Saturday, November 12, 2005

An Unexpected Programming Challenge

Today Ashley Bedard and I met to look through some music for our Nov. 30 lunch hour concert at Princess Margaret Hospital. Our idea was to program mostly English songs so as to be as audience-friendly as possible. This would be the kind of venue where talking about each song might be a good idea in order to make friends with an audience that might not be too familiar with voice and piano. Sounds easy? Not so.

The problem we ran into was that so many of the really good songs in English are about death, which is fine in the concert hall but somewhat inappropriate for performance in a hospital that specializes in cancer treatment. Here are some of the songs that had to be eliminated for this reason:
  • The World Feels Dusty
  • Why Do They Shut Me Out of Heaven?
  • Going to Heaven
  • I Hear a Funeral in my Brain
  • Come Away, Death
  • Oliver Cromwell (the words to this song would seem particularly cruel)
  • The Trees They Grow so High

The list went on and on--in fact, it became a challenge to find songs that weren't about death, at least not the ones in English. I think the result will be a group of songs that will be, if not upbeat, then at least life-affirming. Which were our choices? Stay tuned for the final list.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous3:10 PM

    If only I were a mezzo....I could do Kindertotenlieder :)

    And yes...I hadn't realized how many of the songs on my shelf were inappropriate for this type of venue! Crazy. I've never really worried about being this sensitive to the audience's interesting.