Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Hot Tamale

Leigh and the girls gave me my birthday present this morning:

My other Ipod was falling apart. A fantastic (fabulous) birthday present from my wife and family. We named it the Hot Tamale.

Other names considered: Strawberry, Cherry, Family, Red Devil, Firecracker, Dynamite

Friday, January 30, 2009

Chamber Singers: O Schone Nacht

Chamber Singers:

Look under UAB's Blackboard system for help in learning Brahms' O Schone Nacht.

Link to blackboard here
. Sign in with your Blazer ID and look for the class.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

What does creativity mean?

Daniel Pink points to research done by the AASA and Americans for the Arts, about how employers and school superintendents define "creativity." We, as choral directors and music educators, have to be interested in any educational movement that promotes creativity as a necessary work skill for the new century.

Here's the chart that Pink found on the Christian Science Monitor site:

It shows that educators (school superintendents) and business employers differ in what creative skills are important.

How does that impact choral directors? I don't know, I'm not that smart.

Despite my dimness, I am heartened by the top three ranked aspects of what business employers value most:

1. Problem identification
2. Identification of new behavior/actions
3. Integration of knowledge across disciplines

Hallelujah! I do that in my choir rehearsal every day! I identify problems . . and I get my students to help me identify problems. Problem solving is at the core of every rehearsal.

I deal with behavior and actions and changes of behavior. In fact, I am educating towards new behaviors and habits.

Choral directing fails without the integration of knowledge from art, music, poetry, geography, language, science, biology, pedagogy, and a host of other issues and disciplines.

Take heart, musicians. Eventually, they'll realize how important our art is to the success of our society and our salaries will rise to the level of college coaches and business executives. Or, maybe, more people will come to our concerts.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Redz Kur Translation

Spreading information on the internet:

Redz Kur
Jānis Kalniņš (1904-2000)

Redz’, kur jā-ja div’ bajāri ē, ē zīda pušķi zemi slauka, ē zemi slauk’!
Dažu sētu tie izjāja ē, ē tie izjāja dažus suņus lādināja ē lādināj’.
Dažu nakti tie baroja ē, ē tie baroja izjājamus kumeliņus, ē kumeliņs.

Esneietu to celiņu ē, ē kur bajāra dēliņš jāja
ē dēliņš jāj’.

Purvu bridu, niedras lauzu, niedras lauzu, no bajāra vairījosi, ē vairījos.

Lo, two fine fellows come riding, their silken tassels sweeping the ground!
They rode through many a farmstead yard, set many dogs a-barking
and spent several nights feeding up good horses for riding.

To avoid meeting these fellows, the orphan girl doesn’t go by the path that they will take, but takes the long way round through the marshes.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

No Choir on Monday

You've earned a day off. Enjoy.

There WILL be Chamber Choir.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Tough to put in words

I wish I could easily sum up thoughts about the performance today.

I'll just list things at random . . . you feel free to add comments.
  1. great job to KS and TH tonight.  excellent recital.
  2. wasn't that a generous and wonderful expression from Dr. John Ratledge today?  Heartfelt, sincere, and very complimentary of your singing.
  3. Alleluia was probably the best we've sung it.  Thank, you, G# major and your remarkable tuning abilities.  not just loud, not just energized, but nuanced.
  4. i'm not sure about Glory be to God.  i think it was fine . . . a great crescendo on p. 3 and very fine last page.  i knew we were in fine form all morning but i wasn't positive until the end of Alleluia.
  5. o sacrum . . . rich and musical . . . i think we found everything we've found in that work before and more.
  6. Lily = Fire and Beauty.  on the last measure of the penultimate page . . INSIDE MY . . . .  .WOW!! Tenors or Baritones or SOMEONE gave more than they've ever given and sounded brilliant.  it really lit a fire.
  7. i'm reminded of the applause after Alleluia . . . i made a mistake and started the next piece too early . . the audience wanted to show more appreciation and i moved too soon.
  8. River . . . well tuned.  Thank you, Ab Major.  Wonderful refrain, beautiful ending.
  9. In the silence of time . . . was magical.  As i think about the whole performance I think that what I'm most happy about is the overall performance . . . we were excellent on everything and reigned supreme on a couple.  Alleluia=supreme.  Lily=Supreme.  Others=Excellent.  Am I wrong?
  10. excellent dynamic contrast.  we sang as soft as we've ever sung in Sacrum and Silence.  no . . . we were softer than we've ever sung.
  11. were your faces good?  i don't know . . . i was into the music and your wonderful sounds.
  12. had many comments from teachers and friends after the concert.  would like to hear your thoughts and reactions from the audience.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Directions to AMEA Conference

To drive to the School of Music via Interstate 20/59:

1. Take exit 73 McFarland Blvd. North (US 82 W)
2. Travel on McFarland Boulevard for 2.5 miles, past University Mall on the right.
3. 2 blocks after the mall, take the exit ramp in the right lane for University Boulevard (AL 215)
4. At the end of the ramp, turn right to head west on University Boulevard.
5. At the fourth traffic light, the Moody Music Building will be on the left.
6. There is public parking in the lot directly across from the front of the building.

50 miles total
1:15 driving time.

Google directions.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

No Rene Clausen event for March 28


We had on the original schedule an event with Rene Clausen on March 28. That's now been canceled. Maybe next time!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Netflix of Textbooks:

A pretty great idea. Rent your books, don't buy them.

Bennet Reimer: Philosophy of Music Education : Advancing the Vision
Amazon price: 77.22
Chegg rental: 50.72 for the semester

Get your questions answered here.

Found out about it here.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Hannah and Sami will be thrilled to read this.

login page for blackboard

here it is.

Program for UAB Honor Choir 2009

Plan for Saturday:

1:45 Arrive at Alys Stephens, Jeminson
2:00 On stage
2:30 Off stage
3:00 Concert begins

Concert Order:
  • Jr. High Honor Choir
  • UAB Concert Choir
  • Sr. High Honor Choir
  • Combined: For Spacious Skies
Our program:

Glory be to God
KJOS 6528
Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943)

EMC 198163
József Karai (b. 1927)
Kiyoshi Scissum, tenor

O sacrum convivium
Edition Ferrimontana
EF 2558
Vytautas Mi¶kinis (b. 1954)

With A Lily In Your Hand
SBMP 431
Eric Whitacre (b.1970)
Santa Barbara Music Publishing

Beautiful River
William Hawley (b. 1950)

Garota de Ipanema
Arr. Clovis Pereira (b. 1932)

Monday, January 12, 2009


Read more here about Microsoft Songsmith.
Songsmith generates musical accompaniment to match a singer's voice. Just
choose a musical style, sing into your PC's microphone, and Songsmith will
create backing music for you. Then share your songs with your friends and
family, post your songs online, or create your own music videos.

You can get the free trial here.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


You'll never need a page turner again:

See more at AirTurn.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Do you see what I see?

I dare you to click the picture.

The Morning After

You might find this interesting . . . a conductor talks about what it feels like the morning after a great rehearsal:

David Griggs-Janower gives us this wonderful summation of "the morning after" a great evening rehearsal or a long teaching day:

A conductor, like a teacher in a classroom, is always "on" in rehearsal. Up, vibrant, alive, enthusiastic, making people glad to be there, making them work hard. Making them appreciate the repertory, from the large-scale greatness to the extraordinary subtleties. From the beauty to the intellectual conception. The greater the piece (like Bach’s St. John Passion), the greater the sheer amount of wonderful things to discover.

And every second on the podium you are doing at least three things at once in three different time zones: preparing by your gestures what’s coming next; showing in your hands, face and body what you want the sound to be like as it happens; and listening and reacting to what you just heard. And also planning ahead as you hear it how to fix what wasn't right. And deciding which things to fix, and whether to stop or not and fix now, as opposed to later, while you are doing all those other things. Because music happens in time, time is intrinsically involved all the, uh, time.

You never get to stop and breathe while conducting. If you do breathe, there are 70 people sitting there waiting for you to say something. And if you let them relax, some momentum is lost, some edge. You also have to plan your stops, to allow the relaxation when it's necessary, but avoid it when rehearsal momentum is needed.

And so on Wednesday mornings I wake up absolutely exhausted.

Fortunately there are some heavy-duty drugs available: I drink two cups of coffee!

Read the whole post here.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Carmina Burana

If you are interested in singing Carmina Burana, attend Birmingham Concert Chorale rehearsal Monday night, January 5, 7-9.

Briarwood Presbyterian Choir Room.

Directions here.

See you there!