Sunday, December 06, 2009

Aiken Fans Board 'Virtual Tour' Bus

HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS -- Clay Aiken celebrates the finale of the Joyful Not a Tour with a performance in Greensboro two days before Christmas 2006. Photo by Shine in NC.

Vaulted Videos Celebrate Season

Music, Fun, Culture Define JNaT

Even though there are no Joyful Noise dates scheduled for 2009, Clay Aiken fans have enough videos in the vault from previous years to celebrate the holiday season with December rewinds.

The Carolina blog's "virtual tour" bus hits the road for a look back at the musical, comedic, and educational highlights of the December 2006 Joyful Not a Tour.

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 wound up and down the eastern seaboard Dec. 1 - 23, entertaining audiences on many levels.

Cousin Jamie Displays Word
Clickable by Cotton

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.

CAROLINA CROONER -- Clay dazzled the Greensboro audience and symphony musicians during the final JNaT concert. Photo by xxx4clay links to Spotlightlover's "Mary Did You Know?" video.

Violinist Shares Backstage Scenes

Since Greensboro is home base for me, I frequently play 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 during the 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.

Jean 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. Keep your bags packed; with vaults full of Clay Aiken Christmas performances, our bus will hit the virtual tour trail several times this holiday season!

Have a wonderful new week, Clay Nation!


fgs said...

The 2006 Christmas tour was my favorite of all the Christmas tours. Funny, witty, and think on his feet Clay was at his best in the banter for the tour.

Pictures are very nice. Loved his look during that tour.

MissSally said...

I missed the 2006 Christmas tour; my city was not on the schedule. Thankfully, we had our wonderful clack gatherers.
Every time I read those terms, I get hungry for Italian food :).

It was a great tour.

Sandy said...

The pictures you posted of this tour have done me in for the night! He is such a gorgeous man! I remember this tour so much as he was so funny and spontaneous with the audience! Anita and I saw him at the Turning Stone Casino in Verona just outside Syracuse!
Thanks for this virtual tour and has it been three years already!!!!

Have a great week!


gerra said...

Love it. Great blog! The virtual tour bus is a great idea. I'll definitely be catching every show.

clayam said...

Lovely pictures of Clay Aiken, and nice memories of the JNT.


Thanks Caro. God knows that Jnat concert is one of the concerts of Clay Aiken, that I had wanted to attend with all my heart. One of my favorite concerts, plus Clay looked so beautiful with that look.

The fans that we could not attend this concerts, as well as the international fans, we are very fortunate for Clack. Thank you to all the fans for these beautiful videos.

Thanks for your blog. I enjoyed it very much.


MAE said...

Thanks for this part of virtual tour! Love all the pictures, especially Clay and his mom! I'll be watching for more. Just great!!

Ashes said...

What a wonderful virtual tour of Clay Aiken at Christmas. This fan is so grateful for the clack of this and all the Clay concerts -- always a delightful experience!
Thank you Caro :)

musicfan said...

What a great idea to have a virtual tour. I hope we have a real tour next year!!

You have so much information. I love all the pictures and videos...and I love remembering all the music words.

Thank you for this wonderful blog!!

anaturegirl said...

I loved the 2006 Christmas tour. Beautiful music sung by a beautiful man.

PaulaBear said...

I will board Clay Aiken's Virtual Tour Bus any day of the week! Thanks for a great blog, caro!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the Italian lesson, caro! Clay Aiken always makes his concerts fun...and educational!!

SueReu said...

I absolutely adored the 2006 JNaT shows. Clay was just so on, both musically and that wonderful personality of his.

I TRULY miss the man and a big thanks for the memories!!!

LovesClaysVoice said...

Thanks for all the memories Caro! JNT06 was probably my favorite Christmas tour. It was just Clay alone on the stage and he was wonderful! He sang like an angel and was incredibly funny! I hope we have not seen the last of Clay's Christmas tours. I have missed them greatly!

Anonymous said...

Caro, thank you :)

Your Clay Aiken blogs are always so entertaining I have to visit over and over again!!

Rhode Island Fan said...

Oh, this is going to be so much fun. I will be back for the "Clay Aiken JNT06.)

I did love that tour--saw it in Hartford and he was perfection and so funnny.

katy said...

Thank you for the wonderful blog. You are such a good teacher, like Clay!!