Recap: News you mighta missed

The week rarely arrives in sonata form… but we could still use a good recap.


Amy Engelhardt as Mother Superior of the Chattering Order of St. Beryl, from the Clio-nominated Good Omens publicity campaign

You never know where your voice may take you, and longtime Lister / singer-songwriter Amy Engelhardt can testify to that better than most. The sopralto was picked to lead a loquacious group of nuns to promote the Amazon adaptation of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s novel, Good Omens. Can an angel and a demon become best friends and join forces to stop apocalypse? It’s an intriguing concept, and a fascinating tale, and the promo that surrounded the release has been shortlisted for Clio (advertising) awards in SIX categories. The nun chorus included several Listers, and we couldn’t be more proud! Congrats to Amy as well as vocalists Alyssa Jackson, Aviva Pressman, Rena Strober, Maureen Davis, Amanda Keenan, and Laura Pallas for their gorgeous sound and irrepressible spirit. Learn more about the public relations campaign and see the video (narrated by Amy) about how this five-month trek through multiple cities and social media platforms became an award-worthy attention-getter for the series. Wanna watch? The six-episode series, starring Michael Sheen, David Tennant, Jon Hamm and more, is available through Amazon Video. You can also check the sisters out on Twitter and Instagram!

Jennifer Miller, KUSC host

Our own Jennifer Miller has been making a name for herself at KUSC, and has just been tapped to take over “The Morning Show” as John Van Driel steps back, but not out entirely. In a warm email release, Van Driel states, “You’re already familiar with Jennifer as a host of California Classical All-Night and now she’s moving out of the darkness to join you in welcoming the sun (she’ll still host The Opera Show, as well)…As for me, you’ll still catch me on-air in various parts of the KUSC schedule and filling in for other hosts when they’re on vacation.” We wish John all the best, of course, and know that Jen will be wonderful in this new role: she has already done her first few days, and is gaining an even larger following. Read the announcement here, and be sure to follow her on Twitter!

Tech tools

Can you learn to sing from an app? Probably not (entirely), but you can certainly brush up a skill or two. Check out Appcompanist for iOS (iPhone or iPad), which has recently been updated to include more 450 vocal exercises from some classic sources, including Concone, Vaccai and more. Or, try PianoTrax, which is available for iOS and for Android, as well. This is a subscription-based player for a library of more than 21K accompanist tracks (primarily musical theater and pop), but can offer you some flexibility if you’re trying to put together a lighter program. A 7-day free trial is available, so you can check it out for yourself.

The Biz

Two article touted efforts in the Dallas area to help nurture women in the arts. This is a hot topic across the country and beyond, of course, and we’re seeing quite a bit of activity in Los Angeles, as well. To check out what’s happening in Dallas, see the following from The Dallas Morning News:

Sue Dixon — Image by Gia Goodrich

One of our arts neighbors to the north, Portland Opera, finally has a new chief in Sue Dixon, who takes the helm as General Director and is tasked with turning the beleaguered company around. Running any kind of arts organization is no easy task, and thankfully she’s already in the loop with the company’s ambitious and rejuvenative strategic plan, which she helped to develop. Look for more community engagement, a return to summer presenting and some financial sprucing-up. The org is also on the lookout for a permanent filler for their artistic director slot, so there’s a lot of change going on in Portland! Read the article in Willamette Week for an account that’s closer to an insider’s view.

Williamson Hall
Photo by YorkshireRailman, via Wikimedia Commons

Further east, a group of students from Westminster Choir College have launched a lawsuit to stop the sale of the campus and the move of the music programs to the university’s campus in downtown Princeton. WCC has long been considered one of the premier training institutions for future leaders in classical singing and choral conducting (and has trained quite a few of our Listers over the years), but the 2016 announcement of Rider’s plans to sell the college to an entity controlled by the Chinese government has caused widespread alarm. Read more about the suit in this article from Planet Princeton.

Health & Wellness

Are you getting enough sleep? Most of us don’t, and more and more studies are showing the nearly unfathomable importance of this simple thing. It affects our health in myriad ways, including cognition, creativity, weight loss, and prevention of a mighty list of diseases. This TED talk from sleep scientist Matt Walker puts what is essentially a chemical process (which takes time!) into Marvel-worthy terms: “Sleep is Your Superpower“. Well said, and well worth a watch. Here’s the video:

Wellness extends to various areas of life, including mental health, personal finance, job skills and more. Make sure you’re on the mailing list for The Actors Fund, an organization that hosts a wide variety of classes, groups, resources and services “for everyone in entertainment”. November offerings include workshops that address depression, sobriety, insurance, money habits, and more. Check out their workshop calendar and get on their mailing list!

More links

Conductor interview, great quote: “Vasily Petrenko: ‘To understand classical music you need no language – it’s a direct link from heart to heart’

More tech, with “Spreading the Love of Classical Music Through Virtual Reality

One countertenor (Reggie Mobley) brings the diverse truth to Boston classical: “Singer wants to ‘un-whitewash’ classical music history with free Boston concerts

A little fun with NPR and Diva Renée: “Not My Job: We Quiz Opera Star Renée Fleming On ‘Baby Shark‘”

Have something you’d like to share?

Please do Contact us. We don’t cover events in this feature (submit those here), but we’re looking for staffing and casting announcements, congrats and kudos, arts news, and announcements that deserve special attention. Please send us info, and we’ll help figure out where it fits on our site. Thanks, all!

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