Friday, June 30, 2006

A proud visitor: Man from Manilla

I received this comment from my previous post. The author went to such efforts that I wanted to make sure everyone saw it. I admire his pride in his native country:

We Filipinos envy first world countries such as the US, Finland Germany etc. since there government supports the artists society and gives financial assistance to deserving performing arts group, sad to say in a country where there is an enormous pool of talent in the performing arts such as the Philippines the government nary lift a finger to make efforts although these people continues give pride and honor to this tiny group of island in the pacific.. A good example is our local choral groups, How could you not support such amazing talents:

Philippine Madrigal Singers, regarded as having the most beautiful sound on earth and regarded as Asia's Premiere Choral group ( )
Just Recently won the grand prix de la ville de tours ( )

UST Singers,awarded as the Choir of the World
and awarded Best Choir in the World twice at the World Choral Festival in Mexico 2001, 2004; Best Choir at the Tonen 2000 Netherlands sweeping all first prizes; 5 Gold Prizes sweep in all five categories in the Mundi Cantat Festa Musicale in Olomouc, Czech Republic;4 first prizes at the 37th Concorso Internazionale di Canto Corale “C.A. Seghizzi 1998 (2) First Prizes, two 2 Jury Prizes and two 2 Public Prizes at the 41st Concorso Internazionale di Canto Corale in Gorizia, Italy; ( )

The UP Concert Chorus,
The UP Singing Ambassadors;;2005 Certamen Internacional de Habaneras y Polifonia de Torrevieja, Spain-1st prize, Polyphony category,
Best Interpretation of a Habanera,
Premio del Publico (Prize of Public)(read: )

The Philippine Saringhimig Singers, World's Best Choir, World Choir Festival 2003( )

The Ateneo College Glee Club, Grand Winner Florilege Vocal De Tours 2000,

The Ateneo Chamber Singers,

The UAP Chorale 3 gold medal sweep
, 2005 23rd International Choral Festival of Preveza

The Loboc Children's Choir

Overall grand winner regadrless of age catergory,
Europe and its Songs 2003
( -pinay/news/20031008g.htm )( )

These choir manage to travel and compete in these tough competitions through corporate sponsorships and endless local concertizing to raise funds.
But without any amount coming from the government, that's why they usually turn down invitations to sing abroad in front of prominent audiences such as european Monarchs, The US President, The Pope etc. simply because they can't raise money for airfare and accomodation that easily. Still these groups never fail to deliver and they have already proven their worth as worthy opponents in every major choral competions they compete in. But one thing that always amazes me is the fact that there is no big choral scene in our country and the only choral competition i know is the NCYM National Competition for Young Musician, still we produce some of the best choirs in Asia and probably in the whole world.

Our singing talent as a people is not only in classical music but also in any other musical genre there is...we have Lea Salonga of the Miss Saigin and Les Miserables fame and a bunch of Pinoy (slang term for Filipino) theater artist who wowed broadway and London audiences. Lea was even awarded a TONY Award and a Lawrence Oliviere for her Miss Saigon performance.

We are also the defending overall champion in the World Championship of the Performing Arts... a fete done in very impressive fashion and on the first time we joined the competition.

And now that we have our own philippine idol contest, I have a gut feel that the next World Idol will be from this small group of islands in the far east...take it from British Fremantle Media producer Sheldon Bailey - read: ( )

This year 5 of the choirs mentioned above will try to compete either of the 6 of the qualifying competitions (Varna, Debrechen, Gorizia, Arezzo, Tours, Tolosa) for the European Grand Prix and if luck will go there way 4 of them might qualify for the Gran Premio and that would be a first in the history of the EGP...Now if that happens, i hope our own national budget for the arts will be augmented.

Philippine Madrigal Singers has already earned a slot by winning in Tours less than a month ago, others will compete in the coming months...keepin my fingers crossed.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

My one democratic leaning

I agree with this from Alex Ross: the government should fund the arts at a much higher rate.

The grass is much, much greener

The new issue of the Finnish Music Quarterly reveals that the Finnish government is spending 359.5 million euros on the arts this year, of which 60.5 million goes to music. Orchestras are receiving state grants of 12.26 million. Believe it or not, these grants have been described as inadequate, and there are plans to increase them. Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen recently signed a law stipulating that orchestra subsidies should increase by 37% per year over a three-year period. One in five Finns attends an orchestra concert in any given year.

The population of the U.S. is sixty times larger than that of Finland. The current appropriation for the National Endowment for the Arts is $124,406,353, or $99 million euros. So the ratio of Finnish per-capita arts spending to American per-capita arts spending is more than two hundred to one.

Daddy is Nanny

Picture 269
Originally uploaded by philipco.
Kristy, our incredible nanny, is gone this week and "yours truly" has been the keeper of the three.

It's been a great time of visiting parks, changing the occasional diaper-pullup-panty, and glorious nap-taking.

My proudest moment: surviving WalMart. How? Two buggies and alot of stares.

Leigh is keeping the girls today. Her project: swimming.

Return to the Traditional

The Pope wants it a cappella!

VATICAN CITY, June 27 (UPI) -- Pope Benedict XVI has demanded an end to electric guitars and modern music in church and a return to traditional choirs.

The Catholic Church has been experimenting with new ways of holding Mass to try to attract more people. The recital of Mass set to guitars has grown in popularity in Italy; in Spain it has been set to flamenco music; and in the United States the Electric Prunes produced a "psychedelic" album called Mass in F Minor.

However, the use of guitars and tambourines has irritated the Pope, who loves classical music. "It is possible to modernise holy music," the Pope said, at a concert conducted by Domenico Bartolucci the director of music at the Sistine Chapel. "But it should not happen outside the traditional path of Gregorian chants or sacred polyphonic choral music."

His comments prompted the newspaper La Stampa to compare him with Pope Pius X, who denounced faddish classical and baroque compositions and reinstated Gregorian chants in 1903.

The Pope's supporters argue that the music played during Mass is a vital part of the communion between worshippers and God, and that medieval church music, with the liturgy, creates the correct ambience for perceiving God's mystery.

Cardinal Ersilio Tonini, the Archbishop of Ravenna, said:"Mass is the presence of Christ and the music adds so much more when the harmony allows the mind to transcend the concrete to the divine."

But Cardinal Carlo Furno, grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, said it was "better to have guitars on the altar and rock and roll Masses than empty churches". The use of modern music was a "sign of the vitality of the faith".

The argument is part of a wider debate about the Latin Mass, restricted in the Vatican II reforms of the 1960s because it was seen to be putting worshippers off going to Church. The Pope believes that if Latin Masses are reintroduced, more Catholics will learn the words to the Gregorian chants that he advocates.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Blogs about everything

I've discovered new blogs lately that some/many of you may enjoy.

For those interested in religious things,
  • I discovered this one and this one while looking for information on the recent Presbyterian USA convention in Birmingham.
  • This is my new favorite Presbyterian blog (I didn't have one before). I find Mark Roberts easy to read and quite logical in his approach to most everything.
  • I found the dissonant bible tonight. Quite interesting. Start with this post and then go to others. This post is good.
  • And although I didn't think alot of Al Mohler while I attended Southern Seminary in Louisville, KY, I do enjoy reading his blog and commentary.
If you found these interesting, head over to thechurchgeek's blogs. It shows you one of the things I like best about bloglines.

Hilarious comments so far. Add more!

Some great comments about Josh so far.

My favorite by the man with many names:

josh must sing at least one solo: the one maggie doesn't sing

Quite hilarious! Perhaps it brings up an issue on distribution of solos in the choir. I pledge to spread them around and also to have more opportunities this year. Will Maggie sing a solo? Every person has an equal chance.

Nick suggests that Josh must sing one solo this year as a condition of his return. Not a bad idea. He recommends "Flower of Maherally," a great tenor solo. Maybe! But we've done that one very well already, even though Clay wanted to sing it.

Clay wants an overview of strengths/weaknesses in the coming choir. That is something I wouldn't share. I view the choir as very strong this year. How strong? Well, it really depends on the individual efforts of the people in the choir. I will bring my best.

Chamber Singers will be a combination of Classical and Vocal Jazz. If you want a preview of the type of Vocal Jazz, listen to the Real Group (especially this CD) and a few from the Swingle Singers.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Josh drops a bombshell

Josh slipped this comment into the previous post:

Yeah, I'm definitely coming back in the fall if you'll allow me too. I miss choir so much and the thought of an overseas competition makes it that much worse. I wanna come back SO BAD!!!

Josh N. a.k.a.- Tater

While we would love to have JoshtheIncredibleTenor back in choir, let's use this opportunity to set some conditions for his return.

I'm thinking:

1. Agree not to marry before age 25
2. Let Dr. Copeland arrange three yet-to-be-named dates with the opposite sex.

Any others?

Some answers

I started this post a few days ago and left it on my computer without posting it. I may have ansered some of the questions already, but here it is.

Andrew asks:

"So what are the level of choirs in these two competitions, or do you know?"

Lauren asks:

"could you maybe give us an estimate comparing one to two..."


Level of Competition:

One truly never knows the level of the other choirs until the competition is over, of course! Even then, there may be substantial disagreement among the parties that attended the competition.

What I would guess, though, is that the standard would be higher at the Italian competition. Any preliminary for the Gran Premio would likely attract more qualified choirs. Do we want easy competition? I don't think so . . . who wants to win something that is a foregone conclusion? Would you rather your football team win the SEC or the Sun Belt?

An estimate:

I'm guessing Lauren is wondering about the price. Doing two competitions would add 7-8 more days on to the tour. If we added a bus or two to that cost, I think we are looking at $1000 - $2000 a day to be divided among everyone. That potentially an extra $16,000 or $200 per person. If we factored in hotel for everyone for that long, I'm sure we are up another $400-$600. Home stays might negate some of that cost, but I wouldn't know until I saw the exact numbers. The other very real factor is "group exhaustion." Normally, I'm about ready for a trip to end after 14 days. My consulting with Ms. Reynolds has reinforced that feeling--she recommends against a 21 or 22 day trip and she has been on more of these tours than I have.

If you want my quick opinion on the actual competitions, here it is:

Marktoberdorf: Quite prestigious, we would be lucky to be invited with our current international resume'.

Linz: Good competition.

Gorizia: Prestigious competition, a victory would enter us into the Gran Premio.

Wernigerode: Good competition.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Rules of the Blog

Hello to all who read this blog.

Reminder: we don't attack others here, even when we are just kidding. I've removed the post that led to the comments I didn't like and I'll think twice about my own attempts at humor.

That is all.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Copeland 3rd Triplet Birthday Party Pics

Picture 041
Originally uploaded by philipco.
The pics are up. Click here for a slideshow if you are interested.

My girls turned three years old on June 12, 2006. Things are quite different now than the first few months.

I don't know if:

a. the girls are easier to handle,
b. i'm used to it.

Either way, it gets better every day.


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Today's Thought

Next summer is on my mind. Considering just doing one competition, but one that would have us in line for the Gran Premio if we won:

There is a competition in Gorizia, Italy that has the original date: July 5-8.

Competition website:

I'm looking at a 12-15 day trip; trips longer than that are very demanding on the traveller and normally cost-prohibitive.

The Gorizia competition would give us some wonderful places to visit in Italy and surrounding areas.

One possibility: Fly into Rome, travel to Venice, travel to Competition, then to Florence, then back to Rome.

I'm also very interested in: flying into Munich (if flights are cheap or same price), travelling to Salzburg, travelling to Competition in Gorizia (July 5-8), 2 nights in Venice, 2-3 Florence, then to Rome for a night or 2 before we leave.

I'm interested to see what the tour company might recommend based on past experience.

If possible, I'm going to try to schedule a concert in St. Mark's Cathedral (Venice).
photo of St. Mark's
(why you need to know about St. Mark's if you are a music major)

Here are other cities in the area:

Facts & Figures about Gorizia, Italy
Nearby Large Cities
Ljubljana, Slovenia (63.8 miles)
Venice, Italy (94.5 miles)
Bologna, Italy (186.1 miles)
Munich, Germany (206.2 miles)
Florence, Italy (221.2 miles)

Your Input Needed!

Want to help plan our tour next summer?

Look to this page of options

The page contains a list of the competitions that I'm interested in. More may be added later, but that is what I have for now.

As I've said before, I'd like to begin the tour with a competition and then end with one. Although I'm not sold out on the idea, it is very appealing. (more bang for the buck)

The problem? It makes for a longer tour. Translation: more money. That's why I'm interested to hear what you have to say.

Here's one option:

Leave around the first of July or June 30. Compete in the Gorizia contest (one of the 6 contests that qualifies for the Gran Premio). Gorizia is about 100 miles from VENICE, one of my favorite places in the world. Florence is only 200 miles away.

Study the competition sheet. Look at the map. Make suggestions.

I'm listening.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Like. Whoa. Color?

For the bored.

Germany Dates are Different

The revised dates for the Johannes Brahms Choir Festival & Competition in Wernigerode will be July 18-22. I originally told you that they would be July 5-8. Here's why I thought that.

I hope they get their information consistent very soon. At least it is correct on their primary website now.

What it may mean:

We may be able to start the trip with a competition in Austria. I can't remember the precise location right now, but there is one that had July 5-8 at one time. My idea is to start the trip with a competition and end with one. Utah did that last year, and I thought it was a good idea--more bang for the buck. Give me your thoughts and ideas if you have them!

Another option:

Listed in their flyer that they sent to my contact at Witte Travel was the 1st Annual Anton Bruckner Choir Competition in Linz, Austria. Dates: June 6-10.

Decisions! Decisions!
Crossing the Cadenza Line

Interesting cadenza of a Mozart concerto. Who would of thunk it?

Read About How Wierd You Are

Was pointed to this article today by The Phantom Professor.

Read it and let me know if this is talking about you (or some of your friends).

A sample from the article:

Respect is something that Cupertino, Calif., high school teacher Arcadia Conrad has thought a lot about. At 33, she is not so far removed in age from her students, but she's eons away in attitude.

As an interviewer of prospective college students for Vassar, her alma mater, Conrad recalls a student showing up in "flip-flops and a miniskirt and her hair still wet."

"I'm one of the people making college decisions," she says. "I told her she was not on her way to the beach: 'Couldn't you have dried your hair?' "

Conrad, who teaches English and theater arts, says she often has to remind students who work as ushers or at concessions for school performances that listening to an iPod or talking with their friends on the job isn't appropriate.

"They seem to have a lot of trouble with the concept of putting your best foot forward," she says.

But technology and the way the young relate to it are creating the most adult consternation, Verhaagen says. He cites as an example a high school senior from an exclusive private school who was an intern at his office and spent a staff meeting text-messaging friends.

He didn't intend to be rude, but "he was clearly not tuned in to the fact that our expectations and cultural mores were different. If you grow up in a culture that says it's all about you, it's hard to think it isn't."

"I don't think we're requiring civic responsibility anymore — the social graces, ceremony and ritual, dress codes, social mores and manners," she says. "My students seem to be saying, 'I can separate myself from whatever experience I'm in and create my own bubble.' "

Monday, June 19, 2006

Random Thoughts on a Summer Evening

Greetings again, UAB Choir blog fans.

BIG NEWS. The University of Utah won the Gran Premio. Congratulations to this fine choir and this incredible accomplishment. Their win makes them the second choir from the United States to win the prize (Ole Miss Concert Singers were the first).

The Gran Premio is a contest of international choir winners, the only "grand champion" of the choir competition world.

And a reminder to anyone new to this blog . . . we tied this group in one of the categories last year at the 2005 Florilege Vocal de Tours. I've been watching for news of last Saturday's competition and didn't see anything until UTAH put it on their website. A huge congratulations to the fine choir and their excellent director, Brady Allred.

Saw DaVinci Code last night. It was a great movie, in my opinion. It's been a couple of years since I read the book, but I thought that Ron Howard really captured the essence of the story. I don't understand all of the poor reviews because I was quite pleased with it.

Colorado lowers age of marriage. Fantastic! Maybe it is a trend that will sweep the country! If all of my students were married before they got to college I wouldn't have to waste time advising against it before they are at least 25.

My beautiful girls turned three last week and we had their party at the Birmingham Zoo--a great place to throw a party for 3-5 year olds. Maybe a video or picture will follow.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Summer Addresses

Taking a little break from blogging (as are most in our little choir community)!

Ms. Reynolds needs summer addresses for these people. Will you please email me your home address?

David Berg
Lauren Davidson
Meredith Foster
Andrew Granlund
Maggie Hendricks
Charles Henry
Sam Pace
Jackie Roche
Martin Schulz
Whitney Sims
Marybeth Verchot

Friday, June 09, 2006

Returned Choir Tux and Dress

Outfits were due to be turned in a couple of weeks ago. On Monday, June 12, I'm going to put a block on everyone's name that isn't on the list. You won't be able to register, get transcripts, pay fees, etc. until that block is removed. Possible fines are in the future.

My advice: get your outfits in.

I have outfits from the following people. If your name isn't on the list and you turned yours in, send me an email (

David Berg
Luke Boone
Melinda Ewalt
Christy Felderhoff
Meredith Foster
Tina Franks
Andrew Granlund
Rebekah Guthrie
Jenny Harmon
Maggie Hendricks
Charles Henry
Jason Leger
Maggie Malone
Lindsey Mathis
Tommy Nelson
Jessica O'Leary
Erin Pair
Elizabeth Perkins
Chris Reid
Jackie Roche
Martin Schulz
Whitney Sims
Toni Stewart
Ginger Swan
Genoveva Valle
Mary Beth Verchot
Crytstal Whatley
Patrick Williams

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Prize list, Tours 2006

Category I : Mixed choirs

Category II : Equal voices choirs

Category III : Mixed vocal ensembles
2nd prize ENSEMBLE 96, OSLO (NORWAY).

Category IV : Free program
3rd prize ENSEMBLE 96, OSLO (NORWAY).

Category V : Child choirs
Not awarded.

Grand Prix de la Ville de Tours PHILIPPINE MADRIGAL SINGERS, QUEZON CITY (PHILIPPINES), Ce choeur est donc qualifié pour paticiper au Grand Prix Européen 2007, qui se déroulera à Arezzo (Italie).
Prize for a first production work CLASSIC CHORUS, ODESSA (UKRAINE).
Prix du Ministère de la Culture OREYA, JITOMIR (UKRAINE).
Prix Ronsard (program Renaissance) Not awarded.
Prize of University François Rabelais (program Renaissance) PHILIPPINE MADRIGAL SINGERS, QUEZON CITY (PHILIPPINES).
Prize "A Cœur Joie International" OREYA, JITOMIR (UKRAINE).

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

More pictures of UAB in Tours 2006

In this hallway:

France 2006 311

On this wall:

France 2006 312

Was this picture:

France 2006 313

That featured these people:

France 2006 314

Performance at Miles College

An early entry for the 2006-2007 calendar:

Miles College on 3/5/2007 2:00 p.m. (during class time)

Update on ACDA National:

No official word until June 24. My guess is still a 30% chance of getting invited. I think we will make a stronger case for an invitation in future years, but I submitted an application and recording anyway. What will be . . . will be!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Scott Adams cracks me up

I don't expect everyone to love Scott Adams (creater of Dilbert) but he occasionally comes out with some lines that make me giggle. Today's contribution:
When I make that argument to religious people, they look at me like I just took a wiz on the couch while announcing that I plan to marry their daughter.
Note this: Scott doesn't subscribe to belief in God. He isn't afraid of exploring the issue, however, in what I would call a forthright manner. Check out his blog, you might find it as interesting as I do.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Winner: Philippine Madrigal Singers

The grand prize winner of the 2006 Tours Competition was the Philippine Madrigal Singers.

I heard both their final sets today and they were incredible. Great literature, fabulous energy, and wonderful interpretations. I found them to be extremely personable, kind, and generous. They had beautiful smiles and kind hearts.

The Alumni Singers did very well in the finals but did not place in the final standings nor win one of the other awards.

It would have been a tremendous win for the group, but it isn't a bad thing that a choir couldn't win a competition in one week of rehearsals. If they could, the competition wouldn't be what it is.

I came on the trip for several purposes. The primary one was to "be a Concert Singer again." That was a great experience . . . to revisit my roots in choral music and remember why I wanted to do this for the rest of my life.

I also wanted the chance to work under Dr. Jordan again. There is always more to learn, you know? No one never knows enough and the greatest are always learning from others.

Will try to be more coherent in future blogs. (It's late)

Our 2005 picture featured at Tours 2006

France 2006 299
Originally uploaded by philipco.
Many of the people at Tours this year remember UAB from last year. It made me proud about our work and accomplishment. Our pictures are featured prominently in several locations . . . I'll post pictures of the other pictures soon. This one was at the hall I visited last night. It is a great shot of one of our rounds.

Note to self: you've gained weight since then. Get back to treadmill ASAP.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Results - Qualifying Rounds

Here are the results:

Category I (Mixed Choirs)
Ole Miss Alumni Choir goes to finals

Category IV (Free program)
Ole Miss Alumni Choir does not make finals

The choir is going through a bit of shock--they never expected to not make it to the final category. Both performances went well today, but there is a feeling that we were at a bit of a disadvantage by going first in Category IV.

I was surprised to not make it to the finals . . . and then I'm reminded that we've only been working this music for a little over a week. It is quite astounding that we are singing like we are.

We sing three songs tomorrow: Jauchzet dem Herrn; Radiosfer; Alleluia. I think the choir will do well if they can get over the disappointment of today.

To my UAB students:

We made quite an impression here last year. Our photos are everywhere (I will post some soon) and I have spoken with several people about our performance in the festival. I have the feeling that we were very close to winning it all. If I can, I'll find out the complete scoring from last year.