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The value of choir to an astronaut.

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CARLO GESUALDO: O vos omnes:

 

 

O vos ómnes qui transítis per víam, atténdite et vidéte:
Si est dólor símilis sícut dólor méus.
Atténdite, univérsi pópuli, et vidéte dolórem méum.
Si est dólor símilis sícut dólor méus.

O all you who walk by on the road, pay attention and see:
if there be any sorrow like my sorrow.
Pay attention, all people, and look at my sorrow:
if there be any sorrow like my sorrow.

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RICHARD SPARKS continues on a subject I posted about earlier, learning from the example of former UCLA coach John Wooden.  This time it’s about rehearsal preparation:  “Everything was planned out each day. In fact, in my later years at UCLA I would spend two hours every morning with my assistants organizing that day’s practice (even though the practice itself might be less than two hours long). I kept a record of every practice session in a loose-leaf notebook for future reference.  I would spend almost as much time planning a practice as conducting it. Everything was listed on three-by-five cards down to the very last detail.”  As a planner myself, I don’t feel fully prepared for the rehearsal until I have it figured out to the minute about what we’re going to do.  Circumstances in rehearsal may call for a change, but I feel like I’m flying blind without that plan.  Read the whole thing, as Sparks has some great general points to planning a great rehearsal.

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ELIZABETH WATERBURY with some thoughts on the importance of programming traditional Western music: “Based on the programs of the last conference I attended, I was fairly sure that the Brahms wouldn’t go over.  Brahms and other “dead white guys” were somehow déclassé.  I felt that the selection of the Brahms piece would hurt our chances of being selected, rather than help it.  What does it say about our profession when a good college choir is afraid to show up at a conference singing Brahms?”  I notice that at nearly every conference I attend, where there are so many new works on each program that I have never heard of.  There is a great desire to present something new at these conferences, which I understand, but we must also recognize that the “choral classics” that we think everybody knows about are simply not being performed today, and it is our duty to keep those alive as well.  (There’s more on this in an article here on page 9)

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Jeff Tillinghast has a post on how to get quick feedback from your choir using their phones and making a QR code that they can scan and respond to.  That may work well, but I think my recommendation last week of Poll Everywhere is easier to setup and use.  Jeff also poses the question of this method’s usefulness in choir rehearsal.  I wonder the same thing — I have found that my choir members aren’t as reticent as in other classes.

 

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J.D. Frizzell has a neat post on why it can be important to do contemporary pop music:  “It should come as no surprise to any of us that letting kids sing popular music would be, well…popular!  However, what you need to know is just how effective it is at building musicianship, too.  Many of the arrangements that my 12-member group OneVoice does contain eight to ten individual parts.   You do the math — this means each student is responsible for an incredible amount of independent singing . . . for three to five minutes at a time . . . a cappella . . . with intricate levels of articulation, dynamic, and style.”