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GUEST BLOG: "The Novelty Concert'" by Dianna Campbell

THE NOVELTY CONCERT by Dianna Campbell
I often refer to myself as a classicist… I love classical music and classic rock.  At my wedding twenty-five years ago I played Bach and Led Zeppelin (Thank you). Each year at the college, I end our season with a “novelty’ concert. I have programmed an all-Beatles concert,”Night at the Movies” (complete with popcorn and soda), “TV Tunes” (with commercials and game shows), “Fun in the Sun” (all audience members received a lei at the door) to name a few. But I avoided classic rock because I didn’t think it could be done authentically on a choral stage. Well this spring, with the help of some really good arrangements, we did “Rock the Night Away”(and gave glow sticks in place of the old lighters). The audience, performers, my administration and I absolutely loved it! Here are a few things I’ve learned about presenting a successful  ‘novelty’ concert:
  • Keep musical standards (dynamics, phrasing, diction, etc…)
  • Pick music YOU love
  • Change ‘tutti’ to ‘solo’ to get a quick fix to a problem or spotlight a great singer
  • Add visual effects – multi-media approach
  • Have fun!
  • Perform with only piano. ( For “Rock” use bass, drums, guitar, keyboard and steel drum for “Fun in the Sun”)
  • Perform on standard choral risers. Use platforms and create visual interest
  • Perform in choral uniforms. (Wear black-on-black for “Rock”, Hawaiian shirts for “Fun in the Sun”)
  • Stand still. You gotta’ move and groove to the beat!
  • Start the year with this type of show. Treat it like the dessert at the end of the mealJ
  • Apologize for doing it! *These same students performed Haydn’s The Creation in the fall.*