You might find the site a bit tricky to navigate since much of it is Dutch (Flemish). However, even if travel isn’t in your plans, it’s nice to know what others are up to in the sacred music world.
Interestingly, this festival always has a South Korean presence. And if you visit the site of the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music, you will find a considerable number of Korean students. What is the relationship there? Is chant more popular than guitar music in Korean Catholic circles? And why are the singers predominantly women? Why does life present so many questions?
Stop wasting your time with Solitaire or Death of the Galaxy (I just made that one up)!
Sharpen your ear and/or your smarts with Theta Music Trainer. I like to think I’m a pretty smart cookie. Well, I’m tuning up my rusty interval recognition – and feeling like the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz.
There are a zillion games and a wonderful way to take a break from whatever you’re really supposed to be doing and still be able to justify it.
September lies in wait after August. It’s time to think about the singing that lies ahead, whether you’re in front of the choir or in front of the director.
And what’s a rehearsal without a warm-up?
The ascending five-note warm-up is the old grey mare in the singer/director/s stable!
Remember your first voice placement screening? Indeed, most of us start on a comfortable low note and go up by half-steps until the some alto puts her foot down or our own voice gives out.
Well, as many of us get ready for the fall choir season, why not try something new! Instead of going up and then down.
GO DOWN AND THEN UP!
And if that isn’t heretical enough, instead of working your way up by half-steps,
GO DOWN BY HALF-STEPS!
This is much easier on the voice. Singers inevitably associate rising pitches with stress and start tightening and squeezing every available muscle Just keep it light and easy, musical and pleasing.
After you’ve gone down for a while, go back to the starting point and go up. The pattern is still five DOWN and back up. Your basses and altos will love you, even if the sopranos and tenors have to hold off on their soaring. You and your singers will be more relaxed, especially if no one has been doing much singing over a summer break.
Remember, warm-ups should be easy and relaxed whether performed in the shower (where I sound magnificent!), in the car (where I focus on the relaxation aspect), or in a rehearsal.
So, stand your warm-up on its head! I promise you’ll love it.
In some parts of the world, May seems like a long time coming. Here’s an amusing performance of Praetorious’ Philou. Enjoy it as a pleasant reminder of the secular that ran alongside the sacred, which we sometimes forget. And a celebration of multi-tracking, if that’s your pleasure.
I’m not a great reader of sermons. (Actually, not a great listener either.) However, Fr. Cipolla of St. Mary’s, Norwalk, Connecticut provides a lovely meditation on the risks and rewards of beauty in the search of truth and goodness.
It’s over at Rorate Caeli and is definitely worth a read by those who love fine liturgy and music.
Many thanks to Fr. Cipolla, a man who always knows what he’s talking about.