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Bach Around the Clock: My Classical Singing Debut part 1

bach around the clock flyer new orleans

Yesterday I made my classical singing debut at the the 13th annual Bach-athon better known at Bach Around the Clock. This 28 hour music extravaganza is held at the Trinity Episcopal Church on Jackson Avenue. Beginning at 7:30 pm on Friday and ending the next night at midnight, this Bach-apalooza celebrates the birthday of our friend Johann Sebastian.

I guess this festival is unique in all the world. Performances range from all manner of Bach renditions to pieces by other classical composers traditional and contemporary, spiced up with Tai Chi dancing, jazz, bluegrass, a pop-rock acapella group from California and even a classical whistler. And of course there was yours truly.

Albinas Prizgintas and his ever present wife Manon head up the proceedings. Both carry on with no sleep for two days straight. Manon takes photos and fills performers with encouragement while Albinas performs and accompanies on piano, harpsichord and organ. I don’t know how he does it with no sleep. I start hallucinating if I stay up beyond 12 midnight and here he is performing some difficult pieces effortlessly like cuttin’ through a stick a’ buttah.

The quality of the musicians is always very good, some extraordinary. You would think that New Orleans being the mecca for jazz and contemporary music that classical performers wouldn’t be so good or numerous. But after all we do have Wynton Marsalis who is extraordinary in both Jazz and Classical. I’ve also heard that Ray Charles and James Booker played Chopin as well.

The festival comes to a close at midnight with Albinas on organ doing the great Bach Toccata in D minor which makes the entire building shake. He’s given a standing ovation and with Manon in hand bows and thanks everyone for coming and then says, “Please leave quickly because we need to go to bed.”

Posted in New Orleans Culture, New Orleans Music.

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