Spontaneous Combustion Choir
“O-Lan Jones continues to be one of our most important LA based, music theater artists. She approaches all aspects of her work with a unique, high caliber artistry that is always compelling. The way she leads Spontaneous Combustion Choir is no exception. Her mature collaborative leadership combines with her seasoned musicality to create important communal gatherings that I feel lucky to be a part of. And as a mid-career music theater performer, I'm glad for the musical and vocal challenges that each gathering offers.”
~ Ken Roht
“As a past cast member of two Overtone Industries productions (Songs & Dances of Imaginary Lands and Woman in the Wall), I have had the wonderful experience of using the Spontaneous Combustion Choir as both an exercise for ensemble building and community engagement, as well as a tool for creating song in public for performance. O-Lan's Spontaneous Combustion Choir is a tremendous gift, both to those who perform it as well as to the listener. It brings together both participant and spectator into a singular experience that makes the performance of vocal music an immediate and non-duplicatable event. Performing spontaneously with O-Lan is something I treasure.”
~ Matthew McCray
“I love singing with Spontaneous Combustion Choir, because it is improvisational, includes everyone's offerings, no matter how subtle, distinct, or unexpected, and it uses music in a very basic, essential way. It takes you where it wants to go, but it lets you feel what you feel when you get there. It is a truly amazing, moving experience to be in.”
~ Silvie Zamora
“Although I've just discovered Overtone Industries, I can tell you that it's so fun and very therapeutic! Making beautiful sounds with other people in a very spontaneous and joyful way was something I've been looking for. Also, it gave me a sense of community, which is hard to find in Los Angeles. Also, I love the teacher (O-Lan).”
~ Josephine La Rosa
“I love Spontaneous Combustion Choir because it is a workout for my brain as well as my soul. My brain, because it allows me to use my imagination and musical skills in ways I never have before. My soul, because it requires you to connect with a word or phrase and then sing how it feels for you. And it means I have to be brave and dare to try things and dare to allow them to be bad. Finally, Spontaneous Combustion Choir means I have to listen very intently to others and connect in a deep way with them so I can make music with them. It's a joyous experience all the way around!”
~ Patty Cornell
“I can't tell you how happy I was to take part in Saturday's workshop. There is true value in what we did there - to engage in being an empathetic listener, to actively listen to what compels you, to take part in something that is dynamic, fluid, and unpredictable. Providing open access to these practices is such a service! Although I stopped attending Church years ago, I have always missed the bliss that comes from singing with a room full of people. Last Saturday, I was very grateful to have the chance to sing with a group again and feel that familiar spiritual lift (in a non-religious setting). “
~ Leanne Pedante
“It is with great enthusiasm and confidence that I recommend the quality and reach of the work and artistry of Spontaneous Combustion Choir, under the Direction of O-Lan Jones and Overtone Industries. Since first meeting Ms. Jones at the Padua Playwright’s Festival in the early 1980’s, I have watched her birth and manage consistently magical, profoundly innovative, professionally exquisite, and simply grand performance pieces, way beyond the scope and competition of the traditional, talent showcase, Los Angeles theatre.
Spontaneous Combustion Choir is pure excitement in delivery, and delicately sublime in its collaborative artistry. In an arena that tends to be brutally competitive with only a few reaching the ranks of what we consider success in Hollywood, Spontaneous Combustion Choir elevates and integrates the slowly eroding art of listening and collaboration.
A Spontaneous Combustion Choir workshop performance is totally unrehearsed and created for the moment in which it happens, and yet, it’s as if something ancient and revelatory has its hand upon the synergy and communication that takes place. It is something deeper, beyond, and in lieu of ordinary language that is being created. What is it, this alchemy of sound, the way it soothes the spirit and opens the sinuses, the way it leaves you ripe to the day and wondering what just happened? How could these strangers come together in a small studio on Robertson Blvd., in the midst of a city that never sleeps and rarely listens, to create something together that will never occur again? I’m sure I do not know. Perhaps, that is what makes it so special and worthy.
You should fund this, not for the years of each individual’s personal practice that came before, and not for the vision of O-Lan Jones and Overtone Industries alone. But for the sheer joy of the hum that lives in each of our hearts, just waiting to be sung and heard. And for the unmistakable beauty of our human connection in a single vowel note, shared and staggered among colleagues, in a circle, under inspired guidance. It is with hope for the future of creativity in a technologically crowded industry, that I offer these words of praise and support for Spontaneous Combustion Choir.”
~ Peggy Dobreer
“I found the Spontaneous Combustion Choir workshop I attended to be such a wonderful, inventive and collaborative experience. What a fun and unique way to bring people together through music.”
~ Sara Mattison
“Having worked with a long-running improv show since the late eighties, inventing songs on the spot is not new to me. But inventing complex, emotion-driven, a cappella choral pieces, with multiple layers, harmonies, threads and themes; pieces that make me feel like I've climbed inside a vehicle made of sound and taken a joyride... as far as I know, that's the exclusive domain of Spontaneous Combustion Choir.”
~ Phil Ward
“Singing spontaneously with other people is a unique and wonderful communal experience. It feels like a connection to something ancient, and at the same time has the effect of keeping the singers 100% in the present moment, because only with complete focus can you adapt to the changing sounds and contribute to the constantly morphing whole. Plus, it's really fun.”
~ Dorian Frankel
“I have spent my life performing and teaching improvisational comedy from my years as a director and actor with the Second City to the present. I became interested in the Spontaneous Combustion Choir because I imagined that the discipline of improvised choral singing would be another avenue of approach to the work I do. We ask actors to listen, tune into each other, and work moment to moment, beat to beat. We also ask them to leave their egos behind and to 'follow the fear'.
For many years the phrase 'follow the fear' (Del Close) was a mystery to me. I have come to understand it to mean that when you find something daunting or even slightly out of your wheelhouse, if you back away because of your fear, whatever you're trying to do (on stage or off) is not going to benefit from your feeble commitment. We back away because we don't want to make what we're doing worse, when if fact that will be the outcome unless we follow the fear and commit.
The Spontaneous Combustion Choir allows players with all levels of expertise or lack thereof to experience, as author Jeffrey Sweet so aptly described the work of the Second City of Chicago, "something wonderful, right away". Making music using only the tools we walk in with, being successful at using skills we innately possess and becoming a cohesive group, is an experience that translates to every other endeavor in life. It is a marvelous educational tool, a stretch for the mind, a connection to other people, an instant team.”
~ Jane Morris
“There is nothing quite like the joy, sincerity, and intensity of being a part of the Spontaneous Combustion Choir. The work has a gravity and beauty to it, and O-Lan creates a space of creativity that is always changing and always present. I love it, and am grateful for its impact!”
~ Max Faugno
“Last Saturday, after many recommendations from friends, I attended a workshop with Spontaneous Combustion Choir. As a professional singer, I wondered what they would offer me, and found a great experience in learning to truly listen and tune in to the other singers present. Especially for those doing chorale work, this is a wonderful opportunity to express your individuality and yet remain part of the whole ensemble. A very interesting morning!”
~ Heidi Fielding
“O-Lan Jones has uncovered a way to blend the voices of those with every kind of training (including none) into music so beautiful, it must be healing on some level. Whether as an audience member or participant, I have left my experiences with the Spontaneous Combustion Choir refreshed, receptive, and curiously alive. There simply cannot be enough music of this kind in our world today.”
~ Colleen Wainwright
“Vocal magic at its best… I’m a singer/performer with numerous musicals on my resume and I’ve never experienced anything like the Spontaneous Combustion choir ever. I’m always amazed as to what happens every time we meet, I can’t explain it, it’s very connective, alive, and free flowing. You have to experience it!”
~ Deon Sams
“There is nothing more uplifting than connecting sounds with the help of your friends. It becomes a new language or conversation created with rhythms and tones, which somehow translates itself to others as they listen. It's a blessing and I love every minute of it.”
~ Cesili Williams