Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A work of art: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Highest recommendation for this movie . . . . very special.

One word thoughts: Inspiring, beautiful, artistic, moving, compelling, understated, southern..

I loved it.

Favorite moments:

1. Sunsets for loved ones.
2. Lightning strikes.
3. Sequence of scenes that begin with Benjamin taking his father to the lake and ending with Daisy performing ballet to "Some enchanted evening . . ."
4. Inspiration to read more F. Scott Fitzgerald, see more of the world, and have the courage to change situations if you don't like the way they are going. (no deep meaning there).

Go see it. Or leave your comments here if you've seen it.

Positive reviews here, here, here, and here.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

On Christmas Day

I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play
And mild and sweet the words repeat,
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

I thought how as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had roll'd along th' unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bow'd my head:
"There is no peace on earth," I said,
"For hate is strong, and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men."

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men."

'Til ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,
Of peace on earth, good will to men!

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

Laurel Masse gives us this beautiful impression of Christmas Eve:

Every Christmas Eve I listen to the BBC Radio broadcast of "Lessons and Carols". In years past, especially while I was living in the Adirondacks, this was my only Christmas experience of the lovely sound of Anglican choral singing. It is fairly deep in my personal history; in 1962 my family moved to England, and there were hymns sung at chapel every morning at the school I attended. Since I started singing at the Cathedral (St. John the Divine, in Manhattan), I have heard (and sung) a lot more of that style, and under the cathedral's new music director, Bruce Neswick, there will be much more to come. And a lot of that is coming tonight.

The Cathedral, newly rededicated after a seven-year restoration triggered by the smoke and water damage incurred in the fire of December, 2001, will no doubt be full tonight. It is quietly thrilling to stand with my fellow singers in the choir and, looking down the whole length of that beautiful structure, see the seats - all the seats! - filled by the devoted, the devout, the curious, the skeptical, the travelers, the fans of music, the fans of architecture, the tourists, the sad, the lonely, the joyous, on and on. I look at this, and think "Here comes everybody", as James Joyce (I think) said when describing the Church.

Here we are, in need of the "tidings of comfort and joy" now perhaps more than ever, when it seems that light cannot possibly overcome the darkness. But look out the window tonight: trees are alight, menorahs glowing. Families are gathering together if they can. I come from a family of singers, and even though we are not all together this year, I know that, wherever we are, we are gathering to sing, and sing, and be reminded of why we are singing.

Thanks for sharing, Laurel.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Friday, December 19, 2008

9.5 million views and a recording contract

Wow . . . . the power of one performance. Two videos, watch them both.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Spring 2009 Exam Times (Recording Sessions)

I'm looking ahead to the end of next semester and have discovered this for the choirs:

Chamber Singers
Exam time: Monday, May 4 4:15-6:45 p.m.

Concert Choir
Exam time 1: Thursday, April 30 1:30-4:00 p.m.
Exam time 2: Friday, May 1 1:30-4:00 p.m.

Please put it on your calendars.

Final exam schedule here.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Decent quotes, horrible picture

Don't miss my brilliance and beauty here.

Or my eloquence here. As I listened, I prayed that the interview would end before I would say something incredibly stupid.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Considerations: Weigh In!

I'm thinking about the AMEA Concert in January and I'm having these thoughts listed below. Now is your time to weigh in on the decision and I'm not offended at positive/negative feedback on any of it. Just sign your name.

The thoughts:

1. Bring back "With a Lily in Your Hand" (Whitacre). We only performed that piece in Alabama one time, I think. And I'm not satisfied with any recording that we have except for the Spring Concert, and that was not in the best acoustic. And it didn't have a very good beginning.

2. Early part of the program works this way:
First piece: Glory be to God (Rachmaninoff)
Second piece, without a break for applause: Alleluia. Kiyoshi's opening chant solo begins on the same note that the sopranos end the Rachmaninoff.

3. Bring back Shall We Gather at the River. It's a great piece, well known, and I'm not satisfied with the recording. (side note: this isn't the place to criticize recordings)

4. Bring back Silence of Time. One of the best pieces we did last year. December 2007 recording of it here. I think we have a better recording in us and this is always a crowd pleaser.
Potential program:
Glory to God
Lobet den Herrn
O Sacrum
With a Lily
Shall We Gather at the River (Beautiful River)
Silence of Time
Garota de Ipanema

Classes start: Wednesday, January 7
UAB Honor Choir Performance: Saturday, January 17
AMEA Performance: Friday, January 23

Most people will need "Beautiful River" and some will need "With a Lily" and "Silence of Time". Check your email.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Sleeping Marimbas

You Eric Whitacre fans will enjoy this:

Here's what he said about it:

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine myself writing the following words, but here they are: I just heard an exquisite performance of Sleep as transcribed for marimba quartet.

I found this on youtube this morning and was just knocked out, not so much by the novelty of the whole thing (roving, voyeuristic steady-cam shots of a marimba quartet), but by their nuanced music-making; their sense of line and phrase; and their deep, deep understanding of the underlying structure of the piece. Really blew my mind.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Kind words from Gunilla Luboff

Received some very kind words from Gunilla Luboff of Walton Music on the recording (G.L. is one of my favorite people in the world).

Here's what she said to me and Mr. Berg:

Philip!! Just downloaded the recording and it is WONDERFUL - the choir sounds just great and the text even comes through when I play it on the computer. You have done a wonderful job and I hope Ken is as pleased as I am. The performance really moves me back to the type of choral singing that I have heard in the traditional repertoire. It has the same vocal glow as the ones that we did in the Ole Miss series... Just great. Many thanks again, both to you and the choir! I look forward to the next track with Little David Play!


Dear Ken,

Thank you so very much for this lovely piece! As you know it is the first time I really hear it sung - it is so rich and sweet and has that Baltic singing depth that is so beautiful, that Philip's choir really brought out. The variations in the verses are lovely and the ending makes me smile. Thank you so much - I think this will be sung by MANY choirs!! Warmest regards and thanks.


Friday, December 05, 2008

5 December 2008 Recording Session

Weihnachten 1
Weihnachten 2

Es ist ein Ros' entsprungen 1
Es ist ein Ros' entsprungen 2

Glory be to God 1

Glory be to God 2

Tooma Laulukoor 1
Tooma Laulukoor 2

Congratulations, Erin!

Erin Pair is the new music teacher at two schools:

Hillview Elementary
Adamsville Elementary

She interviewed for the jobs today--she starts Monday.

Congratulations, Erin!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Yes--choir tomorrow.

Yes, we are in choir on Wednesday.

UPDATED: ACTUAL RECORDING TIME: Friday, 2:30. Arrive at 2:15.

Ending Fall 2008

Originally posted May 24, 2008.

Dec. 6, 2008 Christmas at the Alys Dress Rehearsal
Jemison 7:00 - 10:00 pm

Dec. 7, 2008 Christmas at the Alys
Jemison 3:00 pm

Dec. 5-11, 2008 Final Exams

FINAL EXAM TIME FOR CHOIR: (updated 5/27/2008)
1g: Friday, December 5, 1:30 - 4:00
2E: Thursday, December 11, 1:30 - 4:00

Monday, December 01, 2008

Wow. Birmingham News Today

Birmingham mayor arrested.

Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford was arrested this morning on federal charges and is being held at the federal courthouse, the FBI and other federal officials confirm.

UPDATE:  This is national news.  Saw it on the Drudge Report.  Click picture to go to Drudge.

UAB probably will build steam plant . . . at 85 or 95 million.
UAB is still weighing options for building a new $85 million to $95 million steam system to replace one Alabama Power is closing, according to university officials.
The school is debating whether to construct its own steam plant internally or outsource the project, according to Brooks Baker, associate vice president for facilities for the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He recently updated the University of Alabama System Board of Trustees on the project, and said the school plans to come back to the board in February with a concrete proposal.
The exact budget has yet to be determined, he said, but estimates put the cost of building a new plant and constructing new underground lines around $90 million.
UAB depends on steam for heating, hot water and sterilization in its hospital buildings and laboratories.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Living Creativity

If you follow this blog, you are pointed to occasional TED talks. ACDA Executive Director Tim Sharp pointed me to this incredible resource and I now visit it often.

In this TED talk, fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi talk about things that inspire him, "from '50s pinups to a fleeting glimpse of a hole in a shirt that makes him shout 'Stop the cab!'."

He's a guy who is into everything--his mind makes transfers from one thing to the next . . and he might help you find a little inspiration regarding your next interpretation of choral perfection:

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving, Choir

Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it . . .
Prone to leave the God I love . . .
Here's my heart, oh, take and seal it for Thy courts above.

Here's one of my favorite choral/orchestral scenes of Thanksgiving. What a moment:

MusicGeek Utopia

Inspired by an anonymous commenter in the earlier post, I give you this (I first posted it here on the ChoralNet Blog)

UPDATE: Ryan Reese has identified himself as the music geek. We welcome you to be blog, Ryan, even if you aren't yet a student at UAB.

What would you say if I told you there was a place on this earth...

- Where children 4 months old start with music classes with parents;
- Where music education at various institutions provides tutoring to infant music groups;
- Where three and four year olds attend music class once or twice a week;
- Where children ages 4 and 5 have specialized music classes;
- Where six year olds start to play many different songs, and learn music by playing games with instruments;
- Where EVERY schools give general classes of music;
- Where music schools in every community provide basic level music instruction connected to the conservatories who provide further studies;
- Where adult education centers are available for those who want to continue or even for those who want to start studying music;
- Where people are able to enroll at a center each year to receive tutoring at all different levels, in everything from classical to pop music;
- Where every community has a school of music and anyone of any age can jump right in and without any cost start to play;
- Where there is an ongoing National campaign to encourage children to love music;

- And where the government covers all expenses?

Would you call this a musical utopia of someone's runaway imagination?


You would call it.... Finland!

See here for more.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Advice for Starting a Music Education Career

I'm spending today prepping for a class I teach in the Spring. I ran across this video that some of you may enjoy.

Another Awesome Slideshow

I read Dan Pink's other book . . . this one looks great:

Career Advice '08
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: advice career)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

NO MLK 2009

In case you missed it today, we are NOT doing the MLK concert in January 2009. We'll see what that means for us at the AMEA concert soon.

The Art of Teaching

Found this tonight:

The Art of Teaching
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: teaching quotes)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Is this right? Chamber Singers?

UAB Chamber Singers

Crooks, Katie N.
Daniel, Kelsey E.
Foster, Meredith L.
Moore, Brianna L.
Nelson, Terri R.
Pace, Samantha L.
Palmore, Dana E.
Pender, Kristen H.
Prime, Keisha T.
Reeves, Leah E.
Roche, Jacquelyn M.

Cummins, Whitney S.
Devasure, Audrey R.
Fisher, Jennifer J.
Guthrie, Rebekah G.
Hoang, Thy T.
Holler, Madison C.
Johnson, Jessica E.
Whatley, Crystal L.
Williams, Jasmine M.
Wittkop, Caitlin E.
Smith, Catherine E.
Putt, Staci D.

Byars, Nathan P.
Cruce, Michael K.
Daniel, Charles E.
Dees, Michael
Denton, Brian K.
Kunkel, Mark T.
Lightfoot, Robert W.
Lingerfelt, Lindsey H.

Barbee, Christopher M.
Baxter, Ronald D.
Beatty, Justin H.
Evans, Adam R.
Goodwin, Charles G.
Henderson, Tyler D.
Hyde, Andrew J.
Sutton, Christian

Friday, November 21, 2008

Update complete.

Madi demands an update.  I have now updated.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Alabama vs. Mississippi State 1980

I was at this game in 1980 . . . the last time Alabama was ranked #1 in a contest with MSU:

Mississippi State 6, Alabama 3, Nov. 1, 1980: Bear Bryant’s Crimson Tide were ranked No. 1 and, like this year’s Trojans, were shooting for an unprecedented third straight national title. That dream ended in Jackson, Miss., against a Bulldogs team that had lost to Southern Miss, 42-12, earlier in the season. Alabama had a chance to win it late, but fumbled inside the Mississippi State 5-yard line with 15 seconds left. The Bulldogs recovered with six seconds remaining, but amazingly fumbled on the very next play. MSU fullback Donald Ray King won the furious scramble for the ball on the one-half yard line to preserve the victory.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Fantastic performance today

Great performance today.

We have choir rehearsal tomorrow and we can talk in detail about it then.

Don't miss tomorrow's rehearsal.

Bizarre Update to Previous News Post

This struck me as bizarre to read about it one day and see it disappear the next.

The story is here.

University of Alabama at Birmingham pulls plans to buy hotel

The University of Alabama at Birmingham withdrew a proposal today to buy a hotel on University Boulevard near Interstate 65, which it had planned to demolish along with an adjoining Waffle House.

UAB had put its request to buy the Medical Center Inn on the agenda for the University of Alabama Board of Trustees meeting. But during a meeting today of the committee that would have approved it, it withdrew the request.

The $3.2 million plan would have allowed UAB, which already owns the land the hotel is built on, to buy and tear down the building, possibly to make room for more athletic fields. UAB spokesman Gary Mans said only that the school was not ready to move forward.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

UAB news

See here:

The University of Alabama at Birmingham plans to buy a hotel next to Interstate 65 for $3.2 million, according to documents submitted to the University of Alabama System Board of Trustees.

The building that now houses the Medical Center Inn would be demolished and could be used for athletic fields. The board of trustees plans to hear the proposal Thursday.

UAB already owns the land on University Boulevard and is leasing the land to the hotel and adjacent Waffle House.

The school could get the property for free when the 50-year ground lease ends in 2039, but UAB has decided it does not want to wait that long to use the property, according to the documents submitted to the board.

Chamber Singers - Amahl Memo

Amahl memo here

Update: dates corrected.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

testing twitterfeed.

This should send my blog to TwitterFeed.

bob dylan on creativity

Bob Dylan on Creativity

From: chrislandry, 7 hours ago ago

Bob Dylan on Creativity
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: presentations slides)

Assorted things Bob Dyland has said about the creative process.

SlideShare Link

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Recordings from Friday

From Friday's recording session:

O sacrum convivium (Miskinis)
O sacrum convivium (Miskinis) take 2

Alleluia (Karai)

Garota de Ipanema (Pereira)

Lobet den Herrn
Lobet den Herrn take 2

These are good recordings, but we have better recordings of this literature in us. Come rested and ready to make great music this coming Monday.

Presentation for Birmingham Organ Guild

Here are some notes and files from my presentation on November 11, 2008.

PDF of presentation "Eight ways to make your choir sound better."
powerpoint of 8 ways

tech presentation pdf
tech presentation powerpoint

All about RSS:

I use bloglines.

Thursday, November 06, 2008


Frohlocket, ihr Völker auf Erden
No. 1 of Sechs Sprüche, Op. 79
Composed by Felix Mendelssohn

Frohlocket, ihr Völker auf Erden und preiset Gott!
Der Heiland ist erschienen, den der Herr verheißen.
Er hat seine Gerechtigkeit der Welt offenbaret, Halleluja!
Frohlocket, ihr Völker auf Erden, Halleluja! (source)

Rejoice, give praise to the heavens and give thanks to God! The Savior has been sent, as was promised by the Lord! He has revealed his righteousness to the world. Alleluia! (translation source here)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Looking ahead: Spring 2010

What I'd love to do:

Sing at the Southern Regional ACDA Convention in Memphis
Memphis, TN - March 10-13, 2010

Perform and compete at the 2010 Florilege vocal de Tours competition May 28-30.

Check out the new requirements for the Florilege competition . . . looks quite challenging. I'm up for it . . . are you?

UPDATE: For those who can't read French, click on the "ENGLISH VERSION" link at the top of the page.

SECOND UPDATE: We have to submit an audition recording and be invited to sing at ACDA - and the French festival as well. Don't think that just because "I'd love to do it" that we actually GET the opportunity to do it. It's just what I'd love to do . . .

Bianca strikes again

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Garota on YouTube

I'm impressed with Bianca's ability to find our literature on YouTube.

This is certainly the arrangement we have, and likely the choir that originally sang the work that Dr. Jordan heard . . . we got the music from them.

Hillary plots Sean's demise: uPdaTed

Sean has no idea what kind of danger he's in.

The trip home

Wow what a trip.

And a fun ride home. Madi showed me a crazy video on the way home--I couldn't remember many of the words that might reference it, but I did remember "bun" and "goat".

That was enough to bring it up on google!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Beautiful in Louisville, Excited in Cincinnati

Some good news on the choir tour trail:

1. A fantastic concert in Louisville, KY. The choir sang with excitement, beauty, and warmth. Many friends, former professors, and former choir members were in the audience. Lindy Ebbs, a friend of mine from SBTS, said "they are glad i got to hear them and to see you."

We were complimented on our German as well as our Portuguese. We were complimented on our passion and our difficult program.

I was very pleased.

2. We heard three choirs last night: Eastman, Lamar University, and North Texas State. Jerry McCoy's bunch from Texas was the clear favorite of the choir. They sang with incredible power and richness.

We're excited about performing our program this afternoon. We are looking forward to singing a memorized program, performing with emotion, and making great music.

And we'll be home very late tonight.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Music Appreciation Class - Brahms Requiem

This is for Audrey, who asked about my presentation notes from today's Music Appreciation class that I covered for Dr. Gainey.

Class brainstorming and Brahms Requiem text

(<----this is Brahms)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Cincinnati Weather

Defining how you should look in public:

Traveling on the bus: anything you want. jeans are fine.
Thursday night: Tuxedos and dresses
Friday: Look professional. No jeans. Khaki's for men, nice shirts. Women look classy.
Saturday: same professional look, will wear tuxedos/dresses that afternoon
Saturday bus trip: whatever.

Amahl help

Thank You
Olives and Quinces

Words for Emily:

Emily, Emily, Michael, Bartholomew,
How are your children and how are your sheep?
Dorothy, Dorothy, Peter, Evangeline,
Give me your hand, came along with me.

All the children have mumps,
All the flocks are asleep,
We are going with Amahl,
bringing gifts to the kings.

Benjamin, Benjamin, Lucas, Elizabeth,
How are your children and how are your sheep?
Carolyn, Carolyn, Matthew, Veronica,
Give me your hand come along with me.

Brrrr! How cold is the night.
Brrr! How icy the wind.
Hold me very, very, very tight.
Oh, how warm is your cloak.

Katherine, Katherine, Christopher, Babila,
How are your children and how are your sheep?
Josephine, Josephine, Angela, Jeremy,
Come along with me.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Itinerary, NCCO Performance

Look here for itinerary.

2008 Collegiate Choral Festival

We've not said much about it yet, but here is the schedule for the Collegiate Choral Festival:

Update: Thursday, November 13th

Projected Performance Schedule
- Times listed are projected PERFORMANCE time. Warm-up time and space will be provide during the performance slot prior to yours (i.e….you warm up for 20 minutes just before you sing!) J
- Note the 16 choirs participating in this year’s festival lends to a performances lasting from 9:20 – 3:50.
9:20 Samford
9:40 Shelton State CC
10:00 Montevallo
10:20 UA Tuscaloosa
10:40 BSC
11:00 Huntingdon
11:20 Auburn
11:40 UAB
12:00 – 1:10 LUNCH on site
1:10 Wallace Dothan CC
1:30 Wallace Hanceville CC
1:50 Northeast Alabama CC
2:10 Jefferson State CC
2:30 Tuskegee
2:50 UNA
3:10 Jacksonville State
3:30 Alabama A&M

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


We're staying in homes next Thursday night (as you know).

Do any of you have allergies that I need to know about?  Dog?  Cat?  Other?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I got tired

I got tired of the previous post.  It was fun, but time to move on.

Go welcome Samford University to the blogging world

Samford's got a choir blog.

Go welcome them and be charming.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

New poll

Get your own Poll!

Check your name


Please check your name for spelling and hometown here.

There are a few people who need to give me their information.

Leave a note in the comments if something is wrong. Thanks!

Clovis, not Clouis

Nick Cummins found the arranger of Garota. I've been looking for him for years! (I had it spelled incorrectly--Clovis, not Clouis)

Clovis Pereira dos Santos
(1932-, born in Brazil)

Translated Bio:

Clovis Pereira Dos Santos, was born in day 14 of May of 1932, in the city of Caruaru. Its father was its first professor of theory and solfejo. He lived its first years in a musical environment with its clarinetista father of the Musical Band New Euterpe. To the 18 years piano with August Manoel professor moved to Recife studying Dos Santos, in the Conservatory Pernambucano de Música, where it came if to become professor and it occupied its presidency. He was pupil of the Teacher War Fish of who if it became friend. He was managing artistic of the Television Periodical of the Commecio, where per many years she was regent of the orchestra of that unit of television Participated of the Movement Armorial with Aryan Suassuna and Cussy de Almeida, composing the first representative workmanships of that movement. It possessed its proper orchestra, participating actively, and with enormous success, livening up the carnavalescos balls of the city, in the main clubs of the city. Composer of innumerable frevos of street is one of the deepest experts of our popular music. In 1974, he journeyed with the Chorale of the University of the Paraíba, as representative Brazilian, in " Fouth International Choir Festival" , presenting in the Theaters " Kennedy Center" , in Washington and " Lincoln Center Performing will be the Arts" , in New Iorque. Guest for the Government of the United States of the North America, participated, in 1986, of " Music School Administrators" visiting in those diverse parents University and musical institutions, acquiring knowledge in programs of administrations of music schools. He is diplomee in modern harmony and orquestração, for the Berkelee School of Music" , of the city of Boston. Member of the Brazilian Society of Music Contemporary. He is professor of the Federal University of Pernambuco, in the courses of Graduation in Music. Detainer of diverse prize for its works has its name registered in the British Encyclopedia " Who´s Who In Music" , in its eighth edition. Great friend of Valdemar became de Oliveira who admired for its musical knowledge and started to give its contribution to the Theater of Fans of Pernambuco of who is one of the effective partners.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Beyond Words

Just a short note about the concert . . . I'm a bit exhausted.

I was extraordinarily proud of UAB Concert Choir tonight . . . you guys were as "on" as I've ever seen you.  Surpassed Ireland and every other previous concert that we've had, I think.  (but sometimes i forget)

A high water mark, I think.  I'll let others weigh in and see what they thought.

One Word Reviews:

Alleluia:  Magical.
Lobet:  Intimate.
Sacrum:  Holy.
Long Ago:  Introspective.
Garota:  Energy.
Country Dances:  Funny.

Congratulations, everyone.  And President Garrison was there.

The New Ticket

Saw it here first.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

What does it feel like after a great concert?

Remembering a few months ago.

Father Hill


Leigh received word that Father Hill from Ireland wasn't doing well. For those of you that went on the Ireland trip, Father Hill was the UAB graduate that followed us around to most every concert. He was full of joy and friendliness.

If you have it in you, I think it would be great to send him a note or letter:

Rev Ted Hill
4 Annville
Ballinlough Rd
Cork, Ireland



Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Friday night instructions

A couple of notes:

Meet on Jemison stage at 6:00 p.m.

Be in choir room and ready for additional warm-up at 7:30.

You'll be seated in the BALCONY section of the upstairs of Jemison at 7:55. After BCC finishes, you'll meet me in the lobby and we'll file on stage.

For Ken Miller

I just had a call from Mr. Ken Miller, one of the most important influences on my early musical life. He gave me the first choral experiences of my life and I was fortunate to have him as my Minister of Music from 1st grade through my senior year in high school.

Mr. Miller may come to our concert Friday night, I just found out from him from a telephone call.

And . . he may be checking this blog for concert details, so I'm leaving them here:

Friday night, October 17th
8:00 p.m.
Alys Stephens Center
The University of Alabama at Birmingham
Directions to the Alys Stephens Center here.


Birmingham Concert Chorale:

Hosanna to the Son of David (Thomas Weelkes) (1576-1623)
Bogoroditse Devo (Rachmaninoff) (1873-1943)
I Thank You, Jesus (Robert Morris) (b. 1941)

UAB Concert Choir:

EMC 198163
József Karai (b.1927)

Lobet den Herrn
Opus 32, 1
Berliner Chormusik-Verlag
Albert Becker (1834 - 1899)

O sacrum convivium
Edition Ferrimontana
EF 2558
Vytautas Miškinis (b. 1954)

Long Ago
Raymond Liebau (b. 1937)

Garota de Ipanema
Manuscript, Arr. Cloúis Pereira

Country Dances
Ward Swingle (b. 1927)
Glen Gardner, N.J. : Swingle Music, c1970

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Congrats to Kiyoshi Scissum, soloist for Alleluia.

Monday, October 13, 2008

What song?

Get your own Poll!

Meredith Finds GFI

Meredith writes:

I found this picture and thought it might be something you would like to share with the choir.

Heloisa Pinheiro is in her early 60’s now and was the inspiration for the piece. “Her sole contribution came in walking past the Rio de Janeiro bar frequented by a musician (Antonio Carlos Jobim) and lyricist (Vinicius de Moraes) in 1962, day after day, usually while picking up a pack of smokes for her mother or making her way to an obscure stretch of sand the world would soon come to know as Ipanema Beach. They'd noticed the girl and been moved to write a song, but in essence she was just an impressive pedestrian.” She now owns a dress shop in Sao Paulo called Garota de Ipanema.

Here’s the entire article if you want to read more.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Copeland Triplets travel to the Farm

vgl - uab - the review

Five stars out of five.

A few lines from the review. I highlighted my favorite parts:

Video Games Live, a pre-packaged amalgam of video montages and game scores performed by the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, descended on the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center with all the subtly of a digital air raid.

The most impressive, thought-provoking part of Video Games Live was its audience - a 1,300-plus throng made up mostly of teenage and 20-something gamers, many of whom surely never voluntarily set foot inside a symphony concert until Thursday night.

The scores for epic games such as "Final Fantasy," "Civilization" and "World of Warcraft" -- with their serious, insistent rhythms and vocalizing choir that sounds like it could launch into "Carmina Burana" at any second -- are especially intense.

The ASO and the wonderful UAB chamber singers laid into their roles enthusiastically while, onscreen, strange digital vistas emerged and eons of time compressed into five-minute chunks. It is easy to see why gamers get lost in such deliciously manageable musical and visual environments, and why, in comparison, the gnarly complexities of Mahler and Beethoven can seem, well, gnarly.

Full review here.

vgl uab ii

vgl uab

Thursday, October 09, 2008

VGL: Over and Awesome

Congratulations, Chamber Singers and others! Tremendous performance tonight. The crowd went crazy for SEGA and World of Warcraft.

I enjoyed the whole show and was very proud. Soloists were tremendous and I was extremely pleased with everything.

Take the week off, Chamber Singers. No rehearsal on Monday or Wednesday.

Diction Help: Garota

Thanks to my once and forever friend, Laura Chipe, we have a wonderful resource for mastering the Portuguese language for Garota.

Listen here.
Make notes in your music. I'll likely put up additional parts of the conversation that will provide a little more help.


Here's the additional help, in the form of an extended conversation. I had Laura work through the text again, this time with me making serious attempts at learning what she said and her correcting me. I asked about a couple of words that surprised me (sorrindo) and she helped me understand the reasons behind her choices. I sound like an idiot from time to time, so you might enjoy that.

Alto Needed


1124 Montgomery Highway

Vestavia Hills, Alabama



This is a paid position ($75 weekly) with the Southminster Chancel Choir.

The singer will be responsible for attendance at one Wednesday night rehearsal (7:30 – 9:00 p.m.) and two Sunday morning services (8:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.) per week. Additional services required include Christmas Eve, Ash Wednesday, and Maundy Thursday. Extra rehearsals for the Festival Service of Nine Lessons and Carols and the Festival of the Resurrection will also be required.

For more information or to schedule an audition contact

Dr. Larry Hardin

Director of Music Ministries

664-5527, 432-9428

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Video Games Live - Today and Tomorrow

Very proud of Chamber Singers today. Mr. Wall was impressed and I was pleased.

Jennifer Fisher sent this email tonight with a recommendation:
Dr. Copeland,

I was just watching a couple of the YouTube videos of the songs we're going to be singing. You seriously might want to post a suggestion that the choir watch the one about Halo - it has both Halo songs back to back, it's a (relatively) good recording), and it shows exactly what Mr. Wall was talking about in terms of our cutoffs at the end (the jumping of the stage thing...). Anyways, it helped me better understand what he was talking about (since it's not usual choir stage directions...).


Thanks for the idea Jennifer. As you wish:

Olha que coisa mais linda

Olha que coisa mais linda
mais cheia de graça
É ela menina que vem e que passa
nun doce balanço, caminho do mar...

Moça do corpo dourado, do sol de Ipanema
O seu balançado é mais que un poema
é a coisa mais linda
que eu já vi passar...

Ah! Porque estou tão sozinho
Ah! Porque tudo é tão triste
Ah! A beleza que existe

A beleza que não é só minha
que também passa sozinha

Ah! Se ela soubesse
que quando ela passa
o mundo sorrindo
se enche de graça
e fica mais lindo
por causa do amor
por causa do amor
por causa do amor

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Monday, October 06, 2008

Solo for VideoGamesLive

Congratulations to these singers:

Kiyoshi Scissum, tenor solo
Samantha Pace, soprano solo
Jessica Johnson, alto solo

Friday, October 03, 2008

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Best Hamburger Search

Note:  J. Clyde's was excellent.  How have I missed this place?

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

Concert Choir,

I loved our discussion today. It started with me quoting some sentences from Choral Charisma, a truly great work on expressive singing:
"Often in a choral performance, the soul of the music doesn't make it to the soul of the audience . . . Why not? Because the most important "heart and soul connection" often hasn't been developed fully enough. Whose connection is that? That connection belongs solely to the singer. The collective audience can only be moved deeply if the singer's personal connection to the text is compelling and complete."

"When singers are vulnerable, they and everyone around them including the audience, experience their 'naked truth.' That truth is the stuff of great performances."

What's on your mind is on your face. If you are thinking of vocal technique, or getting the words right, that's what your face will say.
We then talked about our first three works in our upcoming performance:
"Lobet den Herrn"
"O Sacrum Convivium"

Without a doubt, Maegan Reid nailed it when we started to compare the fire of Alleluia, the intimacy of Lobet, and the eternal nature of O Sacrum with her invoking of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I wish I had thought of that . . . it was so profound and it's been staring all of us in the face for weeks . . . and Maegan revealed it to us today. Martin had some profound thoughts on O Sacrum about a year ago . . I invite you to read it here.

Let's find that personal connection to the text and to the music. Let's experience the power of emotion while we sing. It would be a shame to work this hard on the music and not experience it's joy.

Behavior Modification in Choral Methods Class

Behavior Modification

From: philipco, 1 minute ago

Behavior Modification
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: behavior modification)

Behavior Modification for the classroom, based on Cliff Madsen's excellent book "Teaching/Discipline: A Positive Approach for Educational Development."

SlideShare Link

A Tale of Two Searches

Google opened up their 2001 search index today so I compared searches for UAB Choir:

In 2001:


Monday, September 29, 2008

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Hooray for Shante

We honor Lindsey. We miss her. And we wish her well on her approaching recital, expertly advertised on Facebook:

NCCO Program 2008

For posterity:

The University of Alabama at Birmingham
Concert Choir
Dr. Philip L. Copeland, director

Alleluja          József Karai (b.1927)
EMC 198163       
Lobet den Herrn      Albert Becker (1834 - 1899)
Opus 32, 1
Berliner Chormusik-Verlag

O sacrum convivium       Vytautas Miškinis (b. 1954)
Edition Ferrimontana 
EF 2558
Long Ago          Raymond Liebau (b. 1937)       
Garota de Ipanema      Arr. Cloúis Pereira
Country Dances        Ward Swingle (b. 1927)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

chamber choir

I "think" these are the files I needed to get to you:

Halo choir
Halo tour

Saturday, September 13, 2008

O Sacrum

Bianca sent me this on Facebook . . . sharing with you and curious to see what you think:

Friday, September 12, 2008

NCCO Program

Revised program here.

A change: Miskinis for Miskinis

I'm making a change for Concert Choir's NCCO program:

Changing "Salve Regina" for "O sacrum convivium."

It's the one we did last year.


1. I get to make those sorts of decisions.
2. Pieces are very similar, but "sacrum" might end better.
3. We will be able to work it up very quickly and hone it.
4. New people can learn from last year's recording.
5. I never got my stellar recording of this work although we came close.

The Gravity of Ockeghem's Requiem: A 9/12 Remembrance

I wrote this for ChoralNet today and decided to cross post it here. Look at the score and spend $.99 if you have it. A great work and story here:

Julie Bryson wrote this yesterday on ChoralTalk:
My most vivid musical memory of 9/11 actually came on 9/12.  Having heard so much about the importance of moving on and continuing with our daily lives, I set out to pursue that goal.  My music theory class stopped me in my tracks, though.  Dr. Hawthorne, a rather eccentric professor, had the Kyrie from Ockeghem's Requiem playing as we entered class; he was not personally in the room at the start of class.  As silly college students, we were more interested in catching up with each other than in listening to the music that filled the room.  Suddenly, Dr. Hawthorne stormed into the room:  "How dare you carry on like that on a day like today?" That's when the gravity of what had happen really sank in.

The passion and conviction with which he delivered our well-deserved scolding branded my mind with the value of reflection and mourning.  We sat there in stunned silence as he replayed Ockeghem's Requiem, and to this day, I find a special connection to that work--one that I had never before heard.

In fact, every year on September 11, I tell that story to my choirs and play for them an excerpt from the Kyrie as a reminder that on days like today, even the busiest choral program needs to stop, listen, and remember what has happened.

If you haven't heard the Requiem, I strongly encourage you to find a good recording.  It is a very solemn, moving piece of music history.
I remember something about Ockeghem's Requiem from my music history classes, but I listened to it with new ears today. Like Julie, I highly encourage you to give it a listen. If you do Itunes, Paul Hillier's incredible group is only $.99 away if you click here. Follow along with this score that I found on CPDL.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Garota translation

Found here:

Olha que coisa mais linda
Look, what a most beautiful thing there

mais cheia de graça
moreover full of grace

É ela menina que vem e que passa
and she, this girl that comes and goes

nun doce balanço, caminho do mar ...
with this sweet, swinging gait, along the way to the sea. . . .

Moça do corpo dourado, do sol de Ipanema
The girl with this golden body from the Ipanema sun

O seu balançado é mais que un poema
Her swinging gait is more than a poem

é a coisa mais linda que eu já vi passar...
and the most beautiful thing that I ever saw go by

Ah! Porque estou tão sozinho
Ah! why am I so alone?

Ah! Porque tudo é tão triste
Ah! why is everything so sad?

Ah! A beleza que existe
Ah! the beauty that is there!

A beleza que não é só minha
The beauty that is not just mine . . .

que também passa sozinha
that is also passing by alone.

Ah! Se ela soubesse que quando ela passa
Ah! if she only knew that when she passes by

o mundo sorrindo
the world is smiling

se enche de graça
filling up with grace

e fica mais lindo
and turns more beautiful

por causa do amor
because of love

por causa do amor
because of love

por causa do amor
because of love

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Monday, September 08, 2008

potential unlimited

both my uab groups are exceeding my expectations and i'm so proud.

i'm having a blast with the VideoGamesLive with Chamber Choir.  Jauchzet is going to be better than the first time I did it with UAB Concert Choir.

Concert Choir is excelling at difficult works and sounding better every day.

I'm proud of everyone and always looking forward to the next rehearsal.  Every day.

keep it up.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


"I wish I hadn't said that."

Lobet den Herrn

Text from Becker work:

Psalm 147
Lobet den Herrn; denn unsern Gott loben, das ist ein köstlich Ding.

Lobet den Herrn, solches Lob ist lieblich und schön.

Der Herr bauet Jerusalem und bringet zusammen die Verjagten in Israel; er heilet, die zerbrochnen Herzens sind,
und verbindet ihre Schmerzen

Psalm 147 (Luther's Translation)
Lobet den HERR! denn unsern Gott loben, das ist ein köstlich Ding; solch Lob ist lieblich und schön.

Der HERR baut Jerusalem und bringt zusammen die Verjagten Israels.

Er heilt, die zerbrochnes Herzens sind, und verbindet ihre Schmerzen.

Psalm 147 (King James Version)
Praise ye the LORD: for it is good to sing praises unto our God; for it is pleasant; and praise is comely.

The LORD doth build up Jerusalem: he gathereth together the outcasts of Israel.

He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.

Psalm 147 (New King James Version):
Praise the LORD!
For it is good to sing praises to our God;
For it is pleasant, and praise is beautiful.

The LORD builds up Jerusalem;
He gathers together the outcasts of Israel.

He heals the brokenhearted
And binds up their wounds.

Found: Information on Albert Becker


Born: June 13, 1834 - Quedlinburg, Germany
Died: January 10, 1899 - Berlin, Germany

Albert (Ernst Anton) Becker was a German composer of some distinction from of the Romantic period. He was first a pupil of Bönicke in Quedlinburg, studied composition in Berlin with Siegfried Wilhelm Dehn from 1853 to 1856.

Albert Becker became teacher of composition at Scharwenka's conservatorium in 1881, and in 1891 was appointed director of the Domchor. He taught composition at the Akademie der Künste. His most famous pupil was Jean Sibelius, who studied with him counterpoint from 1889 to 1890. In 1890 he became director of the Königlichen Hof- und Domchor. In 1892 he rejected an invitation by the Kaiser to become Thomaskantors in Leipzig as a follower of Wilhelm Rust.

Albert Becker's first great mark as a composer was made by his symphony in G minor, to which the prize of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna was awarded in 1861. In 1877 some of his songs, notably opp. 13 and 14, to words from Wolfi's Rattenfänger and Wilder Jager, attracted much attention and soon afterwards, in 1878, a Mass in B flat minor was produced by the Riedelsche Verein. Other important works are listed below. In sacred music, in which Albert Becker won his chief success, his style is broad and dignified, without losing sight of beauty and originality in his themes. In chamber music, a quintet for piano and strings, op. 49, is the most remarkable of his works; several pieces for violin and orchestra, such as op. 70 and op. 86, one very effective work for violin and organ, op. 66, a fantasia and fugue for organ, op. 52, and an opera, Loreley, in manuscript, may be mentioned.

In my pants

I found comic blogs recently.

This one gives interesting commentary on various story lines.

This one substitutes the last phrase with "in my pants" for quite humorous results.

New blog for auditions

I'm changing up my method for reaching choir members for next year.

1. Developed a new blog that contains information about the audition.

2. Using more google forms to streamline the process.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Some of the things we talked about

For the benefit of all my students, here are some of the things we talked about in my methods class tonight:

1. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. An awesome book and way of living.

2. Myers-Briggs Personality Assessment. Find out what you are here.

Here's mine:


For ENTPs the driving quality in their lives is their attention to the outer world of possibilities; they are excited by continuous involvement in anything new, whether it be new ideas, new people, or new activities. They look for patterns and meaning in the world, and they often have a deep need to analyze, to understand, and to know the nature of things. ENTPs are typically energetic, enthusiastic people who lead spontaneous and adaptable lives.

Here's the video:

No practice or performance this Saturday

Rumor has it we are practicing or performing this Saturday.

Neither are true.  Enjoy the weekend!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Signs you Drink Too Much Coffee

I've never seen this before:


- You answer the door before people knock.
- Juan Valdez named his donkey after you.
- You ski uphill.
- You grind your coffee beans in your mouth.
- You haven't blinked since the last lunar eclipse.
- You lick your coffeepot clean.
- You're the employee of the month at the local coffeehouse and you don't even work there.
- Your eyes stay open when you sneeze.
- You chew on other people's fingernails.
- Your T-shirt says, "Decaffeinated coffee is the devil's blend."
- You can type sixty words per minute ... with your feet.
- You can jump-start your car without cables.
- Cocaine is a downer.
- You don't need a hammer to pound nails.
- Your only source of nutrition comes from "Sweet & Low."
- You don't sweat, you percolate.
- You buy 1/2 & 1/2 by the barrel.
- You've worn out the handle on your favorite mug.
- You go to AA meetings just for the free coffee.
- You walk twenty miles on your treadmill before you realize it's not plugged in.
- You forget to unwrap candy bars before eating them.
- Charles Manson thinks you need to calm down.
- You've built a miniature city out of little plastic stirrers.
- People get dizzy just watching you.
- You've worn the finish off your coffee table.
- The Taster's Choice couple wants to adopt you.
- Starbucks owns the mortgage on your house.
- Your taste buds are so numb you could drink your lava lamp.
- Instant coffee takes too long.
- When someone says. "How are you?", you say, "Good to the last drop."
- You want to be cremated just so you can spend the rest of eternity in a coffee can.
- Your birthday is a national holiday in Brazil.
- You're offended when people use the word "brew" to mean beer.
- You have a picture of your coffee mug on your coffee mug.
- You can thread a sewing machine, while it's running.
- You can outlast the Energizer bunny.
- You short out motion detectors.
- You don't even wait for the water to boil anymore.
- Your nervous twitch registers on the Richter scale.
- You think being called a "drip" is a compliment.
- You don't tan, you roast.
- You can't even remember your second cup.
- You help your dog chase its tail.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Jauchzet dem Herrn

For Chamber Choir:

One recording.

VideoGamesLive setlist

Found this out today. We'll start working on it Wednesday in Chamber Choir.

1 Classic Arcade (01) (CHOIR)
2 Metal Gear Solid (02) (CHOIR)
3 God of War (04) (CHOIR) - Soprano Solo-Operatic
4 Space Invaders (18) (Interactive Segment)
5 Civilization IV (19) (CHOIR) - African, ethnic baritone Solo, Alto sings from Choir.
6 FF Piano Solo - Lee Ann Leung
7 Metroid (28)
8 Zelda (08)

INTERMISSION - 20 minutes

9 Kingdom Hearts (03)
10 Sonic (13) (CHOIR)
11 Warcraft (14) (CHOIR)
12 Starcraft II (Revenge-26) (CHOIR)
13 Mario (16)
14 Mario Piano Solo - Lee Ann Leung
15 Guitar Hero - "Sweet Emotion" (35) (Interactive Segment, CHOIR)
16 Halo Suite (17) & Halo 3 (24) (CHOIR)
17 One-Winged Angel (21) (CHOIR)
18 Castlevania Rock (31)

Reminder: No Choir Tomorrow

Concert Choir,

Our rehearsal weekend allows us to cancel tomorrow's rehearsal.

Enjoy your Labor Day weekend.


Reading RSS Feeds With Bloglines

Choirs . . .

This is the way I follow blogs. Check out the video and then bloglines.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


We learn something new every day.

Age and Growth - This species grows much more slowly than other members of the pike family. The maximum age is about eight years, but the usual life span is seven to eight years. There is little difference in growth between males and females, although females live longer. Redfin pickerels rarely exceed 12 inches long.

Sporting Quality - These pickerel are scrappy fighters, but its small size limits their popularity as sport fish. They can be caught on minnows, streamers, small spinners, spoons and plugs. Redfin pickerel are a lot of fun to catch on light spinning tackle.

Eating Quality - White, flaky, sweet-tasting meat, but quite bony.

World Record - 1.50 pounds, caught in Bluff Lake, South Carolina, in 1984.

Long Ago - ii.

Long ago

I once knew all the birds that came
And nested in our orchard trees;
For every flower I had a name--
My friends were woodchucks, toads, and bees;
I knew where thrived in yonder glen
What plants would soothe a stone-bruised toe--
Oh, I was very learned then;
But that was very long ago!

I knew the spot upon the hill
Where checkerberries could be found,
I knew the rushes near the mill
Where pickerel lay that weighed a pound!
I knew the wood,--the very tree
Where lived the poaching, saucy crow,
And all the woods and crows knew me--
But that was very long ago.

And pining for the joys of youth,
I tread the old familiar spot
Only to learn this solemn truth:
I have forgotten, am forgot.
Yet here's this youngster at my knee
Knows all the things I used to know;
To think I once was wise as he--
But that was very long ago.

I know it's folly to complain
Of whatsoe'er the Fates decree;
Yet were not wishes all in vain,
I tell you what my wish should be:
I'd wish to be a boy again,
Back with the friends I used to know;
For I was, oh! so happy then--
But that was very long ago!

Listen. Ray Liebau setting.