Christmas in June
Music, Fun, Culture Define JNaT
With recent news that Clay Aiken will pen a Christmas book, the Carolina blog's "virtual tour" bus hit the road for a look back at the musical, comedic, and educational highlights of the December 2006 Joyful Not a Tour.
IN REMEMBRANCE -- With grateful acknowledgement for the music and life of Michael Jackson (1958 -2009), thoughts and prayers are with family, friends, and fans of the King of Pop.
Memorable vocals are a given when Clay & Company are on stage. The singer's genuine gift for bantering with audiences assures spontaneity, humor, and grins. The educational segments of the holiday symphony tour were Clay's nightly lessons of "fancy Eye-talian" musical terms.
To relive the three-week tour, start with the first of Chardonnay's "Best of NACT Banter" montages. After viewing the opener, link to all 12 NACT videos at her YouTube Channel. The initial montage merges videos by Scarlett and jojoct from the Waukegan and Merrilville concerts.
Best of NACT Banter, Part 1 - Montage by Chardonnay
Snow Greets Tour Opener
Winter storms arrived in the Midwest for the opening curtain; but Clay, musical director Jesse Vargas, and the touring crew were soon treated to more pleasant weather as the entourage made their way up and down the eastern seaboard Dec. 1 - 23, entertaining audiences on many levels.
Throughout the 2006 holiday tour, Clay returned to the classroom and taught fans a new musical term at each concert. The performances were beamed throughout Cyberspace, so the nightly lessons benefited fans in the theater as well as those listening at home.
The 18 musical terms introduced to JNaT audiences are listed below. With few exceptions, Clay's cousin Jamie walked across the stage holding up a sign bearing the name of the evening's "Eye-talian" term.
Violinist Shares Backstage Scenes
Since Greensboro is home base for me, I have played gigs with several of the symphony members performing in the final concert. The morning after the concert I talked with Jean, a violinist, about the orchestra's interaction with my favorite singer.
According to my friend, the Greensboro musicians really enjoyed working with Clay, who was "personable, professional, and lots of fun" during their rehearsal and dinner.
He arrived in last half hour of the rehearsal and started singing where they were, checking sound and warming up. "He was very involved with the orchestra and sang to us during the rehearsal," she said.
My friend was surprised to learn the concert was beamed via cellcert throughout the US and Canada. As with most orchestras, Greensboro's JNaT audience was definitely out of the norm for symphony musicians.
Orchestra Players Pick Term
During dinner, Clay explained about the "musical term of the night" and asked for the orchestra's assistance in choosing an unusual definition. Every word they suggested had been used. Jean even knew about the "made up" term at the West Point Concert. When concertgoers began bringing music dictionaries to look up correct answers, Clay and crew "created" a term.
Talking amongst themselves, the Greensboro string section came up with flagioleto or flagioletto, which means "playing overtones with a slide touch of the string in the points where it is divided in two, three, and four equal parts." In the music, this is indicated with an "o" over the note.
A more recognizable description might be "playing harmonics." Basically, this happens by barely pressing the string while bowing versus firmly pressing the string on the fingerboard and bowing. The violin section demonstrated both sounds very effectively.
As with all concerts, Clay plugged the Greensboro Symphony's next performance, which was slated for Dec. 31. "What are you doing New Year's Eve?" he hinted to the local audience. "I'm not singing, just asking," he quipped, referencing the popular track on his 2004 Christmas CD, Merry Christmas With Love.
PHOTO INTERLUDE: The JNaT's final leg escorted Clay home for the holidays. Clickables from the tour's closing concerts are by photographers xxx4clay (1), All4Clay (2), Simonncharge (3), and ClaysCharlotteGirl (4), Greensboro; PinkCocoa/Ztilb (5, 6), Charlotte; and Clayzthe1, Norfolk, when Clay danced with his mother while singing "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?" (7).
JNaT Terms Educate Audiences
Musical terms for the nightly pedagogical segments of the 2006 tour are listed below. How many do you remember?
1. CRESCENDO (Merrillville) - Soft to loud.
2. DECRESCENDO (Merrillville) - Loud to soft.
3. FERMATA (Verona) - Held note.
4. SFORZANDO (Engelwood) - A sudden burst of sound on a chord.
5. TREMOLO (Baltimore) - Tremble; a string player shakes his bow reeeeaaal fast on the string for effect such as in scary music. Another set of definitions: (a) A tremulous effect produced by rapid repetition of a single tone. ( b) A similar effect produced by rapid alternation of two tones. A tremolo performed on a piano would be two notes one octave apart played in rapid succession, i.e., low E high E low E high E.
6. PIZZICATO (Norfolk) - I-talian (™CHA) term meaning "pinching." It is used for string instruments to indicate that the strings must be pinched instead of playing with the bow.
7. COL LEGNO (Williamsport) - "Playing with wood"!!! Bwah!!!
8. PONTICELLO (Wilkes Barre) - Playing close to the bridge of a stringed instrument
9. GLISSANDO (Easton) - Rapid scale passage produced by sliding over keys or strings, e.g. piano, harp, violin, trombone.
10. BISBIGLIANDO (Hartford) – Whispering, i.e., a special tremolo effect on the harp where a chord or note is rapidly repeated at a low volume. A fluttering of the strings of the harp.
11. FLUTTER TONE (Greenvale/Long Island) -- Jaimie's sign showed 'flutter-tone,' but the terms dictionary had 'flutter-tongue.' In wind instruments, a "coloristic" effect produced by the performer rolling "R" sound while playing.
12. MALLANCAZZIO (West Point) - Playing with the mouthpiece only. (The night of the MADE UP term!)
13. RALLENTANDO (RAL-lin-TAHN-doe) (Red Bank) - A directive to perform a certain passage of a composition with a gradual slowing of the tempo
14. SCORDATURA (skor-dah-TOOR-rah) (Detroit) - The practice of tuning the strings of a stringed instrument differently than the standard tuning. Scordatura is generally used to extend an instrument's range, or to make certain passages easier or more possible to perform; it is also used to achieve certain special effects. Scordatura was popular between 1600 and 1750, and is used rarely now.
15. MARCATO (Grand Rapids) - With strong accentuation, strongly accented.
16. SALTANDO (Jacksonville) - Proceeding in leaps or skips. In bowed string playing, a saltando is a technique of bouncing the bow across the strings, producing a rapid, staccato arpeggio.
17. TACET (Charlotte) - Don’t Play. An indication in the music that a performer is to be silent for some time. Typically, for an entire section or movement of a composition.
18. FLAGIOLETO (Greensboro) - Playing overtones with a slide touch of the string in the points where it is divided in two, three, and four equal parts. In the music, this is indicated with an "o" over the note. A more recognizable description might be "playing harmonics." Basically, this happens by barely pressing the string while bowing versus firmly pressing the string on the fingerboard and bowing. The violin section demonstrated both sounds very effectively.
Hope you enjoyed the JNaT rewind. No doubt, we will hit the virtual tour trail again; so keep your bags packed.
Have a great weekend, Clay Nation!
TECHNORATI TAGS: Clay Aiken, 2006 Joyful Not a Tour, montage, musical terms, backstage, Greensboro, Merry Christmas with Love, What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?, Michael Jackson, Official Fan Club, Clay Nation