Saturday, October 29, 2005
Friday, October 28, 2005
A couple of notes:
1. UAT is coming after all.
2. UAB is in the morning again. I don't mind it; we'll think of this as what it will be like at the ACDA convention in February. We'll be singing at 10 in the morning then, too.
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Lunch Period 1
Lunch Period 2
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Massed singing with John Dickson
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Dr. Reynolds wrote these wonderful words to President Garrison in support of our request for ACDA travelling funds. I asked him if I could share them with you and he agreed. Please thank him if you get the chance.
In our world of choral music, there are few greater honors than to be invited to a regional or national convention of the American Choral Directors Association conventions. The performing venues are packed with choral conductors, deans, administrators, and students from all over the nation who enthusiastically appreciate the music of those few chosen to perform. Our choir has been honored with an invitation and this on the heels of their resounding success in France at the choral competition there and in Notre Dame Cathedral. As you can see from Philip's email, they will also perform with the ASO and in Carnegie Hall this year. There is no other choir in our state (and none that I know of in the southeast) that has been so active and recognized in recent memory. In short, we have one of the finest choirs in the nation and, come February, everyone will know it.
These are some of the nicest words that have ever been said about our choir. I appreciate them and I know you do too. Please remember Dr. Reynolds' support of our choir when you have an opportunity to help him with a task or kind word.
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Claire, Catherine, Caroline.
They actually pose for pictures now.
For some reason, Caroline is calling Catherine "Caroline" from time to time.
Fatherhood is fantastic, even better than directing incredible choirs. But wait 'til your married . . . and wait 'til at least 25 for that. Or 30.
And read the article here.
It seems we are everywhere today---see the previous two posts I made today, one about Natalie Bergeron and the other on our trip to France.
Natalie was a great student--very dedicated and a fabulous voice. I loved having her in choir and awarded her the 2002 Chamber Singer of the Year, my precursor award that is now entitled "Concert Singer of the Year."
Natalies advice to students of the art:
Music students should keep in mind that it's a profession that demands commitment. If you feel that music is an inherent part of you, then by all means pursue it. But don't expect it to be easy; this field requires a lifetime of perpetual study.
Read the article here.
Sunday, October 23, 2005
I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed the concert! The performance was stunning and stellar! The choir walked out like they owned the stage, and after the first note they did! I love to sing and for a few seconds I missed it, but listening to one of the best choirs in the world was more rewarding than performing! The vowels and energy were great, but the dynamics and the musicianship of you and the choir were tremendous!!! I kept thinking about how much this choir has accomplished in three years, and how rewarding it is for you, the choir, and the listeners. I am so glad that I went to UAB for two years, and was apart of the UAB Concert Choir! Again, I thank you and the choir for blessing me in such a wonderful concert!
Kevin A. Beck
Friday, October 21, 2005
Larger size here.
Taken by Pam, the wonderful woman who helps us at our home (who is the mother of our nanny's boyfriend!).
Pam is quite talented and you can see more of her photos here.
This photo was picked up by something called United Children of the World. Check it out.
Thursday, October 20, 2005
'Twas an outstanding concert tonight, UAB Choirs. Congratulations on all the fine singing tonight; all choirs did a fantastic job.
We began school on August 18 and gave a concert on October 20. There was alot of work that went on in those eight weeks and it all showed itself tonight.
All soloists did a fabulous job. Chamber Choir was thrilling; Women's Chorale fabulous, and Concert Choir excellent.
You should all feel great about tonight.
Nick had a feeling I would blog this evening . . . I didn't want to let him down (because he is already suffering alot from the UM defeat last weekend).
"If I can Help" for me is what I call in my personal life an "epiphany'. Sometimes in life the heart mind and body seem to be all flying in different directions until something somewhere from the outside pulls them together and makes them be still. It is in those brief moments that you get a little glimpse at the order of the universe... that you feel like you really are a part of some type of cycle... that it is not chaos... that you are a part of it and meant to be there... that there is a larger plan and you are a part of the equation. For me, these things usually involve places where man and nature have come together and compliment one another. There is some sort of harmony in that. I think musicians should understand that well. Sound is natural and exists on it's own but music is man complimenting what G-d has created.As I said in the title of this post, great songs inspire great thoughts. Profound words, especially when coupled with incredible music, can effect real change on a person's life. When we ingest the message of the song, it manifests itself in our lives as well as our faces. If we have experienced its message, we cannot help but show it on our faces. I'm looking for inspired singing tonight. Thanks for pointing the way, Keith.
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
I don't know whether to be alarmed or charmed that classy Sam couldn't tell I was joking--for some reason, I like to border on being taken seriously in my humor. At any rate, these words of hers both made me laugh and alarmed me:
But, he launched in this whole story about a rage he had been feeling ever since he knew this girl who did the same thing. Apparently, his anger had been building every time he heard the recording of it, and he displaced his anger onto me. I couldn't tell if he was kidding or not, but good grief.
The longer I look at it, the more hilarious it becomes. Her solution makes sense:
I just won't sing words when it comes to those songs. I'll lip synch.
I hope she chooses another way of dealing with it.
For the record: Sam is a fantastic addition to our choir; I'm proud to have her there. I'm excited about the contributions she makes and the leadership she will give for many years.
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
You guys really amazed me the other day when you came to visit us at UAB. Having come up through Mortimer Jordans Choir program with Margaret Heron, I know a good high school choir and you guys are it! You sounded wonderful! My favorite thing about you is that you have fun with the music you perform. Mr. Cummins is doing a great job with you guys and it is evident that you are learning alot from him. God bless you all!
It is a special college student to take a moment to publicly affirm a visiting choir in such a nice way. Our choir is filled with people like Clay: thoughtful, respectful, kind, and talented.
Way to go.
Sunday, February 12, 2006
Mountain Brook Baptist Church
This is the concert Dr. Milburn Price referred to in rehearsal the other day. Four Birmingham choirs have been invited to sing at the ACDA convention in February. I don't know of another city in the region that is so well represented.
Birmingham Boys Choir
Pizitz Middle School
Samford University A Cappella Choir
University of Alabama at Birmingham Concert Choir
It is a quite an honor to be selected to perform at any ACDA Convention. Groups selected to perform go through a strict audition process. Directors must be at an institution for at least three years. Recordings from three different years are submitted and evaluated blindly by committee. It is only after the selection is made, that those evaluating the recordings find out what choirs were selected to perform.
Alabama will be well represented by these fine choirs!
Sunday @ Canterbury was a great experience and I think you sang very well.
Now is the time to invite others. Invite friends! Family! Friends of the family!
What freshman blog?
Saturday, October 15, 2005
Bama beats Ole Miss: 13-10.
I predicted BAMA 48-7, so Nick called me to rub it in that his team didn't lose to "my" team as bad as I wanted.
Greatest play: TWO delay of game penalties on the TWO yardline. Very typical of UM--they always find a way to mess up something good.
Thursday, October 13, 2005
Jean Jordan working with any choir is quite compelling. She is a woman possessed with incredible knowledge, practical experience, and a passion to make something better. If you were paying attention, you learned alot yesterday. I did. Again.
Did you hear it too? The thousands of possibilities that our music has to offer? The excitement of the UR beginning?
There was alot that was addressed yesterday and I'll just list the items I will be dwelling on in the coming days:
1. Isolating to the individual and not leaving the scene of the crime until there is a change in the sound or way it is being produced. (i must mention how proud i was of red-faced-andy yesterday)
2. Ah vowel; not aw.
3. Brightness in the ah; blending different voices through placing people where they can make the best contribution.
4. Dynamics. Mrs. J pointed us towards the excitment that we could find and it was quite motivating. One singer emailed me after yesterday with some very fine comments that I will excerpt here:
we received a great amount of advice to help us become a better choir today. One thing that really stuck with me was the comment regarding our dynamic levels. Basically, I don't think we ever sing piano and even more rarely do we sing softer than that. Obviously, this limits our dynamic range and like we heard today leaves us "with nowhere to grow." How can an audience compare and appreciate forte when they haven't even heard piano?
4. The superior model. Dropping out voices until the ideal is reached.
5. Space above the note.
6. Singing softly and listening across the section.
7. Doing something with every note; getting it louder or getting it softer. That's a phrase that is said many times by musicians but realized by few.
8. Consonants, the singers best friend.
And did you notice what she talked about the most? METER. In every phrase and measure.
The Jordan's changed the course of my life when I was in college. They exposed me to new places, new ideas, incredible food and international travel. At the root of it all was an unbelievable quest for excellence. It started in music and then it carried over to everything else.
At some point, a fantastic friendship developed and we have been close for many years now. It's that kind of closeness that is at the core of who you are.
Thanks for coming, Jean. You showed us who we could be, and that is, perhaps, the greatest gift a master teacher could give a student.
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
Sunday, October 09, 2005
I just wanted to thank you guys for performing for us at the Smolian International House. I have been working there for about four years now and have never experienced such an atmosphere in the house. It was electrifying. I for one didn't even know that UAB had a concert choir, let alone such an extremely talented one.
Keep up the excellent work and I hope to see you perform in the near future.
-- Pelson Mascarenhas
Friday, October 07, 2005
Thank the students for "enriching my soul" this afternoon. I needed to savor the beautiful music and the talented voices...not to mention the superb conductor!
In case you don't know her, she is a lover of choir music and a big supporter of our choir. We are fortunate to have her at UAB and I encourage you to meet her and get to know her the next time you see her. A classy lady.
And these words from Marybeth Verchot, from a comment a few moments ago:
I don't think I've ever performed in a choir that had that much energy during the first performance of the year, or for a small audience, and it was wonderful.
Both comments made my day. Thanks. It just gets better from here.
Here is a google map of where the church is.
The church web page directs you to a Mapquest Map. It also provides these directions:
Take the Lakeshore exit and travel east toward Homewood/Mountain Brook. After passing Samford University on your left and Brookwood Mall on your right, continue on Mountain Brook Parkway east to Overbrook Road. Turn left. The church will be on your left after approximately � mile.
Take the 280 West Exit traveling toward Mountain Brook. At Brookwood Mall, take Mountain Brook Parkway/AL Highway 149 east to Overbrook Road. Turn left. The church will be on your left after approximately � mile.
For further directions, please call the church office at (205) 871-4695.
Great job choir--we were appreciated at our concert at the Smolian House today. I appreciate the extra efforts you made to be there and I think we did a fine job.
Many things went well and there are some things to learn from today--if you have any thoughts along those lines, please post them. (but please, nothing cast in a negative light and no anonymous comments).
Thursday, October 06, 2005
Women Who Have Not Signed Up:
Men Who Have Not Signed Up
I received this request this morning regarding the article being written about us for a school publication:
We are gathering artifacts to use with the piece on the choir's trip toCan you help me with ticket stubs, postcards, something like that?
France. I have scanned the cover of the program and have the one image in front of Notre Dame. We need more...either other images and/or ticket stubs, actual journals, postcards, whatever. Can you help me out? Thanks
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
Liza Adams (Maybe?)
Anthony Concepcion Tommy Nelson
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
I am fortunate this semester to have Margaret Heron as my "assistant" in Women's Chorale. Yesterday, she achieved a breakthrough of sorts with the choir and I was quite impressed.
She correctly identified the problem, took her time with teaching the solution, reinforced what she saw was good, refused to accept anything that wasn’t exactly what she wanted, created strategies on the spot for solving what might be a contributing factor and did it all with a smile.
There is so much that impresses me about Margaret:
1. She's built a program where there was none
2. She consistently out-performs programs that have better resources and/or schedules
3. Her students exhibit respect and discipline after they leave high school
4. And more.
Margaret, thanks for being the teacher that you are. The choral program at UAB has benefited in multiple ways because you are who you are.
- are proud to have you as a student,
- will be honored to have you as a graduate
- credit you with helping us build a program here through your outstanding teaching
From Due motetti
Sándor Szokolay b. 1931
Javier Busto b. 1949
Ave Maris Stella
Edward Grieg (1843-1907)
Over hill, over dale
Four Shakespeare Songs (1984)
Jaakko Mäntyjärvi b. 1963
“When I . . .”
I. When I Bring
II. When I Sing
III. When I Bring
Vytautas Miśkinis b.1954
Ever In My Life
If I Can Help Somebody
arr. Raymond Liebau b. 1937
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) choirs invite all music lovers to an evening of world-class choral music at 8 p.m. Thursday, October 20, at the Alys Stephens Center, 1200 10th Ave. S. Admission is free. Call 205-934-7376 for more information.
Three choirs from the UAB Department of Music will present the concert: the UAB Concert Choir and UAB Women’s Chorale, directed by Philip Copeland, D.M.A., and the UAB Chamber Singers, directed by Jeff Reynolds, D.M.A. On the program are selections featuring mostly modern music, including the Duruflé’s Quatre Motets and Halsey Stevens’ “Magnificat,” said Copeland, director of UAB choral activities.
“All of the music is incredible,” Copeland said. “We’ll be singing some of the finest choral works written by the world’s best composers.” Much of the music for the evening will be presented by the UAB Concert Choir in preparation for their concert at the American Choral Directors Association Southern Division Convention in February 2006. Directors of participating choirs must submit three years’ worth of recordings to be considered for the performance.
“It is an honor to be invited to perform at a concert of America’s choral directors,” Copeland said. It is the first time any music ensemble from UAB has been invited to perform at a national convention.
The choir returned in May from their first tour of France, where they performed in historic Notre Dame Cathedral and participated in the 34th annual Florilege Vocal de Tours in Tours. The choir won two awards at the competition: the Prix Du Ministère de La Culture, an award for best interpretation of a French choral work, and shared the top award in the Mixed Choirs Category. The UAB Concert Choir, with the Birmingham Concert Chorale, will present Handel’s “Messiah” in December and Mozart’s “Solemn Vespers” in May at New York’s world-famous Carnegie Hall.
- www.uab.edu/news -
Monday, October 03, 2005
I learned alot from my mentor. One of the things that impressed me most about him was how he deferred to others when he wasn't the expert in a certain area. Some directors pretend that they know everything; to me that isn't an honest position. If I don't know something, I tell you, and so did Dr. Jordan.
There is a danger in that, of course. When the director admits that he/she doesn't know something, there is a chance that the members of the group project a "lack of knowledge in one area" to a broader "lack of knowledge in all areas."
To me, it is far more damning to pretend that you know something and found to be wrong later. Or, to just pretend to know all things--or pretend to be something that you are not.
I love the book of Proverbs. Lots of "wise man" sayings, and here is one:
Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you; rebuke a wise man and he will love you. Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning.
Here is the attitude I try to model:
1. What I know, I try to teach/project with humble confidence
2. What I am not sure about, I leave room for doubt and time for verification
In our rehearsals this week, I encourage you to work together for the good of the group! If you see someone who needs help, help them. If you are a leader in your section and need to correct someone, do it with incredible respect--the way that you would want to be treated. If someone corrects you, thank them. If you disagree over the matter, come to me.
Is it possible, in this day and time of strong egos, for us to be the kind of group that efficiently and lovingly works out problems?
1. Choir member Keith Kendrick has a new blogsite. I've been subscribing to his site for some time. Somehow, I get all of Keith's posts on bloglines. . . even the ones that he deletes. Interesting, eh Keith? And I think you delete some of your best stuff. Seriously.
2. There is an article about academic blogging in The Chronicle of Higher Education. A few words from that article:
But to dismiss blogging as a bad idea altogether is to make an enormous mistake. Academic bloggers differ in their goals. Some are blogging to get personal or professional grievances off their chests or, like Black, to pursue nonacademic interests. Others, perhaps the majority, see blogging as an extension of their academic personas. Their blogs allow them not only to express personal views but also to debate ideas, swap views about their disciplines, and connect to a wider public. For these academics, blogging isn't a hobby; it's an integral part of their scholarly identity. They may very well be the wave of the future.
Now, this certainly is not an academic blog. This is a group building blog, I'd say. It is primarily intended for the members of our UAB Concert Choir and those that want to keep up with it. It's also for the purpose of supplying to the choral community various rants, thoughts, and textual translations.
3. I've felt a little guilty about not writing anything since last Friday, and then I read this post somewhere else:
I've been getting a lot of email asking why I haven't been posting more. "Isn't this a blog?" one asks. "Aren't you supposed to be writing posts every day?"
Fathering, teaching, and writing duties have kept me from posting. Sorry for that - but there's more than enough to read out there, already. I'd like to save this space for when I've really got something to say. Being obligated to post every day would mean having to pull something out of my butt, no matter what. Imagine if people only wrote stuff down when they really felt like it? Because they had something they needed to share?