Sunday, November 26, 2006

Trial by Choir

Found this on Choralist today:
Dear Friends,

If you have not heard about it, a new reality TV show begins to air this evening on TLC, entitled "Trial by Choir". According to the reviews it is:
.... a six part documentary series that premieres on TLC Sunday, November 26 at 10:00 pm EST. It attempts to turn a diverse group of Boston teenagers into a choral ensemble. Jerome Kyles, a musician and a vocal instructor at Berklee College of Music, takes on the task of mentoring 24 Boston teens with a passion for music - but varying levels of talent - by turning them into a traditional choral group. Youth counselor Kate Benjamin works side-by-side with Jerome to provide emotional support to these teens. TRIAL BY CHOIR follows Jerome and Kate as they strive to make a difference in the lives of these teens. As individuals, they must learn to make the most of their natural voices - and, together, they must learn how to sing as one chorus.

While "Trial by Choir" is not the same as "The Singing Estate", which
aired on Channel Five in the UK this past summer - - it is hoped that it will, like that earlier reality choir about choirs and singing, spark some interest in what goes on within the confines of our craft, our art, and our profession.

I'm interested to see what kinds of music is used to "hook" the kids and whether the same music is used to educate them, both vocally and musically. I am certain that we will all see and hear things that we have strong opinions about. I urge the ChoralNet community to visit the ChoralNet website, where there will be a blog during the series and also to use ChoralTalk to discuss various viewpoints regarding the series. Pro or con, we can certainly find some comfort in the fact that what we do will be aired to a larger public.


Dr. James D. Feiszli, Director of Music Activities
South Dakota School of Mines and Technology


Berklee 83 said...

I watched "Trial by Choir" last night, and not 15 minutes in to the program I recognized Jerome as a Berklee graduate. Not for also being an graduate myself (1983), but for him carrying forward a hostile and nasty manner of "teaching", if you dare call it that, that is common at the college. Not only was it painful to view, but it angered me to see him badger these kids "What chord is this?" when there was no evidence he had taught them the difference between major or minor. Good grief, he appears to fall in to two of the more common Berklee categories - "I can't make it big so I can always teach - bitter" and "I have to tear someone else down to build myself up - insecure". I've sung in my fair-share of choirs and was an original member of the first Gospel choir at Berklee. I know you can lead a group of singers without being a terror, and have a wonderful and cohesive group. If there is a turn-around in his awful attitude I hope to see it by the close of this series.

Anonymous said...

Unlike the previous comment posted I must say that I love Trial by Choir. Any person who has been a part of a musical group of any kind for an extended period of time knows what an experience like this can mean for a kid. I think it was important for Jerome to set the tone for the kids by snapping them into the reality that they don't know all there is to know about music. In most cases an experience like this changes kids who love music for the better. Jerome is passionate about music and over the past few episodes I've begun to already see many of the kids are taking on his sentiment as well. Kids that were only into one genre now have an appreciation for pieces done a capella and in a foreign language. Jerome is giving these kids a once in a lifetime opportunity that quite a few students in most school settings never experience. Music is a universal language that can change even the hardest person's heart. That makes this show priceless!