Wednesday, November 30, 2005

To "live the question"

Thoughts from a friend:

A word from Rainer Maria Rilke:

Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves . . . Do not now seek answers which cannot be given you because you would not be able to love them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer . . Take whatever comes with great trust, and if only it comes out of your own will, out of some need of your innermost being, take it upon yourself and hate nothing.

Henri Nouwen follows:

In our world we are constantly pulled away from our innermost self and encouraged to look for answers instead of listening to the questions. A lonely person has no inner time nor inner rest to wait and listen. He wants answers and wants them here and now. But in solitude we can pay attention to our inner self.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Map to Briarwood II

How to get to Briarwood Presbyterian:

Traveling south on I-65, go north on I-459. Take the first exit, Acton Road. Turn left on Acton and take a right at the second traffic light. Bear to the left up the hill and onto the Briarwood campus.

Traveling north on I-65, go north on I-459. Take the first exit, Acton Road. Turn left on Acton and take a right at the second traffic light. Bear to the left up the hill and onto the Briarwood campus.

Traveling west on I-20, go south on I-459. Take the Acton Road exit. Turn right on Acton and take a right at the second traffic light. Bear to the left up the hill and onto the Briarwood campus.

The Sanctuary of Briarwood:

A Disgusting Celebration

It isn't what you might think.

This morning, I think I heard Caroline say the word "disgusting." She said something that resembles the word that was prefaced by "Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeew . . . . . %*#&*#gusting."

I think that is a pretty great achievement for a 2-year old, even though she was talking about the breakfast that I had prepared for her (that had turned cold and maybe a bit damp).

ACDA isn't a competition, but . . . .

Luke posted this question to me in a comment to the previous post:
Basically, this long post is my forum for asking if UAB Concert Choir will compete at all this year. I know we have many things scheduled to showcase the choir, but any competitions? Just curious.
We won't officially be competing this year in a competition. However, the ACDA Convention in February will be an incredible forum to hear other choirs and to be heard by other choral musicians. We won't be able to hear other choirs perform before we sing, but there will be an opportunity after our concert to hear other choirs. (We sing on the first concert--we're the fourth choir in a set of four.)

The ACDA College Choral festival at Bluff Park was a great experience. For me, the regional convention will hold more intensity. My question: can our choir get as excited about the ACDA convention as we were about singing for the other Alabama choirs? I will certainly do my best to have you prepared; there is no question that I will be motivated to do well.

The chance to sing for an audience of discerning choral directors is a bit intimidating, but the opportunity is something I've looked forward to for many years. If we can repeat our intensity of November's concert, I'll be more than happy. If we can exceed it, I'll be overwhelmed.

I'm looking to "officially" compete again next summer overseas.

Confidential to Luke: Why don't you delay your graduation for a year and sing with us then? I don't want to lose you--and you joined us too *(#&$@ late!

Monday, November 28, 2005

O Magnum Mysterium

Some of you may remember a piece that Jacksonville State did at the College Choral Festival: O Magnum Mysterium by David Childs. Several of you commented to me about that piece and you may remember that I told you that I found one of their folders with the piece in it. (and no, i haven't mailed it back yet) (and yes, i will . . . eventually.)

Anyway, I'm planning on us performing the piece on the UAB Honor Choir concert with the UAB Honor Choir on Saturday, January 14. It's really an incredible work and very accessible. I've been playing through it tonight and I'm excited about learning it. (you can see it here and hear it here)

And yes, that's the day the rest of the world celebrates Clay's birth. Perhaps singing O Magnum Mysterium (O Great Mystery) will justly honor him.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Fingerpainting on Thanksgiving

Fingerpainting 2
Originally uploaded by philipco.
Thanksgiving has been different for the Copeland's this year.

The girls are sick (Catherine/Claire)(the identical girls) but were well enough to play a little outside this morning. So, after a little leaf raking, swinging, and sliding on the slide, we tried finger painting. A good time was had by all.

Isn't this a sweet look from Caroline?

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

too funny not to share

Originally uploaded by philipco.
Found this here.

Great blog for the TabletPC readers and other techn-lovers.

Happy Thanksgiving, Choir World

Happy Thanksgiving, readers of this blog!

I'm celebrating at home this year, because Claire is ill and Catherine seems to have a bit of a cold developing.

I'm very thankful for:

1. Fabulous family of my own
2. Loving Wife and Children
3. Terrific job and coworkers
4. An incredible choir and tremendous students
5. Life and Health and Music and Love

And for the nonmeateaters,

HAPPY TOFURKY DAY! Holidays need guilt, after all. As for me, I have enough guilt in my life this holiday.

fyi . . . i don't know who the turkeysmeller is. isn't google image search great?

Each student receives one voucher for Messiah

I'll be picking up vouchers today for Messiah. So . . . invite a friend!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Upcoming Performances after Messiah

Don't forget about these performances in January:

Saturday, January 14
UAB Honor Choir Performance

I noticed that the MLK concert was not on the original dates that I gave you. However, we are nearly two months away from the concert, so consider yourself adequately notified! I'm very excited about the MLK concert and the opportunity to sing for a different audience. I'm most excited, however, about singing "If I Can Help Somebody" in honor of the person that I associate with the work:

January 15, 2006; 3 p.m.
Reflect & Rejoice: A Community Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Alys Stephens Center

A moving musical tribute to one of our nation’s most respected and beloved leaders presented by the ASO, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and the Alys Stephens Center.

Monday, November 21, 2005

To clarify: two rehearsals @ Briarwood

Two rehearsals at Briarwood:

Monday, December 5 7:30-9:30 p.m. in the Briarwood choir room

Monday, December 12 7:00-9:30 p.m.
at Briarwood Presbyterian Church choir room
(piano rehearsal with Fred Scott)

Full Rehearsal Schedule

Directions to Briarwood Presbyterian

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Treating Students Like Customers...

Some of you will find this article quite interesting. It discusses how college lectures don't work anymore because of wireless internet access and has several other interesting insights. Check it out!

A sample:

As traditional Universities continue to scramble to find ways to attract and retain students, many staples of the undergraduate experience are falling away. Students no longer wait in lines in gymnasiums to register for classes, nor do they live in concrete-walled dorm rooms outfitted like the local penitentiary. Instead, Universities are being forced to treat their students as (gasp!) discerning customers, customers who are increasingly selective in how they spend their educational dollars.

My favorite part:

Educational psychology and Roger Shank continuously remind us that "learning by doing works; learning by telling doesn't." Even Avi Zenilman ponders in his Slate article that "perhaps the real problem with laptops in lectures isn't the laptops, but professors' over-reliance on the lecture as a learning tool."

Learning by doing... hey... musicians have known that for thousands of years!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Messiah Press Release

Get your tickets now!

The Alabama Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of guest conductor William Fred Scott, will bring Handel’s inspiring seasonal classic, Messiah, to the Alys Stephens Center on Friday, Dec. 16, 2005, at 8 p.m.
The holiday concert, presented by McWane Inc., will feature soprano Elizabeth Andrews Roberts, mezzo-soprano Angela Horn, tenor Bradley Howard, bass Jason Hardy, the Birmingham Concert Chorale, and the UAB Concert Choir and Women’s Chorale.
George Frideric Handel composed Messiah, An Oratorio, in 1742. He is reputed to have composed the piece in 24 days, going without food or sleep while he frantically penned the work. He emerged from his room with the completed score, muttering to a servant, “I did think I did see Heaven before me and the great God Himself!”
Ticket prices for the concert begin at $18; group rates and Student Rush seating are available. To purchase tickets or for additional information, contact the Alabama Symphony Orchestra Box Office at (205) 251-7727, or visit the ASO Web site at
The Alabama Symphony Orchestra acknowledges the major support provided by the Jefferson County Commission through the Jefferson County Community Arts Fund administered by the Cultural Alliance of Greater Birmingham.
The Alabama Symphony Orchestra has entertained audiences for over 70 years, playing a variety of classical and popular musical compositions and hosting performances by some of the finest guest artists in the world. The talented musicians of the ASO bring to life some of the world’s most treasured musical masterpieces and introduce listeners to exciting new works and composers, performing over 100 concerts for more than 100,000 persons annually.

How to Talk to a Professor

Interesting article here: How to Talk to a Professor.

Here is my favorite:

5. Ending the conversation can be tricky. Some professors will wrap things up for you, while others will be happy to just keep talking. In other words, a signal that you’re “dismissed” may not be coming. So don’t hesitate to take the initiative in bringing the conversation to an end, especially if you have other obligations.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Jesus H. Christ and Middle Initials

Well, MBV asked what my middle initial was. Twice. I want to answer her quickly for fear MBV is a bit of a stalker. I don't think that she is, but, she does have a ring in her nose.

Anyway, while doing a little research on mysterious middle initials, I found this website. And the website discusses the middle name of Jesus! As in H. Christ! I quote:

Jesus has no middle name -- but he is sometimes referred to as “Jesus H. Christ.” What does the “H” stand for, and where does it come from?

Interesting, eh? Head to the website if you want to know the answer.

Map to Briarwood Presbyterian

How to get to Briarwood Presbyterian:

Traveling south on I-65, go north on I-459. Take the first exit, Acton Road. Turn left on Acton and take a right at the second traffic light. Bear to the left up the hill and onto the Briarwood campus.

Traveling north on I-65, go north on I-459. Take the first exit, Acton Road. Turn left on Acton and take a right at the second traffic light. Bear to the left up the hill and onto the Briarwood campus.

Traveling west on I-20, go south on I-459. Take the Acton Road exit. Turn right on Acton and take a right at the second traffic light. Bear to the left up the hill and onto the Briarwood campus.

The Sanctuary of Briarwood:

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Handel Messiah Rehearsal Times:

Monday, December 5 7:30-9:30 p.m. in the Briarwood choir room

Monday, December 12 7:00-9:30 p.m.
at Briarwood Presbyterian Church choir room
(piano rehearsal with Fred Scott)

Orchestra Rehearsals are:
Tuesday Dec. 13 6:30 p.m. Call Time in the Stephens Center Lobby 7:00-9:30 p.m.

Thursday Dec. 15 6:30 p.m.
Call Time in the Stephens Center Lobby
7:00-9:30 p.m.

Friday Dec. 16 7:00 p.m. Call Time in Room TBA
8:00 p.m. CONCERT


I'm looking at times to "give back to you" in return for our strenuous rehearsal schedule December 12-16. Here is my current thinking:

Tuesday, November 22 No Rehearsal (Thanksgiving Week)
Tuesday, November 29 Regular Rehearsal
Wednesday, November 30 No Rehearsal
Thursday, December 1 No Rehearsal

I may have to "reclaim" those times if the Messiah rehearsals don't go well on Monday, December 5.

Percentage chance that will happen: 10%

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Elmo Massacre

Elmo Massacre
Originally uploaded by philipco.
It was an Elmo massacre at our house tonight. Nora, music secretary extraordinaire, made this cake for me and the triplets. It didn't last long and the girls really enjoyed it!

UPDATE: Caroline, Elmo, and the nose.

If the video does not display properly
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I have an uncomfortable thought that the girls may have been moved to violence against Elmo from the soft and sexy sounds of Kenny G playing Christmas carols on his horn . . . at this point it is just a theory (see earlier blog post for insight). However, I've begun to develop certain urges to strike out when I hear the CD begin . . . maybe I've just had a long day.

Compliments are always appreciated

Two more wonderful compliments from choral professionals in the area who caught our performance at the College Choral Festival:

From one person:
I caught the Choir's performance at Bluff Park a couple of weeks ago - WOW! You realize, of course, that UAB is the standard for choral music in this state, thanks to you. Great job.

From Glinda Blackshear, Shelton State:
it was Thursday before we could do an evaluation of what we heard at the Festival. My choir’s consensus was that UAB was the best! We had a discussion about how you achieve that huge, powerful sound, and it was very helpful to my kids. I reminded them that you all sang very challenging repertoire – and sang it from memory. To achieve that, the students must be very disciplined and committed. I also told them that it takes an excellent conductor! You have put UAB on the map chorally, and I’m so glad for you.

UAB Opera Fantastic!

Both operas were fantastic last night.

I enjoyed myself very much as I watched extremely talented students put on top quality productions.

You students were flawless, the singing musical and the costumes were simply stunning. From what I could tell, you had a tremendous time performing. I found myself wishing that I had had the experience you are having.

Outstanding job of casting in both operas.

Congratulations to Kat, Dr. Ray and Dr. Reynolds for fabulous work!

Friday, November 11, 2005

Good Luck, UAB OPERA!


I'm wishing you good luck in the Opera this Saturday.

I'll be there on Monday evening.

I'm sure you will do a fantastic job.

Watching France

Because we were in France last summer for the choir competition, I've followed all the rioting in the country a little more closely. If it were happening last year, we would most likely be reconsidering the trip.

I ran across this commentary on the violence today from Michelle Malkin, who does a fantastic job of collecting interesting stories and pulling them into the "larger picture."

Here is the gripping line from Ed Morissey: The riots have a purpose, and they have a central control structure -- and that means someone wants to make specific gains from attacking France.

Fascinating thought: it looks like both commentators are saying that some terrorist group is instigating the violence in France and using it as a way to make demands of the French government, i.e. "give us what we want and the violence will stop." An interesting form of international blackmail, eh? If it were true . . .


Ed Morrissey notes the American media's loss of interest in the Muslim immigrant riots in France:

Does the American media suffer from ADHD and find themselves incapable of following an important story for longer than ten days? Or do they find themselves increasingly unable to explain the serious and continued violence despite the bribery and politically-correct strategies employed by French security forces? It seems to me that the media cannot bring themselves to admit that the uprising has more behind it than bored youths looking to blow off some steam and acting spontaneously and unilaterally. The riots have a purpose, and they have a central control structure -- and that means someone wants to make specific gains from attacking France.

Who could that be? Don't count on the Times or the Post to find that out for you.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Oh no: Leigh and Kenny G

At first I thought: maybe it is a gift for someone.

Then . . . well, maybe she'll just play it in her van.

It was the worst of all possible scenarios: Leigh is playing Kenny G's Christmas in our kitchen--nonstop.

I fear that I will be listening to Silver Bells in Kenny's inimitable style for the next 8 weeks. Please warn all saxophone players to steer clear of me at the university . . . I can't be responsible for my actions.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Class Conflict Approval Needs


If you find that you have to register for a class that conflicts with part of Concert Choir time, I need to know so that I can give you a "Class Conflict Approval" memo. Send me your Name, SSN, and the class that conflicts with choir (along with its time). I will create a memo that lists your name and details the class conflict to the registrar and my approval.

Please do not submit a class to me that meets at another time--only serious inquiries, please.


Monday, November 07, 2005

More Samford Encouragement--Thanks SU!

From Jason Leger:

Dr. Copeland:

One of my friends from Samford emailed me this concerning the Choral Festival:

I just wanted to share with you some comments that I read on the livejournal of a friend of mine who is in A capella Choir. During his discussion of the Choral Festival on Thursday, he says this:

"The biggest surprise and best group by far was UAB. I was amazed at how clean, strong, and unified their tone was. That was literally the best choir I have ever heard perform live, and I am going to have to go back and listen to my Los Angeles Master Chorale recording to make sure they weren't better! This choir didn't sound like fifty voices, didn't even sound like four voice parts...they were ONE voice. I had tears in my eyes by the end. Congrats to UAB for giving the most astounding choral performance I have yet heard. I am going to look up their concert schedule online to see when I can hear them next."

Just to let you know, this particular guy is very analytical and is not one to just mindlessly lavish praise upon other musicians without meaning it. For him to pay such high compliments to your choir is high praise indeed. Congratulations for your wonderful performances; all of your hard work has paid off! I'm so proud of you!

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Mentors and Friendships: John Dickson

After Thursday's Collegiate Choral Festival, Dr. Dickson and I had a meal together and eventually landed at the Brio restaurant. Those who know me know that I am a big fan of BRIO and try to get there whenever possible.

We had a marvelous conversation and connected again on a number of levels. John Dickson is a special guy, if you can't tell from your brief experience with him on Thursday. He is intensely spiritual and deeply passionate about art, poetry, choral music, and family.

Over the years, we have forged a very honest and heartfelt relationship. That is not to say that we agree on everything . . . like most every other music teacher/professor I know, he typically aligns himself with the wrong side.

He said wonderful things about your singing and I will share more with you in rehearsal. His work with you was excellent, albeit brief. He called us one of the 'top undergraduate choirs in the country' . . . once after we sang and to me personally over a glass of wine. Wasn't that an incredible thing to hear?

I always enjoy positive comments, but I've learned that it is a mistake to let them define you. If your image is built on what people say, then you are ceding all of the power of your self-image to another. You are also tempted to "believe" what people say about you, and that begins to create its own problems.

Know this: much of the instruction you get from me comes from Dr. Dickson. He taught me how important it is to feel the work you are doing . . . to let it inhabit you and change you. We've already experienced some of that this year . . . and I'm sure we will again. If you say your prayers tonight, toss one up for Dr. Dickson . . . make it a prayer of thanksgiving for wonderful teachers that invest themselves fully into their lives, their professions, and their students.

I'm still thinking about it

Originally uploaded by philipco.
One doesn't want to dwell on the past, of course . . . but you shouldn't let the moment go too soon, either.

I've enjoyed the memory of Thursday's concert all weekend. I was reminded of it in church today from an instrumental music major at Samford University. She told me that her choir friends were very impressed with our singing and hadn't stopped talking about it yet. She made it a point to mention that some of the people singing our praises were people that don't normally sing praises---I told her that I knew what she meant and that I understood. (i'm sure you know exactly the type)

I think that Thursday's singing will be remembered by all those in attendance. We will draw on Thursday's strength before the next time we sing--we will remember the experience and we will do what it takes to make it happen again.

As good as it was, we will be better. I would estimate that about 2/3 of our group was operating at a very high level. There is another 1/3 that hasn't found it yet.

I don't think that they are trying to hold us back, they just don't know what it means--or what it feels like--to perform like I want you to perform. The full engagement of mental-physical-emotional-facial-spiritual aspects of music is rare--very rare.

We will continue to search . . . and to be inspired.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Internet Radio: Choir and Voice

I found this radio station on, a website for choral conductors. It is a great station and there is some wonderful vocal-choral music played there 'round the clock. Playlist is here.

Check it out.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

From Tim Banks, Samford Professor and Friend

Dear Philip,

To put it in the 23-year-old hip expression of my 5th-year-senior daughter Abigail (member of our A Cappella Choir) ...

You guys rocked my face off !!
I could barely contain myself after the hugely expressive performance. I am so proud that our Samford students got the chance to hear your wonderful performance. Not to go "over the top," but several of these young folks asked me, "Hey, can we do THAT piece next year?" SOOOoooo...

Bravos, Cudos, Wayt'go's ETC.

Thanks for the marvelous choral moments. They last a lifetime, if you cherish them.

Very Sincerely,

Tim Banks

I was so proud . . .

I was so proud of your singing today; it was superb. I saw commitment on your faces, heard energy in your consonants, and witnessed passion in your eyes.

Without a doubt, the best performance of the year--and I think our best is yet to come.

I will look forward to discussing how you think we did and what you heard from others. I also look forward to hearing your insights on other college choirs.

But as for me and my evaluation of you: tremendous. It may have been the best of any UAB Group I've directed yet. I hope you leave comments to this post--let me know what you saw and felt--but no criticisms of other groups, please.

Enjoy your weekend and I'll see you Tuesday.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Bluff Park Methodist Church

Map of Bluff Park Methodist:
733 Valley Street
Birmingham, Alabama 35226
(205) 822-0910

Here are the directions on the church website:

Above is a map from their website and here are the printed directions:
  • Take I-65 to the Exit 254 (Alford Avenue)
  • Go West on Alford Avenue for 2 miles to the end of the road
  • At the stop sign, turn right, then turn left at the end of that road
  • Bluff Park United Methodist Church is on the left.

Compete for $13,000 in scholarships

Music Majors,

Please look at this letter and consider competing for these scholarships to be awarded by the Alabama Federation of Music Clubs. Live auditions will be on Saturday, February 18, 2006 at Birmingham Southern.

Some information and requirements:

1.The Alabama Federation of Music Clubs (AFMC) Annual Student Awards are given in seven Classifications: Piano, Organ, Woman’s Voice, Man’s Voice, Brass Instruments, Stringed Instruments, and Woodwind Instruments.

2.Each entrant must be a member of AFMC either through student organization membership or as an Individual Student Special member.

3.The age limits as of March 1, 2006 are:
Instrumental: 16 through 25
Voice: 18 through 25

4. Entrants must be native-born or naturalized citizens of the United States of America. An attested facsimile of birth certificate, passport, or naturalization papers must accompany each individual’s application. A driver’s license is not acceptable.

5. The candidate may enter the auditions in his/her home state or in the state where he/she is studying.

6. Former State winners are eligible to enter future auditions.

7. The entrance fee is $40.00. No refunds will be made.

8. No substitutions or changes can be made in the student program after the Auditions Chairman has approved the submitted repertoire.


Postmark Deadline: January 15, 2006***

Note: Application Forms and Repertoire Requirements may be downloaded from the NFMC website:
{Please note the new entry fee is $40, not $30 as listed on the NFMC form. Checks are to be made out to: Alabama Federation of Music Clubs}

***Send 2 copies of the audition application form, 5 copies of the repertoire list of selections being performed, proof of citizenship, and check to:

Jan Hill, Auditions Chairman
1503 Wellington Road
Birmingham, AL 35209

(Phone: 205-871-1532 Email: or

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

queen erin & emily--in all their glory

queen erin & emily
Originally uploaded by philipco.
Here is a December 2001 picture of Queen Erin and Lady Emily at the Madrigal Dinner. This was a very fine group, and they sang well, too.

Ashley and Fernando

Originally uploaded by philipco.
Here is a picture of the previously mentioned Ashley from UAB Madrigal Dinner 2001. Perhaps I will post one of Queen Erin in a moment.

New Schedule: College Choral Festival

Not sure I told you . . . UAT Concert Choir will not be there . . . Julie Skadsem's group will be there. The schedule:

2005 ACDA-AL Collegiate Choral Festival

Concert Order - Second Draft, changes in RED











Wallace (warm-up)


Jeff State





Jeff State





Jeff State




Montevallo, Robert










Lunch Period 1


Lunch Period 2



U.A. Tusca.





U.A. Tusca.





U.A. Tusca.








Massed singing with John Dickson


Festival Ends

Found: Ashley's Blog

Former incredible alto of the UAB Chamber Singers has a blog, and mentioned a challenge to me and my blog search tools today about "whether I could find her blog or not."

Here was her challenge:
I'm going to test something out. I've been keeping up with the UAB Concert Choir's blog (I'm a former member), and I am wanting to see if Dr. Copeland can find my blog. I'd like to be able to keep in contact with those that I sang with back in the day...maybe he'll put a link to my blog up on the UAB Concert Choir blog so that I can do that. Thanks, Dr. Copeland! :-)
I guess we settled that issue, didn't we Ashley?

Now, don't be confused. The girl in the picture above is not Ashley--but I couldn't find a picture of her on my computer and a Google Image Search picked up this picture of a girl named Ashley so I decided to use that.

Ashley is a tremendous Alto 2 that should be singing with UAB Choirs. She wants to be listed among the former members of the choir that blog . . . and I certainly hold her in high respect. You'll find her blog in the "former member blogs" . . . she is a special girl and tremendous musician. She graduated from MJ like many of our other fine students.

Do I miss her? Yes.
And I wish her well . . . .