Marathon Singing Today

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For anyone who appreciates outstanding music, please join the community at Nassau Presbyterian Church (at the top of Palmer Square) anytime from 11 am Tuesday, January 31 (yes, that’s today) to 11 am Wednesday, February 1. Westminster Choir College is one of Princeton’s crown jewels, and we cannot afford to lose it to the Lawrenceville campus of Rider University. The musical equipment, the recital rooms and even the culture simply cannot be duplicated in another location.

There is no cost to attend, and you won’t be asked to do anything but enjoy — John F. Kelsey. 

Here is the back story: 

Marathon Performance To Save Westminster Choir College’s Princeton Campus 

Hundreds of performers including dozens of choirs, prominent opera voices, quartets, organists, pianists, students, alumni and other members of the music world who support Westminster Choir College will hold a 24-hour marathon choir performance on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 11 a.m. at the 180 year old Nassau Presbyterian Church located at 61 Nassau Street in Princeton. The performance will last through Wednesday morning.

The marathon performance will be held so the performers, who will come from throughout the New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia areas, can show their opposition to Rider University’s plan to close Westminster Choir College’s Princeton campus and consolidate all students onto the Lawrenceville campus. It is being considered in order to avoid a possible $13.1 million deficit by 2019.

“The announcement has outraged current Westminster students, parents and alumni because the historic Princeton campus is unique in the world in preparing performing artists for the rigors of concert halls, classrooms and recording studios,” the Coalition to Save Westminster College said in a release announcing the event. “Over the last 90 years, Westminster Choir College choirs have performed with premier orchestras and conductors, welcoming the likes of Arturo Toscanini, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Leopold Stokowski, Eugene Ormandy, Leonard Bernstein, Seiji Ozawa, Zubin Mehta, Kurt Mazur, and Yannick Nézet-Séguin.”

Rider University first announced this possibility in December. After that, the coalition was formed. Additionally, a change.org petition that has launched, known as Keep Rider University’s Westminster Choir College Campus in Princeton Open, and there is a Keep Westminster Choir College in Princeton Facebook group.

Earlier this month, the coalition made its case to the Princeton Historic Preservation Committee that the Princeton campus is worthy of historic designation.

“At a time when arts, music and theatre programs are being threatened across the United States, this ninety year old institution which has trained many of our nation’s leading artists cannot be allowed to become a victim of the accountant’s balance sheet,” the coalition said in its statement issued this week. The final decision, expected next month, may come at a later date.

Please do not respond to this…but attend if you care about music.

Very sincerely

John F. Kelsey, III

 

 

My response to the refugee order

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This T shirt dates from 2014, when the Princeton YWCA held a town-wide outdoor demonstration for Stand Against Racism Day.

How many refugees have been arrested for plotting terrorism? According to this source, THREE.

“Two were not planning an attack on the United States and the plans of the third were barely credible.”

That’s what you reply when you hear someone say “POTUS is trying to protect us.”

What Princeton connection can justify a political rant on this blog?  Today, in protest, I am wearing my T shirt purchased in 2014 for the Princeton YWCA’s Stand Against Racism demonstration. The Princeton YWCA STARTED this national trend. They hosted successful, well-supported demonstrations in 2013, and 2012, 2011 and 2010.

In recent years the YWCA has sometimes refocused its Stand Against Racism commitments, favoring breakfasts for those-in-the-know with discussions facilitated by members of Not in Our Town Princeton.  Last year it co-sponsored a demonstration.

Yes,  breakfast meetings may help individuals delve more deeply into their own feelings and this can help conquer racism. But I suggest that this is the year for the Princeton YWCA to sponsor a more visible demonstration. Here are the first words on its website:

At the YWCA Princeton, we know we must remain bold and iconic in our mission! We continue to eliminate racism…

There will be people who voted for Trump who belong to the Princeton YWCA,  but surely “standing against racism” can be a bipartisan effort.

 

 

Hinted accusation?

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Gioacchino Rossini, composer of “The Barber of Seville” in 1815

First a mere insinuation, just a hinted accusation, slowly growing to a rumor, which will shortly start to flow.

What began as innuendo Soon is swelling in crescendo; Gossip turning into scandal, Stopping nowhere hard to handle… 

Those lines were written 200 years ago for Rossini’s “Barber of Seville,” illustrating how to use slander or calumney (calunnia, in Italian) to ruin a rival’s reputation.
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I saw the fabulous South African coloratura Pretty Yende in this opera at the Met today and couldn’t help comparing compare the aria The Art of Slander, sung by Basilio, to “alternative facts.” And to the Tea Party’s slandering of Obama. And to “fake news,” like what inspired a guy to bring a rifle to a DC pizza parlor.
Other writers have been noticng the same thing.

From the start of Obama’s administration, there were rumors he was a Muslim, not an American citizen, that he was a racist, and worst of all, a socialist. These rumors were repeated and used to fan the fire of the ill-will of people who were quite legitimately upset with what had happened to the country. However, the calumny was used to target a president who had nothing to do with what got us here, and it has been used to fan the hatred against him, disrespect him, and do the absolute opposite of what he’s trying to do to fix the economy. All in all, it’s quite cynical.

Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Rick Perry, and Rick Santorum all must have have taken a lesson from Rossini’s The Barber of Seville. (From the Musical Almanac). 

This exciting production continues at the Met through February 11. Here are the complete lyrics and here is the video of Samuel Ramey in Rossini’s “La Calumnia” Start at Minute Two.

What can we do in the 21st century to keep calumny from being effective?

Reports and Antidotes

 

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“Reconciliation by Vasoncellos. Photo by Martinvl, couresty Wikimedia Commons

 

On the way to the dentist, outside the Princeton Ballet School studio, I encountered a distraught dancer. She said she can’t stand to listen to the news but needs to know what’s happening. So — Susan — this is for you.

Keep up with what’s happening without depressing yourself.  By limiting your news to weekly reports,.you can safely plug your ears to most of the noise, for the sake of mental stability, and still not miss everything.

Think Progress.org promises to summarize all actions taken in the White House every Friday. The snark content is milder than my Twitter feed. It ends with a delicious segment from Samantha Bee.

Politico also offers weekly emails, for the White House and for New Jersey.  They are a roundup of this digital news organization’s  reported stories — more information but more overwhelming.

Online, Washington Week, even without Gwen Ifill, helps me see the big picture without triggering stress.

Mental stability?  Here is a “how to” article on how to achieve it, “Finding Healing and Peace in a Polarized Political Climate.”  It’s from the national organization of the United Methodist Church to which I belong. 

Many of the same hints come from a just-published blog on Medium, by Mirah Curzer, titled “How to Stay Outraged Without Losing Your Mind: Self Care Lessons for the Resistance.

  • Spend a significant amount of time not thinking about Trump and all the work that has to be done. Do not get used to Trump — get away from him.
  • If you want to be effective on anything, pick an issue or two that matter most to you and fight for them. Let the others go.
  • Resolve to do something small every day, without fail. Play to your strengths. Make activism fun.
  • Take care of yourself: exercise, sleep, time with friends, get outside. “Make your bed. Seriously, it takes like two minutes max and makes such a difference.
  • Oh, and call your mother, if you can.”

All this said, it’s hard not to check my Twitter feed.

 

Not Powerpoint, Not Beers after Work

 

Driving without a GPS is like speaking without ———- (fill in the blank). So says Eileen Sinett, speech coach. Details in her column here.  Sinett offers presentation training. 

To have an effective team, it’s more important for everyone to feel comfortable in raising difficult issues than for team members to take satisfaction in their work. So says Rita McGrath, who offers a workshop on effective ways to build teams on Tuesday, January 31. 

Weekend Reader: ‘Our New Head of State’

I like this composite article about Trump because it cites and links the original sources.

Why does it fit on “Princeton” comment? I met the author, Maxwell Anderson,maxwell at Princeton University’s EQuad, at the Friend Center a couple of years ago. When I find the picture and can remember exactly what event, I’ll post it, but he’s worth reading.

Each week, for this ‘deep thinker’s guide to modern culture,’ he draws from multiple sources to summarize a different topic. What is his business model? That’s another story.  

The White House’s ‘Letter Underground’

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Fiona Reeves, photo by Damon Winter

“Fiona Reeves was in her early 30s, unadorned, the kind of person who wore her professionalism earnestly: a well-practiced posture, a sensible maroon dress, sensible flats. You could imagine her becoming dean of a really hard liberal-arts college one day. She grew up in a house loud with conversation about the way government works — her father is the presidential historian Richard Reeves. She had wanted a career in publishing, not politics. She went to Duke, studied public policy and African and African-American studies, and then came Obama.”

Reeves is a Duke alumna, which is why I get to refer to this article on this blog because I am as well. She was in charge of the Office of Presidential Correspondence (OPC), described in this New York Tunes article by Jeanne Marie Laskas. It will stick with you, like the letters the OPC compiled for Obama. Read it and be glad for the Obama years.

Accelerating Team Effectiveness: McGrath

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Reduce friction to accelerate the progress of your team, says Rita McGrath, known for her savvy in connecting research to business problems.Her Valize team presents a morning workshop on Tuesday, January 31, in Lawrence.

Says McGrath: Most team effectiveness assessments focus on the level of satisfaction of team members. However, research has shown that there is not a strong correlation between satisfaction and team performance. During this 2-hour workshop, we will focus on five important elements that have great impact on the effectiveness of team performance. 

 Bring your team, she says, and you’ll leave with ‘actionable results.’

Find out the five elements and more about this workshop. 

Princeton’s Got Innovation

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Thirty thousand grand will be on the line on Wednesday, February 15, at the Innovation Forum organized by Princeton University’s Keller Center. Participants present their research in a three-minute “elevator pitch” to the audience and a panel of judges. Simon Cowell’s got nothing on this show!

Register to come and watch the excitement.  You get to see inside the Andlinger Center and there’s networking and refreshments afterward.