Death, love, courage, fear, and reverence 

Yesterday we saw soprano aerialist Elizabeth Wohl debut her one-woman show Laudate, A Singing Circus
We know Elizabeth a bit from her legal work for the hospital, and we’ve run into her around town and heard her sing at the Friday night opera sings at the Brooks House. She’s also a student of the aerial silks and a board member at NECCA. And the wife of a newspaper columnist and state legislator. She is as charming as she is ecumenical. 

In this show, the proceeds of which all went to NECCA and the Brattleboro Music Center, she tried to combine the soaring voice with the actual soaring. In the introduction, we were challenged to decide whether that was genius or mere stubbornness. Some of both, and an awesome clinic in breath control. 

Altogether, she sang 11 pieces, ranging from Bach, Handel and Mozart to Copland and Bernstein. Some were sung on the ground, recital style, and others involved various amounts of acrobatics. She had accompaniment from piano, violin, and bass. 

She definitely succeeded in illuminating some of the texts in a new way. Hearing Copland’s setting of the Emily Dickinson verse “Why do they shut me out of heaven? Was it for singing too loud”? as she clambered up and up and then spun down to the ground was marvelous. “Dream with me” from Bernstein’s Peter Pan and “Je veux vivre” from Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet made wonderful sense swinging in the silks. 

While I doubt the show will find its way onto a larger stage, she packed the room with family, friends, and curious others, raised a little money for good works, and certainly exorcised any remaining performance anxiety she may have been harboring. It was a little weird, powerfully moving at times, kinda silly at others. That is to say, it was a deep drink of distilled Brattleboro. 

Strange bedfellows 

As the news crew idled outside the Utah Republican Party offices early Wednesday morning and I took an Eastern-time-zone predawn run, I enjoyed a rare moment of solidarity with my right-wing brethren. Trump got hammered in Utah the day before, even though he assured voters there that he loved the Mormons. 

NECCA Circus Spectacular 2016

2016-03-05 18.45.49We had a great time at the show, which celebrated reaching the $1 million mark on their fundraising campaign. Although I am still concerned that the new facility they’re building will be too “shiny”, there’s no question it will make their lives easier than wrestling with the grungy but charming quarters they’re in now.

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