Friday, November 30, 2007

Monday Night


We have an evening rehearsal with Birmingham Concert Chorale on Monday night, December 3 at 7:00 p.m. for one hour.

I've mentioned this to you before but I've not stressed it like I should have.

Birmingham Concert Chorale meets at Briarwood Presbyterian Church. Directions here.

More Directions to Briarwood

FROM THE NORTH [to Birmingham, AL]:
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.

FROM THE SOUTH [to Birmingham, AL]:
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.

FROM ATLANTA [to Birmingham, AL]:
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.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Singing makes it better

From something I posted today at ChoralNet.

Hat tip to Michael Parker for this story:
Why such a brouhaha about singing when every week seems to bring more evidence that schools are failing to teach basic skills to our children? The answer is that singing plays a big role in making those other things possible.

As the Sing Up programme manager Baz Chapman points out, singing is more than a musical act; it's a primordial feature of mankind, predating even agriculture. It's connected to the roots of our being, as breathing, feeling, social creatures.

Get schoolchildren singing together regularly, and something miraculous happens. They concentrate better, they're happier in themselves, and the school takes on a real cohesive sense of identity. This isn't just the subjective impression of starry-eyed music teachers: it's hard fact. Every single one of the top 30 primary schools in England has a singing programme involving all pupils.
More here.

Monday, November 26, 2007

For Nancy

Nancy needs a blog post to balance her life.

This is it.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

All West TN 2007 Greets Copeland Triplets

I spent Thursday - Saturday conducting the 2007 All-West Tennessee Honor Choir and it was an incredible experience. The students were extremely well-prepared--I didn't have to teach them one note. They listened intently to everything that I said. Because they were so well taught, I spent most of the time shaping musical lines and talking about what the music means and how to perform it best.

The teaching in the Memphis area is at an incredibly high level. I've admired some of the teachers there for a very long time. Overall, I've never seen students better prepared or so willing and capable to take musical instruction. The event was very well run by all those involved. I'm especially thankful to Paul Whited for asking me to do this event.

We did these works:

1. Fanfare for a Festival (Ron Nelson)
2. Abendlied (Rheinberger)
3. Rise Up My Fair One (Healy Willan)
4. In Remembrance (Jeffrey Ames)
5. There Shall a Star From David (Mendelssohn)
6. Sicut Cervus (Palestrina)
7. Domaredansen (arr. Bengt Hallberg)

They did great work on all the pieces, especially Domaredansen. I've done that work with three honor choirs and this choir really nailed it. Our most nuanced work was probably Willan's "Rise Up" but Rheinberger's "Abendlied" was also well done. The choir helped me come to a new understanding of the Mendelssohn piece in the musical ideas in the "There shall a star" motive and "and dash in pieces." The Ames' "In Remembrance" was probably the choir's favorite. They loved the dramatic middle part with the text "Oh God, My God, Why hast thou forsaken me." And let me tell you . . . 240 talented singers singing that music is a powerful and moving experience.

If I had one regret about the performance, it was the Palestrina "Sicut Cervus." In rehearsal, the choir sang it as well as any group I've ever conducted--very sensitive and incredibly nuanced. In the performance, it reverted back to it's pre-rehearsal state . . . something that happens when the pressure is on in a performance situation. The fault was mine, of course. I need to be more proactive in finding a solution to that common problem . . . I even anticipated it happening but wasn't able to prevent it.

Overall, it was an outstanding honor choir experience. I absolutely loved it.

Other highlights:
1. Seeing all my friends and former students that have become my friends and colleagues.
2. Working and talking with Judy Bowers
3. The one bite of some chocolate desert at YaYa's . . . wow.
4. Seeing such outstanding teaching from graduates of Jerry Jordan's Concert Singers. Members of that choir are forever linked in a wonderful bond of musical excellence, inside jokes, legendary stories, and compelling life experiences.

The students were nice enough to help me create this greeting for my three daughters, Catherine, Caroline, and Claire . . the girls that make my life complete.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

In my email this morning . . . . .

Dear Dr Philip L Copeland,

It is with great pleasure that I confirm that University of Alabama at Birmingham Concert Choir has been accepted for the Fleischmann International Trophy Competition to be held as part of the 54th Cork International Choral Festival taking place 30th April – 4th May 2008. We will contact you in the near future with further details of your participation and with any questions we may have regarding your repertoire and timing of your pieces. In the meantime, I would be grateful if you could confirm to me at your earliest convenience, no later than Wednesday 28th November 2007, in writing or by email to that your choir will be taking part.

I look forward to hearing from you as soon as possible.

With best wishes

Yours sincerely

John Fitzpatrick
Festival Director

PS: Please note that this email has also been sent to you by post.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Monday, November 12, 2007

Recording Session YES Tuesday Afternoon

Reminder . . . be at Bluff Park Methodist tomorrow for the recording session at 2:00 p.m.

Come early if possible.

No recording session Tuesday night

No recording session Tuesday night, November 13th.

A note to Chamber Singers

Chamber Singers . . . a note to you from William Carter:

Dear Phil,

Your singers sounded wonderful Saturday evening. They really brought the poems and music to life. We enjoyed it thoroughly. And your singers have such good accents and I didn't spot a single one of my students among them. You're doing a great job and please know how grateful we are and thank your students. If you or they ever need (apparently you don't!) coaching in French, I am happy to volunteer. Hope to see you soon.


My Response:

Thanks so much!

All the credit for the French goes to our outstanding new voice teacher, Kristine Hurst-Wajszczuk. I heard her help a student with his French diction in her job interview/audition and I started planning French repertoire then!

It's quite hard for me to do the French diction, so I rarely make the attempt. Working with Kris has been wonderful.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Chamber Choir Tonight


Jeans, black shirt.
Choir room 6:15.

Look over your music today.

It's 12:42 in my world. Are you awake yet?

Friday, November 09, 2007

What a great night . . . .

The opera scenes recital was fabulous. All involved did a superb job and I was very proud of everyone.

So many highlights . . .

Hilarious moments with Kiyoshi/Howard, Marybeth, Sam/Meredith (megan).
Tender moments with Kiyoshi/Marybeth.

The bearded lady was too much (in a very funny way). Loved the color in Katie's voice . . . the duet with Meredith was wonderful.

Loved seeing Jonathan and Chris Reid up there leading the way and sounding so good. It was fun to see those Baptist boys in devious roles.

Crystal was wonderfully animated and brave. Sam was at her sassy best.

Brian was superb. So was Sean Fleischman. Three great tenors tonight!

Whitney sang better than I've ever heard her. So did Meredith.

I don't think I left out anyone . . . apologies if I did!

muiscians is smartr than othurs

NEWS - New Harris Poll Links Music Education to Advanced Studies and Higher Incomes - On November 12 at 10 a.m. Eastern Time in Washington, DC, MENC leadership will be on hand for the release and dissemination of results from a brand new Harris Poll on the impact of music education on our society. “Little Steven” Van Zandt (Bruce Springsteen band member and "The Sopranos" star) will lend his support to the poll release by making an appearance at the event. The release of this poll is timely, given MENC's recent efforts to improve music education's standing in the upcoming reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act currently being debated by Congress. Visit MENC after 11:00 a.m. on November 12 to read the press release and the Harris Poll results. The poll is expected to garner significant media attention, so watch for event coverage the evening of November 12.

Variety of Quartet Singing Opportunities Coming Soon

I've been approached by several people interested in hiring our students for quartet singing opportunities for Christmas.

I'll be directing these opportunities to Ireland singers, so if you are interested let me know.

One opportunity involves the Vestavia Hills Country Club.

One involves singing at the airport.

One involves singing in a Christmas Play at the Alys Stephens Center.

Thursday, November 08, 2007


This is really hilarious.

Responses from Choral Directors about RUNE

My original question to ChoralTalk:

Original Question:

I'm wondering why Alf Houkom's wonderful work "The Rune of Hospitality" is
listed in Dale Warland's Christmas Choral Series with Walton Music.

I love the piece, but I'd like to have the answer ready when someone says:
"How is this a Christmas piece?"

Can anyone help? I know that it appeared on Warland's
"December" CD and that this is the text:

I saw a stranger yestereen;
I put food in the eating place,
drink in the drinking place,
music in the listening place;
and in the sacred names of the Triune God
he blessed me and my house,
my cattle and my dear ones,
and the lark said in her song:
Often, Often, Often,
goes the Christ in a stranger's guise.

I'd appreciate any help.


Glory to Jesus Christ!

There is nothing inherent in "The Rune of Hospitality" that connects it with
Christmas. Given the fact that there is a tradition of "seeking shelter"
for the Holy Family (e.g., "Herbergsuchen" in Bavaria and Austria, and "Las
Posadas" in Spanish-speaking South America), the last two lines of the poem can
be interpreted in that way. But it is "eisigesis," not "exegisis"---and the
fact that it's a lovely setting, too

Prof. J. Michael Thompson
Byzantine Catholic Seminary
Pittsburgh, PA


Simple -- "it's miscategorized." :-)

The prayer is typical of Irish blessings and invocations, and, while it could certainly be used for Christmas, it could be used for any Christian holiday or event.

Sing on,
Cairril Adaire


Well, it's a bit of a stretch, but the narrative may be that of the
stable owner commenting on Christ's arrival as an infant. Hence, the
relevance to Christmas.

Just a thought,

Dean Estabrook


I suggest that it's largely due to the fact that Al Burt set this
text, and everyone associates his music with Christmas. Also
"December" can mean Christmas to some and Advent to others. And since
a good portion of Advent is meant to refer to Christ coming again (and
not as a baby), I think singing it in December is appropriate.
Chuck Peery


> Often, Often, Often,
> goes the Christ in a stranger's guise.

I'd say this is the fastener that holds the text to the Christmas

At its root, Christmas is a celebration of God among us, and we've
been conditioned to think of the baby Jesus at Bethlehem. This
text challenges the boundary that limits God to the cradle of
infancy, or even the person of Jesus.

You could build a thematic arc with this idea. For example, start
the arc with "When I needed a neighbor" by Sydney Carter, and continue
with Houkom plus an "Ubi caritas". If you like, close the set like
that, or put on a lively number about the coming of God.
Romain Kang
Disclaimer: I speak for myself alone, except when indicated otherwise.


Actually the full title is "December Stillness". I produced that CD for Dale and now I can't remember the rationale for including it. I saw a lot of responses for you on the list (I didn't realize that you were the original sender). Did you receive a satisfactory reply? If not, I could certainty ask Dale himself. I just saw him two days ago at the Minnesota State Fair (we both have a tradition of going to the Fair). I seem to recall getting an explanation at the time. It's a great piece, whatever the reason or season.


My take on the text is that the Christ
came to earth in a stranger's guise - God incarnate as man, particulary in
the guise of a baby. I have a take on this medieval text where the opening
of the home to a stanger symbolizes opening ones heart to the unfathumable
idea to a Christ, a Triune God, the mystery of the Trinity. Love to chat
with you about it and anxious to hear the other responses you receive.


Christmas is ABOUT hospitality, not only the hospitality you give to family
and friends, but the hospitality you give to complete strangers. Who was more
hospitable, the speaker or the stranger?

Matthew, Chapter 25

34 Then the king will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed
by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the
35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me
drink, a stranger and you welcomed me,
36 naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you
visited me.'
37 Then the righteous will answer him and say, 'Lord, when did we see you
hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?
38 When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?
39 When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?'
40 And the king will say to them in reply, 'Amen, I say to you, whatever you
did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.'
41 Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you accursed, into
the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no
43 a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing,
ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.'
44 Then they will answer and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or
thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?'
45 He will answer them, 'Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of
these least ones, you did not do for me.'


I have used a different arrangement of this text in church in worship for a special Christmas music service. To me, it speaks to who Christ IS, why we celebrate Christmas in the first place. And, perhaps, how we all can best celebrate, eg., by serving the poor, etc. On a less religious note, perhaps, it is the season of giving... Anyway, i love the words, and believe they are totally appropriate. Linda Mc


My take on the text is that the Christ
came to earth in a stranger's guise - God incarnate as man, particulary in
the guise of a baby. I have a take on this medieval text where the opening
of the home to a stanger symbolizes opening ones heart to the unfathumable
idea to a Christ, a Triune God, the mystery of the Trinity. Love to chat
with you about it and anxious to hear the other responses you receive.


If it were ME, I'd say "it goes along with the Christian's eye on the Birth
of Christ...." yatta, yatta, yatta. How deep I'd go after that would depend
a lot on who I was talking to and where I was standing at the time. (I'm a
public elementary school music teacher, so I have to be really careful what
I say.)


There is clearly an English tradition, well expressed in the following
quotation, which directly connects Christmas with hospitality, and with
caring for the needy:

Whosoever on the night of the nativity of the young Lord Jesus, in the great
snows, shall fare forth bearing a succulent bone for the lost and lamenting
hounds, a wisp of hay for the shivering horse, a cloak of warm raiment for
the stranded wayfarer, a bundle of fagots for the twittering crone, a flagon
of red wine for him whose marrow withers, a garland of bright red berries
for one who has worn chains, a dish of crumbs with a song of love for all
huddled birds who thought that song was dead, and divers lush sweetmeats for
such babes’ faces as peer from lonely windows, to him shall be proffered and
returned gifts of such an astonishment as will rival the hues of the peacock
and the harmonies of heaven, so that though he live to the great age when
man goes stooping and querulous because of the nothing that is left of him,
yet shall he walk upright and remembering, as one whose heart shines like a
great star in his breast.

From the Dictionary of Quotations

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Chamber Singers will be open soon

There is a little technical hangup with registering for Chamber Singers. Hope to have it fixed soon.

Rune of Hospitality

"How is this a Christmas text?"

I saw a stranger yestereen;
I put food in the eating place,
drink in the drinking place,
music in the listening place;
and in the sacred names of the Triune God
he blessed me and my house,
my cattle and my dear ones,
and the lark said in her song:
Often, Often, Often,
goes the Christ in a stranger's guise.

I heard the space shuttle

Interesting experience . . .

I was watching TV and they said something to the effect of "the shuttle is coming over Birmingham, Alabama right now . . . " so I ran outside and looked up. Five seconds later I heard two "booms" and I was concerned that something bad had happened.

I came back inside and learned that the shuttle was safe . . . but that when it passes over head it creates "twin sonic booms" that people on the ground can hear. One boom is from the nose, one from the tail.

Pretty strange . . . but I heard it.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

check this out - from AUB

click here.

Get it in your heads: Recording Session next Tuesday

Don't forget . . . Recording session for Concert Choir and Women's Chorale on Tuesday, November 13th. Bluff Park Methodist. 8-10 p.m.

Pieces to record:

1. Hymn to God the Father (Men)
2. Salve Regina (Women's)
3. Regina Coeli
4. O Sacrum Convivium
5. Lord's Prayer
6. Others I can't think of right now
7. Nunc Dimittis if we have it ready

Monday, November 05, 2007

Woohoo! 147th among 40 year old men!

There you have it, ladies and gentlemen. Proof that sometimes fatboys enter races and don't always finish last!

Anyone want to join me this weekend for some "racing?"

UPDATE: In other race analysis, it appears that all 7 entries in the 70-74 age range beat my time. However, I would have come in second in the 75-79 age range and I completely smoked the 86 year old men by over two minutes. I feel pretty good about that, considering they've had plenty of years to train and I just started.

UPDATE #2: It appears that I came in #1761th overall. Next year, I'm shooting for making the top 1700.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Goal accomplished: life continues

10k, originally uploaded by philipco.

Today I proved that fatboys still run races.

Thanks to Dr. Gainey, I ran the Vulcan 10k today with only a few steps walked around mile 3. Dr. Gainey, Misty Akins, and I got through the race together and it was a lot of fun.

Next up, the Jingle Bell Run, a 5k on December 1. Now that I know I can live through these things, I'm going to challenge the choir to join me!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

updated ireland brochure

correct dates!

Pride and Performance

I was incredibly proud of our performance today.

I thought we performed our pieces very well and we got great ideas for improvement from Dr. Holmes, our clinician. Doing a great job and then finding out how we can do something even better is a place I like to be.

Be proud of yourself today. Something special happened. You were fabulous.

Let me know what you think about what you heard or experienced today. Comment on this post with your thoughts . . .

For Bodiford

The email keeps bouncing back. This is for Matt. And others who need additional copies of the excuse for the college choral festival.