During his childhood, Philadelphia CBS 3 news reporter Ukee Washington was a member of the Philadelphia Boys Choir. A few months ago Ukee and the Philadelphia Boys Choir were ask to sing God Bless America at a Phillies National League Championship baseball game — but as most of us know, the Phillies were eliminated before that could happen.
Mark January 8, 2012 on your calendar! It’s time to show our appreciation to church musicians everywhere! Join people nationwide in thanking the good folks in your church who share their musical talents with you every week.
“Happiness is singing in the choir!” ~ Charles M. Schulz
Don’t Stop Believin’, Jump, Somebody to Love, Sweet Caroline, Can’t Fight This Feeling — these songs have two things in common:
- They have all been performed on the hit television show Glee
- They are all featured in J.W. Pepper’s 2010-2011 Editors’ Choice choral series.
I took some time today to listen to some of the incredible arrangements that have emerged in the newest recordings and found myself pondering the significance of shows such as High School Musical and Glee from a music education standpoint.
I read that a poll by the National Association for Music Education this past February showed that 43 percent of choral directors surveyed saw an increase in interest amongst students to join their ensembles due to the popularity of Glee. I have also read several stories about students who never would have thought to audition for show choir before becoming suddenly eager to join, citing Glee as their inspiration for doing so. This made me wonder how many Pepper customers have experienced the “Glee” phenomenon and whether or not you feel it has helped not only to increase student interest, but also to garner support from school administrators and parents. Have there been any shifts in attitude toward your choral programs? Have you noticed any changes in confidence and self-esteem amongst your choir members? Have you had to explain to your students that they won’t be able to pull off a stellar rendition from the moment you pass the sheet music out to them? I would love to hear your stories and opinions on this subject. Please feel free to submit them via the Comments form below.
Click here to see a partial list of titles available from Glee.
The new Christmas musicals are in! If you perform musicals with your church choir, we offer a nice preview area for you on our website at the address jwpepper.com/musicals. We developed this special place on our site a few months ago to make it easier for music ministers to review musicals and cantatas anywhere there’s computer access. Many choir directors have told us they really like having all the new musicals in one place, and especially like being able to listen to the full-length recording and see the entire work.
In an era where The Arts seem to play…ahem… “second fiddle” to other disciplines in our schools and communities, it’s important we support educators by recognizing those who go above and beyond to support music education.
One such person is Randy Masterson of Saranac, Michigan. His story came to me from one of our customer service representatives highlighting a conversation they had while he was placing an order with us. She noted, “he is an administrator who has been volunteering his lunch hours to teach choir at the school. He is retiring this year but says that he is going to continue doing this next year, all on a volunteer basis (no pay), because he loves the kids so much and they deserve to have a music program.” Intrigued and inspired by what I had read, I picked up the phone and called him.
Randy originally began working as a counselor for Saranac Middle School. He has degrees in both choral music education and counseling, and eventually took an administrative position as school principal. He later transferred to the high school as assistant principal and counselor. While both the high school and middle school are known for their impressive band programs, no choral program existed. Last year, Randy decided to change that. For 15 minutes a day, three days a week, Randy began teaching choir to students who were willing to join him during their lunch hour. In December he and his wife Pam, who teaches elementary music, combined their efforts and put on a holiday concert consisting of 111 students, 36 from Randy’s “lunch time” choir. “It was the biggest crowd we had seen in a while,” Randy said of the audience.
Randy retired from the school this year, but will continue volunteering his time to maintain what he has started. When I asked him why it is he is doing all of this, he said “I love the kids; I want them to be able to enjoy music for a lifetime and they need positive experiences as youths in order for this to happen.”
The Saranac community is very lucky to have such an advocate for children and for music in their midst. We want to extend a heartfelt “Thank You” to Mr. Masterson as well as to all the hard-working music educators out there. You are an inspiration to us all!
Did you ever get the feeling someone is talking about you? Well, this time of year you are being talked about plenty here at Pepper.
Let’s hear it for the choir! In 2009, Chorus America published a report on the impact of choral singing in America. The Choral Impact Study is a document every director involved in the choral arts should be familiar with, as it has far-reaching implications for music in both school and community settings.
The Impact Study contains information worth sharing with music booster groups and all choral organization supporters. School boards and administrators will find valuable research supporting the fact that choir participation is closely associated with good citizenship and academic achievement.
The report is presented in clear, understandable language, and is based on sound research. As we continue celebrating Music in our Schools Month, take a moment to share this important information with others in your community to build support for your programs. Pepper supports Chorus America through membership in the organization.
Read the summary: http://tr.im/chorusimpactsummary
Read the full study: http://tr.im/chorusimpactstudy