Monday, January 16, 2006

The Review: "High point" "Pristine" "Musically Mature"

How nice to read about yourself in the Birmingham paper!

Here is the quote about us:

Indeed, one of the evening's two high points came from a vocal ensemble - the pristine UAB Concert Choir. Under the direction of Philip Copeland, the group of about 30 performed two a cappella arrangements of spirituals in a crisp English church style - light on the vibrato, perfect vowels, emotionally understated.

Perfect vowels, too . . .

A little later in the article:

The other standout performance came from Stewart Goodyear, a 26-year-old Canadian pianist who lives in New York City. Like the UAB choir, Goodyear sounded much more musically mature than his years would suggest.

Isn't that wonderful?


Check out the entire review here. And thank you, Mr. Ratliff. We graciously appreciate your comments. (and here is a pdf version of the article from the newspaper.)

As you might have expected, "pristine" is my new favorite word. It's definitions, from around the internet dictionaries:
  • Completely free from dirt or contamination; "pristine mountain snow"
  • Immaculately clean and unused; "handed her his pristine white handkerchief"
  • Pure, fresh, or clean as new; unspoiled.

As far as English/British choral style, here's what I think. Many people, when they hear the absence of vibrato, think of the English choirs, who sing with very little. My philosophy of vibrato is "as an expressive device." We sing "no/little vibrato" on chords that require a straighter tone to tune the chord. We "add vibrato" on big chords, big moments, chords that are easier to tune. To be sure, the big moment in "I Can Help Somebody" has plenty of vibrato, as did the last verse of "Amazing Grace."

But hey . . . that is small stuff. I am very excited to be spoken of so highly in our huge-circulation newspaper.


Chris R. said...

I particularly liked this quote from Mr. Ratliff:

"Like the UAB choir, Goodyear sounded much more musically mature than his years would suggest."

Though we are relatively young in age, we sound like a more mature choir. I believe that's a big compliment as well.

Philip L. Copeland said...

Right. I missed it in my glee. Updating page now.

Marybeth Verchot said...


Marybeth Verchot said...

Oh, and I always liked the fact that we use vibrato somewhat sparingly. I've heard lots and lots of choirs where I thought it just got in the way.

Lauren Davidson said...

So i went out and bought the paper today for this article but alas i can't find it in the actual printed paper... do you know if it was printed? or just online

Philip L. Copeland said...

I answered Laura via email. For the rest of you, page 2b.

Sam said...

I love the word "pristine." It's like you have to be clean just to say it. You should say more cool words like "pristine" in class Dr. C. It makes you sound intelligent...not that you aren't..that just came out wrong.