Posts Tagged ‘RichterScales’

Hey look! I’m a muse!

I first saw the name Ken Malucelli when I purchased the CASA christmas songbook in 1993 (all arranged by Ken and Deke Sharon). Years later Ken was one of the judges at the Harmony Sweepstakes competition when a subset of The Richter Scales performed a set of original songs I had written. (We closed with a song entitled “I Hate A Cappella” penned just for that event, which incidentally, consists entirely of a cappella groups. We didn’t win.)

I didn’t actually work with Ken until 2004 when I started singing with his holiday caroling outfit, The Merrie Olde Christmas Carolers. That led to a number of interesting side a cappella gigs, including a particularly disastrous Valentines Day serenade that formed the basis for my first solo show, Better Loving Through Chemistry in 2006. Since then we’ve traveled through the far reaches of the western United States together, primarily while presenting Oh Mr Sousahis musical biography of the March King. I get to play Sousa. (Which is a great excuse for some seriously goofy facial hair!)

Ken is something of an institution in the Bay Area music world, having worked with the San Francisco Symphony, the San Francisco Opera, Chanticleer, the Lamplighters and dozens of other groups. So I was deeply honored when Ken wrote to me to tell me that my own composition recital in April inspired him to write some new work, a setting of W. S. Gilbert verse for small chamber ensemble. What’s more he dedicated these pieces to me, and composed them specifically with my voice in mind.

Saturday evening we’ll be premiering the first song at the National Association of Composers concert in San Francisco. It’s The Yarn of the Nancy Bell, a grisly sea shanty in the vein of Edward Gorey. It is, as is much of Ken’s work, an absolute hoot. We’ll be at the Community Music Center, 544 Capp Street in San Francisco. 8pm.


Nov 2011

Republican in San Francisco

It’s a new song from the Richter Scales!

Followers of my blog are familiar with how my good friend Mark Casey surprised me on my last birthday with a premiere performance of my string quartet.  This year I managed to surprise him with an original song based on his life as the only person in his zip code who would dare make a case for Sarah Palin occupying a national office (and have enough command of the facts to make you buy it.  For a few minutes at least.)

Although the topic of the song was set from the beginning, the structure was much less clear.  The original title was “The Nicest Republican You’ll Ever Know” with the vague concept of a Republican having a hard time getting a date in San Francisco, but I couldn’t quite get a full song out of it. I had a lot of gags, but no arc, no strong chorus, no song. Then, while driving back from LA (where our previous video, I Got Mail, was playing at the Feel Good Film Festival) I had the idea that this would work well as an barbershop quartet. Read the rest of this entry →


Oct 2010

Cultural whiplash, aka Opera Sandwich, aka Free A Cappella TONIGHT!

One of the best things about singing in operas is that you rarely have performances (or rehearsals for that matter) two days in a row.  This is in stark contrast to plain ole musical theater where, for all intents and purposes, you might as well bring your toothbrush and sleeping bag, since you will be spending the bulk of your life in that theater for a couple of months.  There’s a reason Equity rules require a cot for each production (Section 58, C-8). Well, not a reason that makes much sense, but still it’s a reason.

Anyways, invariably those days between shows get filled up with other shows.  Like tonight. Fresh from performing in a contemporary opera about the cruelties of convention in puritanical early New England, I’ll be singing some a cappella ditties with my best friends, the Richter Scales. And then eighteen hours later, I’ll be back in the pre industrial age shunning my hapless daughter for sins she had no idea she committed.

Richter Scales – Puttin on the Ritz
7:30 pm
St Peter’s Church
178 Clinton Street
Redwood City, CA
Saturday, June 5, 2010

It’s fun.  And free. So if you’re in the bay area, come on by and say hi. I’ll be the guy with the ridiculous muttonchops waving his hands in the front.


Jun 2010

I Got Mail!

Hey look!  It’s the latest animation from my a cappella group, The Richter Scales. I wrote it. And I sang the solo.  And my lovely wife animated it. I think it’s pretty cute. (Although perhaps a tad bit dated. It sure felt relevant when I wrote it back in 2003.)


Feb 2010