Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Music for June

Here are the recent recordings we've made of some of the music we will be featuring at our performance at Fredricka Manor on June 19th.

Holy is the Lord - Jeffery Ames

Holy is the Lord by MusicMinistryFUMCCV

Rock of Ages - Michael Cox
(Also being done on Sunday, June 24th)
Rock of Ages by MusicMinistryFUMCCV

My Lord, What a Morning - arr. Michael Neaum
My Lord, What a Morning by MusicMinistryFUMCCV

Thursday, April 19, 2012


The recording of our "rough" (as in draft, not bad) of the Schubert Psalm 23.

Psalm 23 rough run by MusicMinistryFUMCCV

This is a version of the Ohio State University Women's Choir singing it in German

Here is our recording of "Rock of Ages" that I posted earlier in the week.

Rock of Ages by MusicMinistryFUMCCV

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Recordings from April 2nd

Below are the recordings from our session on April 2nd. If there were multiple takes I chose the better one to post. I am interested in your perspectives on these recordings.

My Lord, What a Morning by MusicMinistryFUMCCV

Ave Verum - Michael Sitton by MusicMinistryFUMCCV

The Lord is risen this morning by MusicMinistryFUMCCV

Monday, April 2, 2012

Resources for the Schubert

A friend of mine, Erick the Malto, recently pointed me to an online resource for choral parts and sure enough the Schubert SSAA version of Psalm 23 is available!


Sheet music:

The bummer is that the recording is in German (sort of), I'd be interested in your feedback once you take a listen!

Monday, March 19, 2012

NewMusicBox » A Helpful List (of Women Composers)

NewMusicBox » A Helpful List

This article appears on the website which as you might guess specializes in the work of living composers. The list spurs important conversation about female composers that are active today and has already generated some response articles on the website.

It would be interesting to see your response if you have the time to investigate some of these composers or others profiled on this website. The scope of "new" (for us anything written in the last 50 years or so) is so far off from what is going on in serious (classical) music that it would be surprising if we did anything that made it to their list. This might spur a whole conversation about "traditional" church music and it's connection to current culture.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

New Anthems

Just got some of the music I ordered and I am beyond excited, feels like Christmas and I wanted to share what we got.

Song of Ruth - David Childs
I have been a fan of David's music for quite some time and met him last year at the American Choral Directors Convention in Chicago where he was conducting the Highland Park United Methodist Church choir in the beautiful Rockefeller "chapel". Really nice guy and a fantastic composer.
You can listen to a better recording of this piece on the publisher's website: Santa Barbara Music

Nada te Turbe - Joan Szymko
This piece came onto my radar because it fit three categories that I'm always on the lookout for; female composer, in Spanish and uses Cello. The text is beautiful and while the piece will give us enough of a challenge to keep us busy.
I found a better video for this one but there you can also listen to it on the publisher's website: Santa Barbara Publishing

Festival Sanctus - John Leavitt
This is a piece often done by school choirs for festivals and was recently arranged for treble voices by the composer. The video features the "mixed" choir version.

Sometimes I Hear God's Music - Joseph M. Martin
Not the greatest recording, although not a bad performance. (No we will not be wearing those outfits)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The scope of choral music.

In the realm of music available to us today, choral music seems like a rather narrow field. Within that scope, sacred choral music is a tiny niche and yet there is so much diversity of styles within our art.

I certainly draw inspiration from this video, though I don't advocate that we try to replicate it.

On the other end of the spectrum of end of the choral music spectrum is this rather esoteric piece written by contemporary composer Libby Larsen for the San Fransisco Girls Chorus. It is challenging to say the least but inspiring and thrilling at the same time.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Female Composers

This article recently appeared in the Guardian UK.
You may read the article in it's original version here

Why there are so few female composers

Women who write music are still far outnumbered by their male peers. We need to address this inequality. Here's how
anna meredith
Classical composer Anna Meredith. Photograph: David Levene
I hate the old adage that creative work from women and men comes from a different place; you know, that lasses are writing music inspired only by the sea/Japanese court love poetry/constellations (delete as appropriate) whereas men only write forward-thrusting, rhythmic, dynamic scores. In the same way that Kathryn Bigelow can direct a movie about sweaty men blowing each other up in Iraq, women can write driving, funky bombasts (see Anna Meredith and Tansy Davies). Orlando Gough wrote a one-woman opera based in a domestic setting, and I've performed plenty of beautiful, melodic delicacies composed by chaps. Everyone is different. Everyone writes different sorts of music. Enough said.

But is there a gender gap in the music industry? Well yes. The facts are clear: 14% of the PRS for Music Foundation's (the Performing Rights Society of composers, songwriters and music publishers) members are female. In the BBC Proms 2011, three out of 11 new commissions were from female composers (with a further one in 10 of other significant premieres). The British Composer Awards did have a bumper season in 2010, with half the number of winners being female, though it seems this might have been an anomaly: in 2011, there were six female composers out of 43 nominated.

I don't believe there's a cabal of grunting old men in darkened, smoky rooms putting big crosses over scores submitted by ladies. I've never felt discriminated against in the slightest, so rest assured I am not setting fire to my piano to rage against the dying of the light. It's simply true to say that there are more professional male music creators than female out there. For some reason, it's taking a lot longer than in literature and the visual arts to reach equilibrium. It was deemed (just about) acceptable by the 19th century for female writers to be published, yet it's only in the last couple of decades that female composers have really emerged, blinking, out of their garrets and into publishing houses and record label offices; so, without a little helping hand, there might be a long way to go yet.

So wherefore the imbalance? Look a little further down the chain, and you'll consistently see more eager male teenage composers than female; there's a real dropping-off in confidence in teenage girls to compose. At Junior Trinity – a Saturday school for talented young musicians where I teach – there are more female students than male, but only a third of students studying composition are girls.
At an all-girls' school workshop I ran recently, the music teacher said it was brilliant for the students to see, with their own eyes, a real live professional female composer. At GCSE and A-level, the classical composers studied in set works are almost exclusively male. And white. Oh, and dead. It's glaringly obvious: if girls are presented with examples of successful female creators in all genres, they might view composition as a viable profession for themselves.

Positive prejudice goes some way to helping this. Last year, the PRS for Music Foundation, looking at their alarming statistics, decided to do something about it, funding 28 projects through their Women Make Music scheme (including me, with a project on British birds in folklore. ). And today, UK Music launched their Equality & Diversity charter, encouraging organisations, businesses and individuals to commit to two or more actions to help improve equality and diversity in 2012.

No doubt some people would say this is political correctness gone mad. They're wrong. These are great initiatives – not just for women, of course, but – in UK Music's case – for people of different ethnic backgrounds and for people with disabilities.

We need, however, to address the inequality at the nub: those writing the curriculum, the National Music Plan, and teachers at all levels should make an effort to use examples of music by women in the classroom; to promote composition as a living, breathing, utterly unisex profession.

There would be no greater achievement for me and my female peers to see that we've inspired more girls to follow a similar path – but it's down to educators, programmers and organisations to help.
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