Posted on June 19, 2012 by Michael
I just returned from a trip to Minneapolis, MN, where I enjoyed a choral mountaintop experience. The source of the experience was the 35th Annual Conference of Chorus America, an absolutely phenomenal organization which offers support and encouragement to choruses around the country, especially those in the nonprofit classification. I am always enriched and revitalized when I attend these conferences, but was especially affected this year. This was because the conference was in Minnesota, home of some of the finest choirs in the country. A number of these choirs sang at the conference and I was enthralled by their performances which exhibited exemplary artistry and commitment to the choral art. The following ensembles were, in my mind, some of the finest I’ve heard in recent years – VocalEssence Ensemble Singers, Magnum Chorum, The Singers, Cantus, and The Rose Ensemble. Each group has its own unique sound and approach to choral music. If you haven’t heard them you owe it to yourself to check them out.
So today I offer my heartfelt thanks and appreciation to these groups, and others like them, that take us to choral mountaintops. May their numbers increase.
Filed under: Choral experiences | Tagged: Cantus, Chorus America, Magnum Chorum, Minneapolis, The Rose Ensemble, The Singers, VocalEssence | Leave a Comment »
Posted on June 30, 2011 by Michael
I just read an interesting statistic from Chorus America, a fantastic organization that offers support to all kinds of choruses, but especially community choirs. Chorus America shared that there are more American choral singers than there are residents of California, and the population of that enormous state is over 37,000,000. When you think about, that’s an amazing number! In school and university choruses, church choirs, community ensembles, and many other types of choral groups, over 37,000,000 people are gathering on a regular basis to lift their voices in song.
It seems to me this is a statistic worth celebrating. It also makes me wonder what it is that prompts so many people to sing in a group. I know many of the reasons, having heard them from singers through the years, but I’m especially interested in hearing from the readership of this blog. What are some of your most memorable choral experiences and what keeps you involved in choral singing?
Filed under: Choral experiences | Tagged: American choral Singers, choral singing, Chorus America, choruses | 3 Comments »
Posted on June 15, 2011 by Michael
Well, I finally broke down and bought an iPad 2. While I haven’t yet started using it (just got it last night), I’m looking forward to entering the iPad world. I did the same thing with my iPhone a couple of years ago and have enjoyed it thoroughly (constantly discovering interesting new apps), and even a couple of years prior to that when I started loading my CD collection on my iPod (I could listen 24/7 and still not be finished a year from now!)
I’d been considering the purchase of an iPad for several weeks and a recent trip to the annual Chorus America Conference in San Francisco helped “push me over the edge!” I saw many conference attendees using iPads to take notes, view videos, share apps, and assorted other activities that helped enhance their conference experience. I heard discussions about how there might be a time in the future when our choral singers will have all their music on an iPad, or some form of electronic tablet. Not so many years ago, such an idea would have been unthinkable, and now it appears all this could be just around the corner.
There are many folks already exploring fascinating and creative ways to use electronic media to improve our choral music experience, and I know you could do a much better job than I at writing this blog. I therefore invite you now to share some of your ideas, either of things already being done (and the apps that perhaps make them possible), or dreams you may have of how technology could be used in the future. I’m listening!
Filed under: Choral experiences | Tagged: apps, choral music, Chorus America, iPad, Michael O'Neal | 8 Comments »
Posted on June 23, 2009 by Michael
Chorus America is a national organization that supports the work of choral groups (especially independent choruses) around the country. The Michael O’Neal Singers has been a proud member of Chorus America for many years. In 2009 Chorus America commissioned a study of the impact of choruses and choral singing in our American life. There were four key findings:
Finding #1 – Choral singing continues to be the most popular form of participation in the performing arts. There are an estimated 32.5 million adults regularly singing in choruses today and 42.6 million Americans overall (including children).
Finding #2 – Adults who sing in choruses are remarkably good citizens. Chorus members are avid patrons of the arts, they volunteer significantly more frequently than the general public, they contribute much more financially to philanthropic organizations than the average American, and they exhibit greater civic leadership than their fellow Americans.
Finding #3 – Children who sing in choruses have academic success and valuable life skills. Children who sing in choruses get significantly better grades in school, they are more likely to possess qualities conducive to learning and development, e.g., good memory, good practice and homework habits, and high levels of creativity, and finally, they are better team players and have more advanced social skills.
Finding #4 – The decline in choral singing opportunities for children and youth is a key area for concern. More than one in four educators say there is no choir program in their schools and one in five parents say there are no choir opportunities for their children in their communities.
Obviously, the first three findings are excellent news for those of us who love choral music, while the fourth finding is distressing, especially in light of the first three. I would encourage everyone who cares about the future of choral music to spread the information obtained from this study. It provides an opportunity to express pride in the impact of the choral artistic effort, and also gives a chance to encourage actions that will foster choral growth for generations to come. A copy of the full Chorus Impact Study is available from Chorus America at www.chorusamerica.org.
Filed under: Choral experiences | Tagged: choral music, choral singing, choral survey, Chorus America, The Michael O'Neal Singers | Leave a Comment »