The Co-Presidents in Britain

In the fall of 2000, the co-presidents spent a month in Wales and England. For Linda it was a research trip into English king Edward’s medieval castles (built to crush the Welsh), and into various Victorian museums covering everything from candy to coal. For Brad, it was time to be a tourist: once every seven years at Intel, you get a block of 8 weeks off to reacquaint yourself with the world, so Brad spent half of his 8 weeks on tour.

Here’s a very brief look at the places we visited, culled from our 2,400 photos made possible by Brad’s then-fancy digital camera and Linda’s laptop. Each night, Brad would download the hundred-or-so photos from the camera to the laptop, freeing the camera to take another couple hundred photos the next day. We have research photos of portcullis slots, murder holes, stairways, hallways, garderobes, merlons, embrasures, and many other details of the castles and houses we visited.

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The Co-Presidents Reuinite in Fiddler on the Roof

In June and July 2000, the Co-Presidents were reunited on stage for the first time in 18 years (too long!): Linda played Golde, Tevye’s wife, and Brad played Lazar Wolf, the butcher, in Stage One’s production of Fiddler on the Roof. Stage One is a fundraising organization for the Hillsboro area high schools’ performing arts departments.

It was great to be on stage with my honey again!

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What Exactly is Singing “In Tune”?

I’ve sung most of my life, yet only recently have I started to ask the question “How do unaccompanied vocalists stay in tune?” The process sounds simple enough at first: vocalists stay in tune because they have good relative or absolute pitch memory — they remember what the 5th of the scale sounds like, and can sing it whenever they like. This explanation works at some level, but a few nagging questions remain.

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Elvis Has Left the Building

Sure, everybody claims to have seen Elvis…but how many people get to be Elvis?

It all started early in 1998 when Silverna McCall, the Drama director at HilHi, enigmatically asked me “How’s your Elvis impression?” Little did I know that she was producing the musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and that, although she had assembled from HilHi’s student body the most amazing collection of singers and actors, she was short one adult baritone to play the part of the Pharaoh. Not quite knowing what to expect, I said “yes”.

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The Oregon Chorale on Tour in Scandinavia

In June of 1998, the Washington County (Oregon) Chorale spent 19 days touring Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. Thanks to the tireless efforts of Gunnar Serrander of Scan Travel Center in Sweden, we had an unforgettable tour and sang to enthusiastic, packed houses in spectacular sites.

Here are just a few photos from the trip. Sorry for the low resolution – this was the previous century!

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The Needhamian National Anthem

(I apologize for the MIDI format of the anthem, which you need to download to play.)

(all rise)

Land of the Townsend’s Mole Saint George did fell
Where our Co-Presidents happily dwell.
Needhamia! Your land may be fictional in parts
And yet, you have a vast domain within our hearts.

Where else on Earth can one find such a land
Where sunlight dapples ferns placed by God’s hand?
Needhamia! Your history may be cast in doubt
But look — your valleys, hills, and trees are all about.

Worldwide, Needhamians join us in song;
Distant inhabitants swelling the throng.
Needhamia! Your citizens we may fabricate
Yet, counting all the hearts of friends, your land is great.

Music and Lyrics by Brad Needham

The Oregon Chorale on Tour in Britain

In the summer of 1993, the Washington County Chorale toured England, Scotland, and Wales. We sang at (among other spots), Bath Abbey, Westminster Cathedral (not the well-known Abbey, the less-well-known Cathedral), and the Pittville Pump Room. Since England is swarming with American choirs on vacation, the most common response we heard from our audience members was “If we’d known you were this good, we would have brought our friends!”

The Washington County (Oregon) Chorale in Westminster Cathedral
The Washington County (Oregon) Chorale in Westminster Cathedral

The Oregon Chorale On Tour in Austria and Germany

In the summer of 1989 the Washington County Chorale toured Germany (our director’s birthplace) & Austria. The most amazing place we saw was the Berchtesgaden Salt Mines, a sort of cross between Disneyland and a working museum. It was quite an adventure to dress in miner’s overclothes and careen into the heart of the mountain on picnic-bench-cum-cable-car, dodging rock walls as the bench veered left and right. “Back to the salt mines”, indeed!

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