Monday, March 31, 2008

Riverchase Thoughts

I started a post on the Riverchase performance yesterday but didn't really finish it. For about eight hours, the post title was spelled incorrectly . . . how embarrassing. I misspelled Krispy Kreme. (i spelled it Kirspy Kreme's)

Anyway, my thoughts (as they come . . . no particular order).

1. I was impressed with the choir's energy and attitude yesterday. I didn't detect any of that early morning resentment towards me for making you come out and sing on a Sunday morning. Perhaps the joy of having Krispy Kreme donuts helped blunt the pain . . . or maybe the Krispy Kreme sugar blunted my resentment detection apparatus.

2. We sang well. We got better with each service. I like how performing our pieces three times in a row for a real audience helped our confidence. I'm reminded of how confident we felt on our pieces when we did that during our mini-recruiting trip last year. Perhaps we'll try that with people who might have a Friday available before the 4/18 concert or before Ireland. I liked that we had the opportunity to tweak the music both between services and during the service.

3. I thought Riverchase Methodist was bigger. The room holds about 800, they say. It didn't look that big. The room had a nice ring to it . . . our last chords really sounded there.

4. Music thoughts:
  • Great and Marvelous: good energy with nice moments. we performed it well but i'm beginning to tire of the work.
  • Lord's Prayer: wonderful dynamics and presence with that work. the "nnn" section really sets up a great pianissimo on "give us this day". i felt confidence with you to take the piece rather slowly at the beginning . . . I think it worked. whether it did or not, that was the moment that I felt.
  • Nunc: basses get props for their entrances (only because i was rarely pleased with their initial sounds last fall). All sections came in solidly and at appropriate dynamic. Sopranos may have been a little loud on the last note. Hey . . . the "Quod parasti ante faciem omnium populorum" section was EXCELLENT. It felt like it had meter . . . a new accomplishment. Or was it the Krispy Kreme's?
  • So fahr ich: Excellent! We found that piece yesterday. It was better than it had ever been in rehearsal. The soft "sleeping" part was soft enough for the first time and I was even able to put a little "rise and fall" with dynamics there. We were able to bring Friday's improvements at the ending section of the work. That piece will continue to improve and I'm going to see if we can make it a little more percussive in the ending stretto section.
  • Whole World: a great job. problems continue for bass line on first two pages that we need to master immediately. i'm not positive that we have the final chord mastered, either. Our F# confidence was low in the baritone section and I want to really nail that chord.
5. I thought the pastor's sermon was excellent . . . I'm impressed that he built his ideas around our final piece. I was especially struck by three things . . . the image of Atlas with the world on his shoulders (and I smiled at the Atlas comment considering Sami's GPS blunder) . . . the image of the boy with the world in his hand . . . and the phrase "and with his stripes we are healed"--especially in connection with the story about the Chinese mother who wanted her son to "honor" her by asking her son to choose death for her rather than give over the names of the church members. Wow.

6. All in all, a great day. We did all those services and walked away very close to 12:00 noon.

7. Congrats to Sam and Marybeth on their concert last night. I especially loved the last piece!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Upcoming Sunday Details

Here are the details for this coming Sunday:

Church: Riverchase Methodist

Director of Music: Jeff Reynolds

Directions to Church.


We'll sing three services:
8:45, 9:45, 11:00

We'll arrive at 7:45 and gather in the choir loft.


Nunc Dimittis Gustav Holst (1874-1934) Novello (NOV290459) 2:55
Song of Triumph (Dale Grotenhuis)
Lord's Prayer (arr. Jerry Jordan)
He's Got the World In His Hands arr. Raymond Liebau (b. 1937) Duration: 3:30
So Fahr Ich Hin Zu Jesu Christ, SWV 379 Heinrich Schütz (1585-1672)CPDL: Choral Public Domain Library 2:44)


Nunc Dimittis:

Nunc dimittis servum tuum, Domine, secundum verbum tuum in pace:
Quia viderunt oculi mei salutare tuum
Quod parasti ante faciem omnium populorum:
Lumen ad revelationem gentium, et gloriam plebis tuae Israel.

English: Now thou dost dismiss thy servant, O Lord, according to thy word in peace;Because my eyes have seen thy salvation,Which thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples:A light to the revelation of the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.

So Fahr:

So fahr ich hin zu Jesu Christ,
mein Arm tu ich ausstrecken,
so schlaf ich ein und ruhe fein,
kein Mensch kann mich aufwecken,
denn Jesus Christus, Gottes Sohn,
der wird die Himmelstür auftun,
mich führen zum ewigen Leben.

Thus I go hence to Jesus Christ,
I stretch out my arm,
thus I fall asleep and rest soundly;
no one can wake me
except for Jesus Christ, Son of God,
who will open the gate of heaven
and lead me to eternal life.

Song of Triumph:

Great and marvelous are your deeds,
Lord God Almighty.
Just and true are your ways,
You, O Lord, over all are King.

Who will not fear you, O Lord,
and bring glory to your name?

For you alone are holy.

All nations will come
and worship before you,
for your mighty and holy acts have been revealed.

—Revelation 15:3-4

Friday, March 28, 2008

Carlee visiting today

IMG_0242, originally uploaded by philipco.

Along with a student from St. Pauls Episcopal in Mobile, former choir member Carlee Jackson visits us today. In this picture, Carlee demonstrates the blood red lipstick forced upon all female choir members at the ACDA regional convention in Charleston, WV. She's very happy in this picture and the red lipstick really enhances the joyful mood she projects.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Night Sky

Astronomy caught the Copeland's fancy tonight and we looked at the stars.

Check out's NightSky here. Plug in your zip code and awayyyyyyyy you go.

Houndstooth twins

UAB Music student Meagan Bailey featured in this article.

The Houndstooth Twins are students at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. They grew up in the house in Blount County, and now live in Birmingham, where Ashley works for a law firm.

Maegen is the piano and music teacher at a Baptist church in Trussville, a suburb of Birmingham. She also gives piano lessons.

Until 2005, neither of them were accustomed to dressing alike. But then, Ashley's boyfriend at the time, a trainer on the Alabama football team, received free tickets to the game against the University of Florida.

Two days before the game, Ashley and Maegen drove to Tuscaloosa. When they arrived, they went to a shop that sold the houndstooth hats.

Monday, March 24, 2008

You were wonderful hosts . . . .

Here's what Amanda Tigue said about visiting our rehearsal the other day:

I really did have an amazing experience the other day. Although I love my choir now, I came back to it today and it just doesn't compare. I told many people about it today because I had such a good time.

Heh, I was actually in my car and I started singing "Little widow.....little widow...of my sin-gle star....". Yeah, I didn't quite memorize any of the German one.haha. I REALLY wish I could just come down and learn those songs with you guys just to get to sing them.

Those songs were amazing, and I was really impressed with all the technique you guys really put in to it. It's refreshing to be in a choir where everyone is really trying their hardest to perform the best they can.

Also, I really appreciate how everyone was very welcoming and willing to help me out. Everyone treated me like I was supposed to be there and not like a stranger. I know how some choirs get kind of territorial if new people come in, but all of the people were very nice.

Not a stranger, but a friend. Way to go, choir. That's what we want others to feel when they visit our rehearsal. Keep it up.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Big Facebook News: Copeland Considering First "Friend"

Wow . . . with the emergence of Dr. Gainey on Facebook I'm considering sending my first "friend" invitation.

I knew you would want to know.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

UAB Choir Invited to Prestigious Choral Convention

Fabulous news for the UAB Choir Today.

As I told you in choir, we were invited to perform in the next convention for the National Collegiate Choral Organization. It's a prestigious invitation and quite an honor for us.

Here's the letter of invitation. My name is misspelled, but what the heck.

If you've not heard of the NCCO, it's OK. The organization formed a few years ago and I attended the first convention in November of 2006. There were some tremendous choirs that performed on that convention and it was a goal of mine to take us there if we were given the opportunity.

Choirs in the first convention included:
Brigham Young University (Ron Staheli, conductor)
University of Michigan (Jerry Blackstone, conductor)
Yale Schola Cantorum (Simon Carrington, conductor)

Here's how the NCCO describes itself:

The National Collegiate Choral Organization (NCCO) exists to serve the specific needs of university and collegiate choral conductors by providing a national forum for their choruses to perform, by offering lectures and promoting repertoire suitable to their interests, and by aiding in their professional development and program growth through performance as well as scholarly and research opportunities.

Be proud of this, choir. You work hard and it pays off.

Meanwhile . . . at Starbucks . . .

Starbucks stock low . . .

New plans for the stores, including free refills . . . I'm planning my new coffee strategy now.

And a new website for other Starbucks ideas.

I love this company . . . I think I'll wear my starbucks shirt today (thanks again, K and C) in honor of the free refill.

My idea for the perfect starbucks experience: free internet.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Harry's comment deserves a full post

Harry left a great comment on this post . . . it's so great that it deserves it's own post. So . . . let's hear Harry's thoughts on the choir competition article:

This article, despite my lack of choral experience, greatly impacted me,

Mainly with a sensation of confidence. The case is not that I think we have this performance "in the bag" already, but more that we're focused on the right things. Fauls discusses control of the vibrato, and instances in which you tell Tenors, "less vibrato here," or when you tell the whole choir "vibrato city here" [last chord of Whole World in His Hands] come to mind. Browne talks about vowel and consonant precision. I can't help but recall that we stop to tune vowels or execute 'verbal' (for lack of a better word) placement [transition from Tri-to-une in triune of Rune of Hospitality] all day long. Archibeque tells us to study the recordings. She'd be proud to see our iTunes libraries. So, again, we seem to be focused on the right things.

My only concern is this article's emphasis of pitch. Dr. Jordan himself says, "...drop some [pitch] and you're dead." We have the capacity. Song of Triumph at the Wynfrey, for example, ended on a perfect A flat, C, E flat (those are the only notes in the last chord I can remember with certainty); yet the same piece was nearly a whole step flat at the Presbyterian Church a mere two days earlier. The inconsistency is all that frightens me- will we have a lucky day or an unlucky day at Cork?

Eric Whitacre in that 2005 jury panel. That's pretty savage. How awesome it would be to rock "With a Lily in Your Hand" to his face, dude.

I appreciated the eloquent pointing out that, "No singer is to get drunk the night before competition..."

Otherwise, I have to wonder- what's IPA (the context being memorization of notes, rhythms, and "IPA")[p.25]?

To cap it off, as Howard Hall once said, "the bondage" that it seems we're going to experience out there sounds like it's going to be so unique. I mean what he meant, not what he said. Anthony tells me that the adrenaline of the international stage takes singing to a level we newcomers have yet to imagine.

I'm pumped.

Harry Miree

Ireland Choir: We need a Saturday Rehearsal

Ireland Choir: We need a Saturday Rehearsal.

Look at your calendar and let's see what is available.

Article: International Competitions

Here's the article I referenced in class on choral competitions. I'd like you to read it and respond to some of the ideas in the comments section.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

bob jones v.2

I'm trying out for some video uploading. I like the popularity of YouTube but recently read that had better quality. This is experiment #1, featuring the Bob Jones Chorale, Warren Cook conductor.

Compare the clip above to this from YouTube:

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Lufthansa A320 Plane Escapes Disaster in 150mph Winds

I kept telling Nick about this plane landing while we were hanging out in the airport yesterday. He didn't look too interested in my story. In fact, it made him a little pale.

Even More! The Itunes Gorging Continues

Hi, I'm Dr. Copeland . . . and I'm addicted to Itunes.

I continued the feeding frenzy last night after I posted my purchases. I started searching Google for recommendations on 80s jogging music. Some good results here and here.

The purchases:

Back on the Chain Gang (Pretenders)
Ride Like the Wind (Christopher Cross)
The Heat is On (The Power Station)
Lay Down Sally (Eric Clapton)
Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough (Michael Jackson)
Take On Me (a-ha)
One Way or Another (Blondie)
Karma Chameleon (Boy George)
I Get Excited (Rick Springfield)
Lonesome Loser (Little River Band)
Games People Play (The Alan Parsons Project)
Sirius (The Alan Parsons Project)
Sir Duke (Stevie Wonder)
Fame (Irene Cara)
Kung Fu Fighting (Carl Douglas)
You Should Be Dancing (Bee Gees)
Shake Your BOdy (The Jacksons)
Ring My Bell (Anita Ward)
Stayin' Alive (Bee Gees)

I hope to be running today at around 2:00 on the trail in front of Brookwood Mall and Samford. I think Dr. Gainey and Ms. Samuels are joining me . . . anyone else?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

WooHoo! More 80s magic from ITunes

Tonight's purchases:

Jessie's Girl (Rick Springfield)
Hit Me With Your Best Shot (Pat Benetar)
The Winner Takes it All (Abba)
I'm Coming Out (Diana Ross)
Don't Stand so Close to Me (The Police)
Always On My Mind (Willie Nelson)
Gloria (Laurie Branigan)
Working for the Weekend (Loverboy)
Every Little Thing She Does is Magic (The Police)
Why do fools fall in love?(Diana Ross)
Eye in the Sky (Alan Parsons Project)
Maniac (Micahel Sembello)
Sweet Dreams (Eurythmics)
Dancing in the Dark (Bruce Springsteen)
Nightshift (The Commodores)
She Blinded Me with Science (Thomas DOlby)
Der Kommissar (After the Fire)
Dancing Queen (ABBA)
Take a Chance on Me (ABBA)

Monday, March 10, 2008

Friday, March 07, 2008

Great email from Cathy Roche

Hey gang . . .

1. I hope the opera went well tonight. I'm excited about seeing it on Saturday. My best to all those involved.

2. I got this email from Jackie's mom, Cathy Roche, concerning the performance on Tuesday night. Here's what I got from her:

Hi Dr. Copeland,

I just wanted to thank you again for performing for our group last night! We give out surveys for the participants to evaluate the event. We ask them to rate the location, food and entertainment on a scale of 1-10. The choir was the favorite with a score of 9.49; location and food both scored 9.28 and 9.27 respectively.

Some additional comments added to the individual surveys include:

1. 10+ on the food and music – I loved the music
2. Very impressive choir – excellent
3. The entertainment was excellent
4. The entertainment was a 10 plus more!!
5. Best program ever
6. Excellent program – hurrah!

Keep up the good work and thank you for working with us!

Cathy Roche

It was great to get that email. I was thrilled with the performance and appreciate the hard work that all of you have given lately. Enjoy the opera, enjoy the upcoming spring break.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Post Spring Break Priorities

Some of our tasks following the break:

1. Master competition music:
Regina Coeli
Romuald Twardowsky (b. 1930)Edition Ferrimontana EF 2091)

Nunc Dimittis
Gustav Holst (1874-1934) Novello (NOV290459) 2:55

So Fahr Ich Hin Zu Jesu Christ, SWV 379
Heinrich Schütz (1585-1672)CPDL: Choral Public Domain Library 2:44)

With A Lily In Your Hand
Eric Whitacre (b.1970)

2. Closing gala music:

Star of the County Down
arr. Ben Parry (b. 1965) Duration: 2:33

He’s Got the World In His Hands
arr. Raymond Liebau (b. 1937) Duration: 3:30

3. New music for Spring Concert:

America the Beautiful
(arr. Edwin Fissinger)
We'll perform this with the Oxford Civic Chorus
Newsflash: Dr. Jordan is bringing his civic chorus to perform with us on the spring concert. We'll sing this one as a combined number.

4. Bring back a couple of pieces from the fall to record and sing in Ireland:

Lord's Prayer (arr. Jordan)
O Sacrum Convivium (Miskinis)
Lay a Garland (Pearsall)

5. Learn one new work for Ireland people

Flower of Maherally (arr. Michael McGlynn) Buy it from ITUNES here.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Women needed for Palm Sunday & Easter

A local church director is looking to hire some women for Palm Sun. and Easter Sun. and 2 rehearsals. She needs 2 sopranos and 1-2 altos.

Pay is good. Send me an email if you are interested. (

Wynfrey performance

What I'm thinking:

6:45pm Choir arrives at Wynfrey. Gather in the lobby.
Let's not do the tuxedos but dress in jeans with black shirts.

7:55pm Choir Introduction – Cathy Roche

8:00pm Choir Performs

Probable program: (bring a black folder)

Chant/Dufay piece (I thought this went very well)
Sicut Cervus (Palestrina)
So fahr ich hin (Schutz)
Regina Coeli (Twardowsky)
Justorum Animae (Stanford)
Silence of Time
Song of Triumph