Three reasons why I’m done with Jesus

1. “Long Live the Pope”…. While I accept that being a musician means profiting from the church pockets, I choose not to participate in some parts of the mass, especially the Creed and the Prayers. The actual mass is fine with me as it’s through composed and real purty, and most of the time, in Anglican churches especially, the Hymns are really great, (and are really fun to analyze during sermons). However, yesterday I sang at a Roman Catholic Church and had to sing one verse of “Long Live the Pope”…(I spent the sermon creating my own verses- they involved birth control, abortion and Sodomy…)

2. The three burly cowboy hat wearing. TRUST JESUS pink triangle sign carrying protesters on the downtown 5 yesterday….

3. But THIS takes the cake. From Denton TX, Southern Baptist Biblical scholar Bruce Ware states “One reason that men abuse their wives is because women rebel against their husband’s God-given authority. And husbands on their parts, because they’re sinners, now respond to that threat to their authority either by being abusive, which is of course one of the ways men can respond when their authority is challenged–or, more commonly, to become passive, acquiescent, and simply not asserting the leadership they ought to as men in their homes and in churches”

WARNING LADIES: If you in any way try to assert your own opinion, you’ll be asking for a beating!!!

God, If I were in that congregation on Sunday morning, (and my parents ARE Southern Baptist, so I do occasionally attend their flavor of Jesus) I would absolutely have stood up and made some spectacle of myself. This article comes one week after McCain casually makes a joke about “not beating his wife anymore..” And while Ware points out that beating women is a sin, he also stresses that it’s women’s aggressiveness and refusal to submit that actually merits this type of abuse…. It’s the old “The woman made me do it!!!” excuse. Oddly fitting.

….a woman will demonstrate that she is in fact a Christian, that she has submitted to God’s ways by affirming and embracing her God-designed identity as–for the most part, generally this is true–as wife and mother, rather than chafing against it, rather than bucking against it, rather than wanting to be a man, wanting to be in a man’s position, wanting to teach and exercise authority over men,” Ware said. “Rather than wanting that, she accepts and embraces who she is as woman, because she knows God and she knows his ways are right and good, so she is marked as a Christian by her submission to God and in that her acceptance of God’s design for her as a woman.

WHY do women go to church????

Today! Make Music New York

Today is the 2nd Annual Make Music New York Festival…. there will be 800 live, Free outdoor concerts today spread across the city and boroughs… More info can be found on the main website, but highlights definitely include Newspeak at 6:30 pm at the Cornelia Street Cafe. (Take anything to the W4 stop)

We begin the set with David T. Little’s Sweet Light Crude, a grungy rock ballad about loving something you know you shouldn’t, and move on to a new composition of New Amsterdam founder Sarah Snider, This Is What You’re Like ,a sort of modern day Penelope, sung from the perspective of a wife who’s husband has returned from war and all the adjustments that come with, and we close the set with Frederic Rzewski’s Coming Together which you remember from our ‘loud enough to make Rezewski move to the back’ rendition from the Rzewski show in May. That piece is just intense, and that’s all there is to it. It’s gonna be a great show. Hope to see some of you there.

Newspeak at Cornelia Street Cafe- 6:30 pm
29 Cornelia St and W.4th, West Village

Sweet Light Crude- David Little
This is What You’re Like- Sarah Snider
Coming Together Fredereic Rzewski

David Broome, keyboard
Caleb Burhans, violin
Mellissa Hughes, vocals
Taylor Levine, guitar
David T. Little, drums
Brian Snow, cello
Yuri Yamashita, aux. percussion
Eileen Mack, clarinets

I’m still alive, and still burning as this lovely card that my bestest friend Kendra mailed to me from Illinois reminds me. It’s been a light blog month for me, as I was traveling, and I haven’t really had much to say recently…. being alone will do that to you I guess. Matt, the horn jock, is staying in Canada for another two weeks, but Gurf is moving into Bill’s room tomorrow, so there will be another soul this far south in the borough to convince me to leave my hobbit hole every once in a while and interact with civilization.

To update you, my blackberry trauma is over, temporarily. After telling T-Mobile that I would not be purchasing a THIRD blackberry in an 18 month time period I bought the crappiest, oldest SAMSUNG model they had in the store. This phone is soooooo old!! Like, it doesn’t receive picture texts old, and good old-school T9 did not know the word BLOG, and when I tried to type WAL-greens the other day, the predictive text recommended Y2K…. yeah, Y2K!!! But the Google phone is a-coming, and the i phone is so cheap now, I can hold out for a little while longer, right?? I’m not gonna lie to you, I miss some of the features, like my camera, and BB messenger, and Google Maps, my God I relied on that… yet I don’t miss looking at my phone every minute for texts and e-mails etc. When all is said and done, it’s kind of amazing what we can live without when push comes to shove.

I’ve been working for Classical Music Archives like crazy, cataloging and updating their database. Classical Music Archives will hopefully, someday, be a cross between i tunes and Grove Music. Right now I’m trudging my way through all the Handel Operas. There’s a lot of them. I’ve listened to more Fritz Wunderlich recently than any human being should ever be subjected to.

In real music news, this Saturday is Make Music New York!! The one day where musicians take over the streets and pollute the city with loud noise. Newspeak plays outside the Cornelia Street Cafe at 6:30pm. On the program is Rzewski’s Coming Together, Little’s Sweet Light Crude, and a new piece of Sarah Snider’s- This is What You’re Like. Come on out! it’s free, and I’m sure there will be lots of kids (like mine!) and balloons, and food and beer…. yes, beer.

Also, in between my cataloging and indulgent LOST re-viewing, I’ve made a muxtape. It’s pretty chill summer music. I could listen to it all day, but it may not be your cup of tea. Give it a listen here. Wow, how’s that for a recommendation? God, I sound so pathetic. Too much Fritzy will do that to you.

Back from Ojai

I left beautiful sunny and cool Cali yesterday morning, and arrived in the sticky humid pool that is NYC late last night. Oh my God!! this heat!!! the first thing I did after climbing the three floors to my apartment was to install the air conditioner.

So the Ojai Festival finished with a bang. Mad props to SIGNAL for a phenomenal opening concert Thursday night. 8 Lines and Daniel Variations went really well, despite some sound issues. So Percussion also offered up Nagoya Marimbas, and Four Organs, which, despite the legend stories of their premieres, I found really fascinating to listen to. The communication between the players was magical, and the M-Audio “organs” were awesome. As the patters got longer, the sample patches deteriorated, which was really cool. SIGNAL played with such intensity. Dare I say, the ladies of the string section played with the balls the Ojai Orchestra was lacking…I know, very unfeminist of me.

The thing about Reich’s music is that it is insanely difficult, and highly dependent on the mixing, which is why Steve usually mans the sound board. People come expecting to hear the same quality they get at home on their CD’s. That’s NEVER gonna happen, especially at an outdoor concert. For me, the kick out of watching his music, and live music in general, is the excitement and anticipation of something being created right before my eyes, especially something so inhumanly difficult! I say this because one snarky blogger commented on how he would rather keep his CD of the Daniel Variations. To that I say, you don’t come to a concert to hear great music, you come to see great music being performed, and with that comes all the good and the bad.

Sunday’s afternoon concert began with Steve Reich performing Clapping Music with Russ Hartenberger from NEXUS followed by two Ligeti Etudes expertly played by Eric Huebner, and Ionization with NEXUS and So Percussion. Ionization is not a piece you get to see too often, it takes a tremendous ensemble in skill and number, so seeing rockstars perform a monumental piece like Ionization was really thrilling. But the highlight to Sunday’s concerts was definitely Drumming, which Steve performed on also. I can’t even describe how truly awesome this piece is live, especially with NEXUS, the original performers, and So Percussion. I will echo another bloggers comment that it was sort of like watching the baton of minimalism being passed down from father to son.

The final concert came together somewhat, but not with any help from the festival orchestra. I had hoped that they would have a better stylistic understanding of the Baroque stuff, but no. the performance of the Pergolesi was pretty stale, despite great performances from Dawn Upshaw, who sounds great, and mezzo Kate Lindsay.

The orchestra did not get it together for the Tehillim. The strings were a mess, and missed a repeat in the second movement, and the winds missed an entrance. The singers had to ask where the monitors were, the sound guys were sitting on them!! We pulled it off, but David himself had to work really hard to keep the orchestra together, and he was seldom able to give cues to the singers. Lucky for him we were really on top of things, and obviously the percussion was amazing.

Not quite sure what to say about the orchestra. Pretty puzzling. On the east coast, most of my colleagues literally give up their day jobs to play this rep. This sort of unpreparedness just wouldn’t fly out here. Even more frustrating was the candid way that some of them joked about the difficulty of the piece, as in “the whole thing’s in four, right??” Har-har. If it were me, and I were performing a new piece, I’d check it out before I played it, it’s not like you can’t buy a recording on i tunes for .99, right? Oy.

ps Dawn Upshaw definitely encouraged us to skip the after party to get In and Out Burgers instead! How cool is she?

Ojai, the Adventure Begins

Well, I landed in Burbank CA yesterday and had my one and only rehearsal for Tehillim at the Colburn School in downtown LA. First impressions: it’s a little cooler here than I thought it would be, and not humid at all. (Don’t forget I’m an east coast girl.) I haven’t really had an authentic Californian meal, but I will say that the sushi I snacked on during my rehearsal was out of this world! and I just picked it up at a little deli.

Nexus kind of blows my mind. These guys have been playing Reich’s music forever, in fact they’re the ones that Steve wrote a chunk of music for. They’re really chill, and totally on it. One of the guys told me this was somewhere near his 80th Tehillim or something. The set-up is a little different than I’m used to- the percussionists are sitting, but I guess when you’ve played it 80 times you don’t exactly need to stand and deliver. They messed around with our placement too. Also, the voices and the organs are the only amplified instruments! I’m used to everyone being amplified, which makes sound checks a total nightmare! David Robertson said that when everything is amplified it just gets louder and louder and there’s no dynamic variation, and while I totally agree with that, it’s an outdoor concert, and the winds will already be fighting the outdoor heat, and then unamplified?? yikes!!

I will say one snarky thing: Tehillum is SIGNAL vocals with Nexus percussion augmented with two guys from So Percussion, plus the Ojai Festival Orchestra-a group of freelancers. I was kind of disappointed in the rehearsal last night. It seemed like a large number of the orchestra hadn’t even cracked the score before the rehearsal- key signature changes completely not observed, repeats and da capo’s totally missed… the strings in particular just never really dug in to the sound. So, we were subjected to this rinse and repeat rehearsal technique so they could kind of get it together. It was pretty frustrating, but luckily David gave the vocalists permission to mark. With the exception of the percussion and the vocals (which definitely brought the fire and brimstone to the rehearsal) it was the most passive playing of Reich’s music I’ve ever observed- and btw- they were all MEN. (and how often are the vocalists the ones with their shit together???)

I know, I’m being kind of harsh, and this is a pick-up orchestra, and Tehillim is only one of ten pieces they will play, (also on this concert is Pergolesi) Contrary to the SIGNAL people, these guys don’t eat sleep and breathe to play this rep… but still, stylistic nuances aside, I kinda hope they get down to business before Sunday’s final concert.

Ok, I’m off to get “Bad Ass Coffee” and explore the beach, which is not even 100 yards away from my hotel. Tonight I’ll be at the SIGNAL concert, (Four Organs, Drumming, Nagoya Marimbas and Daniel Variations) where my colleagues will crack this festival wide open!! (and we have girls in our band……)

Breaking News

You may remember a post that I did on Mother’s Day weekend concerning the Iraqi daughter who was beaten and suffocated to death at the hands of her father in Basra. Her crime was speaking to a British soldier.

Her mother, who divorced the husband, and had her arm broken when she attempted to leave, was gunned down this morning as she exited a car. The women’s rights groups she was helping was trying to smuggle her into Jordan.


Previously on Mellysblog: Mother in Mourning