DCS Earworms

Aren’t they annoying, though? It’s OK to think of a song or a jingle or a melody a few times, but after hundreds of times I get pretty tired of them.

Sometimes they just slowly fade away. Occasionally I can get them out of my brain by consciously thinking another song several times, but that has its own dangers. I remember a few years ago having an earworm replay “Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier” for several weeks. I liked the song when I was a kid, but not enough to reprise it as an adult over and over again.

I’ll bet that most of us have to tolerate these persistent music memories. I have a friend who told my church choir director that even though she missed rehearsal, she would do a good job on Sunday’s anthem because she had rehearsed it in her brain for the past week.

That happens to me a lot since I sing in two choirs and listen to a lot of recordings at home. I know that we should try to live our lives with a song in our hearts, but it would be nice to be able to turn one off in our minds.

I hope that after you hear the music in our next Opus 24 concert, you will have some of our choral pieces become pleasant earworms for you. It is as if Opus is getting free advertising in your head. I’d like to know a little bit about your earworms, so share your stories with me if you would like. Just don’t get them started in MY head.

Bill Horton
President
Decatur Choral Society

Elgin

This spring semester we had 2 additional performances outside of Decatur as well as our spring concert in town. I have to admit, initially, I wasn’t too enthusiastic about a Sunday concert 3 hours from home. I love to sing and to be a part of Opus, but idea of committing an entire Sunday…YIKES.. Could I maintain a positive attitude?

Let me begin by saying that I had so much fun on the journey with my fellow 2nd altos. The ride in the car allowed for lively conversation and much laughter. Rehearsals are focused primarily on the music and not so much on the relationships, which is how it should be. For me, this element of building relationships helps me to become a more “sensitive” listener. I believe that becoming a more sensitive listener in turn allows me to become a more attentive choir member.

I arrived in Elgin with a positive mindset. The venue was lovely… a library…the acoustics not so favorable but the looming question for me was….will there be an audience?

After a short warm up, the doors opened and the people arrived. All kinds of people young and old….and in the front row a family with a few children. Opus concerts are not top billing for children which is a shame; there is something magical about live performances. The room filled with eager listeners and the performance began.

After the last song, we processed out into the lobby area… and as I passed the family in the front row I heard the young boy say…”One day I want to sing like that!” and the mother replied “You will.”

OK it was worth committing an entire Sunday….

by Kristine Hansen

 

Stephen Foster, American Composer

Stephen Foster is the composer of some of our best-known ballads and folksongs. A medley of his songs, including Beautiful Dreamer, Jeannie with the Light Brown Hair, Camptown Races, Oh, Susannah, and My Old Kentucky Home is featured on Opus 24’s Of Thee I Sing concert on May 13, 2014.

Foster grew up in Pittsburgh and composed some of his most popular songs between 1850 and 1856. He was influenced by traveling minstral shows and family troupes. His songs have staying power because they are simple and easy to remember. But also, they hold the position, along with African – American spirituals, as completely indigenous folksongs.

Foster’s ballads are among the most beautiful English language folksongs. His nonsense songs and homesick plantation songs evoke a true American expression. “Foster’s songs are full of the spirit of pioneers, full of the carefree impertinence that snaps it fingers at fate and the universe. Unconsciously, and without any attempt to be a nationalist, Stephen Foster wrote into his songs the subtle traits that characterize Americans.”

(This article is based on the forward to “A Treasury of Stephen Foster” by Deems Taylor.)

By Carmen Dunn