flash_2There’s nothing like a flash mob to add a joyful zing to holiday music. Here are three Christmas flash mobs guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

Students from the Berklee School of Music joined Boston musicians to perform “O Holy Night” in the courtyard of Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. Soloist Mark Joseph lent his silky vocals to the melody of the song. This performance promoted a wonderful cause – Loft Sessions Music, an organization which assists emerging artists with their educational and professional development and raises appreciation for the arts in the schools.

The American Festival Chorus brought Christmas shopper some holiday spirit with a flash mob at the Cache Valley Mall in Logan, Utah. 150 singers performed “Merrily on High”, along with Irish dancers and bell ringers.

The Carlson School of Management is in exactly the first venue which comes to mind when imagining places for a flash mob, but that’s exactly what happened at the University of Minnesota. A single saxophonist, joined by 300 singing and dancing friends, livened up the atrium to the delight of the college students.


Six_13 pix

If you can’t get enough of “Shake It Off” and “All About That Bass”, then you’re in luck. The Jewish singing groups Six13 and the Maccabeats have created their own takeoffs on the popular tunes to celebrate Hanukkah 2014. And if you like a little dancing to spice up your Hanukkah music, then you’ll love the Key Tov Orchestra’s “Hanukkah Song Mashup”.

Six13 combines some hilarious dance moves, fun history of Hanukkah, and instructions on how to play the dreidel game in “Chanukah (Shake It Off)”. They’re great singers, but when it comes to dancing, I think even they would admit that they shouldn’t quit their day job.

The Maccabeats do an incredible a cappella parody of Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass” called “All About That Neis”. For those of you who, like me, didn’t know what Neis means, here’s the Maccabeats’ definition: 1. Miracle, extraordinary event ascribed to a supernatural force. 2. What we’re all about.

The song puts a fun spin on the miracle of Hanukkah, in which the one day supply of oil for the menorah in the Holy Temple of Jerusalem lasted for eight days instead (you can read the full story of Hanukkah here).

The Key Tov Orchestra’s “Hanukkah Song Mashup-Dance Spectacular” is my sentimental favorite, because it was filmed in the Daley Center Plaza in my hometown of Chicago. The mashup features several songs including Adam Sandler’s “The Chanukah Song”; “Candlelight”, which is the Maccabeat’s parody of Taio Cruz’s “Dynamite”; and “Hanukkah, oh Hanukkah”. There’s also some excellent dancing to back the songs.

Enjoy the music, and Happy Hanukkah!


Ranaan_TfTFor the second time this year, a musician from Time for Three has been denied by US Airways. Bassist Ranaan Meyer, who was attempting to fly out of LAX following Time for Three’s appearance on Dancing with the Stars, posted a video on Facebook today in which he explained that US Airways would not permit him to fly with his string bass.

“Here at LAX, US Airways, they’re just not letting us fly with the bass,” Ranaan said in the video. “Basically now I have to rebook myself on a different airline, any other airline, we’ll take it”.

It’s very strange that US Airways refused to accept the bass, given that their own guidelines state, “Musical instruments are considered a fragile item. Fragile items will be accepted as checked baggage if they are appropriately packaged in a container/case designed for shipping such items.”

Thankfully, Delta Airlines came to the rescue about an hour later.  “Now I’m here at Delta Airlines, and they’re hooking me up. They’re taking me home,” Ranaan said in a follow-up video. “They’re the nice ones. They’re not like US Airways.”

This follows an incident in May 2014, when Time for Three violinists Nicholas Kendall and Zachary De Pue were denied access to a US Airways flight at Charlotte Douglas international Airport after the musicians refused to stow their violins in the hold at the request of the airline’s staff. The two violinists were temporarily left stranded on the tarmac until the situation was resolved.

So it looks like US Airways is NOT the friendly skies. At least for musicians.



This weekend, the Fused Muse Ensemble will present three performances entitled “Breaking Ice” that integrate music, dance choreography, and video art. Proceeds from this event will benefit the Awassa Children’s Project in Awassa, Ethiopia. The Illinois not-for-profit project provides funding for an orphanage in Awassa with an environmental mission to plant trees, dig fresh water wells, and is powered entirely through solar panels.

The performance will include new compositions along with traditional classical works by Handel, Vivaldi, and Golijov. Other collaborators for the performance will include Winifred Haun & Dancers; solo dancer/choreographer Matthew McMunn video artists Jessica Segall and Alireiza Ghoreishi; and University of Chicago physicists Ivo Peters and Qin Xu.

“‘Breaking Ice’  is especially close to my heart and brings together meaningful collaboration between wonderful people and artists with a worthy common goal – to increase awareness of global concerns through interdisciplinary performances, thereby also increasing community engagement with classical music,” said the ensemble’s Artistic Director and cellist Sophie Webber. “We have been working hard throughout the year to shape ‘Breaking Ice’ for you, giving performances, salon evenings, and donating our music to green nonprofit fundraisers around Chicago… ‘Breaking Ice’ is the combination of these efforts.

Performances will take place at 7 PM on October 16, 17th, and 18th at Constellation, 3111 N. Western Ave. Tickets range from $20-$25 and are available here, on Ticketfly.

Fused Muse’s production expenses for this concert will come out to $8,000 including venue rental, lighting and sound support, marketing and printing, and a dancers’ fee. The ensemble has raised $1,000, but still needs to raise an additional $7,000. There are several ways to support the ensemble:

  •  Purchase tickets here.
  • Attend the “Breaking Ice Opening Night pre-show Social/Fundraiser” on October 16 at 6pm. Guests will be able to mingle with the evening’s artists over a complimentary glass of prosecco and snacks (bar drinks are also available). Tickets (available on Ticketfly) for this are $50 and include admission to the evening performance.
  • Donate to the Indiegogo campaign here.  Various gifts are available including Breaking Ice postcards and posters, lessons in an instrument of the donor’s choice, Fused Muse Ensemble Artist CDs, a special mention on the Breaking Ice program under the 2014 Individual Donation listings, and a private, exclusive performance in the venue of the donor’s choice by two or three FME artists.

For more information about the event, please watch the video below.


Air Canada violin/violaA video came out on October 5 poking fun at a recent Air Canada blunder that enraged thousands of musicians. The airline’s musical instrument transportation policy had stated that violins and cellos could be accepted as carry-on or checked baggage, while violas could only be accepted as checked baggage. Given that violas are only slightly larger than violins, while cellos are much larger than either of those instruments, the policy made no sense. And violists across the world spoke up. A story about the inconsistent policy, posted on theviolinchannel.com, received over 4000 social media shares, 200,000 page views, and 27,000 Facebook likes.

Thankfully, Air Canada listened. They released a statement on the violin channel website, stating that the airline would revise their policy to allow violas to be carried as carry-on-luggage.

Meanwhile, Toronto’s Opera Five created the aforementioned video making fun of Air Canada’s policies. Some of my favorites include:

  • Air Canada considers itself acoustically superior to all other airlines. Consequently, in spite of being almost identical to a violin in terms of size, shape, and weight, violas must be checked as luggage. F*** you, violas.
  • Bass banjos can be stored in the overhead bins or underneath the seats in front of you. Good luck with that.
  • Bassoons are permitted on all Air Canada flights as carry-on luggage, provided that you are able to fold them in half… somehow.

You’ll have to check out the rest of the “rules” below.

Image via YouTube


Classical Musicians Step up to the Ice Bucket Challenge

September 18, 2014

Summer is finally over, and with it, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge seems to be winding down. Curious about which classical musicians stepped up to the challenge? Below, you’ll find my picks for the best videos. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the challenge has raised over $100 million to date. My favorite is the […]

Read the full article →

Janis Japlin Honored With Forever Stamp

August 9, 2014

Janis Joplin, the  groundbreaking singer whose powerful, bluesy voice propelled her to the pinnacle of rock stardom, was honored by the U.S. Postal Service by adding her to the Music Icons Forever Stamp series during a first-day-of-issue ceremony at the Outside Lands Music Festival at Golden Gate Park. Joplin is recognized as one of the […]

Read the full article →

The Phantom of the Opera Meets Dr. Opera

August 1, 2014

If there’s any character from a musical who needs to spend some quality time on a psychiatrist’s couch, it’s the Phantom of the Opera. That’s exactly where the Phantom finds himself in Lyric Opera of Chicago and The Second City’s latest episode of Dr. Opera. Do they discuss Phantom’s obsession with Christine? Or maybe his […]

Read the full article →

Lyric Opera to Premiere ‘Bel Canto’, Based on Ann Patchett Novel

July 31, 2014

Lyric Opera of Chicago will be premiering Bel Canto, an opera based on Ann Patchett’s best-selling novel of the same name, as part of its 2015-16 season. The company recently held a workshop with the opera’s composer Jimmy López and librettist Nilo Cruz in attendance. Sir Andrew Davis conducted the workshop, while members of Lyric’s […]

Read the full article →

The 9 Best Animal and Music Videos

July 13, 2014

Today, I watched an adorable video of  a guy playfully using his cat as a mute for his euphonium. As a musician and an animal lover, I’m a sucker for videos like these. It inspired me to search for even more videos of animals enjoying and making music. Here are the nine best videos I […]

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Read the full article →