This morning, Choralation walked into the choir room to discover mics in place for “It don’t mean a thing”. The student’s energy exploded and we had a remarkable rehearsal. It makes me pause for a moment to reflect on why it was so great. Expectations were high, students were engaged, thoughtful, self-reflective, receptive to new ideas and challenges and eager to go to the next level. Icing on the cake was singing in the main office and the tunnel! Happy day! Sky’s the limit!
Let’s see which choir will have the highest percentage of parents show up at Back To School Night on Wednesday! I’ll be there! Hope to see as many parents as possible!
Sir David Willcocks, retired conductor of the famed King’s College Choir and London Bach Choir passed away today. He was 95. An important conductor and choral arranger, Sir David was kind, approachable and generous of spirit. He will be missed. I had the privilege of singing under his baton at the Green Lake Music Festival in Ripon, Wisconsin when he was in his 70s. As a conductor Sir David was witty, humble and unrelenting in his demand for perfection.
What does it mean to consume the page? How do we look at a piece of music and see everything that we need to do? Things like: notes, rhythms, dynamics, and articulations? This is the architecture of the music. Without it, it is hard to get to the nuances of vowels, blend and balance. And it slows rehearsal way down! So that we can have fast, lively rehearsals, we need to do what a mentor of mine, Stafford Boyd, says: “sometimes you have to go slow to go fast”.
So that is what we are going to do. We are going to slow down and spend time looking at the fundamentals of music architecture. The goal will be to become fluent in the following areas:
Note Names; Key Signatures; Interval Recognition (visual and aural); Time Signatures; and Understanding Rhythmic Units within Time Signatures
Understanding PITCH is about understanding notes in relation to each other in the context of a key signature. A series of notes will be a collection of pitches that go up, down or stay the same. The trick is to hear the pitches in the context of a scale. If you can find DO and SO you are going to do great. TI and RE are neighbors to DO. LA and FA are neighbors to SO.
Go to the STUDY LINKS and click on musictheory.net! Go to exercises and click on Key signatures. The name of the key is DO. See how you can begin to visually recognize key signatures.
My good colleague, Dr. Geoffrey Boers from the University of Washington asks these questions of his singers. I do too!
I can’t wait to meet everybody on Wednesday and Thursday! How exciting to open this new chapter! The Leadership Team has been so helpful! The room looks great. I can’t wait to hear each choir sing. Music will be ready! Each choir will sing on Opening Day! And play ice breaker games! And meet new friends!
Can you imagine the joy of hearing your choir singing? It is going to be fantastic!
So what is next? And what is possible? Come Wednesday and Thursday and find out!
Part of my joy in transitioning to Tigard High School will come in the meeting of all the choir students and choir parents. Very soon I will be hosting small group listening sessions with members of the choir leadership and parents to learn as much as I can about what aspects of the choir program are important to you. What are the things that you have valued in the past, traditions and experiences that you want to see continue and to hear about things that you may want to explore that are new. So I am looking forward to hearing about the core things that you think make the choirs at Tigard great! Exciting times ahead!
Today I am reminded about how much I value being a member of a warm and inviting community. I met members of the Varsity Football team today, including Ryan, Ben, and Spencer and members of the Varsity Cheerleading Squad. Nearer to the end of the year, I met members of Choralation, our new principal Mr. Van Fleet, the front office staff, Mrs. Edwards and Mrs. Mason, along with custodians Gus, Josh, Natividad and Bill. Everyone at Tigard is so friendly and warm. What a great place!
I cannot wait to meet all of the new and continuing members of the 2015-2016 Tigard High School Choirs. We are going to have a wonderful time getting to know each other, building community, learning and growing together and making incredible music!
Take advantage of some of the great musical opportunities out there this summer. Go see Thoroughly Modern Millie at our Deb Fennel Auditorium over the next two weeks! It is AMAZING! Go see Wicked at the Keller if you can summon up the money to do it. Wendy and I, along with other friends and family are going to see Millie again on the 24th of July. Perhaps we will see you there! And enjoy your summer!
I spend countless hours listening to great performances of great music by great artists. The performances that touch my heart are the ones that meld great singing of important texts with great emotion and expression no matter the style or genre of music.
And that is what we seek to do in our choirs. A great choir performance comes from tapping into the same things great artists tap into. Take the time to build a strong vocal technique, sing the best music within whatever style or genre you are singing (classical, folk, jazz, musical theatre, pop) and marry it to a selfless, honest and expressive presentation. Great singing is great theater. The audience must be engaged by your presentation or it is meaningless. Make the audience care about what you are singing by opening your spirit to sing with honesty and devotion. That is were inspiration comes from.
In the Fall of 2015, the Tigard High School Choir Program comes under the new leadership of Mr. Robert Hawthorne.
Having served the Tigard Choir Program for twenty-two years, Ms. Sue Hale retires with an extraordinary legacy of excellent choirs and committed singers who embrace the individual and ensemble craft of making great music.
In the last thirty years, only two directors have led this program, Mrs. Debbie Glaze from 1984-1992, and Ms. Sue Hale from 1992-2015. As the Tigard High School Choir Program moves into its next era, there is a powerful commitment to honor the legacy established and blaze onward to a bright tomorrow.
You want to get better at sight singing! Yes, you do! Even in summer! Learn your key signatures, note names, intervals and rhythm! Go to the website: musictheory.net. This site has lots of easy to use self-guided recognition exercises and lessons. Do it!