Sunday, July 31, 2005

Absolutely Hilarious

Leigh and I just got home from watching "Wedding Crashers." We thought it was hilarious and we had several side-splitting laughs throughout the movie.

My favorite movie-review website, RottenTomatoes, gave it very high marks.

Now, it is not the kind of movie for small children or those easily offended. But I laughed and laughed. I think that Charles would especially like the movie--it is his kind of movie: a little vulgar, a little spontaneous.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

On the subject of marraige . . .

Dr. Jeff Reynolds married Laura Stone Adams today.

It was a lovely wedding and featured some wonderful music by some of our UAB faculty members. Unfortunately, I missed two of the things I really wanted to hear: a duet by Dr. Paul and Darla Mosteller and Dr. Kasman playing an Liszt arrangement of Schumann's Widmung. (Leigh told me that I should have left earlier!)

I did get to hear Dr. Candalaria play several works for trumpet and organ. He, as always, was fantastic.

I wanted to share the words of a solo that Dr. David Brunner composed for the event. It was sung by Dr. William Bugg, a well known voice professor on the Samford faculty.

The Bliss of With

You have come to me out of antiquities
We have loved one another for generations
We have loved one another for centuries

You teach me to trust the voice of my voices
You teach me to believe my own believings
You touch the palpability of my possibilities

Togehter we reflect what our mirrors conceal
Together we upgrade the sun in our meridians
We remain open night and day to transcendence

Your are incompletely disguised as a mortal
You are the eternal stranger I have always known
I saw your wings this morning
I saw your wings this morning
--James Broughton

Sarah and Erin performed much of the catering duties at the event. They were lovely and personified grace under some duress.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Oh my, I took an internet quiz

You can find it here. Am I destined to take a pirate quiz next?

the Wit
(52% dark, 39% spontaneous, 16% vulgar)
your humor style:

You like things edgy, subtle, and smart. I guess that means you're probably an intellectual, but don't take that to mean you're pretentious. You realize 'dumb' can be witty--after all isn't that the Simpsons' philosophy?--but rudeness for its own sake, 'gross-out' humor and most other things found in a fraternity leave you totally flat.

I guess you just have a more cerebral approach than most. You have the perfect mindset for a joke writer or staff writer. Your sense of humor takes the most effort to appreciate, but it's also the best, in my opinion.

PEOPLE LIKE YOU: Jon Stewart - Woody Allen - Ricky Gervais

My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

You scored higher than 83% on dark
You scored higher than 0% on spontaneous
You scored higher than 16% on vulgar

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Are you growing up or just getting older?

I found a great article on maturity today. It asks the question posed in this blog title "are you growing up or just getting older" and then goes on to discuss symptoms of the emotionally mature and the emotionally immature.

I found it to be quite enlightening and I encourage you to read it as we journey together down this road. The most obvious fact from the article: just because you are older doesn't mean you are more mature than those younger than you.

In the end, it is our actions that determines our level of maturity.

Besides listing characteristics on emotional immaturity, it gives examples of emotional maturity and even how to develop it.

I leave you with one of the lists:

Characteristics of the Emotionally Mature

1. The Ability to Give and Receive Love
2. The Ability to Face Reality and Deal with it
3. Just as Interested in Giving as Receiving
4. The Capacity to Relate Positively to Life Experiences
5. The Ability to Learn from Experience
6. The Ability to Accept Frustration
When things don't go as anticipated the immature person stamps his feet, holds his breath, and bemoans his fate. The mature person considers using another approach or going another direction and moves on with his life.
7. The Ability to Handle Hostility Constructively
8. Relative Freedom from Tension Symptoms

We all have something to learn, it seems!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Sacred and/or Profane? Or just a poem?

Here is a text and translation of a piece we will be singing soon. I post it here to see if Katie can come up with anything profane about it.

Frühling läßt sein blaues Band

Wieder flattern durch die Lüfte;

Süße, wohlbekannte Düfte

Streifen ahnungsvoll das Land.

Veilchen träumen schon,

Wollen balde kommen.

Horch, von fern [ein]1 leiser Harfenton!

Frühling, ja du bist's!

Dich hab ich vernommen!

Spring lets its blue ribbon

flutter again in the breeze;

a sweet, familiar scent

sweeps ominously through the land.

Violets are already dreaming,

and will soon arrive.

Hark! In the distance - a soft harp tone!

Spring, yes it is you!

I have heard you!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Great remarks to remember:

I saw this on ChoralTalk, a mailing list for choral directors. It was under the heading of Choral Platitudes, but I don't think it really falls under the definition of a platitude.

1. Always breathe in the shape of the first vowel.
2. Inhalation, regardless of the dynamic, should always be silent, low and huge.
3. Stay on the vowel as long as possible.
4. Almost all vowels are tall vowels ­ "space between the molars" ­ the
exception is [eh]. (Sigrid Johnson)
5. Consonants do not need muscular strength; they need air turbulence. Let the air carry the consonants.
6. Consonants do are almost always short and ahead of the beat.
7. No two consecutive notes, syllables or words should ever receive equal emphasis. The music is always going somewhere and then returning. (Robert Shaw)
8. Feel as though you are inhaling as you sing the phrase ­ stay in the inspiratory position.
9. Think constant flow of tone, rather than just sing.
10. Sing with the most beautiful sound you can produce ­ all the time.
11. Never think the same pitch on repeated notes ­ always think slightly higher.
12. Long notes never sit, they either crescendo, diminuendo, or both.
13. Dynamics are not just a question of volume ­ they are changes of intensity borne out of the breath.
14. When you sing in unison, your own voice disappears.
15. To achieve a great legato, energize the back half of the note as it moves to the next note (Edwin Fissinger)
16. When you have nothing left (spiritually, emotionally), Deep Breathe, and use the text. (Frank Almond)
17. Shed weight as you sing higher. Drop the luggage as you ascend the stairs. (Tim Salter)
18. All music must dance. (Weston Noble)
19. There is nothing more tragic in choral singing than the look of indifference.
20. The vocal folds that create speech and song are located halfway between your brain and your heart. Great singers use both. (Robert Fountain)
21. There is no such thing as a higher or lower sound wave. Sing faster, not higher.
22. Don't think flat or sharp, think in tune.
23. If "in-tune" were a dollar, you just spent about 98 cents. (Paul Nesheim)
24. Do your best, don¹t sweat the rest. (Coach Jeff Kellerman)

Source: Garrett Lathe
Sartell Choirs, MN

Monday, July 25, 2005

Mark it Down: The Best Ever

I haven't forgotten the comment made earlier this summer about this year being a "rebuilding" year for UAB Choirs. It is true that several of our members last year are not returning and we will miss them very much.

However, to assume that the 2005-2006 choir will be weaker is short-sighted. Anyone who would say that doesn't know what I know: that this year will be the best ever.

We've gotten stronger every year and this year will be no different. Our returning members are mature, quality musicians. They know what it is like to flawlessly perform on the world stage. They take each stage with confidence; they perform with emotion and expression. They have experienced the mystery of Notre Dame, the adoring audience of a foreign land, and the thrill of competition. They are proven singers and they have the respect of their director.

Our incoming members are strong readers with outstanding tone. They are intelligent, handsome, beautiful, and determined. Our literature is incredible and our opportunities to grow and achieve are exciting.

On August 16th, the old choir members will begin to see what I'm talking about. The new choir members will realize that they've never been a part of a group with so much passion and personality.

Get ready for an unforgettable year!

Sunday, July 24, 2005

LifeHacks @ Creativity

One of my favorite weblogs is I encourage you to check it out, at least for this post on CREATIVITY.

Steve Jobs is quoted in the post, and he says that "It takes a passionate commitment to thoroughly understand something – chew it up, not just quickly swallow it. Most people don’t take the time to do that. Creativity is just connecting things."

We will do our best to thoroughly understand our music next semester; I'm in the process of selecting exactly what we will do and it is playing in my head all the time these days. I'm close to deciding exactly what the program will be. The only problem: I have to leave out so many pieces that I want to do!

Saturday, July 23, 2005

10,000 visits

Sometime today I had the 10,000th visit to the UAB choir blog. Now, that isn't such a big deal when you consider that the Drudge Report gets nearly 10 million a day. Still, it's interesting to note!

See for yourself.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Questions and Positions

The situation: you care for someone and know they are about to make (what could be) a tragic decision, one that could change their life forever.

Would you tell them they were about to make a huge mistake, even though it was going to make them upset with you? Is it worth risking a relationship to stop a likely mistake?

If your friend was drunk and about to drive, would you take the keys?
Or would you not say anything at all and just "hope" that it all turned out alright?

Just what is the role of one with more life experience when dealing with the younger and less experienced? Should any knowledge transfer be attempted by the older one?


I haven't thought so much about marriage in several years. It has been interesting to do a little research and talk with others about decisions, theories, and life-experiences. I found this website today, and really enjoyed exploring it.

Having said my piece about the issue at hand, I'll begin backing away from being so upfront about my opinions for the time being. For now, I felt it important to make a statement and start a discussion based on some facts and figures. The opportunity to influence the lives of those I love is a gift, one that I cherish.

Realize that I risk something when I state beliefs that might challenge or offend you. Understand that I seek not to harm but to protect; I would rather guide from the beginning rather than console after a tragedy.

Ever in my life

Great choral music is not always dependent on great text, but the union of tremendous words with moving music can be quite profound. We will have some marvelous words and notes to sing this fall and spring!

I give you these words from Rabindranath Tagore, a great Indian poet and first Asian to receive the Nobel prize:

Ever in my life have I sought thee with my songs.
It was they who led me from door to door,
and with them have I felt about me,
searching and touching my world.

It was my songs that taught me all the lessons I ever learnt;
they showed me secret paths,
they brought before my sight many a star
on the horizon of my heart.

They guided me all the day long
to the mysteries of the country of pleasure and pain,
and, at last, to what palace gate have the brought me
in the evening at the end of my journey?

If I Can Help Somebody

Some words I try to live by:

If I can help somebody as I pass along,
If I can cheer somebody with a word or song,
If I can show somebody he's traveling wrong,
Then my living will not be in vain.
If I can do my duty as a Christian ought,
If I can bring salvation to a world once wrought,
If I can spread the message as the master taught,
Then my living will not be in vain.

See this post and listen to the music for real insight.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Goodbye Scotty

Scotty, aka James Doohan, from Star Trek, passed away today.

I'm sorry to see him go, because he was one of my favorite characters in the Star Trek series.

My favorite line:
"I'm givin' her all I can, Cap'n!"

Another great quote:
Diplomats! The best diplomat I know is a fully activated phaserbank.
Scotty, "A Taste of Armageddon"

Yes, Clay, I know this revelation adds evidence to Clay's "geek" theory, but at least I'm not the only one.

BCC Invite

BCC Invite
Originally uploaded by philipco.

If you are not getting immediately married either during or after college, consider joining the Birmingham Concert Chorale. Mark Ridings is interested in having you sing with his group and has a special deal for students! We are happy to join with the BCC in this year's Messiah with the Alabama Symphony and they are coming with us to New York!

It is surely going to be a great year.

If you click on the picture and zoom in you'll be able to read the letter from my FLICKR account.

You'll note the date of April 19 of this year . . . his invitation came too late in the academic year for me to announce in choir--primarily due to my yearly onset of psychosis during the month of April as concerts are closing in.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

1079 words

Originally uploaded by philipco.
Longest. Comment. Ever.

It seems my recent posts about marriage have produced some strong thinking amongst the readership. I'm glad! Rachel's response was so long I almost decided that it deserved it's own post, but I linked to it instead. It totals 1079 words. Impressive.

You can read it here.

A sampling of Rachel's thoughts:

With regards to people marrying young, I think it goes a little further than statistics. Your brain isn't fully developed until your early twenties. More importantly, it’s the part of your brain used for judgment (the prefrontal cortex...I think). This is why the drinking age is 21. The majority of 18 and 19 year olds didn't have the brain development to make good decisions about drinking and driving. And yes, I know that doesn't apply to most of us. But just remember all the fools you went to high school with-it makes sense.

With the whole north and south thing, I don't think weather has anything to do with it-except that people in the north probably cuddle more because it’s colder. Maybe, and this is just an idea, all the southerners are caught up in a dreamy, idealistic, Gone-With-the-Wind conception of marriage while people in the north tend to be more cynical and realistic of life.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

'Til Divorce We Do Part: Smart People Wait

Another departure from choir news/facts with a message or two to all of my students in their late teens or early twenties contemplating huge decisions. I'm about finished chasing this rabbit, but I've wanted to look these statistics up for a while.

Source page.

Marriages don't exist in a vacuum. Studies suggest that many factors contribute to the success or failure of a marriage, including geography, age, religion, race, income and education level, and family history of divorce. Study the truth behind the numbers, and you may find your own marriage has a higher chance of success.

Interesting fact 1: Warm weather contributes to higher divorce rate. Another strange, but accurate, predictor of divorce rates is warm weather. More than 60 percent of the total U.S. population lives in the northern half of the country, yet less than half of all divorces occur there. Ironically, the Bible Belt states have some of the highest divorce rates of all.

Interesting fact 2: Couples who tie the knot early are much more likely to get divorced. Studies show that nearly half the people who marry under age 18 will have failed marriages, and 40 percent of those who marry under age 20 will end up divorced. In contrast, only 24 percent of people who marry after age 25 will get divorced. Half of all marriages in which the bride is under age 18 will end in divorce within ten years.

It seems that the smart thing to do is wait until you are 25 to consider marriage . . . and then to live where it is cooler . . .

What is the right age to get married?

Another departure from choir news/facts with a message or two to all of my students in their late teens or early twenties contemplating huge decisions.

Because I love you guys and want you to hear wisdom and truth.

From here.

Not long ago, a young couple named David and Cassandra came to see me for premarital counseling. As these fresh-faced lovers sat down on the couch at our first session, they gazed at each other with puppy eyes and sat so close I thought one might end up on the other's lap. "Dr. Warren," David said, "we're here because we've announced our engagement -and our parents think we're too young to get married." They gave each other syrupy smiles and squeezed each other tightly. "Well, how old are you?" I asked. "I'm twenty," he said, "and Cassandra is eighteen." "But why does age really matter anyway?" Cassandra chimed in. "We love each other, and we're right for each other. Everything in our hearts tells us we should be together."

We talked a while, and I remained as open-minded as possible. After all, occasionally even eighteen-year-olds can be surprisingly mature. But the truth became clear when I asked some specific questions, such as how David envisioned his life in ten years. "I've always been good at art," he replied, "so I'll probably end up in the art field somewhere. But I'm not really sure what I'll choose to do for a career or where we might live or any of that. All I know is that if Cassandra and I are together, we'll be fine. We can make it through anything."

I was beginning to suspect this relationship was long on fantasy and short on reality. So I asked them both to describe themselves, their strengths and weakness, their personalities, their style of communication, and I received more vague responses. They fumbled for answers and always returned to their "love-will-see-us-through" theme. Finally I said to them, "Look, as a psychologist I try to tell the truth as clearly as I know how, and the truth is this: All those warm, tender feelings you have for each other are important and necessary for marriage. But it's even more important for you to know who you are as individuals, to be clear about where you want to go in life before you make a commitment as critical and all-encompassing as marriage."

Naturally, my truth-telling didn't sit well with these starry-eyed lovers. But I had to give it to them straight. The fact is, whenever a couple in their early twenties or younger comes to me and declares their plans to marry, a neon sign in my mind flashes Danger! I know the divorce rate for couples under twenty is incredibly high (between 80 and 85%). Social scientists have found that people who marry young are seldom prepared for marital roles.

So how old should two people be when they marry? That depends on many factors-maturity level, ability to earn a living, progress in education, and so on. But we can say for sure that, statistically, marriages seem to be much more stable when they begin no earlier than the mid-twenties. As a matter of fact, a recent study indicates that the most stable marriages of all have a "starting date" of twenty-eight years of age. In their book, Marriage and the Family, researchers Marcia and Tom Lasswell conclude: "Divorce rates are lowest for men and women who marry for the first time at age 28 or later. The chances for a stable marriage increase as both partners reach the age of 30 and then the rates level off."

At the heart of the issue is this: Young people can't select a marriage partner effectively if they don't know themselves well. Until they can identify themselves in a precise and detailed way, they are in no position to identify the person to move through life with them. In our culture, the identifying process usually requires most of the first twenty-five to twenty-eight years of life. Identity formation is incomplete until individuals have emotionally separated from their parents and discovered the details of their own uniqueness. Prior to their mid-twenties, most young adults haven't defined their goals and needs. They haven't had time to learn to be independent. They haven't yet "grown into themselves." They simply need more life experience.

Christianity and Divorce

A departure from choir news and a delving into hard facts of life.

A recent study by the Barna Research Group:
  • 11% of the adult population is currently divorced.
  • 25% of adults have had at least one divorce during their lifetime.
  • Divorce rates among conservative Christians were much higher than for other faith groups, and for Atheists and Agnostics.
George Barna, president and founder of Barna Research Group, commented: "While it may be alarming to discover that born again Christians are more likely than others to experience a divorce, that pattern has been in place for quite some time. Even more disturbing, perhaps, is that when those individuals experience a divorce many of them feel their community of faith provides rejection rather than support and healing. But the research also raises questions regarding the effectiveness of how churches minister to families. The ultimate responsibility for a marriage belongs to the husband and wife, but the high incidence of divorce within the Christian community challenges the idea that churches provide truly practical and life-changing support for marriages."

According to the Dallas Morning News, a Dallas TX newspaper, the national study "raised eyebrows, sowed confusion, [and] even brought on a little holy anger." This caused George Barna to write a letter to his supporters, saying that he is standing by his data, even though it is upsetting. He said that "We rarely find substantial differences" between the moral behavior of Christians and non-Christians. Barna Project Director Meg Flammang said: "We would love to be able to report that Christians are living very distinct lives and impacting the community, but ... in the area of divorce rates they continue to be the same." Both statements seem to be projecting the belief that conservative Christians, liberal Christians have the same divorce rate. This disagrees with their own data.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Letter to UAB Vocal Students


You'll soon be receiving this letter from me--it is the annual letter telling you about choir auditions before school begins. Mark the dates on your calendar!

Dear UAB Vocal Student,

Greetings from UAB!

Exciting things are in store for UAB Choirs and Ensembles this year:

  • Two operas: Menotti’s The Medium and The Devil and Daniel Webster by Douglas Moore,
  • Handel’s Messiah with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra,
  • Mozart’s Solemn Vespers in a trip to New York to sing in Carnegie Hall with Dr. Copeland conducting, and
  • A prestigious performance at the American Choral Directors Convention by the Concert Choir

As always, all new and returning vocal students must attend vocal placement auditions. The auditions will occur on Tuesday, August 16th on this schedule:

Tuesday, August 16 – Hulsey 308

12:30 p.m. New students
2:00 p.m. All male singers (new and returning)
3:00 p.m. All female singers (new and returning)

No preparation is necessary. All students who make Concert Choir will receive a letter to alleviate any time conflicts that present a problem during registration.

Call-backs for Chamber Singers will be posted following the auditions on Tuesday. Anyone interested in Opera Theater should contact Dr. Ray (see enclosed flyer). Auditions for Chamber Singers and opera roles will be on Wednesday, August 17.

Wednesday, August 17 – Hulsey 308
10:00 a.m. Chamber Singers call-backs
11:30-1:00 p.m. Rehearsals with accompanist for opera auditions
1:00 p.m. Auditions for opera roles

Students will need to add all appropriate ensembles to their schedules on Wednesday, August 17 to avoid drop/add fees. Classes begin on Thursday, August 18.

If you have any questions regarding the audition schedule, please contact Dr. Philip Copeland by email ( or phone (205.335.5353).

We look forward to seeing you soon!

Preparing for the Potty

I am definitely in a new phase of life. Tonight, for the first time in my life, I searched Google for "how to potty train."


Just thought I'd let the choir know what I'm thinking about in these long days of summer.

Carnegie Hall ontheweb!

Check out this link . . .

we are in place on MidAmerica's upcoming concert page!

TUESDAY, MAY 9, 8:00 P.M.
(RESIDENCY 5/6-5/10)
RODGER BEATTY conducts children's choruses in Randall Thompson's Place of the Blest, plus works by various Canadian composers.
PHILIP COPELAND conducts Mozart's Vesperae solennes de confessore, K. 339.
LEE EGBERT conducts Poulenc's Gloria.

so is William Powell, from Auburn:

(RESIDENCY 4/19-4/23)
WILLIAM POWELL conducts Mozart's Missa brevis in B-flat major, K. 275 and Haydn's Te Deum.
JAN PEDERSEN SCHIFF conducts women's choruses in Vaughan Williams's Magnificat and Walker's Six Songs for Women's Voices.

and my former professor John Dickson and friend Jamie Meadors:

(RESIDENCY 4/1-4/5)
JOHN DICKSON conducts Haydn's Mass in D minor ("Lord Nelson").
DONALD MCCULLOUGH conducts McCullough's Holocaust Cantata.
JAMES MEADERS conducts Rutter's Requiem.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Choir Dates 2005-2006

Choir Dates as I Know them, 2005-2006:

POSSIBLE Retreat Dates:

Saturday, August 27th


Saturday, September 10th

Saturday, September 17th
Scholars Symposium

Tuesday, September 20 (posted 8/10/2005)
Alumni Awards Luncheon (@ THE CLUB)

Friday, October 7th
Smolian International House, 3pm

Saturday, October 8
ACDA Saturday Sing (Opportunity to makeup tardy)

Thursday, October 20th
Fall Choir Concert

Thursday, November3
College Choral Festival 10:00 am. 3pm

Monday, Dec. 12
Messiah Rehearsal

Tuesday, Dec. 13
Messiah Rehearsal

Rehearsal w/ASO - Jemison Concert Hall

UAB Final exams end on Wednesday, December 14

Thursday, Dec. 15
Rehearsal w/ASO - Jemison Concert Hall

Friday, Dec. 16
Performance: 8:00 Jemison Concert Hall

Saturday, January 14
UAB Honor Choir Performance

February 22-25
UAB at ACDA Convention (Charleston, WV)
Exact dates will be provided later.

March 27-31
Spring Break

Friday, April 21
UAB Spring Concert
(Mozart Solemn Vespers) and other

May 6-10

Tuesday, May 9
UAB @ Carnegie Hall (Performance 8:00 p.m.)

Date change: Oct. 14th, 2005

This event will be rescheduled:

Friday, October 14th at 2pm at the Smolian International House

I'm trying to reschedule for the previous Friday, Oct. 7th.

Will not be entire choir, will be members who went on France trip and possibly a few others who did not go.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

We Welcome David

Originally uploaded by philipco.
David Berg joins blog world.

What took you so long, David?

And who is this SamWiseberg fellow, anyway?

Friday, July 01, 2005

This is a "blog series" of journal entries that the choir wrote about the France trip on the way home from Atlanta to Birmingham. I found them to be wonderfully written and some quite profound. Over the next couple of days I'm going to post them here to share with the world. We had an incredible experience in France and these words will remind us of our time together.

Holly Sawardecker
When I realized I was going to France, I admit I was very wary. I’m always looking forward to travel, but I’m very aware that oftentimes US citizens are not well received. I have immense pride in my country, so I was a little concerned. But one 8-hour flight later we were in Paris with a jovial driver named Joop leading the way. We would become fast friends with him, and dedicated a piece of ourselves to him in the end.

Most of us were in states of utter disbelief that we had entered French territory, but the buzz of the street was unmistakably foreign to our ears. Many reeled at first at cultural differences. Throughout our first days there were mutter of “No meat for breakfast?” and “I have to pay for public restrooms?” The wine is cheaper than water here,” and other sporadic comments. But culture shock or not, we all knew we were here to do a job, and that was our first priority.

During our first days we were in grand Paris. We dispersed in pairs and groups, and even the most shy found fast companionship in fellow English speakers. We toured all the biggies: Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomph, the Louvere, and others. On the day we went to Versailles, the staff was on strike, so my travel buddy of the day and I decided to go into Notre Dame Cathedral to prepare ourselves for our concert the next day. My friend walked to the top as I sat in silent reveries of the structure. I watched people come and go. I said all the prayer I could think of. I gazed at all the windows in amazement. Everybody was whispering but their whispers bounced off stone, making a generic hum in the cathedral. I felt unexplainably moved in my seat. My heart felt warm and my stomach tingled, and all of a sudden I had tears in my eyes. I thought about all the people who had sat in that very spot before me. I wondered what they were praying for, what they’d been going through. Was it thanks? Grief? Joy? Fear? And at that moment I felt every imaginable emotion. Just for that instant, I felt everything.

The next days, we sang in that glorious chamber. I sang in a way I had never sung before. I felt more reverence than I have ever felt. Each time the choir performed in Europe I sang differently. In Notre Dame my heart swelled in thanks for God. And though I could not hear anyone else in the choir, I felt more a part of the group than ever before. I felt even more amazement with the single word in Lux Aurumque than ever before. As soon as “angeli” left my lips my heart felt lifted and I felt warmed, by the heaven’s light we were singing about. People stopped dead in their tracks to listen to our music. They took the time to sit and enjoy our art. And it was beautiful. Any mistakes were instantly forgiven, if noticed. I felt wonderfully shell shocked for the rest of the day.

Our next concert was in Saint Rita, outside of Paris. Our music was beautiful, but we were more overwhelmed by our audience. Never before had we sung for such an enraptured crowd. They were completely enamored with us.

Coming from a culture that refers to choral musicians as “choir nerds,” we were stunned at their involvement. When, after our set was over and we were hugging and taking shoes off, Mrs. Reynolds came in yelling “Get back out there NOW! They’re still clapping!”

We all were shaking with disbelief. As we took the stage again, many of us looked out into the crowd. All eyes were on us and the clapping had become chanting. We were adored by complete strangers. They could see our surprise and smiled broadly as if to say “No, really, we want to hear more.” Never before had we been received so enthusiastically.

Experience of a Lifetime

This is a "blog series" of journal entries that the choir wrote about the France trip on the way home from Atlanta to Birmingham.

Delia Charest
Senior, music/pre-pharmacy
Definitely one of the most amazing things about the trip were the many people that we touched with our music. Anytime after we sang, people would come up to us and try to express how our music touched them. Most of the time, they didn’t speak any English, but they wanted to express the feeling that they received from our music. It didn’t matter whether we could understand them or not. It really shows that music is universal!

David Berg

The most amazing part of the trip was the Thursday night concert when the audience waited for ten minutes for us to get back on stage. We had left the stage to thunderous applause and were preparing to leave when Mrs. Reynolds came flying into our rehearsal room to tell us to get back upstairs and on to the stage. The adrenaline rush of this experience was amazing.

The most beautiful building that I had the chance to enter was the Notre Dame de Chartres. The love that has been poured into keeping that building in existence was awe-inspiring. I was truly moved by this cathedral.

Evan Long
Social Work

Being a part of UAB’s first international competition was in itself the experience of a lifetime.

Prayers are still lingering . . .

This is a "blog series" of journal entries that the choir wrote about the France trip on the way home from Atlanta to Birmingham.

Erin Pair
Walking into Notre Dame Cathedral and having my breath taken away because of the vastness and the knowledge of the millions of prayers that are still lingering there from all the people who were there before me was the most amazing feeling in the world.

Meghan Granlund
Sophomore Elementary Education

My most memorable experience in Paris was going to the top of the Eiffel Tower. On the inside of the top level, signs on the wall show how far a country would be if you could see far enough in that direction. That reminded me about a song our choir sang in the festival: “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.” That perfectly describes it that God has the whole entire world in His hands.

A pastry shop on every corner

This is a "blog series" of journal entries that the choir wrote about the France trip on the way home from Atlanta to Birmingham.

Charles Henry
Junior Music Ed

Obviously, the most memorable thing about the trip was the wonderful music making and the way the French people appreciated it. However, the pastry shops on EVERY STREET CORNER went a long way towards a great time in France.

Single Most Incredible Moment

This is a "blog series" of journal entries that the choir wrote about the France trip on the way home from Atlanta to Birmingham. I found them to be wonderfully written and some quite profound. Over the next couple of days I'm going to post them here to share with the world. We had an incredible experience in France and these words will remind us of our time together.

Katie Movelle:

Singing in Notre Dame was the singularly most incredible moment of my life. The stained glass and stone angels behind Dr. Copeland’s head as we performed made God’s presence so much more real. When I returned to Notre Dame later in the week, I realized how priviledged we were to have seen the back rooms and basements of the ancient cathedral.

Traipsing around Paris armed only with four semesters of mediocre French classes leaves room for unforeseen adventure. My favorite dining event was on the way to Sacre’ Couer. We stopped in LeBazaar Café and had the most convoluted conversation while trying to order two pizzas from a man who only spoke French and Spanish. Luckily, we were all patient and good-humored!

Foreign babes

This is a "blog series" of journal entries that the choir wrote about the France trip on the way home from Atlanta to Birmingham. I found them to be wonderfully written and some quite profound. Over the next couple of days I'm going to post them here to share with the world. We had an incredible experience in France and these words will remind us of our time together.

Chris Carter:

I met a lot of cute foreign babes. Oh . . . and made some really great music, too.

Of course, Chris' entry is not so profound.

Professional beyond their years

This is a "blog series" of journal entries that the choir wrote about the France trip on the way home from Atlanta to Birmingham.

John Ray
Music professor

From the moment we boarded the bus in Birmingham, our Concert Choir represented UAB with a musical professionalism beyond their years. Unver the fine direction of Dr. Copeland, each note sparkled, each word revealed depth of understanding, and each individual voice united in magnificent harmony.

Though often tired from travel, time change, and hectic schedules, their “esprit de corp” and love for singing carried our choir to soaring heights, whether in Nore Dame’s Cathedral, a small Catholic church in Paris, or on the stage of the Tours competition, our students took their singing seriously, lifting listeners to often ethereal planes. They truly made me proud!

Outside of the music, it wa a distinct pleasure spending time with the students in Paris. One of my favorite parts of any choir trip is the chance it provides to know the students on a different and often deeper level. Trips like this allow us all, faculty and students, to see one another at our most “human” breaking down those unspoken barriers that sometimes exist in academic relationships. One thing is for certain, none of us will ever see the other through the same eyes again. I think that’s good!

Truly appreciated

This is a "blog series" of journal entries that the choir wrote about the France trip on the way home from Atlanta to Birmingham.

Lauren Davidson

One thing on this trip that had a huge impact on me was being truly appreciated by a public audience for the music we’ve worked so hard on for a year. Every concert we sang was packed. Audiences were on the edge of their seats until the end of every song and couldn’t wait to applaud. Once concert even ended with an encore! It’s something I’ve never experienced before and will never forget.

Another thing I loved was being able to visit the many museums and historical places in Paris. After taking Art History in high school, I never really gave all that stuff a second thought. But at the Louvre and Rodin and Orsay museums . .. these pieces of art were right in front of me. I got to learn so much about them, their makers, and why they made them. It was the experience of a lifetime!

Passion and Future

This is a "blog series" of journal entries that the choir wrote about the France trip on the way home from Atlanta to Birmingham.

Rebekah Smith

The best thing about the trip for me was being able to experience a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with a group of people who share a passion for choral music. We came together to represent UAB and America on the world stage and had a great time doing it. The UAB Concert Choir has an incredible future to look forward to!

Andrew Granlund:
France is a beautiful place and I would encourage any and everyone to visit.

St. Rita's

Jonathan Hood, sophomore

The most amazing experience for me in France was singing in a small Catholic church called St. Ritas's. While we saw amazing things and sang in very historical places St. Rita's was one of those experiences that will stick with me forever. Our songs truly touched the people of this tiny French church. As we sang, it was apparent that God was working in that place. People were coming in off the streets in the middle of the concert. It was truly amazing; it's why I sing. My entire trip was completely amazing but something happened in that church that I will never forget. I am truly thankful for the experience.