Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Who else?

I thought I might round up a few other hidden choir bloggers out there.

It seems that Delia has one here. And with pictures! BTW, Delia, I love black licorice. Or I used to before lowcarb days.

And Charles, well, it seems he had an idea for one with a catchy title: Meditations on a Young Man's Life. But when I clicked the link . . . nothing. Or maybe the meditations are just very private.

I've heard that Erin has one but I've not seen it. Any others?

Update: "Blog" is the number one word of the year. And we were there.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Tis the semester . . . . to blog . . .

My good friends from the next state over (the ones who voted for Kerry) tell me that they check out my blog from time to time, so I guess it is time to reveal the UAB choir member blogs I follow on a more-frequently-than I admit it basis:

Francesca: Always hilarious, sometimes revealing. F.R. wins the award for most frequent poster, at least from the ones i follow. I am beginning to believe that F.R. has a future in humorous writing if she chooses to follow the path . . . perhaps directing her own movie about her takes on life. I'd pay to see it. I even checked out her sister's blog.

I read more J.S. words than i ever hear her say. She is a close second in posting frequency. November 22 frightened me.

Clay: Also fairly frequent poster. I seem to know alot about some girl named Stephanie that I've never met. I sometimes wonder if Clay will have to delete this blog if he and Stephanie ever break up. To read his words, this one is forever. My advice: make few life entrenching decisions or committments before age 25. Or 30.

Katie: Has blog, does not post much. It looks like she does it about every 21 days, so I'm expecting another on or around December 15. Katie graces us more with her comments to blogville than with actual posts. Thanks, Katie.

Chris: Another one that I learn more about from what he writes than what I hear him speak.

Zach: Has sermon, will preach. Amen.

Sarah: Infrequent poster, always something interesting to say. I'm still trying to draw connections between the AndyGriffith-hardcorechristian-SituationalEthics-MillerHighLife-BoiledCookies post.

Nick: Well . . . he isn't a student here anymore but it seems Nick is still here.

That's all the choir blogs that I know about. Can anyone supply me with others that I'm missing?

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Late Nite Trials, Tribulations, and Resolutions

Here is a new abbreviation for you: CIO.

It stands for Crying It Out and it is a strategy(??) parents use to teach their children how to sleep through the night. After making sure that the children aren't in any particular pain or terror, the parents let the children cry until they become exhausted and fall asleep.

It isn't fun. For Parents of Multiples, it is a bit more difficult for obvious reasons . . . the child who can't sleep and must CIO wakes up the child who can sleep and it snowballs into multiple CIO experiences. Claire and Caroline are both quite skilled at CIO while Catherine somehow finds it within herself to sleep through it all. I can't decide whether I am more impressed with Claire, who can scream very loudly without growing weary of the exercise or with Catherine, who is oblivious to it all.

Leigh and I do our best to get through the night. To comfort myself, I read a little about the CIO method and found this article. The main point: A mental health expert warns that fashionable advice to ignore your child's tears may cause lifelong harm.


On to the triplet website, where I found our precise situation duplicated here. At least I found a bit of comfort there, in spite of what the study with brain scans tells me about the damage I'm doing to my daughters.

So what does this have to do with choir?

Good question . . . the thing is, even after the girls went to sleep I was still awake running over the today's rehearsal in my head. What started so well had a few tense momentsm (well, one) that i had trouble figuring out .

There is a danger in the "open exchange" rehearsal style that I use and we/I found it today. It isn't worth dwelling on or rehashing and it really wasn't that big of a deal in the end. I spoke with the people I needed to speak and we arrived at a mutual understanding of the factors that played into the moment.

The bottom line: Choir rehearsals are collaborative works where humans exhibit natural emotions and frustrations in the process of making something worthwhile (creating art). The proper response from any momentary frustration or conflict is to gain wisdom and knowledge from the experience and to move forward with grace, knowledge, and a redefined purpose.

And, now, a poetic link: we are the music makers of the world.

Monday, November 08, 2004

How and Where to Get a US Passport

Choir--the ones going to France this summer (and it isn't too late for the rest of you!),

WHO: those going to France.

WHAT: a passport-necessary travel document to leave our blessed USA. This link takes you to a website that gives an overview about how to get a US Passport and this site directs you to places that really spell it all out.

WHEN: although we don't leave until May 18, we need to get things together now. A passportis absolutely necessary to go to France!

WHERE: By clicking here, you can find a passport acceptance facility. It isn't hard, but you need to act soon!

Dr. McCoy speaks about us to others

One of my former students is doing his doctoral work with Dr. McCoy.

I got this email from him today:

Dr. Copeland,

Hey there, just had a meeting with Dr. McCoy and he mentioned that heard a number of groups from Al. this weekend - he said with great enthusiasm that your group was by far the best, and he was very impressed with your work. I am not sure if he mentioned this to you - but I thought that I would pass that along. It's good to know!

It'd be great to see you in L.A. and catch up.

Congratulations and continued success to you,


Isn't that nice to hear?

Email from Dr. McCoy

I thought you'd be interested to see this excerpt about you in an email to me from Dr. McCoy:

Your choir sings with beauty of tone, richness of color, rhythmic clarity and an understanding of the issues of communcation. I was very taken with them! You are doing dynamite work with the choir.

I hope to see you in LA.

Jerry McCoy

Dr. Jerry McCoy
Director of Choral Studies
College of Music
University of North Texas

Saturday, November 06, 2004

links to pictures!

pics of you for you: (links to my uab website)

Large 1.8 meg
Fairly large

did anyone get pictures from our last concert?

College Choir Festival


Here are some observations, insights and other pieces of information about our performance yesterday in no particular order.

Overall: I thought we did a great job on all three pieces yesterday.
Breaking it down: Alleluia.
Somehow, we went higher (sharp) on Alleluia right at the very beginning. Erin says she gave the right pitch and I believe her. Perhaps it was just a perception problem on my part, but i thought we were a half step sharp all the way through. At first i was petrified--but then i realized you were singing it perfectly even though it was higher than usual. Bottom line: you compensated like a champion.

Breaking it down: Salmo.
FABULOUS. Our most difficult piece performed extremely well. You followed me in every way and i thought we made some great music. I think this is the work we are performing the best right now.

Breaking it down: Whole World.
Great job. Great pitch, great energy. We might be a little fast on part of it according to a couple of comments i received, but that is more my problem than yours. We'll evaluate and figure it out later.

Comments from Dr. Jerry McCoy. In case you couldn't tell, Dr. McCoy was incredibly impressed with what you were doing and who you were. He frequently commented on the high difficulty level of the music we were singing--i sent him a copy of Salmo yesterday evening at his request. His remarks to us were different from the remarks he gave most other choirs, in my opinion. We'll dissect those in our next rehearsal and decide their validity to what we do next.

Right after our performance, he asked me if i had ever submitted anything to the Regional ACDA conventions and wondered if i was interested in performing at a convention. And the truth is, it is my major goal this year and next--we will submit a recording and application in April and hope for an inviation to the Southern Regional Convention for 2006. His question really made my day--i think it was validation that we are performing at a very high level.

He also told me that i was a lucky young man to have a choir like you at an age like mine. As I've told you many times, I'm reminded of my good fortune daily . . . and I'm humbled to get to work with a students like you.

Other comments:
Several people gave great compliments. Paul McGahie, who was complimentary of our performance last year, told me that we sounded like a "professional choir." I really appreciate that--we college choir directors are a pretty competitive bunch and i really appreciate that accolade. Several students from other schools spoke to me with words like "awesome" and other high-praise words of your generation.

I look forward to hearing the comments that you received from others and what you thought about the performance. Please post . . . and tell your choir friends to post!

Monday, November 01, 2004

A Magical Day

Wow. What a tremendous rehearsal yesterday (last Wednesday). Im not exactly sure why everything worked the way that it did, but the end result was fantastic.

Here is what I remember:

What I did: I spent several hours the previous day listening to our recording. I knew exactly where the trouble spots were and I typed my notes out to you so that you could make comments in your music and know precisely what I wanted to fix.

What you did:

1. People listened!
On Salmo, the blend was superb as people listened more dosely than ever before to exact pitch. We finally personified the definition of blend: exact same note, exact same pitch and exact same volume.

2. The McNeil effect:
We witnessed a spectacular transformation in Jonathan McNeil's tone and Volume yesterday. I've heard Jonathan sing like thct before in opera. Yesterday, he gave us the benefit of that training and expertise.

And then- all the men modeled his sound and the overall tonewas just incredible. And it just got better- the rest of the choir picked up the idea and 47 people made enough small adjustments to what they were already doing that a radical new creation emerged from what was already quite good.

And it all went back to one person- Jonathan Mc Neil. Yesterday, he gave a little more effort/volume than usual and the Choir was transformed.

Will you be that person in our next rehearsal?