June 2006

ITF Business08 Jun 2006 08:33 am

I’ve made reference on occasion to the staff and interns who work with me on ITF. I’ve also had some doubters make thinly veiled sarcastic remarks in response to said references!

So you can guess how happy I am to provide the ITF constituency with photographical evidence of our staff and interns.

Here’s a picture from a staff photo shoot from some time back:

The hardworking ITF staff. That’s me second from right.

My current intern is Nathaniel McPherson. He makes remarkable contributions to the mood and atmosphere here at the ITF headquarters, as well as making substantial contributions in research. Nate is by far the biggest intern I’ve ever had (don’t take that wrong, Nate), so I can really identify with him in that way.

Our current intern, Nate.

Nate is the latest in a rather long string of interns. For such a coveted position, the turnover has been very high. Not by anyone’s choice, but the mortality rate has been astronomical. It’s been a tough time emotionally, really.

In fact, I recently put some flowers on the gravesite of a former intern.

Hoosierville&Misc06 Jun 2006 08:11 am

A couple of years ago there was a movie being made at the hospital where my wife works. How fascinating, I thought, but she wasn’t impressed.

Anyway, it just came out a few months ago and it’s called Lonesome Jim. It stars Liv Tyler and an incredibly wheezy-whiny-voiced Casey Affleck. I initially thought it would be interesting to watch and look for familiar spots and locations, but doing a little research on the synopsis cured me of that. Oh my. This looks like one astoundingly lame movie.

But I watched the trailer online and I was pleased. About two-thirds of the way through, right when Casey is whining “There’s so many fun and cheery people in the world,” Casey and Liv walk out of an elevator. Aha! I thought when I first saw that, and sure enough my wife confirmed it. That’s 2 North, I have walked out of that elevator many times. There’s a nurse’s station just across the hall (they’re headed right for it) and my wife has worked there for about the last two years.

Music03 Jun 2006 10:23 pm

I’ve been an enthusiastic fan of First Call for years. This contemporary Christian mixed trio isn’t an a cappella group per se, but they’ve done some great, highly acclaimed a cappella albums.

Evening in December Vol. I and then Vol. II are both a must-have (and they’re on sale now). Great arrangements and performances, with some great guest appearances too! These recordings were made in the ’80’s and weren’t available for some time. Fortunately I already had my copies, but now they’ve been reissued.

They had a major bump in the road a few years ago and hadn’t done a lot as a group since. I recently was overjoyed to hear that the original three just got together and recorded a new a cappella hymns album, Rejoice! It was on sale and I bought it. And now I feel like making some comments on it.

Very nice. It stays pretty true to the First Call a cappella style we’ve come to know and love. And four of the arrangements are by David Maddux, so you know that’s good. Some generous stacks, a few studio tricks, but nothing audacious or over the top. Just a creative, fresh, unique, and appropriate approach to some great songs.

I must be honest about some instrumentation though. There are a few brief instrumental interludes, and there’s a track or two that does have some percussion, but the vocals are pretty hot so I can let that slide.

They do a few tunes from years past in their career, notably “Rejoice.” The new version is pretty close to the original, but it’s just not quite as good. It’s a little more heavy-handed (that can happen when you get stack-happy), not quite as “snappy,” the intro is pure vanilla (compared to the orig.), and the big one — they don’t do the final reset and last high chord! Why? I’m baffled. It had been a fantastic, surprise tag. Now it’s a letdown. So get the 3-track Concert Medley CD for that song.

I also have to mention, they do Chris Rice’s Untitled Hymn (Come to Jesus). This is one of the very few present day CCM songs that I love. What a great song, and they’re the first that I know of to a cappella-tize it. I was going to be, but that dream is dashed. They do a large, lush, warm, choral-ish arrangment (David Maddux), very nice.

I’ll do it someday though.

Overall this is a very good CD. I thought that the days of great a cappella music from First Call were long over and gone, but I happily stand corrected.икони

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