Rob Gardner’s “Joseph Smith the Prophet”

I am a listener of Steven Kapp Perry’s excellent podcast The Cricket and Seagull Fireside Chat, and I was excited to hear his recent interview with Rob Gardner, someone who I hadn’t heard of before.  Gardner is performing his presentation of “Joseph Smith the Prophet” with a 300 voice choir, orchestra, and soloists on April 25 and 26th, 2008 (Friday and Saturday).  I was impressed with the clips included in the podcast, and wish I lived in Utah so I could attend the performance (which is free if you order tickets at lds.org/events).

I also noticed that you can purchase sheet music of Rob Gardner’s arrangements at his nonprofit organization’s website, Spire Music. I’m not currently a ward choir director anymore, but if I were and I had a budget, I would definitely be interested in looking into these arrangements more.

31 March 2008 at 10:56 pm 1 comment

A Choir Reality Show

I just saw this announcement at NBC’s website. This is definitely a first — kind of American Idol meets Ward Choir.

CLASH OF THE CHOIRS

Two-Hour Premiere, Monday, December 17 ( 8/7c ) , then airing Tuesday, December 18 ( 8/7c ), Wednesday, December 19 ( Special Two-Hours, 8 /7c ) with the final competition on Thursday, December 20 (8 /7c )

‘CLASH OF THE CHOIRS’ JOINS THE NBC HOLIDAY LINEUP WITH A LIVE FOUR-NIGHT MUSICAL EVENT – In an exciting four-night event series, “Clash of the Choirs,” will follow five celebrity artists back to their hometowns to assemble an amateur choir and prepare them to compete live in studio for the title of America’s best choir. From December 17-20 the show will feature music genres ranging from current pop hits to holiday classics and the choir hopefuls will be judged each night by viewers watching at home.

UPDATE 12/8

The show now has a website: http://www.nbc.com/Clash_of_the_Choirs/

Hmmm – looks like it is going to be really pop-py.

3 November 2007 at 5:48 pm 2 comments

New discoveries

http://www.irvnelsonmusic.com – More excellent free arrangements. You can hear a recording of Silent Night at his website of his arrangement. I wish I had discovered it a little earlier this year! The arrangement would be appropriate for sacrament meeting. Good stuff.

23 December 2006 at 11:59 am 2 comments

Abide with Me at Ward Conference

Last week we sang David Naylor’s arrangement of Abide with Me at our Ward Conference. The a’capella verse (second) has some nice harmonies that are a little adventurous without pushing the boundaries. We had a great turnout for the performance and I was quite pleased with how it sounded. If we could just get that many people coming every week to rehearsal! We rehearsed briefly before our 9:00 Sacrament Meeting at 8:30 AM, and the calls one of our choir stalwarts made the night before paid off; we had about 20 singers.

It does make me wonder though if it is frustrating to the choir members who attend rehearsals faithfully. I think in some ways they are glad to get the extra voices along side them, although even with the boost they do carry the weight with their familiarity with the music. Sometimes I wonder if instituting a “no performing unless you attend rehearsal at least one or two weeks ahead” might boost rehearsal attendance. However, I haven’t been willing to risk the other possibility: that our choir ends up being more like a quintet at the performance.

Does requiring a level of attendance at rehearsals help? For some people (the ringers) I know they can come in and perform last minute, but I wonder if this actually contributes to non-attendance at rehearsals.

25 September 2006 at 7:42 am Leave a comment

Hymn arrangements I’d like our choir to sing

Ronald Staheli's SATB arrangement of Awake Ye Saints of God Awake.

David R. Naylor's SATB arrangement of Abide with Me. (audio)

more to come…

13 June 2006 at 10:09 am 10 comments

The Merrill Bradshaw archive

nice website at BYU about LDS composer Merrill Bradshaw. It features sections on His Life, His Music, and His Words. He wrote an a cappella piece set to the text of the Articles of Faith as well as many other excellent LDS religious works. Here is a picture of him at the piano with my grandfather, Ralph Laycock (who is standing at the left).

23 February 2006 at 2:03 pm 2 comments

Ralph Woodward and Church Choral Music

In 1975, Ralph Woodward, Professor of Music and Choral Director at BYU, wrote an essay titled Choral Music in the Church. Woodward gives guidelines and sets standards for selecting choral music for use in sacred services, such as sacrament meeting. The three page article is worth reading.

At the end of the essay I was excited to see his recommendation for an Easter Cantata, The Seven Last Words of Christ, by Heinrich Schutz. I have been thinking about what the choir could do for Easter. I found an SATB arrangement of Seven Last Words at SheetMusic Plus and ordered a couple of copies to look over.

Woodward’s essay was part of a unique 1975 issue of Dialogue that was all about music in the Church. There are some other interesting articles I plan on reading. One interesting bit of history I gleaned was that, during the passing of the sacrament, the organist used to play music. In “The Future of Music in the Church” Reid Nibley describes his memories of this in his childhood.

What is your ward choir planning to do for Easter Sunday?

20 February 2006 at 12:21 am 1 comment

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