Two Whole Quarters

 

On Friday, Verdigris was in two places at once. In simultaneous performances, two quartets were singing vastly different music in strikingly different spaces.

Jonathan, Katrina, Alex Bumpas, and I brought to life the well-known, beloved music of Leonard Bernstein in the light-filled American Art exhibit at the Dallas Museum of Art for the celebratory Late Night LGBTQ Pride event.

 From left: Alex, Jonathan, Katrina, and Erinn at the DMA. Photo: Anthony Laurienti

From left: Alex, Jonathan, Katrina, and Erinn at the DMA. Photo: Anthony Laurienti

In the somber darkness of one of Dallas’s historic theaters, Libby, Erin, Barrett, and David brought the experimental music of George Sarah’s film score off the page in a live-accompanied resurrection of the French 1920’s silent film The Passion of Joan of Arc.

 Verdigris quartet at bottom right. From left: Libby, Erin, David, Barrett. Photo: Dickie Hill

Verdigris quartet at bottom right. From left: Libby, Erin, David, Barrett. Photo: Dickie Hill

At the DMA performance, our quartet, accompanied by (the seriously amazing!) Samuel Gaskin, performed at 6:30 and 8:30 for audiences surprisingly rapt in the midst of milling crowds and music booming from other halls - a collective exercise in focus for all involved.

 The audience at our 8:30 performance watches intently as Jonathan performs. Photo: Sam Brukhman

The audience at our 8:30 performance watches intently as Jonathan performs. Photo: Sam Brukhman

As a preview of our Bernstein concert this coming fall, Sam created a 30-minute program that interspersed readings of Bernstein’s letters - especially correspondence between him, his wife, and his other romantic partners -  with solos from Bernstein’s art song repertoire and musicals. We finished the program with a quartet arrangement (thank you to the endlessly talented Alex Bumpas) of "One Hand, One Heart" from West Side Story.

 Me, with Samuel at the keyboard, performing the set of children's songs,  I Hate Music.  Photo: Anthony Laurienti

Me, with Samuel at the keyboard, performing the set of children's songs, I Hate Music. Photo: Anthony Laurienti

 Alex singing "It Must Be So" from  Candide.  Photo: Anthony Laurienti

Alex singing "It Must Be So" from Candide. Photo: Anthony Laurienti

The early arc of Bernstein’s marriage traces a difficult path that ultimately leads to companionate love as his wife, Felicia, accepts the fact that Bernstein is gay and unable to change this fundamental part of his life. Every face in the audience softened as Katrina read this letter of acceptance from Felicia and then sang "Somewhere" from West Side Story.

 
 Katrina capturing hearts. Photo: Anthony Laurienti

Katrina capturing hearts. Photo: Anthony Laurienti

 

We made some exciting connections at the DMA. Sam worked his networking magic, and we pulled more emails for our email list and more social media engagement from our scavenger hunt than we have at any event so far. 

 Jonathan wholeheartedly agreeing with whatever Alex is saying. Photo: Anthony Laurienti

Jonathan wholeheartedly agreeing with whatever Alex is saying. Photo: Anthony Laurienti

Just south of us at the Texas Theatre, the fearless quartet at the Oak Cliff Film Festival’s screening of The Passion of Joan of Arc sang the sweeping sounds of George Sarah’s new restoration film score along with an ensemble of strings and electronic music. Lauren acted as coordinator at that event. How grateful we are to have members able and willing to carry out the Verdigris mission in Sam’s absence.

  The Passion of Joan of Arc  at the Oak Cliff Film Festival. Photo: Dickie Hill

The Passion of Joan of Arc at the Oak Cliff Film Festival. Photo: Dickie Hill

I’ve gotten a taste of their experience through some recordings taken that night, and it sounds like it took lungs of iron and the counting prowess of a percussion player. Many of us gathered for celebratory libations and pizza after both events successfully wrapped, and both Barrett and David seemed thoroughly pleased with the performance and the overall “cool” factor of this particular project.

 Standing ovation at the close of the screening. Photo: Dickie Hill

Standing ovation at the close of the screening. Photo: Dickie Hill

 The ensemble of singers and string players along with George Sarah (center). Photo: Lauren Stroh

The ensemble of singers and string players along with George Sarah (center). Photo: Lauren Stroh

We are happy, proud, and thankful. Verdigris folk and the people we come across in performance are stretching the world of possibility ever wider.

In other news: hang out with us at Grub Burger on Thursday at our Arts Happy Hour. This month’s guest is Amy Bishop from WRR. We’ve seen so many good connections come about between visitors at these events. Come hobnob and enjoy a cold beverage. It will be a good and worthwhile time.

 
Erinn Sensenig