The Emerging Art of Choral Theater: #twitterlieder by James Eakin

“Is this growing trend a gimmick? Or a glimpse of the future?

Choral music making is all about the sound, not what you see on stage.”

In a recent article from Chorus America, the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus’ performance and premiere of James Eakin’s #twitterlieder was highlighted in an examination of choral-theater, a developing trend in choral performances.

…Timothy Seelig, artistic director of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus (SFGMC), feels the same way. Along with other performing arts organizations, he says, “we compete with basic things such as television, Internet and Twitter.” In 2015, the ensemble responded to that challenge by creating a show called #twitterlieder, with music by James Eakin and lyrics by Anthony Silvestri, consisting of 15 songs, each text representing a 140-character tweet, with the mini-stories—both touching and humorous—acted out silently in front of the chorus and soloists. “In an age of fast-moving entertainment and growing competition for time and resources, the old way of doing things won’t stand up anymore,” says Seelig.

For some, that may mean an experience that embraces the new online lifestyle, as #twittlerlieder does. For others, it may mean the opposite. In a world where technology mediates so many of our connections, Choral Chameleon board chair Nicole Belmont feels “people are demanding more visceral live experiences and having a sense of encounter.” At Choral Chameleon performances, fans find themselves sitting on a floor, changing their seating position during a performance, listening in the dark, or being surrounded by performers who are walking around the space. Peterson describes the ensemble’s approach as “a way of meeting people where they are, and igniting in them some joyful curiosity.”

Read the entire article: The Emerging Art of Choral Theater | Chorus America

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