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Music Advocacy

Ways to Celebrate Music in Our Schools

March 5, 2019

What started as a single day of music advocacy by the New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) back in March of 1973 has grown into a month of celebration and advocacy for music in our schools. The tireless efforts of NYSSMA, other state organizations, and the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) to promote the importance of music education has been joined by the other arts, and March is now recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as “Arts in Our Schools Month.”

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Community Choir

Community Choir Spotlight: Allegro Choirs of Kansas City

January 29, 2019

Since its creation in 1999, Allegro Choirs of Kansas City has grown from one youth choir of 38 singers to over 250 singers in six ensembles. Today, the singers represent students in grades 3 through 12. Drawn from across the Kansas City metro, these talented young singers come from private, public, and home-schooled environments. Allegro Choirs delight audience members each year – locally, nationally and abroad – with their varied repertoire and heartfelt singing and this year will enchant audiences as they perform at the ACDA National Conference in Kansas City.

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Community Choir

Community Choir Spotlight: Turtle Creek Chorale

January 4, 2019

In 1980, 30 men stood on stage and sang at Holy Trinity Catholic Church. Now known as Turtle Creek Chorale, that group has grown to more than 200 dues-paying members who contribute over 100,000 hours annually to rehearsals, performances, and community outreach services.

The mission of the Turtle Creek Chorale is to Entertain, Educate, Unite, and Inspire, and to that end they have provided musical journeys to audiences in Dallas, Texas for over 38 years and annually offer a dynamic mainstage concert series at the Dallas City Performance Hall in the Arts District. The Chorale has a long tradition of reaching out into the community beyond its subscription concerts with more than 30 benefit appearances across the Metroplex and Texas annually. Recent partnerships and collaborations include Lone Star Rides, Lifewalk, Genesis Women’s Shelter, Children’s Medical Center, Hope’s Door, Parkland Hospital, and the American Airlines Sky Ball. Coupled with unparalleled artistic quality, TCC touches a broad audience bridging across age, gender, ethnic, socioeconomic, and sexual orientation lines.

The Turtle Creek Chorale also features three smaller ensembles: Chamber Chorus, Camerata, and SoundBytes. Each group delivers unique performances that highlight the members’ wealth of talent; the smaller groups are also more nimble in their outreach to the community.

While primarily a gay men’s chorus, the Turtle Creek Chorale welcomes all men, and those that identify as male, regardless of sexual orientation.

Some highlights of the Turtle Creek Chorale include: most recorded men’s chorus in the world with 38 albums; two feature-length documentaries in public distribution with one receiving an Emmy for the producer; performances at two state, two regional, and three national conventions of the American Choral Directors Association; performance at the regional convention of Music Educators National Conference; two appearances at Carnegie Hall; collaboration with Susan G. Komen Foundation to create Sing for the Cure with narration by Maya Angelou; two performances with the U.S. Army Chorus and former first lady Laura Bush serving as honorary chair for the event; three-city tour in Spain in 2010; sold-out concerts in Barcelona, Berlin, and Prague during the 1995 European tour; performances before Queen Elizabeth II, Texas governors, and city mayors; sharing the stage with Liza Minnelli, Joan Rivers, Maya Angelou, Sandi Patty, Gavin Creel, Jennifer Holliday, Nikki Blonski, Margaret Cho, and Seth Rudetsky; awards including the Crystal Hope award, Peace Center award, Dallas Observer Best Musical Performance, and 500 Inc. Ken Bryant Visionary award.

Now in his fourth season, Sean Mikel Baugh is Artistic Director of the Turtle Creek Chorale. Originally from Tulsa, Oklahoma, Sean studied music at Oklahoma Baptist University and the University of Central Oklahoma and was awarded a Master of Music degree in conducting from the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University where he was named Outstanding Graduate Conductor. At the Meadows School, Sean served as assistant conductor of the world-renowned Meadows Wind Ensemble. Sean has been called “expressive and incredibly dynamic, a consummate musician with a side of showman. He exhilarates audience members and singers alike.” He is regularly praised for his innovative programming and expressive technique. His choirs have enjoyed positive reviews and have been lauded for their musicality and emotional performances. An active advocate for male choral music, Sean regularly commissions new works from established composers. Sean also serves as Associate Director of Music and Worship for Dallas-based Cathedral of Hope United Church of Christ where he leads the choir and orchestra for Sunday worship services. Cathedral of Hope is the world’s largest congregation with a primary outreach to the LGBT community.

Jeremy Wayne, Managing Director, joined the singing membership of the Chorale in the fall of 2016 and immediately fell in love with the organization and all that it stands for. Jeremy has served on the boards of the Cathedral of Hope UCC, the New Texas Symphony Orchestra, and the Greater Dallas Handbell Association. He has a passion for music and a long history of performance. He started playing piano at age nine, grew up playing in church, and also served as accompanist for his high school choir. In college he sang with the University of Central Arkansas Concert Choir and Chamber Singers. He has also performed with the Arkansas Chamber Singers and served on their board of directors while living in Arkansas. Since moving to Dallas, Jeremy has been an active part of the music ministry at the Cathedral of Hope, singing in the choir, playing piano, and directing the handbell choir.

Scott Ayers, Principal Pianist and Associate Conductor, has been a church musician since the age of 12 and has accompanied musical theater productions since his late teens. He has served churches in South Carolina, Oklahoma, and Texas and has presented keyboard concerts in more than a dozen states. Scott recently became Senior Organist and Music Associate at Highland Park United Methodist Church in Dallas. Scott is the musical director for several local theaters as well as several schools in the Plano area. He holds a degree in music theory and composition from Oklahoma Baptist University and has done graduate work in jazz theory and composition at the University of South Carolina. He has produced four albums and has a number of published arrangements for choir, keyboard and orchestra.

Dr. Timothy Seelig is a conductor, singer, teacher and motivational speaker. In addition to Artistic Director of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, he continues a busy guest-conducting schedule throughout the U.S. and across the globe. Dr. Seelig is Conductor Emeritus of the Turtle Creek Chorale, which he conducted for 20 years, was co-founder of The Women’s Chorus of Dallas, and has taught on the faculty at Southern Methodist University for 14 years. Dr. Seelig holds four degrees, including the Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of North Texas and the Diploma from the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria. He has authored seven books and DVDs on choral technique. Recordings have won multiple awards and have been on Billboard Top Ten and iTunes Top Ten classical charts. A PBS documentary about the Turtle Creek Chorale received the national Emmy award for best documentary. Dr. Seelig has conducted regularly at Carnegie Hall for the last 25 years as well as Lincoln Center and the Southbank Centre in London.

 

Repertoire of the Turtle Creek Chorale:

Friendship Tour: The Awakening, Joseph M. Martin; Cornerstone, Shawn Kirchner; God Help the Outcasts, arr. Steve Huffines; Good Night, Dear Heart, Dan Forrest; Grace, arr. Mark Hayes; Harriet Tubman, Rollo Dilworth & Eloise Greenfield; I Never Lost My Praise, arr. Carol Cymbala; Jolene, arr. Mark Brymer; Keep Your Lamps, arr. André Thomas; Lift Every Voice and Sing, arr. Greg Gilpin; Light, arr. Neal Richardson; Love Can Build a Bridge, Paul Overstreet, John Jarvis & Naomi Judd; The Majesty and Glory of Your Name, Linda Lee Johnson & Tom Fetke; No Time, arr. Susan Brumfield; Peacekeepers: The Way of Trust, Andrea Ramsey; Peacekeepers: The “Peacemaker” Colt .45, Charles Anthony Silvestri; Peacekeepers: Blessed are the Peacemakers, James Eakin III; Peacekeepers: Stand Up, Gerald Gurss; The Sound of Silence, arr. Benjamin Bedroske; This Is Me, arr. Dave Volpe; Up to the Mountain, arr. Dave Volpe; Why We Sing, Greg Gilpin

Outlaws: Thank God I’m a Country Boy, arr. Kirby Shaw; Home on the Range, arr. Mark Hayes; Heavenly Songs: Three American Songs – Hallelujah, Angel Band, Unclouded Day, Shawn Kirchner; She’s Got You, Hank Cochran; Hey Good Lookin’, arr. Audrey Snyder; Mama Don’t Allow, arr. Brian Lewis; Who Do I Know in Dallas?, arr. David Maddux; Islands in the Stream, arr. David Maddux; Friends in Low Places, arr. Randol Alan Bass; Danny’s Song, Kenny Loggins; Pickup Truck, Rodney Carrington; Cindy, arr. Mack Wilberg; Ghost Riders in the Sky, arr. Kirby Shaw; Light of a Clear Blue Morning arr. Dave Volpe; Not Ready to Make Nice, arr. Dave Volpe; So Small, arr. Dave Volpe, Jolene arr. Mark Brymer; Brokeback Mountain Suite, arr. Michael Allera; Love Can Build a Bridge, Paul Overstreet, John Jarvis & Naomi Judd

Anthems that Shaped the Movements: We Shall Overcome, arr. David Maddux; Keep Your Lamps!, arr. André Thomas; Ohio, Neil Young; The Sound of Silence, arr. Benjamin Bedroske; Blowin’ in the Wind, Bob Dylan; Find the Cost of Freedom, arr. Nick Page; Respect, Otis Redding; MLK, arr. Bob Chilcott; Up to the Mountain, arr. Dave Volpe; I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free, Billy Taylor & Dick Dallas; Harriet Tubman, Rollo Dilworth & Eloise Greenfield; You Can’t Stop the Beat, arr. Roger Emerson; Peacekeepers: The Way of Trust, Andrea Ramsey; Peacekeepers: The “Peacemaker” Colt .45, Charles Anthony Silvestri; Peacekeepers: Stand Up, Gerald Gurss; Peacekeepers: Blessed are the Peacemakers, James Eakin III; This Little Light of Mine, arr. Howard Helvey; A Change Is Gonna Come, Sam Cooke; Lift Every Voice and Sing, arr. Greg Gilpin; Over the Rainbow, arr. Mark Hayes; This Is Me, arr. Dave Volpe.

Snowflakes: Invocation, arr. Janey Hall; Masters in This Hall, arr. David Maddux; Winter Wonderland, arr. Eddy Clement; In Dulci Jubilo, Matthew Culloton; Suzy Snowflake, arr. David Maddux; He Shall Feed His Flock, arr. Kris Anthony; Sleigh Ride, arr. Eddy Clement; What Do the Bells Say? James Deignan; A Christmas Song, Chad Beguelin & Matthew Sklar; Surabaya Santa, Jason Brown & Kristine Zbornik; Bell Carol of the Kings. arr. Derek Hakes; The Biggest, Brightest Holiday Lights!, Andy Beck & Brian Fisher; Deck the Hall, arr. Chad Weirick; Cradle Hymn, Kim André Arnesen & Issac Watts, Ring Those Christmas Bells, arr. David Maddux; Lo, How a Rose/The Rose, arr. Craig Hella Johnson; Christmas Kaleidoscope, arr. Sondra Tucker; Ave Maria, arr. John Leavitt; Good Night, Dear Heart, Dan Forrest; Little Drummer Boy, Harry Simeone; Let There Be Peace on Earth, arr. Craig Courtney; Peace, Peace, arr. Fred Bock

In Your Dreams – Find Your Corner of the Sky: Corner of the Sky, arr. Dave Vope; What We Need Is Here, Wendell Berry & James Deignan; Travelin’ Thru, arr. Greg Gilpin; Not Your Father’s Son, arr. Stephen Oremus; The Quest Unending, Joseph M. Martin; Cornerstone, Shawn Kirchner; Sing Me to Heaven, Daniel Gawthrop; When You Wish upon a Star, Ned Washington & Leigh Harline; Mr. Sandman, Pat Ballard; Be at My Side, Gerald Gurss; God Help the Outcasts, arr. Steve Huffines; For Now, arr. Steve Huffines; Up Where We Belong, arr. Dave Volpe; Ute Sundance, Ethan Sperry; Glory, arr. Steve Millroy; A Thousand Beautiful Things, arr. Craig Hella Johnson; Fix You, Guy Berryman, Jon Buckland, Will Champion & Chris Martin; Imagine, arr. Pentatonix; Rise Up, arr. Dave Vope; Light, arr. Neal Richardson

A Not So Silent Night: Alleluia Incantation, Andrew Miller; Gloria – Movement I, John Rutter; Brightest and Best, arr. Shawn Kirchner; We Three Kings, David Maddux; O Holly Night, arr. Scott Warrender; Bell Carol, Heather Sorenson; I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm, Irving Berlin; Run, Rudolph, Run, arr. Roger Emerson; What Child Is This, arr. Howard Helvey; The “Shouldn’t Be” Carols, Eric Lane Barnes; Hallelujah Chorus from “Mount of Olives” arr. Archibald Davison; Silver Bells, arr. Kevin Robinson; Betelehemu, arr. Wendell Whalum; All I Want for Christmas Is You, arr. David Maddux; The Ground, Ola Gjeilo; Angels from the Realms of Glory, arr. Dan Forrest; O Holy Night, Adolphe Adam; Angels Calling, arr. Danny Ray; Winter Song, Sara Bereilles & Ingrid Michaelson; Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth, arr. Jay Althouse; Make Me an Instrument, Craig Courtney; Peace, Peace, arr. Fred Bock

Topsy TurvySongs You Thought You Knew: Ritmo, Dan Davison; Lullaby, Billy Joel; Good Life, arr. Deke Sharon; You May Be Right, Billy Joel; A Musical, arr. Andy Beck; Popular, Stephen Schwartz; Summertime, George Gershwin; Forever Young, arr. David Maddux; Love Soulfully, arr. Lonnie Parks; Bonse Aba, Andrew Fisher; The Baby Song, George Burns; Down by the Riverside, Brant Adams; I Will Wait, arr. David Maddux; Baby One More Time, arr. Chris Doubet; On a Clear Day, arr. Darmon Meader; Fight the Dragons, Andrew Lippa; Mad World, arr. Dave Volpe; Girls Just Want to Have Fun, Robert Hazard; Over the Rainbow, arr. Andy Beck; Bright Morning Stars, arr. Shawn Kirchner; Bohemian Rhapsody, arr. Mark Brymer

Shop all Turtle Creek Chorale repertoire

Community Choir

Community Choir Spotlight: The Central Dakota Children’s Choir

November 26, 2018

The Central Dakota Children’s Choir was born from a dream but became a reality through a true community effort. Karen Traeholt envisioned the creation of a children’s choir in the community as part of her project for the Leadership Bismarck–Mandan program. To meet the criteria of the proposal, music educators were surveyed, community music supporters met, and information about other children’s choirs was assessed. Once it was determined that a children’s choir was a viable possibility, a timetable was set up to make this dream come true. The Bismark–Mandan Junior Service League, a women’s organization committed to promoting voluntarism and improving the community through action and leadership, adopted the Central Dakota Children’s Choir as a project. This partnership provided financial assistance and volunteers and made the continued growth of this organization possible.

In 1998, a board of directors was established, and Teri Fay was hired as the founding director of that first choir of fourth, fifth and sixth graders. Karen served as their accompanist. The name of the group officially became Central Dakota Children’s Choir to reflect the regional membership. Soon thereafter, in 2001, Karen was hired as executive director and Teri was hired as artistic director.

Due to the great success of the choir during its first three years, the organization expanded to three choirs for the 2001–2002 season to include grades 3–9; Jubilate (grades 3–4), Bel Canto (grades 5–6), and Kantorei (grades 7–9). The fall of 2004 saw the addition of our fourth choir, Cantus, for high school students, and in 2005, CDCC added an additional high school treble choir, Angelica. In January 2011, CDCC introduced Singing for Second Graders as an introduction to the fundamentals of music. The Central Dakota Children’s Choir continued to grow, and in the fall of 2011 a new fourth to sixth grade choir, Cantabile, was established in Dickinson, North Dakota. In 2015, after working under the umbrella of CDCC for four years, Cantabile became an independent choir continuing to provide children in Dickinson and the surrounding areas a quality choral music education.

The vision of the Central Dakota Children’s Choir is “to inspire children to a lifelong love of singing through the performance of fine choral music” through their mission: “to provide a unique choral education and experience to the children of central North Dakota, to enrich the artistic community, and to serve as ambassadors for our state through music and education.” It is the goal of CDCC to maintain steady planned growth as it evolves into a strong organization which provides a nurturing environment where children aspire to their highest level of musical artistry and personal development.

The choirs of Central Dakota Children’s Choir are recognized regionally for their quality and have been invited, by audition, to perform at state and regional events. CDCC performs 30 to 40 times each year and is available for special events. They sing annually for 12,000 to 15,000 people.

Leadership of the Central Dakota Children’s Choir includes:

Teri Fay, Artistic Director/Conductor
Teri is the founding director of CDCC and has also served as artistic director since 2001. She directs Bel Canto, a choir of fifth and sixth graders, and is also the founding director of Angelica, a treble choir for women in grades 9–12, which she led from its inception in 2005 until the spring of 2015. Most recently, she developed and teaches the Singing for Second Graders  and  Super Summer Singing classes. Teri’s vision for CDCC has taken it from one choir of 65 singers to seven different performing/teaching segments in the Bismarck–Mandan area.

Michael Seil, Conductor
Michael is the founding director of Kantorei, a middle-level choir. He served as the director from 2001–2013. Michael is also the founding director of Cantus, a high-school-level mixed choir, and  has been the director of Angelica since 2017.

Dawn Hagerott, Conductor
Dawn is the founding director of Jubilate, an entry-level choir of third and fourth graders. She also spent two seasons as the director of the Angelica choir from 2015–2017.

Jim McMahon, Conductor
This is Jim’s sixth season as the director of Central Dakota Children’s Choir’s middle-level group, Kantorei.

Tammy Rector, Executive Director
Tammy joined the staff in September, 2007 as operations director. In 2009, she was promoted to project manager, and in the fall of 2012 took on the additional duties of director of development. In the spring of 2015, she accepted the position of executive director following Karen’s retirement.

Amy Miller, Operations Director
Amy became part of CDCC’s staff in February, 2009. She is a Bismarck native. Amy has degrees from Bismarck State College and Alexandria Technical College. She has a strong background in customer service and design. Amy started as our administrative assistant and shortly after assumed the responsibilities of operations director.

Repertoire of the Central Dakota Children’s Choirs

Angelica (HS Treble)

Ring Silver Bells, arr. by Audrey Snyder; Text Me Merry Christmas, arr. Roger Emerson; Pie Jesu From “Requiem”, Andrew Lloyd Webber; Banjo Pickin’ Girl, arr. Tim Sharp & Andrea Ramsey; Inscription of Hope, Z. Randall Stroope; Goin’ Up, Glenda Franklin; Sleep Now My Little One, Sarah Bauman; Eatnemen Vuelie, Frode Fjellheim; Dirait-on from “Les Chansons des Roses”, Morten Lauridsen; Turn Around, Arr. René Clausen; Reuben, Reuben, arr. Vijay Singh; Mary, Did You Know?, arr. Roger Emerson; This Little Babe from “A Ceremony of Carols”,  Benjamin Britten; I Am Not Yours, David N. Childs; Santa Baby, arr. Mark Brymer; La Musica,  Jim Papoulis; Hebe deine Augen auf zu den Bergen from “Elijah”,  Felix Mendelssohn; His Sheep Am I, Orien Johnson; What is This Feeling from “Wicked”, arr. Roger Emerson; A Girl’s Garden from “Frostiana”, Randall Thompson; Tundra,  Ola Gjeilo; Breath of Heaven, arr. Roger Emerson; Duerme Negrito, Atahualpa Yupanqui; Seasons of Love, arr. Roger Emerson; Harriet Tubman, arr. Kathleen McGuire; Jordan’s Angels, Rollo Dilworth; Cantate Domino,  Ken Berg; Die Schwestern,  Johannes Brahms; Duerme Negrito, arr. Emile Solé; Tundra, Ola Gjeilo; Dancing-Song, Zoltán Kodály; Ndikhokhele Bawo, arr. Mzwandile Mabuza; Nuit d’étoiles, arr. Alan Raines; Little Firefly, Larry E. Schultz; Life in These Waters, Sarah Bauman; Reuben, Reuben, arr. Vijay Singh; I Will Be Earth, Gwyneth Walker; Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, arr. Ed Lojeski; I Thank You God, Gwyneth Walker; Do Re Mi from “The Sound of Music, Rodgers” & Hammerstein

Jubilate (grades 3 – 4)

A Joyful Song, Mary Lynn Lightfoot; On a Starlit Night, Jill Gallina; Jamaican Noel, arr. Linda Spevacek; Gonna Catch That Santa, Andy Beck & Brian Fisher; The Star-Spangled Banner, arr. John Smith; A Joyful Song, Mary Lynn Lightfoot; Life Has Loveliness,  Mark Patterson; All Night, All Day, arr. Greg Gilpin; Put a Little Love in Your Hearts, arr. Christi Cary Miller; Winter Troika Ride, Christi Cary Miller; A la nanita nana, arr. David Eddleman; Carol of the Elves, arr. Janet Gardner; In the Arms of an Oak, Andy Beck; On Silver Tipped Wings, Mark Patterson; The Blessing of Light from “Blessings from the Children”, Gwyneth Walker; Pat-a-Pan, arr. Clare Grundman; Reindeer Twist, Stephen Lawrence; On Morning Wings from “Blessings from the Children”, Gwyneth Walker ; Boogie Woogie Choo Choo, Cristi Cary Miller; Grant Us Peace,  Dave & Jean Perry; Froggie Went a-Courtin’, arr. Audrey Snyder; Tongo, arr. Greg Gilpin; I Love to Laugh, arr. Cristi Cary Miller; Rattle My Rattle, arr. Susan Brumfield; In the Arms of an Oak, Andy Beck; Shades, Hank Beebe

Kantorei (grades 7 – 9)

Bidi Bom, David Eddleman; Ballade to the Moon, Daniel Elder; Sing Joy, arr. Mark Hayes; Joy to the World, traditional; For Unto Us A Child is Born, traditional; O Come All Ye Faithful, traditional; I Will Lift My Voice and Sing!, Victor C. Johnson; What if I Never Speed?, arr.  Russell Robinson; Song for the Unsung Hero Music, Joseph Martin; Rhythms of One World, Gary Fry; And Sweet Singing in the Choir, arr. Douglas E. Wagner; Lux Aeterna, Tom Porter; I Sing Because I’m Happy, adapted Rollo Dillworth; Let There Be Peace on Earth, arr. Craig Courtney; Festival Sanctus, John Leavitt; Bring Me Little Water Silvy, arr. Greg Gilpin; Bridge Over Troubled Water, arr. Kirby Shaw; Loch Lomond, arr. David Lantz III; Child of Tomorrow, Mark Patterson; All Ye Who Music Love, arr. Linda Spevacek; Why We Sing, Greg Gilpin; Irish Blessing, Linda Spevacek; Fum, Fum, Fum!, arr. Mack Wilberg; Ubuntu, Christi Jones; The Pure In Heart,  Patrick Hawes; Personent Hodie from “Piae Cantiones”, arr. Ruth Elaine Schram; Armed Forces Salute, arr. Joyce Eilers; Now Is The Month of Maying, arr. Kirby Shaw; Ose Shalom, arr. Michael Larkin; True Light, Keith Hampton; I Dream a World, Andre Thomas; Defying Gravity, arr. Roger Emerson; Rhythms of One World, Gary Fry; Irish Blessing, Linda Spevacek-Avery

Bel Canto (grades 5 – 6)

Winds of Peace, arr.  Nancy Grundahl; Little Tree, Sally K. Albrecht & Jay Althouse; Petit Enfánt, Linda Miller Shaw & Dana Thompsen; Minka, traditional; Come and Sing Together, Zoltan Kodaly; I Bought Me A Cat, arr. Linda Steen Spevacek; Bashana Haba’Ah, Nurit Hirsch; Jazz Cantate, Andy Beck; John Henry, arr. Rollo Dilworth; What is Pink?, Janet Gardner; Cold Snap, Mark Hayes; Manger Carols, arr. Gary Parks; Hot Chocolate,  Andy Beck; Cantate, Exsultate, David Waggoner; Come and Sing Together, Zoltan Kodaly; Follow the Drinking Gourd, arr. Rollo Dilworth; If I Knew You, Waterman & Gray; Magical Kingdom, John Rutter; Orange Blossom, arr. Robert Moore; That’s What We’d Do, Dave & Jean Perry; The Rhythm of Life, arr. John Leavitt; Ding Dong!, Carl Orff; Always Sing Your Song,  Victor C. Johnson; White Fields,  Mary Donnelly & George L.O. Strid; The Kalanta of the New Year, Setting by Malcolm Dalglish; Hello, Hello, Eric Lane Barnes; Bist du bei mir,  J.S. Bach; Cuckoo from “Friday Afternoons”  Benjamin Britten; Reflections of a Lad at Sea, Don Besig & Nancy Price; Fairest Lady from “The Nursery Rhyme Cantata”  Nick Page; Ching-A-Ring Chaw, arr. Aaron Copland; That’s What North Dakota is to Me, Teri Fay; Storm, James M. Desjardins; In Flanders Fields, McCrae, Smith & Langford; Jabberwocky from “Join the Dance”, Carroll & Jennings; Jubilate Deo, Emily Crocker; Rockin’ Robin, arr. Andy Beck; Caterpillar Music, Ryan O’Connell; If I Knew You, Waterman & Gray; It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing), arr. Roger Emerson

Cantus (HS Mixed)

The Heavens are Telling from “The Creation”, Joseph Haydn; Lux Nova, Eric Whitacre ; Oba Ti De, Jeffery Ames; Neckereien, Johannes Brahms; Tell My Ma, arr. Jon Washburn; Fa Shu Ha, arr. Yu-Shan Tsai; The Shortest Ballad in the World, Eric Lane Barnes; Dwijavanthi, arr. Ethan Sperry; The Best of All Possible Worlds from “Candide”, arr. Robert Page; Battle Hymn of the Republic, arr. Peter J. Wilhousky; Pai duli vwihdul ja, arr. Steven Sametz; The Tyger Andrew Miller; Festival Deck the Hall, arr. Jay Althouse; Dormi, Dormi, O Bel Bambin, arr. Robert DeCormier; Christmas Goes Classical, arr. David Maddux; Feller from Fortune from “5 Songs of the Newfoundland Outports”, arr. Harry Somers; This Marriage, Eric Whitacre; Rosas Pandan, arr. George Hernandez; Cantique de Jean Racine,  Gabriel Faure; Bogoróditse Devo,  Sergei Rachmaninoff; John the Revelator, arr. Paul Caldwell & Sean Ivory; To the Mothers in Brazil: Salve Regina Lars Jansson, arr. Gunnar Eriksson; Sednalo e Djore dos, arr. Sara Shakliyan; Rosas Pandan, arr. George Hernandez; Hope For Resolution, arr. Paul Caldwell & Sean Ivory; Let Their Celestial Concerts All Unite from “Samson”, G. F. Handel; A Day in a Manger from “Anniversary Carols”, arr. Jackson Berkey; Deck the Halls from “CoolSide of Yuletide”, arr. Francisco Nunez & Jim Papoulis; Vox Populi, Giedrius Svilainis; Dirshu Adonai, Kenneth & Kirsten Lampl; A Jubilant Song, Norman Dello Joio; I Will Wade Out, Eric Whitacre; Drunken Sailor from “Three Sea Shanties” Arranged by Jonathan Willcocks; La Villanella, arr. Steven Sametz; Dirshu Adonai, Kenneth Lampl & Kirsten Lampl; Soon I Will Be Done, arr. Stacey Gibbs; Vox Populi, Giedrius Svilainis; I Will Wade Out, Eric Whitacre; Pai duli vwihdul ja, arr. Steven Sametz; Sednalo e Djore dos, arr. Sara Shakliya

Combined Choirs

Do You Hear What I Hear?,  Arr. Harry Simone; Hallelujah from “Messiah”, G.F. Handel; Lakota Peace Song, Paul Carey; Battle Hymn of the Republic, arr. Peter J. Wilhousky; Hope for Resolution, arr. Paul Caldwell & Sean Ivory

 

Shop all Central Dakota Children’s Choir repertoire

Community Choir

Community Choir Spotlight: The Women’s Chorus of Dallas

October 11, 2018

The Women’s Chorus of Dallas is recognized as one of the nation’s finest women’s choruses. Founded in 1989 with an initial membership of 35, the Chorus has grown to over 100 members, performing three mainstage concerts and several outreach performances each year. The vision and mission of the Chorus are: to be recognized as a choral ensemble providing musical excellence; to promote the strength, diversity, and empowerment of women by performing high-quality music to entertain, inspire, and serve the community; and to contribute positively to the community through entertainment and the support of women’s causes.

The Women’s Chorus of Dallas’ history is crucial to the gay and lesbian community in Dallas. Early members speak of how the Chorus emerged as one of few safe spaces to be fully themselves. For some, the family they made with each other was their only family. Today, the Chorus welcomes a diverse group of self-identified women – regardless of age, race, or sexual identity – lending their voices to support a range of causes, including the Dallas AIDS Walk. In addition to several outreach performances a year, each of their mainstage concerts can reach an audience of 600-750.

The ensemble’s musical prowess has blossomed under the direction of Melinda Imthurn, in her 13th season as Artistic Director. They have performed before Queen Elizabeth; at the inaugurations for Governor Ann Richards and Dallas Mayors Ron Kirk, Laura Miller, and Tom Leppert; and backup for Demi Lovato in addition to recording 11 albums.

The Women’s Chorus of Dallas serves the community through their relationships with other organizations around Dallas that serve causes such as addiction recovery, mentorship for families in crisis, senior care, resources for teenage and single mothers, homelessness, and family violence. By providing 200 tickets for each mainstage concert to these community partners, with onsite performances at closed facilities or for those with less-mobile clientele, the Women’s Chorus of Dallas aims to make life-enriching music available to those who need it, believing that, “when times are tough, music can help make life worth living.”

 

Concert Performance Selections:

My Singing Bird, arr. Robert Cohen; The Lark in the Clear Air, arr. Robert Sieving; The Little Bird, arr. Kirby Shaw; Mata del Anima Sola (Tree of the Lonely Soul), arr. Alberto Grau; La Rosa y el Sauce, Carlos Guastavino; Happily Ever After, arr. Mac Huff; No Mirrors in My Nana’s House, Ysaye M. Barnwell; Music in My Mother’s House, arr. J. David Moore; In My Grandmother’s Garden, Robert Seeley; As the Rain Hides the Stars, Elaine Hagenberg; Under the Willow, arr. Susan LaBarr; God Will Give Orders/Sweet Child, from Snow Angel, Sarah Quartel; Voices on the Wind, Sarah Quartel; I Write About the Butterfly, Will Varner; Snow Angel: I. All His Angels II. Creatures of Light III/IV. God Will Give Orders/Sweet Child, Sarah Quartel; Come Pretty Love, arr. Joan Szymko; On Children, Ysaye M. Barnwell; Material Madrigirl, arr. Anne Albritton; Mouth Music, arr. Dolores Keane & John Faulkner; Lux Aeterna, Michelle Roueche; O Antiqui Sancti, Hildegard von Bingen/arr. Michael Engelhardt; Only Light, Only Love, Joan Szymko; I Want to Die While You Love Me, Rosephanye Powell; Travelin’ Home, arr. Andrea Ramsey; Voice on the Wind, Sarah Quartel, Laudate Dominum, Carolyn A. Pirtle; Now I Become Myself, Gwyneth Walker; The Lake Isle of Innisfree, Eleanor Daley; Still, I Rise, Rosephanye Powell, One Voice, Ruth Moody; El Vito, arr. Joni Jensen; How Do I Love Thee, William Boland; Love Is a Rain of Diamonds, Gwyneth Walker; Las Amarillas, Stephen Hatfield; El Rio, arr. Diana V. Saez; Nada Te Turbe, arr. Joan Szymko; Fruhling, Richard Strauss; Nature, the Gentlest Mother, Aaron Copland; Suddenly from Les Miserables, arr. Ed Lojeski, We Are, Ysaye M. Barnwell; And Her Mother Came Too, arr. Will Varner; Music in My Mother’s House, arr. J. David Moore; Mom-isms, Gioachino Rossini, words by Anita Renfroe; Iraqi Peace Song, arr. Lori Tenenhouse; The Wind Beneath My Wings, arr. Anne Albritton; Beauty in the Summer Air, Will Varner

 

Holiday Performance Selections:

Irving Berlin’s Christmas, arr. Brymer/Brown; Christmas Pop Sing-Along, arr. James Ployhar; Russian Christmas Music, choral parts arranged for TWCD by John McIntyre, Peace, Peace/Shalom/Silent Night, Rick and Sylvia Powell, arr. Randol Bass & Will Varner; Three Noels, arr. Clare Grundman; Let There Be Peace on Earth, arr. Douglas E. Wagner; ‘Tis the Season, arr. Will Varner; White Winter Hymnal, arr. Alan Billingsley; Elf Medley, arr. Roger Emerson; Christmas in the Convent, Eric Lane Barnes; Joyful, Joyful, arr. Roger Emerson; Go Tell It on the Mountain, arr. Kirby Shaw; The Holly and the Ivy, arr. Kirby Shaw; Snow Angel: I. All His Angels II. Creatures of Light III/IV. God Will Give Orders/Sweet Child, Sarah Quartel; Santa Claus Is Comin’, arr. Anne Albritton; Jumble Bells, arr. Will Varner; Schlof Main Kind, Allen E. Naplan; Nada Te Turbe, Joan Szymko; Peace, Peace, arr. Fred Bock; Let There Be Peace on Earth, arr. Jay Althouse; Shoulda Been a North Pole Elf, Andy Beck; An Elf’s Life, Anne Albritton

 

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Community Choir

Community Choir Spotlight: The Mankato Children’s Chorus

August 22, 2018

Founded in 1994, the Mankato Children’s Chorus, a nonprofit, non-auditioned choral program, is celebrating 25 years of “building a musical community one voice at a time.”

The mission of the Mankato Children’s Chorus is to provide an opportunity for any interested young person to experience the joy of singing while developing healthy vocal techniques. Through rehearsal and performance of quality choral music, singers will develop artistic expressiveness, self-confidence, a cooperative spirit, and the joy of working toward pursuing excellence with other singers. The Mankato Children’s Chorus is committed to introducing young people to age-appropriate choral literature that is well crafted and of value for the young singer.

The Mankato Children’s Chorus is made up of six different ensembles based on age:

The Mankato Children’s Chorus Training Choir comprises mainly first- and second-grade students. The Training Choir uses a Kodály based curriculum which teaches an appropriate developmental and sequential method of music reading and writing skills while working with the proper use of the child’s singing voice. Songs, games, and folk dances are all a part of the training choir rehearsal. The Training Choir performs on the annual winter and spring concerts and also sings at civic events in the Mankato area.

The Mankato Children’s Chorus Intermediate Choir comprises mostly third-graders and sometimes students in the second grade who are second-year MCC members. This choir continues the sequential music reading and writing instruction that began in the Training Choir and prepares students to read choral music in future choirs. Songs, games, and folk dances are a part of the Intermediate Choir rehearsal. The Intermediate Choir performs on the annual winter and spring concerts and also sings at civic events. 

The Mankato Children’s Chorus Youth Choir comprises fourth- and fifth-grade students with unchanged voices. The Youth Choir presents yearly winter and spring concerts and also sings at civic events, school concerts, and choral festivals. In past seasons, the choir has been honored to participate in the Honors Choir of Southeastern Minnesota Youth Choir Festival in Rochester, where the choir has worked with esteemed conductor and composer Dr. Rollo Dilworth and other renowned conductors. 

The Mankato Children’s Chorus Concert Choir comprises sixth- through eighth-grade students with unchanged voices. The chorus was selected to perform at the 1998 Minnesota Music Educators Conference, the Festival of the States in Washington D.C. in 2000, Nobel Conferences at Gustavus in 2001 and 2004, and the Minnesota ACDA Fall Conference, 2011. The choir presents yearly winter and spring concerts, sings at civic events, school concerts, and choral festivals, and also enjoys a yearly fall overnight retreat.

The Melodia Choir has been in existence since 2000. The choir began as a small high school women’s ensemble and is now the largest of the five MCC choirs. Melodia functions as three choirs: high school men’s, women’s, and a mixed choir. Because students come from the greater Mankato region, members have developed strong bonds with friends from many school districts. The success of the Melodia Choir is due to the strong choral programs in the South-Central Minnesota area that send skilled choral singers to MCC. Melodia singers represent high school choral programs from Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton, Lake Crystal Wellcome Memorial, Loyola, Mankato East, Mankato West, Maple River, St. Peter, and Waseca. Melodia also participates in an annual winter retreat and travels with the MCC Concert Choir in nationwide tours every four years.

The​ ​Ambassador​ ​Choir​ ​is​ ​a​ ​new​ ​and​ ​additional​ ​performance​ ​opportunity​ ​for​ current​ ​choir​ ​members​ ​that​ ​would​ ​like​ ​to​ ​sing​ ​more​ ​in​ ​the​ ​community and broaden the musical presence of the Mankato Children’s Choir in the Mankato area.

Leah Ries, the Artistic Director, began directing the Mankato Children’s Chorus in 2000. She is the founder of the Kodály-based Training and Intermediate Choirs which provide an early choir opportunity for children in the first through third grades. During her tenure, Leah has directed the Training, Intermediate, Youth, Concert, and Melodia Choirs. Currently she directs the Concert and Melodia Choirs. She has been a music educator for 31 years in Oklahoma and Minnesota teaching elementary, middle school, and junior high general and choral music as well as private piano and voice. She has been an adjudicator and workshop presenter and is currently teaching elementary music in the Mankato Area Public Schools.

Jonathan Shevy joined the artistic staff in 2014. Jonathan directs the Youth Choir and Melodia Men. He also teaches in the Mankato Area Public Schools at Franklin Elementary School, teaching students in grades K–6.

Kristin Baty joined the artistic staff in 2011, directing the Training and Intermediate choirs. Kristin moved to Mankato in 2009 after teaching elementary vocal music in Edina, Minnesota. There she also directed an extracurricular choir and some African drumming. Kristin has assisted in directing a music and drama camp in Burnsville and directed the Children’s Choir for the Christmas program. She currently teaches elementary music at Hoover Elementary in North Mankato.

Claire Baker directs the Melodia Women and Mixed Choirs. She currently teaches K–5 general music at Rosa Parks and Bridges Community Elementary Schools in Mankato, Minnesota, and also serves as the music director for East High School’s drama department. Prior to her teaching assignment in Mankato, Claire taught K–2 general music and directed the chamber choir in Amery, Wisconsin, and she directed children’s programming while serving on the board of directors at the St. Croix ArtBarn in Osceola, Wisconsin.

 

Mankato Children’s Choir recent repertoire

Unison: Ani Ma’min, Caldwell/Ivory; Bist Du Bei Mir, Bach; Fairest Lady, Page; For a Child, Mulholland; Star Carol, Rutter; This Shall Be for Music, Patterson

SA/Two Part: Sound the Trumpet, Purcell/Erb; Dance with the Elephants, Varner; Deck the Halls for All, Albrecht; En Roulant Ma Boule, Miller; For the Beauty of the Earth, Rutter; Kusimama, Papoulis; Little Star with The First Noel, Gallina; Mangwani Mpulele, DeCormier; Rhythm of the Rain, Estes; Storm, DesJardins; Tailor of Gloucester, Giebler; This Shall Be for Music, Patterson; We Will, Papoulis

SSA or Three-(Four)-Part Treble: Be Simple Little Children, Chilcott; Cantate Domino, Schultz/Grundahl; Carol of the Bells, Leontovich/Wilhousky; Dance on My Heart, Koepke; Do You Hear What I Hear, Simeone; For Good, Schwartz; Hotari Koi, Ogura/Larson; Niska Banja, Page; Omnia Sol, Stroope; The Poet Sings, Stroope; The Sleigh, Kountz; Yonder Come Day, Cook

Tenor/Bass: Away from the Roll of the Sea, MacGillivray/Loomer; Seeing Nellie Home, Kyle/Crocker; Sing Me a Song of a Lad That Is Gone, Porterfield; Stodola Pumpa, Papoulis

SATB; A Festive Christmas Celebration, Snyder; Bring Me Little Water, Sylvie, Shaw; Come to the Music, Martin; Draw the Circle Wide, Light/Miller; For Everything There Is a Season, Althouse; Hope for Resolution, Caldwell/Ivory; How Can I Keep from Singing?, Walker; Kyrie, McClure; O My Luve’s Like a Red, Red Rose, Burns/Clausen; Peace, Peace, Powell/Bock; Soldier, Soldier, Won’t You Marry Me?, DeCormier; Song for the Mira, Calvert; Zion’s Walls, Hayes

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Community Choir

Pepper Spotlight: The David Johnson Chorus

July 23, 2018

The David Johnson Chorus, celebrating their 20th anniversary, is an auditioned community chorus that performs a range of musical programs nationwide appealing to every segment of the population. Musical genres include: classical, a cappella, spirituals, patriotic, sacred harp, Broadway show tunes, Disney songs, pop, and calypso music.

The chorus has established itself as a group of men and women from Northwest Tennessee who sing with a professional sound and a heart that its members, its director and many who hear them define as nothing short of magic.

Although they are headquartered in Dresden, chorus members come from Weakley and several adjoining counties in West Tennessee and West Kentucky to participate. The backgrounds of the amateur chorus members are as varied as one could imagine as are their musical abilities, but this eclectic group is bound together by a love of music and what it can do for the ear and the soul.

The idea of the choir came from Gail Dyer, general manager of the choir, during a steering committee planning session for Dresden High Project Graduation 98 – forming an alumni choir to be part of the event. Gail contacted the former choral director at Dresden High School, David Johnson, as well as former members of the choir under Mr. Johnson to see if there was any interest.  There was plenty of interest and this new community group was born.

The mission of the David Johnson Chorus is simple: To provide people from Northwest Tennessee the opportunity to be part of a quality performing group and to expose them to quality performing arts. To ensure that the magic of this chorus does not end with the original membership, chorus members made a strategic decision to open membership to others who had not been in David Johnson’s high school choruses. The enthusiasm of choir members and audiences alike has been tremendously refreshing and speaks to the fact that people are starving for this type of experience not just in Tennessee and Kentucky, but all across these United States.

The music director of the David Johnson Chorus is David Johnson. Mr. Johnson began his music education at an early age learning to sing parts and read shape notes in singing schools that were a part of his rural Southern landscape in the 50s and 60s. He was leading singing in churches by the age of 10 and constantly listening to recordings of the Robert Shaw Chorale. He remained an avid musician through his school years, singing in the choir, playing in the band, and learning to play the guitar on his own.

Mr. Johnson attended Freed-Hardeman University and the University of Tennessee at Martin majoring in music. This led him to establishing a choral program in Dresden, Tennessee, where he taught for nine years.

Spring 2016 – Celebrating America!  – Color Me Red, White, and Blue!

Disney: Frozen Medley, arr. Mark Brymer; From the 1940’s: You’ll Never Walk Alone/Climb Ev’ry Mountain, arr. Mark Hayes; From The 1950’s : What’d I Say, arr. Kirby Shaw; Can’t Help Falling in Love, arr. Roger Emerson; From the 1960’s: Jersey Boys, arr. Ed Lojeski; Best of the Beach Boys, arr. Ed Lojeski; Bridge Over Troubled Waters, arr. Kirby Shaw; Patriotic: Irving Berlin’s America, arr. Roger Emerson; Song for the Unsung Hero, arr. Joseph M. Martin; American Anthem, arr. John Purifoy; O, America, arr. Roger Emerson; America the Beautiful, arr. John Leavitt; An American Trilogy, arr. Mark Hayes; Armed Forces Salute, arr. Joyce Eilers; God Bless America, arr. Keith Christopher

Christmas 2016 – Come Celebrate Christmas!

Festive Noels, A European Celebration of Christmas, arr. Krogstad; The Polar Express, A Choral Medley, arr. Teena Chinn; It’s The Holiday Season, Medley, arr. Roger Emerson; White Christmas, arr. Jeff Higgs; It’s A Wonderful Christmas, arr. Mark Hayes; See That Star!, arr. Victor C. Johnson; Rise Up!, arr. Mark Hill; Follow That Star, arr. Brian Lewis; Ain’a That Good News Everywhere, arr. Craig Curry; Betelehemu, arr. Barrington Brooks; Ain’t Dat A-Rockin’ All Night?, arr. Paul Carey; What Strangers Are These?, arr. Dan Forrest; Still, Still, Still, arr. Joel Hoelscher; Silent Night, arr. Kaplan, Olusola & Bram; Emmanuel, arr. Gary Rhodes; Angels from the Realms of Glory, arr. Dan Forrest

Spring 2017 – Peace, Love, and Song

Listen to the Music, arr.  Alan Billingsley;  Beatles Love Songs, arr. Ed Lojeski;  Sweet Caroline, arr. Kirby Shaw;  I Will, arr. Kirby Shaw; Seven Bridges Road, arr. Kirby Shaw; Hello, Goodbye, arr. Mac Huff; Summer of ’69  (Songs of Woodstock Medley), arr. Roger Emerson; Heartache Tonight, arr. Greg Gilpin; Tribute to Queen (medley), arr. Mark Brymer; In My Life, arr. Steve Zegree; Put A Little Love in Your Heart, arr. Greg Gilpin; All You Need Is Love, arr. Alan Billingsley; With A Little Help From My Friends, arr. Deke Sharon; A Song For You, arr.  Mac Huff; We’ve Only Just Begun, arr. Rosana Eckert; The Beatles in Revue, arr. Ed Lojeski

Christmas 2017 – Come Celebrate Christmas

Heaven Everywhere, arr. Andy Beck; Christmas In Three Quarter Time, arr. Mark Brymer; Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, arr. Mark Hayes; Here We Come A Caroling, arr. Joyce Eilers; What Christmas Means To Me, arr. Mac Huff; Somewhere In My Memory, arr. Mark Hayes; Appalachian Carols, arr. Gwyneth Walker; O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, arr. Alice Parker and Robert Shaw; Lo, How A Rose E’er Blooming, arr. Parker and Shaw; I Saw Three Ships, arr. Parker and Shaw; Christ Was Born On Christmas Day, arr. Parker and Shaw; How Far Is It To Bethlehem, arr. Parker and Shaw; Shepherd’s Joy, arr. John Parker and Mark Hayes; Festive Noels, arr. Bob Krogstad; O Holy Night, arr. Mark Hayes; Mary, Did You Know?, arr.  Roger Emerson; All On A Silent Night, arr. Becki Slagle Mayo; Star of Wonder, arr. Greg Gilpin; The First Noel/Pachelbel’s Canon, arr. Michael Clawson; Sing Joy, arr. Mark Hayes

Spring 2018 – Celebrating 20 Years – Favorites 1998-2018

Symphony of Love, arr. Michael. G. Martin; Beauty and the Beast, arr. Audrey Snyder; Circle of Life, arr. Keith Christopher; When You Believe, arr. Audrey Snyder; Dry Your Tears, Afrika, arr. Audrey Snyder;  On Stage With The Temptations, arr. Alan Billingsley; Queen of Soul, arr. Roger Emerson; You’ll Never Walk Alone/Climb Ev’ry Mountain, arr. Mark Hayes; Richard Rodgers In Concert, arr. Mac Huff; Lord, Take Control, Hymn; Holy Ground, Hymn; Ride the Morning Winds, arr. Grace Hawthorne & Tom Fettke; I’m Going Home, Sacred Harp; Idumea, Sacred Harp; Witness, arr. Jack Halloran; Prayer, arr. Rene Clausen; Hark, I Hear the Harps Eternal, arr. Alice Parker; An American Trilogy, arr. Mark Hayes; God Bless America, arr. Keith Christopher; Why We Sing, arr. Greg Gilpin

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Culture

Celebrating the Leonard Bernstein Centennial: Contributions to Education

March 20, 2018

Most people know Leonard Bernstein as a world-renowned composer and conductor whose contributions to music and culture can be heard in concert halls around the world. Less known are his contributions to education, but they are no less impactful. Since the 1990s more than 250,000 students have been exposed to an educational method Bernstein created called Artful Learning®.

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Community Choir

Pepper Spotlight: The OLLI Chorus – Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, University of Delaware

February 8, 2018

Community choirs come in many shapes and sizes – from professional and semiprofessional groups to organizations for people who love to sing and make music to come together to create something new… and many in between. We hope to feature many of these different kinds of community ensembles through this ongoing Pepper Spotlight component of the Community Choir eClub, sharing both their stories and repertoire.

The spotlight this month focuses on an adult 50+ community choir that centers on building musicianship and vocal fundamentals as well as creating a community of voices who just love to sing. This chorus is part of the University of Delaware’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, open to adults ages 50 and over. The OLLI Chorus is a 75-voice four-part choral group for experienced singers who meet at least twice a week preparing for end-of-semester performances on campus and out in the community. Members of the choir include career retirees from the military and members of the medical, business, industrial manufacturing and performing arts fields. Of course, most are grandparents – the most important profession of all!

The OLLI Chorus sings for the residents of many retirement communities, regularly opens the December series of Brown Bag Luncheon Concerts on the first Friday of December, and this past spring performed as part of the annual Dover Days Celebration.

The mission of OLLI is to enjoy classes, teach, exchange ideas and travel for intellectual development, cultural stimulation, personal growth and social interaction in an academic cooperative by its members, who volunteer their time and talents. Making music together fosters caring for one another, new friendships, finding others who enjoy the performing arts, and meeting other adults who are supportive and encouraging in each other’s goals as a part of this performing ensemble.

Over the 20+ years of its existence, the OLLI Chorus has had four conductors. Mrs. Janet Spengler-Miller, the current music director, has served since 2014. During her 35-year music teaching career she has taught in Pennsylvania, New York, New Mexico, Maryland, and Delaware. She earned her Bachelor of Science in music education at Lebonon Valley College and her Master of Science in choral music at Towson University. In addition to teaching, she was the founder and director of the Diamond State Choraliers, an adult community choir, and taught applied piano at Wesley College. She served as President of the Delaware Music Educators Association and Teacher Chair of the Commission for Curriculum Standards in the Performing and Visual Arts for all Delaware students. In 2002 she was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award, given by the DMEA, and the Jesse Ball duPont Award, given by the Delaware Symphony, for her state-wide contributions to the arts and specifically the field of music education.

Regarding the importance of adult community choirs, Mrs. Spengler-Miller says:

“Keeping one’s brain busy solving new musical challenges is invigorating, pleasurable, satisfying, and necessary to maintain health. Being aware of the attributes of the aging brain, the repertoire through the years for the chorus included music that many had learned in their youth, vocal standards, American folk songs, classical standards, the Great American Songbook favorites, as well as contemporary selections from new composers.”

“It is always true that the capacity of our brains to remember music from long ago helps those with serious memory issues to relate, to socialize, to feel some self-worth and pride in their accomplishments. As their music director it is worth all the planning and rehearsal time to see the sheer enjoyment and love of music wash over their faces as we perform a piece that is meaningful and that we have worked together to perfect musically.”

“As current research shows, to stay healthy in the senior years, one must stay active. Keeping our brains busy solving new musical challenges is invigorating, pleasurable, satisfying, and necessary to maintain health. The camaraderie that I get to observe among the four vocal sections is gratifying and worth all of the hard work of the selection of appropriate music and teaching the various technical skills in order to perform well.”

Carol Nile of Chesapeake City is the piano accompanist for the OLLI Chorus. She began studying the piano at age seven and has been accompanying her entire adult life. In addition to teaching middle school music, she has always been involved in church music as an organist, pianist, and/or choir director. Carol is also the piano accompanist for the Delaware Women’s Choir which recently returned from their European tour.

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