New Choir Show on the Horizon: Sing That Thing!

WGBH in Boston is going to premiere a new choral show called Sing That Thing!, “a juried singing competition that will showcase the best amateur choirs in Boston and beyond. Church choirs, high school groups, glee clubs, community choruses, college ensembles — you name it — will be invited into our studios to perform.”

It looks like they’ve changed their plans. It was originally going to premiere in December, but they’ve pushed it back to 2015. Also, there was a link to help fund the series, but I can’t find it now. In any case, it’s a great idea, American Idol/The Voice for group singing! I really hope it happens!

[Video removed because the link no longer works.]

My High School Reunion is Saturday

And I only started thinking about what I’m going to wear a couple of days ago. I know the women are going to be wearing dresses for dinner but I’m going with a pair of dressy skinny jeans and a pretty top. A pair of killer boots would clinch it, but I do not own any alas.

What did you wear to your last reunion? Did you even go?

A miracle. Finney and Bleeck resting in the sunlight, in close proximity to one another.


Geek Choir

A few years ago Michael Brewer, a conductor/PHP/PostgreSQL developer, started leading what he called Geek Choirs at various open source conferences.

From an article about women at the 2014 OSCON conference:

“One of the most memorable of those moments was during Geek Choir, a Birds of a Feather session on Wednesday night. Approximately 16 of us gathered to sing a cappella, starting with simple warm-ups, and moving on to a simple song in unison, and then finally, to more complex songs, sung in rounds. To end our session, we sang Dona Nobis Pacem in a three part round while standing in the large atrium of the convention center. It may have been my most enjoyable moment of the whole conference.

“That I was a woman at a tech conference (or that there were only three of us in the Geek Choir) didn’t matter. What mattered was that we all collaborated to produce beautiful melodies, no sheet music necessary.”

I could see conferences of any sort benefiting from having open choir sessions like this. It’s a great ice-breaker, it’s both relaxing and energizing. Brewer tries to select music than anyone can do, but shouldn’t bore more experienced singers. I know that Dona Nobis Pacem round, for instance. It’s very simple, but so lovely it’s irresistible. After singing people would go back out into the conference more connected to each other and buzzing from that post-singing high. A better conference would be had by all, I’m sure.

Here is Michael Brewer talking about the Geek Choir.

[Video removed because the link no longer works.]


I’m still in freak-out mode apparently. I don’t know that it’s entirely my fault really. Jon Stewart keeps saying what I would say and thank God he does, I’m so grateful for him. I love the most recent show, where he talks about our reaction to one case of Ebola and what we say we must do about it, vs all the deaths from guns, heart disease, etc. and how little we’re prepared to do about these genuinely life-threatening problems.

I just read this article about the garbage in our oceans. Every day I read about some horrible thing we’re not doing anything about (save the few people who are desperately trying to change that). Please read this article. Be informed at the very least. It’s well written and fascinating. You won’t be bored. It won’t feel like homework. (Actually a couple of sentences perplexed me and I had to just move on and forget them.)

Here, appropriately enough, is a detail from a picture of a grave in the Trinity Church cemetery. I liked the crude skull. I swear my next post will be about something upbeat!

Trinity Church gravestone, New York City

How are We Going to Die, Girls?

I seem to be on a death-roll! My previous two posts are death-related. I’m not feeling particularly morbid however, I’m feeling brimming with health as a matter of fact. But the Empire State Building was lit in pink last night for breast cancer awareness and it got me thinking. Heart attacks, lung and pancreatic cancer worry me more.

Here are the leading causes of death in women according to the latest CDC data (2010). They lump all the different cancers into one statistic, but on another page they note that more women get breast cancer vs lung cancer, but more women die from lung cancer vs breast cancer. Colorectal cancer comes in third, and pancreatic cancer is not mentioned.

From, “Pancreatic cancer is the ninth most common cancer in women and the fourth leading cause of cancer death in men and women.”

1) Heart disease 23.5%
2) Cancer 22.1%
3) Stroke 6.2%
4) Chronic lower respiratory diseases 5.9%
5) Alzheimer’s disease 4.7%
6) Unintentional injuries 3.6%
7) Diabetes 2.7%
8) Influenza and pneumonia 2.1%
9) Kidney disease 2.1%
10) Septicemia 1.5%

Here are the stats for England and Wales (from the Office for National Statistics, 2012). I wonder if the larger percentage of deaths due to dementia and Alzheimer’s is because their data is more current?

1) Dementia and Alzheimer’s 11.50%
2) Heart disease 10.30%
3) Stroke 8.40%
4) Flu/pneumonia 5.80%
5) Emphysema/bronchitis 5.50%
6) Lung cancer 5.20%
7) Breast cancer 4%
8) Bowel cancer 2.50%
9) Urinary disease 2.10%
10) Heart failure 2%

Here is the beautiful pink Empire State Building. Not much of a consolation after that dreary post, but it was spectacular.

Empire State Building in Pink