Thursday, March 13, 2008

PDQ Bach concert - what a hoot!

I had a blast at the PDQ Plays PDX concert last night at the Schnitz. It was great to be a part of a performance that caused so much laughter -- waves of laughter. Peter Schickele was in superb form. Even though he is 72 years old, he gives 150 percent - whether he plays strange instruments, sings, or slings jokes. He's just amazing.

The choir got a kick out of defying concert conventions. We wore cowboy/cowgirl outfits for "Oedipus Tex." We continued our full-frontal assault by doninng bathrobes for "The Seasonings." As a result, both of our entrances generated a lot of laughter and applause. Our gestapo sitting and standing technique received laughs each time we did it. And the lights-out fall-asleep gag helped to knock them out.

Instrumental highlights in "The Seasonings" included the zestful tromboon playing of Mark Eubanks. Kelly Gronli and Kristen Halay (I think I have the right person) played the slide whistles with relish. Ralph Nelson and Jerry Nelson garnished the piece with spot-on kazooing. Peter Moore flavored the musical stew with terrific playing on the Shower Hose. Schickele threw in generous helpings of Windbreaker and Slide Windbreaker.

Bill Stalnaker was outstanding with his fragmented horn in "Oedipus Text" Schickele did double duty by singing the role of Ed and playing a big mouth-harp-mini-organ device.

Irene Weldon was outstanding as Madam Peep in "Oedipus Text" and the alto soloist in "The Seasonings." Paul Elison got a ton of laughs for his terrific bass aria "Open sesame seeds" in "The Seasonings." Gary Shannon cried wonderfully in the choral number, "By the Leeks of Babylon." The audience howled with delight.

I also enjoyed the singing of soprano Michele Eaton. The voice of tenor David Dusing is a schtick unto itself. You have to hear it to believe it.

PSC's artistic director, Steven Zophi led the two choral pieces on the program and did incredibly well. Schickele conducted his "Uptown Hoedown," which mixes numerous quotes from other famous works in an ear-clashing yet delightful way.

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