turntable on its own is fine, but the advantage of being able to 'preserve' the sounds is a great addition.
A friend of ours has one that she got a few months back, and try as we might we couldn't get it to record onto her computer. To her frustration and ours. However, this time round, with some adjustments for 'this' and sortings out of 'that' we managed to record two tracks without disaster. (So we'll go down to our friend's place when I've finished with the play and see if we can finally get things humming at her end too.)
The Audacity program that we're using is a bit temperamental, but otherwise things are humming along fine.
The J B Priestly play is in its final week of rehearsal, and while most of the lines are in place, we all got a bit knocked by being on stage on Sunday afternoon, and having to contend not only with different furniture to that which we'd been rehearsing with, but also a different - and seemingly smaller - space. We'll get used to it (and the real door which we now have to open and close) but Saturday wasn't one of our great achievements.
Which reminds me of a couple of times back in 2007 when I wrote on this blog about mesothelioma. At the time I had no idea what it was, and had to go investigating. But when the word turned up in front of me again just now in a different context, I had no idea that I'd ever met it before (!) So much for all the learning that the brain enjoys that I talked about in one of those posts. Learning is fine; remembering is a task.
Incidentally, I don't think I've mentioned that one of the actors in this play (he plays Rev Mercer, the character I started out playing) was in a J B Priestly play that I had connections with back when I was probably only about 16. That play was An Inspector Calls and I think this actor played the father. I didn't have much to do with the production of the play; think I was mostly there because my best friend was involved in some way. But it was one of my first tastes of real drama, and I saw every performance. The actor and I were discussing the other day how few of the cast from that play were still alive: at least two of the women died quite young, and the Inspector himself may also be dead. The guy who played the young man has now had a stroke, and isn't well. The changes that 45 or so years bring!
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