Sunday, February 7, 2010
People watch the Super Bowl for a multitude of reasons - the ads, the halftime show, the parties, oh, and the game too, I suppose. Personally, I never miss "America, the Beautiful" and the National Anthem. They always bring in some big name star, and I'm always curious to hear them.
I think Queen Latifah is great - and it did look like she might have had some technical difficulties with an ear piece - but why on earth did she need to breathe after every single note? She started "Oh, beau-" (BREATH) "-ti-ful." (BREATH) "For spa-" (BREATH) "-cious skies." That's three breaths in what should be one musical phrase! And so it continued, for the whole piece.
Of course, Carrie Underwood followed it up with my favorite breath-interrupted phrase in all music (almost everyone does it): "O say, does that Star Spangled" (BREATH) "ban----ner yet wave." It just proves that people are paying almost no attention the text. Can you imagine saying that sentence with a big breath in the middle of it?
Sometimes it seems like we've just quit holding musicians (and ourselves) to high standards of performance and participation. I'm going to blame American Idol in part for the declining musical standards. It's now accetpable just to shut your eyes and have an intensely personal experience singing a song. No true performer would make such a mistake. Music is about sharing a message with an audience. You need to open your eyes, prounounce your words, and be fully involved to make it a performance worth listening to.
I was just glad that both ladies sang decently in tune and with good tone and with most of their consonants in place. I know I must sound a bit like a cantankerous old organist today. But music is communication, and it's always a pity to see it cheapened. I hope you heard a message in this morning's music. What did you think of the opening hymn and the hymn of the day? I know at least one choir member who thinks it was a great change of pace. I'm always curious to hear more feedback about new hymns (ELW 525 for my non-Bethany readers).