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October 3, 2012

Midweek Madness: A pre-'Glee' reminder of how to sing harmony

OK, so I admit I have been catching this season's "Glee," if not exactly gleefully. I mean, enough with Britney already. And all those constantly changing affections.

I still like a lot of the musical performances, though, even if most of the songs end up being it's-all-about-me showpieces for a few chosen characters. "Glee" is only occasionally interested in traditional glee club singing, with tight harmonies and all that. More's the pity.

The other day, thanks to Turner Classic Movies, the only truly reliable and consistently rewarding channel in all of cable-dom, I caught a vintage clip of the Mills Brothers and felt instantly better. Now that's harmony -- and imagination and style and just plain magic. And they never needed more than a guitar for accompaniment. Cool.

For this Midweek Madness installment, here's a little dose of the Mills Brothers, which ought to help the rest of the week go down a whole lot smoother:

Posted by Tim Smith at 7:13 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Clef Notes, Midweek Madness

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About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
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