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Seraphic Fire has announced its 2013-2014 season.  Highlights include the Mozart Requiem and J.S. Bach Magnificat, though I am sure the Sistine Chapel performance in October will also be captivating.  ‘Tis the season for thinking about next season’s concerts and what you are planning to attend.

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It’s a fringe benefit, but it has been scientifically confirmed:  “The study of 70 college students discovered that choir rehearsal was associated with reduced anxiety and decreased negative moods in those who participated.”

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A study reveals a universal response to music.  At Stanford University, seventeen subjects with no formal music training listened to music by late-baroque composer William Boyce while lying inside fMRI machines.  “the researchers noted a ‘highly distinctive and distributed set of brain regions’ that was synchronized between each them. In the music from which some of the elements that make it musical were removed, on the other hand, brain activity was markedly different from subject to subject.”  I’m not exactly sure what it means (or why they listened to William Boyce instead of a more highly regarded composer), but it certainly shows that we perceive music differently than sound alone.  I would like to see if this works for John Cage’s music, though…

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“Remember that we’re all servants of the music, and the Great Spirit who guides the music of the spheres. It’s never about us.”  Joel Navarro on our role as conductors (hosted by Paul Carey).

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Andy Kessler has an article on the pension problems in California, especially their unrealistically high expectation on their rate of return:  “In other words, you can’t wish this stuff away. Over time, returns are going to be subpar and the contributions demanded from cities across California and companies across America are going to go up and more dominoes are going to fall. San Bernardino and seven other California cities may also be headed to Chapter 9. The more Chapter 9 filings, the less money Calpers receives, and the more strain on the fictional expected rate of return until the boiler bursts.”  It’s always a good idea to be doing additional saving, folks.

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Reilly Daugherty on Why Choral Music is Vital to Today’s Youth:  “I have found that a looming fear of failure is a contributing factor to the decline in the arts as a whole.”