Doing Research in the 21st Century

by Ron Squeri, February 2008 guest blogger

Athough this is not an exhaustive guide, it hopefully may be a good starting point. Automation, the internet and search engines have expanded the music research process. I recently was helping a fellow cabaret singer with some research on a new show she was thinking about putting together.

The theme for the show had to do with songs that a particular character sings in musical theater. (no, I am not going to give it away)

Using my computer, and my itunes library, (which I do have to admit is extensive in the musical theater genre), I listed every musical theater show for which I had a CD (over 500 CDs). I then called for some assistance from Mr. “Google with Glasses” (it helps to have a spouse like this in the house.) We went over the list, highlighting those shows that we thought might fit the criteria. Then I proceeded to put the list in a very safe spot in the house.

After two weeks of looking for the list, this morning, it magically appeared. (Thank you gremlins). In just three short hours, using Google, Yahoo!, Gracenote, Wikipedia, Amazon, iTunes, and Sheetmusicplus, I had verified the list of shows, found the names of the characters matching the criteria, and got a smattering of songs that the character sang in the show. Before the advent of the searching technology, this would have taken months to research, and I did it all this morning, sitting in my gym shorts and t-shirt, sipping diet coke. (alright, this may have been too much information, for a number of you, but it IS a blog, and at least there are no pictures.)

I have to tell you, the one source that I found amazingly useful was Wikipedia. It sees that even the more obscure shows, some that only had 7 performances, are listed with lots of useful information. Of course, as always, you have to be very careful about the validity of the information that is on these websites, since the information can be entered by just about anybody. But for initial research, and to get a high-level song list for a show, it beats going to the library, and searching periodicals. At least for me it does.

Signing off,

Ron

Advertisements

Wendy Lane Bailey’s Master Class has been postponed

The “Words and Music” master class being taught by Wendy Lane Bailey and Laurel Masse’ has been postponed to March 15, 2008, due to inclement weather. Wendy reports that because of the date change, there are still a few openings. So if you were thinking about going but couldn’t get in, now may be your chance.

The cost of the class is $150, there is a 10% discount for Cabaret Network and WAMA members. To reserve your space or find out more about the class please contact Park Road Management at parkroadmanagement@verizon.net, or call (646)831-0359. To find out more about Laurel Masse and Wendy Lane Bailey visit their websites www.laurelmasse.com and www.wendylanebailey.com .

Next Open Mic set for March 10th

 microphone.gif

Please join us at our next Open Mic Night on Monday, March 10, 2008. Mary Sugar will be at the keyboard. Sign-up starts at 7:30; singing starts at 8:00. This all takes place at the Warehouse Theater.

Putting a Song on its Feet

lips-microphone.jpg
by Ron Squeri, February 2008 guest blogger

You have just heard someone sing this terrific song either on the radio, on a CD, on TV, in a movie, in a show or just heard it being sung by someone on the street, and you say, “Wow, I love that song, I want to give that one a try.” What are your next steps? You either find the sheet music for the song, or find someone to transcribe it from a recording. (Of course, if you get it transcribed, you have that performer’s arrangement of the song, not necessarily the original music or lyrics, so be careful.)

Now, you do at least some of your homework. You learn the lyrics and melody of the song. You find your correct key for the music. You study the lyrics and made decisions on your interpretation of the song, finding the nuances that make the piece your own. (Of course this is a given, but I can’t help to reinforce the process) Well, what’s the next step? You have to run it up the flagpole and see if someone salutes. Read the rest of this entry »

February ’08 Open Mic report…

…from the generous pen of Michael M. over at Miyazaki Cabaret Update. Thanks Michael!

Did You Catch Our Third Members-only Showcase?

In case you missed it, Michael Miyazaki has the complete rundown over at Miyazaki Cabaret Update.

Don’t Miss “Cookin’ at the Cookery”

cookinlogo_web.jpg

By Ron Squeri, February 2008 guest blogger

Folks, if you haven’t been to MetroStage to see “Cookin’ at the Cookery”, make your reservations NOW. I saw it last night, and it rocked. It is a book-show about “The Music and Times of Alberta Hunter“. I am ashamed to say that I never recall listening to Ms. Hunter’s recordings, but I will start to soon. I will not ruin the show for you by giving you a synopsis, you can look at other reviews for that, but sagfe to say, it is a well-written, and admirably performed book show about this jazz singer’s life and career. It is also a study in what I believe is a beautiful melding of the cabaret experience and musical theatre.

I usually have a difficult time connecting with a jazz singer, partly due to my lack of understanding of the genre, and the jazz performer’s usual emphasis on style, and rhythm over lyric and storytelling. Both Jackie Richardson, and Janice Lorraine told excellent and compelling stories last night using the jazz idiom.

Again, this is a show not to be missed. It runs until March 9.