Thursday, November 12, 2015

Union Singers and Union Harmony perform at Knox Central High School

On Wednesday, November 11th the Union Singers and Union Harmony had the privilege of singing at Knox Central High School. I could not be more pleased with their attention to phrasing, beauty of tone, and overall musicality. We have been paying particular attention to depth of tone and it revealed itself in their performance at Knox Central. The Knox Central High School Choir also did a stellar job of singing for us! We had a great time visiting with members of the Knox Central choir and their gifted conductor, Eddie Campbell!  (Our next performance is at Barbourville Nursing Home on Monday, November 30th)
Union Singers (it seems I am always adjusting my stand!)
Union Harmony

Thursday, October 15, 2015

State of the Union Choral Program

I am blessed with a great job! For the first time in many years all freshmen must take a fine arts course (I love having the opportunity to engage with so many freshmen), every fall I teach music for elementary school teachers (they are engaging, highly organized :-) and are also having a grand time learning how to play the recorder! Ha!). My voice students are progressing nicely, two voice students (Alexandra Estes and Cody Sizemore) will present a recital on November 19.

If all of that was not enough, I have the privilege of directing three fabulous choirs! Although it is only the middle of October, I have already written a "countdown" on the board listing how many rehearsals we have between now and the Christmas Festival (as well as other upcoming performances). The choir members often tease me about my countdown, but it keeps us all on track and mindful of what we need to accomplish by the time the performances roll around.

Our upcoming choir performances are listed below.  

•On October 25th Union Harmony will sing at the joint Homecoming Service at First United Methodist Church in Barbourville.

•November 11th the Union Singers and Union Harmony will be going to Knox Central High School! We will sing a few pieces for their choir and in turn they will sing for us. We will also have time to mingle, if you will, and hopefully recruit some singers!

•December 2nd the Union Singers and Union Harmony will sing in the Atrium of Sharp Academic Center. The Atrium is so beautifully decorated at that time of the year and the mini concert has become a tradition we all look forward to.

•The major concert of the semester is the Christmas Festival, which will be held on Saturday, December 5th at 8:00 PM in Conway Bowman Chapel. The Regional Chorus, Union Singers and Union Harmony will all sing pieces individually and jointly. We will also (as always) have at least two audience sing-alongs of familiar carols.

•The final performance of the semester will be held on Thursday, December 10 (the last day of finals) at the Ugly Mug Coffee House at 7 PM. Harmony sang there on Valentine's Day last year and had a great time!!

There is much preparation ahead of us and yet so much to look forward to -- I love it and I love my hard-working, talented, dedicated singers!

Please enjoy some candid choir rehearsal photos posted below. Oh, and be sure to mark your calendars!
Union Singers and Harmony
Regional Chorus

Men of Regional Chorus (most of them)
Union Singers and Harmony
Regional Chorus

Monday, September 28, 2015

I Was Blogging and Found . . .

Eighth post in the series

I was drawn to this article for two reasons: I enjoy Ligonier Connect and "Louisville, KY" caught my eye. It is a brief article about the role of music in worship. Make no mistake, I am a lover of music and am mindful of its vital role in worship; however, as I have said on numerous occasions, music should serve the text: the word is supreme.

I am not a fan of the designation "Worship Leader" as it is often used in our churches today to describe the role of the music director. The article linked below addresses these issues and more.


Friday, August 14, 2015

Announcing Union Harmony 2015-2016

On campus auditions for Union Harmony are typically held during the spring, with additional auditions held in the summer, as needed. Veteran members of the group are required to re-audition, so there is no “resting on your laurels” so to speak! It is a vigorous process. Singers had to sing a solo melody, sing their part (soprano, alto, tenor, bass) in a quartet, and sing scales in the range of the voice part for which they were auditioning.  I want to thank everyone who auditioned for this year’s group!

Members of Union Harmony 2015-2016 are: Katelyn Snelling (soprano), Kelli Hensley (soprano), Alexandra Estes (soprano), Maggie Watkins (alto), Jessica Boggs (alto), John Patrick (JP) White (tenor), Cody Sizemore (tenor), Jorge Jackson (bass), and Justin Matlock (bass).

Jorge (a bass) is new to the group this year and one alto, Jessica Boggs, is also new.  It is not common for a freshman to make Union Harmony, but Jessica is an exceptional singer from Corbin, with whom I have had contact with throughout the year.

Congratulations to all!  As always, I am looking forward to working with both Union Harmony and the Union Singers! If you happen to see one of these singers in the upcoming weeks, be sure to offer your congratulations!

Let the singing commence!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Summertime, Summertime, Sum-Sum-Summertime!

I hope all are enjoying the warmth (currently hot!) of summer. Although it is still early and the beginning of fall classes is more than a month and a half away, we will "blink" and it will be upon us. With this in mind, I am finalizing membership in Union Harmony 2015-2016 and hope to make an announcement by mid to late July. Some really fine singers auditioned for Harmony, so it is a challenge and blessing at the same time to come up with the right combination of voices.

Enjoy the sun, water, beach, mountains, etc. and look for the announcement soon!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

I Was Blogging and Found . . .

Seventh Post in the Series.
I found a very interesting article on the role (or lack thereof) of the organ in many of our churches today.  The sound of an organ leading congregational singing reverberates within my soul! There is nothing like the sound of voices coming together in song, led by an organist who knows their instrument and therefore how to make the music come alive! I often lament about congregational singing and concur with the author of the article "Does the Church Organ Need to Go" (linked below).

Although I do believe some texts and music are not edifying nor appropriate for worship, good congregational singing is not necessarily about the style of music. We worship our Creator through congregational singing, so the music should serve a theologically driven text and if the singing is supported and led by the incomparable tone/character/timbre of an organ, all the better!

Enjoy the article!

Does the Church Organ Need to Go by Mark Harland

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Spring Concert: Haydn's "Te Deum in C Major"

[Please take a moment to look over my blog’s new look and layout.  I have refreshed the look, feel, and functionality of the blog and look forward to offering posts for a 6th year]

Photo of Esterhazá, residence of the Esterházy family

The centerpiece of this year’s Spring Concert is Franz Joseph Haydn’s Te Deum in C Major. The Te Deum text is a standard and well-known text, which has been set to music by countless composers through the centuries, even unto today. Haydn was an Austrian composer who spent most of his career working for a family of Hungarian Princes, the Esterházy family. He was a contemporary of Mozart and once (briefly) gave lessons to Beethoven.  Joseph Haydn was quite a prolific composer of chamber, orchestral and choral works.

Haydn’s Te Deum in C Major is a short work of about eight or nine minutes (depending upon the desired tempo) and is in three, seamless sections or one might say, movements. The exhilarating opening and closing allegro sections surround a slower, contrasting movement, which offers a much needed repose.

It is a challenging piece, with its many interwoven musical lines and overlapping thematic material. All three of Union’s choirs will come together to sing this exciting work.  It will go by quickly, too quickly for my taste considering not only the majestic nature of the work, but also because of all the many hours the choirs will put into learning it!!

The program will also include numerous shorter (octavo in length) works, which will compliment Haydn’s Te Deum.

Please use the following link to view and listen to a recording of this work.  And don’t forget to put 
Tuesday, April 21st on your calendar.  The concert begins at 8:00 p.m. in Conway Boatman Chapel and is free and open to the public.