Posted on July 28, 2011 by Michael
The Amalfi Coast Music Festival in Italy recently hosted 31 participants from The Michael O’Neal Singers in a week of wonderful concerts, food, wine, and amazing scenery. We sang for full houses in two beautiful spaces – the Chiesa di San Francesco in Maiori and the Cattedrale dell’Abbazia Benedettina in Cava De’ Tirreni (an Abbey celebrating its 1000th anniversary this year). Each of these extraordinary churches was located in equally amazing locations. The Chiesa di San Francesco directly overlooks the beautiful water of the Amalfi Coast and the Cattedrale dell’Abbazia Benedettina is nestled in the beautiful hills of the Salerno region.
The wondrous time we were able to spend making beautiful music in beautiful spaces and locales made me wonder about some of the memorable concert venues others have experienced. I’d love to hear you share some of the favorite spaces and locations for concerts you’ve performed or heard.
Filed under: Choral experiences | Tagged: Amalfi Coast, italy, The Michael O'Neal Singers | 3 Comments »
Posted on July 13, 2011 by Michael
The BBC Music Magazine has recently been soliciting nominations via Twitter for the most boring classical music. It has resulted in some interesting, and sometimes surprising, suggestions. It made me wonder what pieces we choral musicians most prefer NOT to sing. I’m not offering any titles because I don’t want to color the discussion in any way. So let’s hear from you. What is it that you really can’t stand to sing or hear? This could be fun!
Filed under: Choral experiences | Tagged: BBC Music Magazine, Choral musicians, twitter | 14 Comments »
Posted on July 5, 2011 by Michael
At the upcoming Summer Conference of Georgia ACDA (American Choral Directors Association) I will have the distinct privilege of conducting a chorus of over one hundred singers in the final session of the Conference. It is a chorus formed especially for this conference and is comprised of adult singers from community and church choirs around the state. Called the Lifetime Singers Lifetime Learners Choir, it is an excellent reminder that singing is something we can and should do all our lives. I was a university choral director for nearly the first two decades of my career and I experienced enormous satisfaction working with young, talented and motivated students. The last two decades of my life have been spent working primarily with adult singers and I must say that while I first missed the challenge and intellectual stimulation that had been part of my university environment, I quickly discovered that directing adult singers could be an equally satisfying experience. I believe this is due to a number of reasons, but especially the following three:
1. Adult singers participate completely out of a personal desire to do so (there are neither parents nor grades serving as motivation).
2. Adult singers have the advantage of life and work experiences to help them appreciate the fulfillment choral participation can provide.
3. Adult singers (at their best) have a tremendous desire to learn and stretch themselves, both musically and intellectually.
Currently, my youngest adult singer is about 20 and my oldest adult singer is about 92. That would seem to suggest that singing is truly an activity for all the ages!
Filed under: Choral experiences | Tagged: ACDA, Adult singers, Lifetime Singers Lifetime Learners | Leave a Comment »
Posted on July 2, 2011 by Michael
When we think of patriotic songs for July 4th most of us come up with favorites such as America, the Beautiful; God Bless America; My Country ‘Tis of Thee; and Battle Hymn of the Republic. While I agree that these are all wonderful pieces, there is another lesser known patriotic piece that is at the top of my personal list. It is This Is My Song, sung to the Jean Sibelius tune FINLANDIA. I believe it speaks to me in such a profound way because it reminds me that love of country is not unique to citizens of the United States of America. A deep affection for one’s homeland is something felt by people throughout the world, and the text to This Is My Song, written by Lloyd Stone in 1934, beautifully expresses this universal truth:
This is my song, O God of all the nations,
a song of peace for lands afar and mine.
This is my home, the country where my heart is;
here are my hopes, my dreams, my holy shrine;
but other hearts in other lands are beating
with hopes and dreams as true and high as mine.
My country’s skies are bluer than the ocean
and sunlight beams on cloverleaf and pine;
but other lands have sunlight too, and clover,
and skies are everywhere as blue as mine.
O hear my song, thou God of all the nations,
a song of peace for their land and for mine.
These words help me remember that I am not only a citizen of the USA, but also of the world. As such, I wish for all the peoples of the world freedom, justice and happiness.
Filed under: Choral experiences | Tagged: Finlandia, Lloyd Stone, Michael O'Neal, Patriotic music, Sibelius, This is My Song | 1 Comment »