The name Eric Whitacre is sure to turn heads anywhere musicians gather. While he is a composer of choral music first, his wide range of talents has enabled him to travel the world, writing music for different ensembles and performing with people from all walks of life.
You have decided on the trip, made all the preparations, and your students and parent groups have been hard at work raising the funds to ensure that every student can participate. Now it is time to choose the repertoire that you will be presenting.
Night of Miracles… Joy Comes in the Morning… Friends… It’s Cool in the Furnace… Celebrate Life… and the list could go on. Hopefully, you’re acquainted with or have experienced first-hand some or all of these now-classic musicals written by giants of church music. In my personal experience, the musical, or cantata, played a major role in my development as a church musician, writer, and then publisher.
Mary Lynn Lightfoot’s musical life started in the town of Canton, Missouri, where she began taking piano lessons at the age of four. As she grew up, she often played the piano for her church when the organist was away over the summer. Music helped to shape her life through high school, where she continued learning in both the band and choir. By the time she graduated, she had become so proficient that she received an instrumental scholarship to Truman State University (formerly Northeast Missouri State) for French horn.
Concert season is right around the corner and, chances are, you have been preparing for it since your last concert ended. You spent the summer looking at repertoire and the fall teaching it to your students. Now, it is time to prepare for the big night. At Pepper, we pride ourselves on helping our customers in any way we can. With that in mind, we have compiled three blogs aimed at helping you with your final concert preparations.
Look around your music room. Is anything missing? If your students are sitting cross-legged on the floor amidst piles of music, there might be some things you need. Even if they’re not, every music room needs furniture items like chairs, music cabinets, podiums and more.
Standing in the St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Hanover, Pennsylvania, it is not difficult to see how the beauty of religious devotion can inspire someone like Lloyd Larson to create such splendid choral pieces. Indeed, Larson considers himself a product of the church his family attended while growing up in Illinois.
Traveling with your school ensemble can be a wonderful experience for your students and your program. It can help deepen the social ties within your ensemble and it can help grow your program. It is also a marvelous and fun way for the director to receive some important musical feedback and observations from exceptional clinicians and adjudicators—something that is usually missing during classroom observations.
Listening to a master speak about their craft is one of the most enlightening experiences one can have. That was the thinking behind Pepper’s video interview series, The Inside Voice. Our place in the music community gives us the opportunity to speak with many of the best known and most beloved musicians active today. We realized the best way to use this opportunity was to share it with our customers.
No discussion of sacred and church choral music is complete without including the works of composer Joel Raney. Raney’s contribution to sacred music is widely celebrated by choir members and directors. His career has ranged from national tours of Broadway productions, to sacred cantatas, to TV and radio commercial jingles.