A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from June 21, 2016
Park and Bark (theatrical movement and singing)

"Park and bark” refers to when a singer—especially in an opera—parks in a certain place and barks out the music. Modern performances try to eliminate “park-and-bark” by having a performer move while singing.

“Parking and barking” was cited in print in 1996 and “park and bark” in 1997.

Google Groups: rec.arts.marching.drumcorps
Snare drums - No longer needed in drum corps
Thomas Tufaro
sure, rudimental drumming is cool and important to the activity, but just standing there and drumming is, well...boring.  A large portion of drum corps’ competative scoring relies on general effect...the way a crowd (and therefore the judges) react to the performance.  A corps that just sits there “parking and barking” will be effectively edited from a top position.  Drum corps has evolved.

Google Groups: rec.arts.marching.drumcorps
Wilmington Scores
Michael Furey
I loved their closer, though it had a bit too much “park and bark” for my taste.

Google Groups: rec.music.opera
June Anderson’s Anna Bolena
I despise the “park and bark” ( also known as “stand and deliver” ) school of opera performance; and I will forego a lot of trills to get an overall performance as good as Anderson’s.  She made all her high notes with plenty of assurance, and by the end she was very convincingly nuts (the woman must do a great Lucia)

Google Books
Opera Coaching:
Professional Techniques and Considerations

By Alan Montgomery
New York, NY: Routledge
Pg. 111:
Before leaving bel canto and entering into Verdi, I feel we should touch on the singing style jokingly, affectionately, and accurately referred to as “park and bark.” What is that?

There are moments in operas when people, usually alone onstage, stand centerstage at the footlights and sing an aria. In some productions this aria is “delivered” in an uninvolved fashion or in a generically phrased way in an attempt to please the audience in the rafters. This tends to come across as a show staged for those in the nosebleed seats, and it has minimal effect dramatically. In essence, the singer “parks” him- or herself in the most important part of the stage and “barks” the music to the rafters, which is to say he or she doesn’t sing it very well. Barking of dogs has no musical line or meaning, and neither does the delivered aria.

Google Groups: Mario Lanza, Tenor
Re: Questions about singing and musical terms
Derek McGovern
The “bel canto” period was at its peak in the earlier part of the nineteenth century and refers to operas (and a type of singing) that is primarily concerned with making beautiful sounds rather than dramatic effect. Think of the “park and bark” operas like Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor or the operas of Bellini. People may still die in these operas, but they die “beautifully” smile

Google Books
What Every Singer Needs to Know About the Body (Second Edition)
By Melissa Malde, MaryJean Allen and Kurt-Alexander Zeller
San Diego, CA: Plural Publishing, Inc.
Pg. 189:
Singers who think of themselves primarily (or only) as generators of perfect tones and beautiful musical phrases and don’t claim their responsibility to communicate with the movements of their entire bodies are the source of all the tired jokes about “park and bark” singing.

Google Books
Integrative Performance:
Practice and Theory for the Interdisciplinary Performer

By Experience Bryon
New York, NY: Routledge
Pg. 3:
The parking-and-barking days of opera are gone. Actors are required to have skills in extended movement, as the creation of more physical expressions of theatre is becoming the norm.

Urban Dictionary
park and bark
referring to performers who plant themselves in one spot and sing instead of moving around on stage.
1: He can’t even put on a good show. There’s no razzle, no dazzle. All he does is park and bark.
#park #bark #performance #razzle dazzle #sing
by Amadeus.Cho May 18, 2015

Free Times (Columbia, SC)
Broadway Veteran Gillian Albrecht Leverages Her Experience to Train Others
Act Your Songs

By August Krickel
Wednesday, June 22, 2016
Broadway performer Gillian Albrecht remembers rehearsing a song from the musical Godspell, when she struck a graceful dancer’s pose.

“What are you, a tree?” her director demanded. “Put your arms down.”

She learned an important lesson that day.

“It’s not about posing, or [achieving] that perfect look,” she says, “it’s about what you’re saying” in the song.
“I’ve always had a mission,” Albrecht says, “that singers can’t just stand and sing — that’s not what the theater is about.”

She coined the phrase “park and bark,” something she strives to help students overcome. 

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityMusic/Dance/Theatre/Film/Circus • Tuesday, June 21, 2016 • Permalink