Flash mob in the BYU library

December 2, 2012

When flash mobs go Mormon, and invade sacred spaces like libraries, in Provo, Utah . . . well, that’s pushing the boundaries a bit, and telling the aging of the ritual, too.

How many times have you sung in the atrium of a library and thought it would be a great place for a choir?

Notes from the BYU Singers at YouTube (I added links, except for the first YouTube link):

http://youtu.be/LkE_vk86fq0?t=1h7m10s is the link to hear the BYU Singers perform it in concert!

The BYU Singers appear out of the crowd to sing O Sapientia in the BYU Library. For a brief minute, the library stood still! The audience was captivated, and asked for more. We told them that it sounds better live and invited them to our concert!

And, in comments:

Thank you so much for listening to the BYU Singers! Some viewers asked for a recording of us singing “O Sapientia” by Bob Chilcott without the background noise of the library. We’ve put a link into this video’s description, as well as in an annotation during the first 10 seconds of the video. The link goes directly to us singing “O Sapientia” during a broadcast of our concert on Saturday, November 17, 2012 in the DeJong Concert Hall at BYU. Thank you again for listening!

When I attended college at Utah’s senior (and superior) educational institution (back when Dinosaur Jim Jensen was hunting them live in Central Utah), J. Willard Marriott gave $1 million to the University of Utah to finish the library, and a couple of years later gave $1 million to BYU to finish the basketball center.  We noted that Marriott was a good judge of where the priorities lay at each institution.  Since then, BYU built a new library which is, I hear, quite glorious as a study location.  Except, of course, it’s located on the campus of BYU.  If you’re studying late nights there, let’s just say you’d better have had a good night’s sleep the previous week, because caffeine is going to be hard to come by.

I think the Franklin Stewart Harris Fine Arts Center, home of the DeJong Concert Hall, is the only college building in this nation named after a relative of mine.  In the center of an academic institution that often troubled me deeply, it was the site of many a pleasant day in extension classes (here’s to you, Max Golightly), student performances, and debate headquarters.  I’ve taken solace in the building’s being dedicated to arts and performance, which transcends all the other problems I have with the school.

Those kids sing pretty well, don’t you think?

Did you also notice?  No one shushed them.  I mean, it sounded pretty noisy for a library — but it’s still a library!

Tip of the old scrub brush to Evelyn Earl Jeffries.


Flash mob Carmina Burana

November 13, 2012

Oh, the standards on flash mobs just keep getting pushed higher and higher.

Beethoven‘s “Ode to Joy” chorus?  Easy Sunday-afternoon-in-the-plaza piece.

Carl Orff‘s Carmina Burana? Sure, it scores on the cool side; but a performance is really a little more demanding than Beethoven’s most whistlable tune, isn’t it?

Is this in Vienna?  In a train station?  It features the Volksoper Vienna.  And once again, we get the wonderfully comical entrance of the actual tympani, without which Carmina would be impossible, no?

Details, in German:

SolistInnen, Chor, Orchester der Volksoper Wien boten im April Fahrgästen und Passanten eine besondere Performance. Die KünstlerInnen lösten sich aus der Menschenmenge – eine “Passantin” begann, weitere “PassantInnen” – sowie als ÖBB-MitarbeiterInnen verkleidete KünstlerInnen – setzten nach und nach ein.: 558,438


What’s next?  Will someone do a Carmina while actually roasting a swan, and offer slices of the poor bird?

Okay, here’s one I’d like to see:  Aaron Copeland’s Rodeo, complete with Agnes Demille choreography.  Is there time for someone to get it put together for the Fort Worth Fat Stock Show and Rodeo?  The Houston Stock Show?  Wouldn’t it look grand in Grand Central Station?


Together we can sing a joyful song, maybe even some Beethoven . . .

November 1, 2012

I do love me some well done flash mob.

This one may have been better coordinated than some the video is actually an advertisement for a bank.

Try to watch it and not smile.  Just try not to smile.

It’s the “European National Anthem,” that section from Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony commonly known as “Ode to Joy,” in an arrangement that accommodates any nearby wandering minstrel’s joining in — not to mention a choir of at least a hundred.

I found it at the blog for Krista Tippet’s radio program, “On Being,” in a writeup by Trent Gillis:

Let’s make no mistake here; this is a commercial for Banco Sabadell. And, yes, it’s a majestic, highly orchestrated flashmob organized by one of Spain’s largest banking groups. But, when I get an evening email from our founder and host confessing to shedding “happy tears” when watching it, I figure I better check it out.

Flashmob organizado por Banco Sabadell

Flashmob organizado por Banco Sabadell

And, if you read the comments on YouTube, you’ll see much more of the same sentiment being expressed.

On May 19th [2012] at six in the evening, what appeared to be a single, tuxedoed street performer playing a bass for people strolling around Plaça de Sant Roc in Sabadell, Spain (just north of Barcelona) turned into a mass ensemble performing a movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony — including more than 100 musicians and singers from the Orchestra Simfònica del Vallès, Amics de l’Òpera de Sabadell, Coral Belles Arts, and Cor Lieder Camera.

The production is lovely and highly produced, but it’s the fascination and pure joy of the passersby that makes the moment quite magical. Non?

This is a metaphor for community life.  Communities work best when many people contribute, when people can do what they do well, for the community, as part of the community.  Here is a plaza where people gather — it’s not unusual for musicians to set  up and play, probably for their own amusement as well as for money.  Busking is big stuff in England, and in New York City — and in Greece, though it’s outlawed in many places there.  People will violate laws to make money, and to participate in the community.

It might be pleasant enough if one tall guy, in a tuxedo or jeans — or naked for all that it matters — plays a tune on a bass.  It’s a grand tune, one that most people recognize immediately, and one that has memories stuck to it like feathers on a wood duck.  Beethoven is familiar, and pleasant, and singable.

Add a cello, it’s fun.  Add more strings, the performance becomes grand.  Add the horns, and percussion — loved the guy wheeling his typani out to the plaza  — it’s a delight.  Add a hundred voices in six parts, it’s glorious.

Professionals in the community?  Sure, why not.  In this case, I imagine, they were paid by Banco Sabadell.  Even fun things in communities require some professionals, from time to time.  The cops control traffic before and after the football games, the firemen stand by on the Fourth of July.

Communities build across time, as well as families.  Beethoven wrote that symphony in 1824; Schiller wrote the poem in the lyric in 1785, before George Washington conspired with James Madison and Alexander Hamilton to make the United States of America, edited by Schiller in 1803, the same year Napoleon sold off Louisiana to Thomas Jefferson’s presidency.  There are no solo acts, especially in music, where even the opera diva in solo recital has an agent to hire the hall and sell the tickets, an accompanist on piano, and the music of geniuses from other places, and even other times.

In times of crisis, we get reminders that our finest tool for meeting crises is to look out for each other.

This flash mob video reminded me of that.

Flash mobs for cultural literacy, history and heritage, and a little fun

March 12, 2012

What happens when you take a 20th century rock song (from U2), contemporary dancers, a church choir, an ancient but beautiful language, battery-powered amps for buskers, and use digital personal communications to mash them all up on Grafton Street in Dublin?

Great stuff:  “A Language That Will Never Die” from PBO



It’s a movement! Hallelujah!

November 22, 2010

Holy frijole, Batman!  It’s a virus, and it’s spreading!

Ellie was listening.  She’s gotta be behind this:

Details at YouTube:

On Nov.13 2010 unsuspecting shoppers got a big surprise while enjoying their lunch. Over 100 participants in this awesome Christmas Flash Mob. This is a must see!

This flash mob was organized by http://www.AlphabetPhotography.com to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas!

Special thanks to Robert Cooper and Chorus Niagara, The Welland Seaway Mall, and Fagan Media Group.


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