Thursday, August 31, 2006

Scholars Symposium

We've received an OK to do these two pieces at the Scholars Symposium:

Ave Maria (Busto)
Joshua (Luboff)

Click the links for the MP3 file. (like you didn't know that)

Performing Choir: University of Mississippi Concert Singers (Jerry Jordan, conductor)

Take note of the incredible tenor solist opportunity. Be ready!

UPDATED: Joshua link is fixed.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Francesca, we hardly knew ye

Most in the choir did not have the pleasure of knowing one Francesca Rosko, a dynamite alto 2 in the 2003-2004 choir (I think that is right).

Francesca is quite a character and also a blogger. In her latest post, she talks about how accomplished she is at humor on her trips to the orthodontist office . . . mostly because her competition is in the 5-15 age range.

She's the one with the pained expression of joy in this photo (far right):


Click the photo for a larger version of that picture.

A sampling of her writing from the trip to the orthodontist:

And the music…yeesh. Alright, I love Jesus. Let me just say that right now. However, I think Christian music, in most cases, is an abomination. I had a teacher, a theology teacher no less, that once said, “stupid for Jesus is still stupid.” I think this is applicable here as well: bad music for Jesus is still bad music. Anyways, my feeling is that most of the time Christian music is really quite atrocious. So Christian music alone would be obnoxious. But you guys, it’s children’s Christian music. For the love! About the only thing I can think of that’s worse than Christian music is chipper, precocious children’s voices singing popular, bad Christian music.

I wouldn't be surprised if she wrote a book one day that propelled her into the national spotlight as sort of a humorous commentator on serious things. A great girl, that Francesca, and we wish her well.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Lots of Great Chins in The Incredibles

And I fear this:


Dr. Incredible

I think I got compared to this character today . . . by a freshman, of all things. I am fairly sure she was referring to my mothers chin that I happened to inherit and improve upon.

I told her she could call me Dr. Incredible from now on.

How quickly grades begin to fall . . .


UPDATE: Maybe it was this guy.

Collegiate Choral Festival News

Got an email about the ACDA Collegiate Choral Festival.

Here is the latest on who has signed up; note that two new colleges will be there this year (Tuskeegee and UAH). I wonder why all major programs in the state don't participate?

Auburn University
Jefferson State Community College
Samford University
Shelton State Community College
Tuskegee University
University of Alabama at Birmingham
University of Alabama at Huntsville
University of Montevallo
University of North Alabama
Wallace State Community College

4th Annual Collegiate Choral Festival on Thursday, October 26
Canterbury United Methodist Church in Birmingham.

Choirs representing two and four year colleges and universities from across the state will gather to perform concert literature for each other. Each choir will also have the opportunity to work with this year’s clinician, Dr. Sara Lynn Baird, Associate Director of Choral Music at Louisiana State University and President for Southern Division ACDA.



If you want to know about it, read the book or listen to the audiobook. Lifechanging.

David Allen, Getting Things Done.

Overviews here, here, here, here.

Monday, August 28, 2006

A fabulous composer website

I found an incredible website today via my search for the term "choral music" on blogs.

It is the site of composer Roger Bourland and it is one of the best designed sites I've seen . . . and I've seen alot!

Check it out. I'm going to be listening to his music and seeing if it fits our choir . . .

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Memo for College Choral Festival

Here is the excuse for the College Choral Festival on Thursday, October 26, 2006. Give it to your Thursday teachers NOW.

That is all.

Alert me, of course, if your name is not on the memo.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Rest in Peace, Maynard Ferguson

I was a Maynard Ferguson fan in high school and heard him live a couple of times.

RIP, Mr. Ferguson.

Two updates and then two more

1. This radio show might be interesting to listen to. See if you like the Urmas Sisask piece.

2. In other news, Jon Hood makes his first blog post since March 2, 2006. Congratulations, Jon, and welcome back to the blogging world. It looks like he only posts once or twice a semester, so don't miss it!

3. Not to be outdone, Katie Fussel blogs for the second time in three days about defeating your enemies. If Whitney isn't reading hers, Katie might want to borrow a book and read about other ways of defeating her enemies.

4. Yes, Jessica Willis has outed herself as the freshmen blogger I mentioned the other day. Katie Elizabeth Smith wonders why I haven't mentioned hers yet. Open it to non-friends, Katie!

Friday, August 25, 2006

The Bible Was a Cover Story

Originally uploaded by philipco.
Soon to be Whitney Cummins claimed to be a reader today.

I asked her what she'd been reading lately, and she said "The Bible."

Tonight, at the church choir party, the truth came out. Besides holy scripture, she's reading the Jenna Jameson autobiography. You'll have to click the link to find out the name of the book . . . it's not something I want to put on my blog.

Pretty funny, eh?

Personally, I'm unfamiliar with Jenna and her body of work. You may be too. After reading a description of the JJ book, I have a better idea of why Whitney's also reading the Bible.

update: we got a visit last night from some guy in Poland who searched on Jenna Jameson.

Waking up late . . .

Some of you will identify with this professor, one of my favorite music professor blogs:

But the stress (and lack of sleep) caught up with me. I didn't count on being so exhausted that I would sleep through not just one, but TWO alarms. I woke up at 7:35, just 25 minutes before my 8 am class was due to start. And I made it to the classroom by 7:55, beating most of my students to the room. With my hair done, makeup on, and dressed up. Coffee cup in hand. (Hooray for setting clothes out the night before, an auto-start coffeemaker, and dry shampoo!) But tomorrow I simply have to buy a battery-operated, LOUD alarm clock.

Bach Motets - Unaccompanied Views

There are occasional scholarly disagreements over the performance practice of Bach motets-- whether they were meant to be performed with accompaniment or without.

Why is this important? In this day of stringent scholarship, performers can come under harsh criticism if their rendition of a particular work does not adhere to the "performance practice" of the period. That isn't a bad thing, to be sure, but it can occasionally inhibit conductors-performers from attempting music of the early periods.

In doing a little research this morning, I found a couple of places that argued for their performance to be without accompaniment.

From a 1998 discussion on ChoralTalk:

Daniel R. Melamed, "J.S. Bach and the German Motet." This book contains the most recent research about the Bach motets . . . .

. . . .It is also now clear that although instruments were banned
during the funeral rite at the Thomaskirche in Leipzig, "Der Geist hilft" (for which not only continuo parts but also parts for instruments to double the voices were supplied by Bach) was performed at a memorial service at the university (where instruments were not banned). The supposition is that the Thomaskirche rule on instruments for funeral rites was the only impediment to Bach's composing instrumental parts for all his motets. The conclusion surely is that the motets (except for "Der Geist hilft", "Ich lasse dich nicht", "O Jesu Christ, mein's Lebens Licht", and various cantata movements in motet style) can be performed either a cappella or with doubling instruments. They work either way; one should not attempt to maintain a purist attitude in the face of the existing evidence.

I also found this discussion on I've blogged about it before. This particular discussion concerns a work we are not performing but is in the same body of works by J.S. Bach. General details about the performance practice of Bach motets are a little further down in the quote:

Indeed, the parts for "Jesu meine Freude" are not by Bach. Moreover, recent research has determined:

1) the singing of Bach's motets a cappella is not a romantic-style innovation of a later period than Bach, but rather can be documented as the manner of performance of some of these motets (a carrying on of the tradition that was already established under Bach?) under the cantorship of Johann Friedrich Doles who conducted/performed these motets in this fashion at St. Thomas Church from 1756 to 1789.

2) new evidence that some of Bach's motets, such as this one, were very likely performed a cappella without colla parte instrumental accompaniment or bc

In Klaus Hofmann's new book, "Johann Sebastian Bach: Die Motetten" [Bärenreiter, 2003] pp. 55 ff., the following evidence is presented:

1. in 1761 and in 1764, the music catalogs of printed works available from the publisher Breitkopf in Leipzig offered copies of Bach's motets in the category "Motets - without instruments"

2. the music theoretician, Johann Adoph Scheibe (1708-1776) (his father, Johann Scheibe, an organ builder was very highly regarded by Bach) is the infamous critic of Bach's music in the Birnbaum-Scheibe controversy.

To consider his attitude toward Bach to be entirely critical would be unfair since he was also one of the very first to praise in print Bach's 'Italian Concerto.' Scheibe was encouraged by Telemann to publish a periodical, "
Der Critische Musicus" ("The critical Musician"). From a reprint of an issue of this periodical dating from 1737 [Hamburg - he had just recently moved from Leipzig (where he had had most of his schooling including some time at the University of Leipzig, until his father's organ building firm went bankrupt)] but reprinted in Leipzig in 1745(facsimile Hildesheim, Wiesbaden, 1970) pp. 181 ff., Scheibe comments on the actual motet performance practices he had experienced in Leipzig:
>>Der Generalbaß sollte zwar allezeit dabey sein; allein, man kann ihn selten gebrauchen, weil die meisten Motetten nur von einem Chore Sänger aufgeführet werden, es müßten denn andere Instrumente mehr dabey seyn, oder man müßte sie bey gewissen Gelegenheiten in der Kirche aufführen.<<

Klaus Hofmann interprets this passage to read: "In reality, a basso continuo ought to be part of this ensemble, but the general performance practice/tradition rarely makes use of this option, because most motets are performed only with voices. It is, however, an entirely different matter if more instruments (beyond the colla parte and bc accompaniment) are used, or when the motets are performed in the church on very special occasions." Klaus Hofmann also extrapolates from this passage the fact that a cappella performances must have been common practice under Bach's tenure in the 1730s.

3. there is no record of any original instrumental parts for "Jesu meine Freude" as ever having existed at any point during Bach's lifetime.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

ah the wonder of technology

I found my first freshman blog today.

The line that led me to her:

Also it would be wonderful if you could come out once in a while and support the UAB concert choir. It is astounding music that we are infact making.

What a nice thing to say about our choir!

I thought we made some fantastic sounds today. Still to discover, however, are meter, nuance, and passion. But, hey, it's only been three days.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


To my new choir.

Something different happened to me this morning.

I woke up calm and I felt an intensity that has been lacking in myself for a period of time. I don't know how long, because it is the kind of thing that you don't miss when it isn't there, if that makes any sense.

Yesterday's rehearsal showed me that I'm on the right path, that I'm doing the right thing. After auditions, I was worried that I wasn't going to be able to point sixty-plus people in the right way - that I couldn't teach them to do the same exact thing at the same exact exact time. I was afraid that we were too big to create the kind of nuance that is required of an incredible choir.

I saw enough promise yesterday to know that I stand before a choir with enormous potential, both for today and tomorrow.

It will be an incredible year.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Women's Chorale

I am not completely sure about all the women on this list are signed up for the class, but I'm very excited about working with them this year!


Chamber Singers 2006-2007

Congrats to those who made Chamber Choir this year. Two freshmen women made the group and three freshmen men.

1. Jackie Roche
2. Katie Smith
3. Maggie Granlund
4. Meredith Foster
5. Samantha Pace

1. Caitlin Wittkop
2. Katie Movelle
3. Lauren Davidson
4. Sarah Hyde
5. Whitney Sims

1. David Berg
2. Kiyoshi Scissum
3. Lindsey Lingerfelt
4. Steve Hakim

1. Andrew Granlund
2. Charles Henry
3. Chris Josof
4. Clay Rector
5. Tyler Henderson

Concert Choir 2006-2007

A HUGE Concert Choir this year and very talented. We are at 61 right now and may add a few more.

1. Ashley Arrington
2. Erin Pair
3. Jackie Roche
4. Jennifer Scivley
5. Jenny Harmon
6. Jessie Willis
7. Katie Smith
8. Katie Fussell
9. Katie Harris
10. Keisha Prime
11. Lindsey Tuller
12. Maggie Granlund
13. Mary Beth Verchot
14. Meredith Foster
15. Sadie Mason Smith
16. Samantha Pace


1. Bobbie Kirby
2. Caitlin Wittkop
3. Christy Foster
4. Elysia Troutman
5. Jenny Smith
6. Katie Movelle
7. Kelly Parks
8. Kyla Crane
9. Lauren Davidson
10. Rhea Reuter
11. Sarah Hyde
12. Toni Stewart
13. Whitney Sims

1. Andy Smith
2. Anthony Concepcion
3. Chase Goodwin
4. Christopher Bales
5. David Berg
6. Jon Hood
7. Kiyoshi Scissum
8. Lincoln Parrott
9. Lindsey Lingerfelt
10. Michael Dees
11. Micheal Evans
12. Mitch Miller
13. Patrick Williams
14. Steve Hakim
15. Tommy Nelson

1. Aaron Glenn
2. Andrew Granlund
3. Bryan Bastow
4. Charles Henry
5. Chris Josof
6. Chris Reid
7. Clay Rector
8. Corey Rollins
9. Evan Long
10. Jason Leger
11. Joe Roberts
12. Jonathan Riddle
13. Martin Schulz
14. Matt Bodiford
15. Matt Cantor
16. Robert Brooks
17. Tyler Henderson

Course registration information

Women’s Chorale

MUP 321-1M
Women's Chorale
M&W&F,(Aug. 22-Dec. 14)
3:00PM-3:50PM HC 308

Concert Choir:

You must sign up for both:

MUP 220-1G
Concert Choir
M&W&F,(Aug. 22-Dec. 14)
HC 308

MUP 220L-2E
Concert Choir Learning Lab
Tu&Th,(Aug. 22-Dec. 14)
2:00PM-3:15PM HC 308

Chamber Singers

MUP 320-3A
Chamber Singers
M&W,(Aug. 22-Dec. 14)
4:00PM-5:15PM HC 308

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Last night on my radio show

I've mentioned in class about my radio show at midnight: Coast to Coast AM. It is quite different, to be sure.

It was "open lines" last night . . and I thought you may enjoy listening to this call.

Regina Coeli - Romauld Twardowsky

One of the works that we will eventually do this year is "Regina Coeli" by Romauld Twardowsky. A little about him, found at the Polish Music Center in the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California.

Romuald Twardowski (b. 17 June 1930) studied at the State Conservatory of the Lithuanian Republic in Soviet Union in Vilnius (1952-1957). Since 1957 he continued his compositional studies at the State Higher School of Music in Warsaw (with Bolesław Woytowicz). After graduating in 1960, he studied for one year in 1963 with Nadia Boulanger in Paris. Twardowski He withdrew most of his early pieces. In the 1950s his music went through a phase characterized by dissonance and thick textures; in subsequent years his style became more melodic. His stage music reveals a gift for theatrical timing and a sense of drama. The fluency and lightness of musical narration finds its reflection in the variety of genres and forms ranging from instrumental miniatures to concert forms (with orchestra), from vocal solo and choral cycles to operas and ballets. A didactic element plays an essential part in the composer's music, especially for youth and children.

Twardowski received many awards for his music, including the Prince Rainier Prize for the ballet Sorcerer' Sculptures, and a Prize at the Prague Spring Festival for Sonetti di Petrarca. In 2000 he donated a number of his manuscripts to the PMC collection. The photograph features a moment at the Polish Composers' Union after the donation ceremony (23 September 2000).

Hold On - composer Jester Hairston

One of the works we are doing this year is "Hold On" by Jester Hairston. Here is a little bit about him, found here.

Jester Hairston (born Jestie, nicknamed by a first grade teacher) was born in Belews Creek, North Carolina, in 1902. He spent most of his 98 years as a choral director, educator, actor, singer, composer and arranger.

His first experience spreading his love of music was in the summer after his freshman year at the University of Massachusetts - while working on the Boston docks, he taught his fellow workers to sing. He later went off to study music at Tufts University, performing in the school's musical thater organizations and graduating in 1929. He returned to Tufts in 1979 to accept an honorary Doctorate in Music, one of four honorary degrees he was awarded.

His first paying job teaching music was at a music school in Harlem, a job he obtained through the post-Depression U.S. Government Works Program Administration. At the same time he joined the Hall Johnson Choir, the most prominent Black singing group of the 1930s.

While in Los Angeles with the choir, Jester met Russian film composer Dimitri Tiomkin, and a 30-year collaboration was begun. Hairston arranged the music for every one of Tiomkin's films, including the Academy Award winner "Lost Horizon." The two of them were also responsible for "Guns of Navarone," "Gunfight at the OK Corral" and "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon," among many others - some of the many accomplishments that Hairston's star on the Walk Of Fame.

Through Jester appeared in many films and TV shows in the ensuing decades, some of what he was best known for were his roles in the radio and TV shows of "Amos and Andy" - he played Leroy and Henry Van Porter - and his role as Deacon Rolly Forbes in the TV show "Amen." Other credits include the words and lyrics to the Harry Belafonte hit "Mary's Little Boy Chile," and the voice of Sydney Poitier in the film "Lillies in the Field." He also conducted the first integrated choir in Hollywood.

Jester Hairston's body of work is an institution in the choral and a cappella worlds. He wrote and arranged more than 300 spirituals, and generations of choral singers have grown up on his works. Even into his 90s, he continued to tour the world conducting choirs and acting as a goodwill ambassador for the U.S. State Department.

Jester Hairston died in January 2000.

Friday, August 18, 2006


It looks like I may have an opportunity to take part in creating/producing some podcasts soon. I'm excited about the opportunity and have been doing some reading lately about "the art of podcasting."

This site had some excellent points and here are two of them:

# Be whimsical. Maybe this is the same as #2, but I've noticed something about the best podcasts... they're having fun, and it shows.

# Be Chunky. Make segments short, diverse and put an audio bumper between your segments. It can be music, a sound effect, some whimsical voice trick, whatever. This keeps it interesting. A single droning line of ramble can really make the eyes glaze over. You need variety, we're an MTV generation, like it or not. We like it fast, varied, pithy and fun.
Do any of the followers of this blog listen to podcasts? I listen to some that are associated with the tablet pc and technology but I figure that some of you are into it. Am I right? If so, which ones would you recommend?

I've got some ideas for the choral world but I'd be interested in hearing yours. Anyone have something to share?

On another note, I've received a couple of "gross" comments on the previous post. Granted, it is a little out of the ordinary for the usual topic of this blog. However, that story from my wife was fairly unique and it seemed to be the kind of rare occurance that I thought I'd use to entertain you. Apologies to anyone who is having trouble sleeping after reading that post!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Leigh's first patient

Another non-choir post.

Leigh told me tonight that her first patient of the morning came in for an ear ache. Nothing uncommon about that, right?

Well, Leigh looked in the ear of the child and saw what was causing the ear to ache.

A roach.

Not an EwaRoche, but a real roach.

And, it wasn't dead but alive.

A few moments later, of course, that roach was dead . . . drowned in hydrogen peroxide.

And then the roach was removed. It's not that uncommon, either.

I'm glad I'm a choir director.

Sleep well tonight!

Test your internet connection

For the geeks out there.

I really loved the look of this site.

My test results above.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

A singer talks about singing

Thanks, google blog search. The term "choral music" led me to another singer talking about singing. And, MBV, this one mentions Samuel Barber and the work I told you about (Reincarnations). Read her posts here and here.

A bit:
I haven’t done any choral singing for about 3 years now, and I feel like I’m coming home, in a way. Singing in small groups like this one was where I first fell in love with singing, and where I first knew that this was what I wanted to do. While everyone involved has worked extensively as a soloist, there’s something about working together in a small group that’s extremely appealing. Blending together, becoming in tune with one another in terms of dynamics and breathing, and making music as a unified body is extremely satisfying and challenging, in a different way than singing in front of a group or in a costume onstage.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

From around the internet

I've got "google blog search" looking for the phrase "choral music" and I'm turning up some interesting blogs in the process.

Here's one from today, the Palo Alto Online: Ad Libs. She talks about the women's choir recent participation in an international competition. They got third.

This is from Shelli Stevens, a romance novelist:

But last night was wonderful. With Emma and I tucked away in this tiny room. I have my laptop, even though we don't have any internet, and I did the most wonderful thing. I grabbed my CD's and picked out some of my favorite classical ones. So I put on Faure's Requim. Which has to be my hands down, all time favorite, choral piece. I sang it college, and in a group after college. It was also the Requim sung at the memorial in Washington D.C. following September 11th. So I listened to it, in this tiny room without lights. With no internet to distract me. I even minimized my book I was editing and just listened. To this music that makes my stomach clench, my eyes tear up, and my throat go tight. I don't really think I can accurately convey how this piece affects me. But it does, on a truly deep level. Beneath the writer, I have another creative/artistic side. And that's the musician in me. The girl who will always appreciate great classical music. The thrill of a dissonant chord that hesitates to resolve. I love all kinds of music, but the type that challenges me emotionally as well as intelligently, will always be classical. And although music really isn't big in my life now, I remember how much I love it when I take the time to... well, just listen.

The New Blogger

Google is finally updating their blogger service and you can read about it here. It looks like they are making some nice changes--my favorite is that they are adding labels. At present, I've got 640 posts to this blog and I would like a way of organizing 'like' posts . . . such as the ones about the triplets, choral literature, humor, etc.

When I get a chance, I'll migrate this blog over to the new format. Hopefully, the address won't change and everything that is on this site will be on the new one.

This blog gets about 100 hits a day, even when I don't post anything. The fact that Google owns blogger must be some factor in the terms that come up in google searches. I get alot of hits for searches on "If I Can Help Somebody" and anything that has to do with choirs.

Look here if you want to see an experiment with the new blog style.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

a visit to the park

summer 2006 177
Originally uploaded by philipco.
I wasn't a part of this trip, but Leigh and the nanny Kristy took the girls to the park the other day. It was hot, the pictures weren't that great, but I liked this one.

Summer, for some, is over.

Our summer ends soon!

School . . . and choir . . . begin in just a few days.

Garrison Keilor and choral music

I like listening to Garrison Keilor until he goes off on politics. About choral music, he said this.

"To sing like this, in the company of other souls, and to make those consonants slip out so easily and in unison, and to make those chords so rich that they bring tears to your eyes. This is transcendence. This is the power that choral singing has that other music can only dream of." --Garrison Keillor

Hat tip to Dr. Dick.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Check out the BBC and Radio 3

It seems the BBC has a radio show about choirs every Sunday evening.

Look here.

Listen here.

My mini-vacation and random thoughts

Greetings to all that follow this blog.

I've been away for a week . . . no problems, there are just occasioanl (and rare) periods of inactivity on this thing. When I've been at the computer, I've been on my scanning project . . . maybe I'll go into detail about that one day.

I had a brainstorm about UAB choirs yesterday morning in preparation for the section leaders meeting tomorrow night. There are no big secrets; I'll likely share it with them first and then here on the blog. For those of you who don't know about mindmaps, you need to. I use a program called "Mindmanager" for alot of my work and brainstorms and find it quite excellent. You can download a preview copy of it here. When I share my mindmap, you can download the viewer at the same page. You've seen a picture of a mindmap before.

Random thoughts from the past week:

Leigh and I have been without the triplets since Thursday--they came back tonight from "Nanna and Poppy's house." It was a nice break but we are glad to have them back.

Movies we saw during their absence:

1. Talledega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. A funny movie, but don't go there looking for the secret to life.

2. Lady in the Water. I would call this a flawed movie but still very good. I'm a big fan of Shyamalan and really enjoyed this show. Leigh, who chose the movie, didn't like it as much but still found it good.

I've gotten a little distance from my choral music plans for next semester but will be revisiting them this week. I've got to make some final decisions pretty soon.

That's all for now . . . Claire wants out of the bath.