Wednesday, February 4, 2009

More Musical Fakery at the Inauguration and SB XLIII

By Bobby

Over the years, I've read commentaries by Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President R. Albert Mohler, Jr., of Louisville, KY. about morality, theology, and even music. A commentary made a few years ago on music came back to me today in light of a few incidents. (Note that the South Carolina Baptist Convention's Joe Mack participates with the Diocese of Charleston's leaders at the March for Life.)

In light of more incidents of “faking it” at the Inauguration of the one they have compared to a Händel piece (I do not like the use of his piece in reference to the President, but that's just the classical singer I am), a report came through from Super Bowl XLIII that here we go again with another faked performance. The comeback of former RTL Idols US (note I am using the franchise name) contestant Jennifer Hudson doing the National Anthem, similar to the National Anthem by Whitney Houston on Super Bowl XXV in the very same city, was faked. The singer could have simply lip-synched as her vocals were playing in the background at Raymond James Stadium.

Let me see where I've seen faked vocals or music I've clearly seen in a seven-month span – Peking (Opening Ceremonies faked by the government for propaganda), the RNC (Lampa incident), Inauguration (orchestral instruments), and now XLIII (National Anthem).

There is no way I can see my voice teacher recording her vocals and having it played at any event. Why do these artists think they can record their vocals earlier in the day and fake it on the big stage? I cannot imagine Renée Fleming, José Carreras, Анна Нетребко, Brittnee Siemon, Cynthia Hanna, Jami Rhodes, Mark Husey, Jaeyoon Kim, Raphael Ruda, or Jacob Will ever prerecording their vocals on a Friday night and then lip-synching it on Saturday night.

But the story of the faked vocals reminds me of the hilarity of what Ingrid Schlueter wrote in the Slice of Laodicea, of what she called “Of Musical Crimes in Church”. She criticised the use of excessively loud music in church the teen bands play for services as to cover up their tone deafness and their inability to sing, let along learn proper music. The music in these churches is so loud, its volume violates any typical Saturday night short track's muffler rule -- even if you are in the parking lot of the church, it is loud enough to violate such rules.

She then showed the aburdity of the faked music that is popular in too many churches and in other events by referring to an example in a Wisconsin church. The singer was to perform karaoke during the service (something I strongly oppose, considering I have paid a college student who played at a recital for me a fresh-baked pumpkin pie), something that some in churches today believe is better than live organs, pianos, or orchestras in church because they feel (note that – reminds me much of liberalism's march to domination through feelings) it sounds better than live music, when there is no work done since it can be faked. Such attitudes are similar to why youth dancers have replaced choral singers in many music situations at church. Those sitting next to the writer could sense the church pews shaking as this faked performance was blundered.

Fortunately, with live music choral performances such as Händel's Messiah, we learn which parts are for soprano, alto, tenor, and bass. I learn that my parts (tenor) are my parts. I would not sing “Rejoice Greatly, O Daughter of Zion,” which my voice teacher (a soprano) sings. And there is no way I would sing the solo in “O Thou That Tellest Good Tidings to Zion” (alto).

Common sense seem to be lost there. But I've seen too many faked performances recently, and in light of reading the Schlueter commentary this week, I must admit it is both funny and sad that churches believe faked performances are very convenient and better than the real deal.

I have attended many a performance of the South Carolina Philharmonic, and have been to symphonic events at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville. My classical vocal experience is growing. Sadly, our society has decided that fake performances are better than the real. What ever happened to hard work when faking a performance is much easier to do, especially with amplification, digital audio trickery, and the excessive change of church music from live organists to karaoke?

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