Uncle Bardie’s Spotlight Creator: Angel City Chorale

Once a week on Friday, Uncle Bardie celebrates the creativity in others by shining a Spotlight on a movie, a song or a creator. This week’s Spotlight Creator is the Angel City Chorale:

I saw this choir on America’s Got Talent this year. They were deeply moving. It’s amazing how beautiful the human voice can be.

Made up of 160 people, they come from all kinds of backgrounds and cultures. Founded and led by Sue Fink, they do all sorts of material from folk to jazz to gospel to pop. And they show us how music unites us all.

Here they are performing “Baba Yetu”, the Swahili version of “The Lord’s Prayer”.

Hope you enjoy.

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Uncle Bardie’s Spotlight Creator: Heart

Once a week on Friday, Uncle Bardie celebrates the creativity in others by shining a Spotlight on a movie, a song or a creator. This week’s Spotlight Creator is the rock band Heart:

Sisters Ann (on vocal) and Nancy Wilson (on guitar) are the heart of the band, Heart. They turned out some of the best rock music in the late 1970s.  But they didn’t stop with the seventies. They drove their sound into the 1980s and 1990s, selling truckloads of records and continue in the 2000s. They were deservedly inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013.

Along with the Runaways, Ann and Nancy showed the world that women could kick butt and take names. They proved women had the chops to be considered the real deal to play Rock and Roll. Ann’s voice and Nancy’s guitar licks give all their songs that something extra that makes Heart special. And through the years, they have just got better and better.

Crazy on You.

Uncle Bardie’s Spotlight Creator: Gregg Toland, Cinematographer

Once a week on Friday, Uncle Bardie celebrates the creativity in others by shining a Spotlight on a movie, a song or a creator. This week’s Spotlight Creator is the Cinematographer Gregg Toland:

Orson Welles was not one to share credit. But he shared end credit with the cinematographer, Gregg Toland, on “Citizen Kane”. It was his only way of expressing the important contribution Toland had made to the film.

Last year I spent some time studying “Citizen Kane” to figure out why it is still considered, if not the greatest film of all time, one of the greatest. In addition to the sound achievement by Welles and his team, Gregg Toland did things in that film that makes the film so important, things like deep focus and transitions.

I’ve always watched movies for the story. Studying “Citizen Kane” the way I did, listening to critic Roger Ebert’s commentary, made me realize that the film medium is indeed the cameraman’s medium. No director, no actor, no set designer, no producer has more impact on this visual medium than the director of photography. Now I watch movies I like, trying to get at what the cinematographer did to impact the story. It has impacted not only my viewing pleasure but the way I look at story. Gregg Toland taught me that.

Gregg Toland and the Tools of Immersion.

Nominated for six Oscars, he won once for “Wuthering Heights”. In addition to “Citizen Kane”, he was the cameraman for sixty-six films. These included “The Long Voyage Home”, “The Grapes of Wrath”, “The Bishop’s Wife” and “The Best Years of Our Lives”. Unfortunately, he died at the young age of forty-four in 1948. What a loss.

Uncle Bardie’s Spotlight Creator: Roberts Blossom, Actor

Once a week on Friday, Uncle Bardie celebrates the creativity in others by shining a Spotlight on a movie, a song or a creator. This week’s Spotlight Creator is Actor Roberts Blossom:

Have you ever watched a movie and wondered, “Who is that actor with the main character?” If the actor played an old man, it’s possible that actor was Roberts Blossom. He could take a small part and turn it into a gem. And he was a master of old man roles in movie after movie. An actor can move you. Roberts Blossom did this time and time again.

Uncle Bardie’s Spotlight Creator: Alice Munro

Once a week on Friday, Uncle Bardie celebrates the creativity in others by shining a Spotlight on a movie, a song or a creator. To celebrate Women’s History Month, this week’s Creator Spotlight is the Canadian short story writer Alice Munro:

‘Depth of insight’ distinguishes Nobel-laureate Munro.

I first fell in love with Alice Munro when I read her short story, “Walker Brothers Cowboy”. I have read her short stories over the years and never been disappointed.