Our music: How our choir prepares
(Posted April 13, 2017)
I want to thank both Stephen Dickson and the choir for their musical presentations this past Sunday. I am so lucky to have such a talented number of singers. I don’t believe many music directors in our area have the benefit of such talent. The choir members have rehearsed many hours preparing music for Sunday morning services, especially for Palm and Easter Sundays. I would like to mention the process for preparing these anthems.
When rehearsing anthems with the choir many musical elements are taken into consideration. We first work on learning notes. If you have ever experienced some hymn melodies that are hard to sing, just imagine struggling with the melody as three other people, all around you, are singing three different parts. So learning notes is one thing, but singing with other people who sing different notes makes it even more challenging.
Next we practice the rhythms of notes followed by the actual tempo of the piece. We mix in blending, pitch, phrasing, crescendos and decrescendos to make the song meaningful. Good pronunciation is expected at all times. All these elements are essential components for a piece to be meaningful. Sometimes one or more of the elements may be missing for whatever reason, as we are all human and this is a live performance.
In addition, placement of the choir – where they stand and next to whom – can also make a difference taking into consideration the instrument chosen to accompany the choir which varies from piano, organ or other. With all that said, we are all still amateurs who do the best we can.
I finally want to say that one of all these elements may not sound right to you on a particular day. So if something doesn’t sound just right to you it is ok to tell me. I am always open to criticism – especially if the organ, speaker system or piano is too soft or too loud. Pronunciation is very important because a pretty song or an exciting song doesn’t send the message if one doesn’t understand the words. So feel free to let me know your thoughts –positive/negative. I want to thank those of you who have passed along your opinions because as it has been said, “sometimes you can’t see the forest through the trees...”
As for the volume of the organ, I try to vary it knowing that some like the softer tones while others enjoy the beauty of the larger pipes and systems. My choices also take into consideration the texture of the hymn, anthem or instrumental selection.
I am excited to tell you that the music for this Easter’s Service will include our church school children playing the handbells for the Prelude, the choir singing several anthems, and the Annual singing of Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus with the help of the congregation who will be invited up to the choir loft. Music scores will be provided at that time. Preservice music will be a collection of favorite organ selections and should begin 20 minutes prior to the service.
May 6, at 1 p.m., the Children’s Community Chorus will be performing their spring concert titled “Make a Difference” – a celebration of good will. Please plan on supporting the chorus.
The next scheduled Jazz Sunday is April 23, 2017.
Joy and Celebration through music,