EGMP NEWS – 2014 No. 1
by Elena Greco
Elena Greco Multimedia Productions™
September 7, 2014
Hello, everyone! I’m really excited to start the new production year for Elena Greco Multimedia Productions™. There will be three EGMP concerts this year, and personnel will be needed for all of them (see below for list). Also, an opera is in the works for next year. In addition, several workshops that will be of value to the creative process of all performers will be offered, and EGMP personnel can attend any of them at no charge for as long as they are part of the company.
The intention of EGMP is to present projects that entertain, educate and enliven. It fosters transformation and the expansion of creative energy in both performers and audience, through music, visual art, taste, technology and other creative expressions that expand the senses.
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The concerts are:
- KALEIDOSCOPE, a part of the Concerts for Healing™ series. KALEIDOSCOPE explores the spectrum of human emotions, the highs and lows of human existence. The concert begins with a video which examines how we each can create true emotional health and vitality for ourselves and our communities, including relevant topics and current vital information. The video is followed by music that encompasses the kaleidoscope of human emotions through multiple genres, including musical theater, jazz standards, Latin jazz and pop. Leave this concert informed and totally inspired!
- THE FLAVOR OF SPAIN, PART3 (FOS3): Unsung Songs of Spain. FOS3 showcases little-known Spanish composers, such as Federico Longas, and little-heard songs of better-known composers. Video presentations of images, music and historical points of interest introduce live music, guiding you deeper into the “flavor” of Spanish music. You will leave with an understanding of how this unique sound came into being, as well as a deep appreciation for this amazing genre and the beauty of the Spanish language in song.
- LATIN CONCERT. This concert is still evolving, but will certainly include Cuban boleros, Latin jazz and folk, and some songs by Argentinian songwriter/singer/empresario Bernardo Palombo.
The workshops are:
- MEDITATION FOR CREATIVES™ is a new series under the EGMP umbrella. In this workshop you will learn experientially what meditation really is, and some ways to get there that might work for you. Real meditation (as opposed to a meditation technique) can make a profound difference in your life and your creative work in ways you might not suspect.
- THE SINGING BODY™. This session of THE MUSIC SALON™ incorporates the mind-body physicality of performing and will include information, exercises and hands-on work offered by an exceptional bodyworker and teacher who works with performers. The session will include performing after the physical work.
- SPANISH ART SONG WORKSHOP, a part of THE FLAVOR OF SPAIN™ concert series. Performance practice, style and history of Spanish art song. A performer’s workshop.
- ITALIAN ART SONG WORKSHOP. Performance practice, style and history of Italian art song. A performer’s workshop.
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I’d like to share with you what I am hoping to build with the EGMP company. This has been my intention from the start of the company, and I don’t believe I have ever stated it publicly. I’ll start by explaining what led me to this.
When I was in high school, I had the privilege of performing with an amazingly good small touring group for two and a half years. It was fabulous fun – partly because we often got to miss school to go on the road – but most of all because of the unique group of people involved. For those few years, a group of performers with just the right mix of unique talents and just the right chemistry together performed with an exchange of energy that created inspiring performances and an unusually high level of professionalism. As the personnel shifted with each year’s graduation, it gradually became a different group and the touring group was phased out after I left, at least in that incarnation. (I believe they resurrected the group name, but the subsequent groups were nothing like the original.) I do believe that the reason for the specialness of the group for those few years was the chemistry of the people involved and their relationship with each other.
I’ve remembered that experience all these years. I know absolutely that we were as good as we were because, in addition to a special chemistry, we knew each other and performed with each other day in and day out. We knew the other performers’ styles and inclinations and had respect for each other as performers. We performed together in Broadway revues, in musicals and in plays, pretty much constantly. When you perform with the same people repeatedly, there comes a trust, so that in a performance, if you suddenly are inspired go to a different place or to interpret something a little differently, or if something unexpected happens, the person(s) opposite you will go with what you do and use it as a basis for creating something unique of their own that works with the whole. This is essentially continuous interpretive improvisation, within an agreed-upon structure. Having that trust and that freedom allows the space for far more creative energy, and it carries the audience along with the performers.
In that amazing group, there was also a lack of ego in virtually every performer. If you knew someone was having a bad night, you did your best to cover for them. No one ever sabotaged another performer. And, although there was always the improvisational, creative spirit I mentioned, no one would ever have suddenly changed the blocking or the direction without concern for the other performers. We were never unkind to each other or self-centered, but instead worked as a wonderful, if quirky, whole.
When I started EGMP, it was my conscious hope that eventually a small group of like-minded musicians would come together regularly to create that magic in our multimedia productions – a small repertory company. And by that, I mean that the same group of people would work together time after time, with some additions and subtractions with each project, depending on the needs of the production and the availability of the personnel (performers are often out of town or working on another show).
There are already some truly wonderful performers who continue to work with EGMP, namely Guillermo Cardenas, Richard Gordon, Risa Renae Harman and Kathleen Weber. I am so grateful that they have contributed so much to get this company off the ground, and have given of themselves so graciously. Also, David Silliman, an amazing percussionist and stellar human being, was incredibly tolerant, supportive and professional during his one (fairly crazy and hopefully not only) gig with us.
If you take a look at the EGMP page (www.elenagreco.com/music/egmp/elenagrecomultimedia), you will see that there will also be opera productions in the future. I do not want to produce an opera until I find just the right group of people, so the sooner that happens, the sooner the operas will begin. Yes, I am doing this backwards from the approach most people take to producing opera; instead of deciding on the opera and then casting it, I am finding the cast first, and will then decide on the opera. The way I am casting is through the EGMP programs, and also through people I meet at THE MUSIC SALON and through friends and colleagues.
What I am looking for are performers and technicians with somewhat of a renegade spirit who would really love to work together to create something different, beautiful, musical, artistic and awesomely inspiring. What I would prefer not to have are performers and technicians who simply want the paycheck, the web publicity and the resume credit. While I absolutely want everyone to have those things and offer them freely, I am looking for people who truly want our show (and our company) to be great, who will have respect for everyone else in the company, who want to be part of a community which supports individual creative growth, and who want to explore what we can do together to inspire ourselves and the audience. I want to make magic! And I know it can happen.
If you’re interested in this kind of experience, there is likely a place for you at EGMP.
There will be three productions this year, and there will be opportunities in every genre for singers and instrumentalists. A good way to get acquainted, musically and personally, is to attend THE MUSIC SALON™. Alternatively, you can email me at egreco[at]elenagreco.com and send me your materials if you would like to be considered for future positions, and we’ll set a time for you to sing or play for us and get acquainted.
I would like to bring up a point I have made in the past, which is that there is never, and never will be, an “audition fee” for an EGMP job. And I certainly would never ask a singer to pay me for the opportunity of singing on a concert! I find that practice sickening. (See Paying to Sing). While there are a few reputable Young Artist Programs that charge for their post-graduate performing program for fledgling singers, and offer excellent coaching and information to further the singers’ careers, as far as I’m concerned, anyone else who has the nerve to charge singers to sing in their production rather than paying them is unethical. If you can’t afford to pay the expenses of your production or raise the money for it, you shouldn’t produce it. No one would ever expect instrumentalists to pay a company’s production expenses and work without a paycheck; how could anyone possibly think that it’s alright to ask singers to do that?
All personnel for EGMP are always compensated and get to see the entire show, in addition to other perks, such as attending all EGMP workshops at no charge for as long as they are part of the company.
Here are this year’s specific needs; some are tentatively filled, but I always need backup, and if you are chosen but aren’t needed for a particular concert, I will call on you in the future. (See below for concert descriptions.)
- Lighting: Someone with lighting expertise who can can advise about purchasing a lighting kit and how to use it to create flattering lighting for the performers and video for a concert in a cabaret-type venue, as well as to meet me at the venue once to take the lights for a trial run.
- Technical Assistant(s) (lights, projector, video camera, set, intermission music, etc.): all three shows. My most urgent need currently is for a Technical Assistant. Since all of EGMP productions are multimedia, this person is a crucial member of the company. The job can be done by someone whose profession it is to do that work, such as a stage manager or an audio/visual tech, or by a singer or instrumentalist who is willing to stretch a little in that direction (in which case, they will likely also perform with us at times, depending on concert needs). Duties are things such as unpacking/setting up the laptop/projector and turning them on/off at the appropriate times, putting up/taking down the muslin or projector screen, running the video camera, setting up/adjusting lights at the appropriate time, turning the intermission music on/off, helping with some set items, and then striking it all and packing it up at the end of the show.
I always have a technical rehearsal so that everything is clear, and I always offer a succinct, chronological list of the items to be done, so that the TA does not have to remember everything. The work needed is not at all difficult or technically advanced, but it does require attention to detail, the ability to follow written and verbal directions, a willingness to take the initiative to make sure the show goes on if problems should arise, and a collaborative spirit.
- Box-Office/General Assistant(s) (sell tickets, total the take, sell wine at intermission, assist me or other performers occasionally with miscellaneous needs): all three shows. This person sits inside and gets to see the entire concert.
- Tenor: Classical singer who crosses over well to musical theater for Kaleidoscope (musical theater ensemble and possibly duet) and FOS3 (Spanish art song solo)
- Baritone: Classical singer who crosses over well to musical theater for Kaleidoscope (duet, ensemble w/solo)
- Percussionist: Jazz standards, Latin jazz, folk and pop (Kaleidoscope) and Sephardic (FOS3) (bongos)
- Guitarist(s): Latin jazz, folk, pop (Kaleidoscope and Latin Concert); Spanish art song and Sephardic (FOS3)
I will be posting the specific jobs individually on Facebook as they come up. If you haven’t liked the ELENA GRECO MULTIMEDIA PRODUCTIONS™ page yet, I recommend you do so if you would like to keep up with the jobs offered.
And we’re off!