Ask the question! You can thank me later. 😉
Ask the question! You can thank me later. 😉
For the first time, I interview the choral director of an ALL boys school. Chris DeVries is an energetic guest, and for that reason an interesting conversation ensues about falsetto, the smell of the weight room, and morning routine.
In this episode, I discuss ways to create meaningful relationships with your special needs students and their families of your choir program. You will also learn ways to accommodate these students moving forward both in class and in performance without depriving the rest of your choir of the attention they deserve.
Fellow podcaster, John Hughes, of Choir Chat comes on the Find Your Forte podcast to follow my format and share his choral philosophy, ups and downs, and his unique contribution to the choral world.
Dr. John C. Hughes is assistant professor of music and director of choral activities at Ripon College in Wisconsin. In addition to conducting the college’s choirs, Hughes teaches conducting, choral methods, and private voice lessons. Beyond Ripon College, he is in demand as a clinician and honor choir conductor and serves as assistant conductor of the Choral Institute at the Green Lake Festival of Music (WI). He also founded and hosts Choir Chat, a weekly podcast of interviews with conductors and composers.
Hughes earned his undergraduate degree in Vocal Music Education from Augustana College (IL), where he studied with Jon Hurty and Michael Zemek. After teaching in public schools for several years, he earned the M.M. in Choral Conducting from Northern Illinois University, where he studied choral conducting with Eric Johnson and orchestral conducting with Lucia Matos. Hughes earned the D.M.A. in Choral Conducting and Pedagogy at The University of Iowa, where he completed his dissertation on Leonhard Lechner’s 1593 Passion. His primary teachers at Iowa were Timothy Stalter and David Puderbaugh.
A versatile choral musician and pedagogue, Hughes draws from his experience as a collegiate conductor, public school teacher, and church musician. His calm but firm demeanor and persistent dedication to excellence translate well across all ensembles. In addition to his busy performance schedule, Hughes is passionate about choral literature and scholarship, specializing in Lutheran music before 1600 and trends in contemporary choral composition. From January 2012 until August 2015, he wrote the Repertoire Forum column for the bi-monthly publication Choral Director. He has authored articles in Choral Journal and The Choral Scholar, as well as numerous reviews of choral music, books, and recordings. He serves as associate editor of Melisma, the newsletter of the north-central division of the American Choral Directors Association, and as associate editor of score reviews for The Choral Scholar. Additionally, he is a national board member of and the Wisconsin state representative for the National Collegiate Choral Organization.
Choir Chat Podcast on Soundcloud
Choir Chat Podcast on iTunes
In today’s episode you’ll learn ways to deflate your head so it doesn’t block your audience’s view (and enjoyment) of the concert.
My new podcast CHOIR NINJA is coming soon! Click below for more info!
Remember, in a school situation, your audience is obligated to attend
Tony Maglione of William Jewell College stops in to share his thoughts on building a culture of trust with your choir.
Conductor/Composer Anthony J. Maglione is a graduate of Westminster Choir College of Rider University, East Carolina University, and the University of California, Los Angeles. He is the Director of Choral Studies at William Jewell College where, under his direction, the Concert Choir was Runner Up (2nd Place) for the 2015 American Prize in Choral Performance, College/University Division. In addition to his responsibilities at William Jewell College, he serves as Director of the Greater Kansas City AGO Schola Cantorum, Conductor Emeritus of the Freelance Ensemble Artists of NJ, a symphony orchestra based in Central NJ and recently was appointed the Michael and Ginger Frost “Artist-in-Residence” at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Kansas City. An active composer, Anthony’s choral works are growing in popularity and are published on GIA’s “Evoking Sound” choral series. In the last several years his music has appeared at state and national-level conventions, on TV, in video games, and has been recorded on Gothic Records and Centaur Records. In 2014 and 2015, Anthony was honored as a Semi- Finalist and Finalist (respectively) for the American Prize in Composition, Professional Choral Division and was recently awarded the 2016-2017 William Jewell College Spencer Family Sabbatical, a year-long fully funded sabbatical in order to compose two new large-scale works for choir, soloists and chamber orchestra. Anthony has also been commissioned by
the American Guild of Organists for a new work to premiere at the AGO National Conference to be held in Kansas City in 2018. Anthony has made numerous guest conducting/clinician appearances and has prepared ensembles for such esteemed conductors as James Conlon, James Jordan, David Newman, Donald Neuen, and Alex Treger. Ensembles under his leadership have performed nationally and internationally at renowned concert venues including Disney Hall in Los Angeles and Carnegie Hall in New York City.
In December especially, choral directors spend their days focused on serving others so much that they often neglect their own needs. Here are some ways to stay charged in the coming weeks until Christmas!
This is a long, but incredibly rewarding season. Remember to keep these items in mind to maximize the rewards of your work and stay present with those who need you!
Keep in mind: You’re a servant and a leader year-round and especially in December! Stay mission-oriented and I PROMISE you’ll be glad you did!
You have to take care of yourself before you can take care of others.
You have so many in your choirs who depend on your gifts to get them through this often very difficult season. You have the potential to help heal the pain of loss or loneliness that some people feel at this time. It make take extra energy, compassion, and patience in order to serve the members of your choir in a time when energy, compassion, and patience are in short supply.
In this interview, I sit down with Jonathan Palant of the Dallas Street Choir to speak about the true purpose and mission of choral music and how it touches the lives of the disadvantaged just as much as those fortunate enough to be listening here today.
Jonathan Palant teaches vocal music at both the University of Texas at Dallas and Richland College. He is also Minister of Music at Kessler Park United Methodist Church, adult choir director at Temple Shalom, and founder and conductor of Credo, a 115-member community choir, and the Dallas Street Choir, a musical outlet for those experiencing homelessness and disadvantage. From 2007-2011, he served as Artistic Director of Dallas’ Turtle Creek Chorale. Prior to that, Palant held collegiate teaching positions at Western Kentucky University and Madonna University, Livonia, Michigan. He taught secondary choral music at University School, an all-boys
independent school in Cleveland, Ohio, and San Pasqual High School in Escondido, California.
Dr. Palant sits on the board of directors of the Intercollegiate Men’s Choruses and has served on the state board of the Michigan chapter of the American Choral Directors Association and Youth First Texas where he was founder and conductor of Dallas PUMP!, a choir serving at-risk youth.
Both Palant’s book, Brothers, Sing On! Conducting the Tenor-Bass Choir, and his Brothers, Sing On! Choral Series are published by the Hal Leonard Corporation.
Dr. Palant holds degrees from Michigan State University, Temple University and the University of Michigan.
Responding to an inquiry in a choir Facebook group (that shall not be named) about why it may not be best idea to sing Vittoria’s “O Magnum Mysterium” at a tree-lighting. This is a quick lesson on playing the long game.
The original post on Facebook:
Every year our choir is invited to sing at the city Tree Lighting ceremony. Last year the set we sang included the Victoria O Magnum Mysterium, Betelehemu, and Carol of the Bells – a mix of songs people may know, but also a few they probably didn’t (I don’t remember the entire set). My principal got an email from them today (the concert is on Wednesday) asking him to ensure the choir performed more “festive” music this year, because we sang “some Bach or something” last year. I work really hard to select repertoire that is both educational and challenging. The choir loved the Victoria last year, and sang it really well. I admit that if it was the only song we sang that might have been problematic, but we did a lot of upbeat and more traditional things too. I’m stumped as to how to respond.
My response, and what I will use to elaborate upon in this episode:
I LOVE all the pieces you programmed, but for an event like this you must think of your audience of regular old people who know nothing about choral music. Meeting them where they are is the first step to raising them to where you want them to be musically.
A tree lighting is the perfect place to “give them what they want”. If you do, they’ll start showing up at your regular concerts, THEN you can educate them.
Do not give away an opportunity to brighten people’s Christmas season through your great work with great kids. 🙂 If you want to expand your reach in the community, do the gig, sing some familiar songs that don’t make you feel like you’re selling your soul, and watch as everyone comes up to show their appreciation for your choir.
This is a HUGE opportunity to make people smile. Forgive the “some Bach or something” comment, realize they’re clueless, and do it brother!
Speaking with conductor and composer, Mike Engelhardt about his unique project, Beer Choir! This is something that is expanding the choral world one microbrew at a time! Listen for information on how to start your own chapter for free.
Michael Engelhardt is a freelance choral music composer, conductor, and innovator. He frequently combines historical choral material with pop, contemporary, and electronic elements, creating a new sound that is compelling to academic and general audiences alike. His works have been featured at All-State Conferences in Texas, Minnesota, Kansas, Colorado, Virginia, and at multiple ACDA National and Regional Conferences. His compositions have been featured twice on the Carnegie Hall stage. Many of his pieces are published by Walton Music and Hinshaw Music, and he has several self-published works available at www.mikeemusic.com.
As a clinician and guest conductor, Michael has conducted the West Virginia ACDA All-State Honors Chamber Choir and the Oklahoma All-State Vocal Jazz Chorus. He has had the great fortune to collaborate with major artists such as Ben Folds (from NBC’s The Sing Off), Abraham Laboriel (bass player for Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, and others), Patti Austin (Grammy award-winning vocalist), Kerry Livgren (Kansas), the Kansas City Chorale (Grammy award-winning choral ensemble), Cantus (men’s ensemble), and Chapter 6 (jazz a cappella group).
Michael is also the founder of Beer Choir LLC, an organization devoted to drinking great craft beer while singing loudly in public. The organization has chapters in major cities across the USA. In 2017, Beer Choir will host 3 events during the ACDA National Conference in Minneapolis.
A native of Woodstock, Illinois, he holds degrees from Millikin University (Decatur, Illinois) and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Michael lives in St. Louis, Missouri with his wife and two children.