Survey - cont. Who is on the list? Symphonic partners Commercially successful names Major “American” names Major African American names University affiliates
Who is not on the list? (many) women Not-for-profit choirs Minority groups other than African Americans Forms of music other than classical derivatives or “traditional” composition (many) youth names, groups
State of the Research After careful investigation, the American Concert Choir and Choral Foundation finds that the necessary tools for study of performance techniques and for the selection of repertoire are woefully inadequate. There has been no central agency from which advice on the organization and administration of choral groups could be obtained. - Margaret Hillis, 1948
Dedicated Resources Journals: American Choral Review, American Choral Journal (available full text – RILM), Voice of Chorus America Groups: ACDA, Chorus America, MSVMA (all w/ online presence) Authors: David DeVenney, Nick Strimple
Source Limitations Most general music survey Search under specific name or topic heading (see Crawford) Small amount on choral music proportionately Small amount on American music proportionately
Chronology 1640 - 1800 Sacred music, singing schools 1640: Bay Psalm Book 1698: 9 th edition with music 1741: Moravians settle in PA 1770: Billings’ The New England Psalm Singer (note not rote) 1794: Law’s The Art of Singing
1800 - 1900 Academic & social presence 1815: Handel & Haydn Society 1844: Original Sacred Harp 1852: first Journal of Music 1874: New York Oratorio Soc. Mendelssohn Club in Philly 1875: Paine 1 st music prof in US 1898: Bethlehem PA Bach Choir
1900 - 1960 Nat’l prof/acad/org presence 1912: St. Olaf Choir founded 1916: Waring’s Pennsylvanians 1921: Westminster Choir 1941: Shaw’s Collegiate Chorale 1959: ACDA founded Hillis named CSC director 1960s choral conduct DMA prog
1960 - present Reaching a wider community 1960s gospel choirs 1965: Chichester Psalms 1977: Chorus America 1982: GALA choirs Community outreach programs Choirs for all levels & interests
Programming Activity Do we have a responsibility as public school educators to present the full spectrum of American music to our students?
Ann Arbor, MI Choral opportunities SATB: UMS Choral Union, Ann Arbor Cantata Singers Men’s: Measure for Measure Women’s: A2 W’s Chamber Chorus LGBT: Out Loud Chorus Youth: Boychoir of A2, A2 Youth Chorale Special Interest: Sacred Harp, SPEBSQUA
Choral Performances UMS Concert Series Meadowbrook, Summer Sings Ann Arbor Summer Festival Ann Arbor Gospel Festival Ann Arbor Blues & Jazz Festival University: choirs, a capella, Glee Strong church & school prog.
Choral Composition Outside sacred sphere, very few choral (only) composers Varied body of music Varied options for composers: A capella, chorus + piano, chorus + orchestra Thompson excerpt Action item: youth choral music
Composers J.Knowles Paine Horatio Parker Amy Beach Edward MacDowell Leonard Bernstein Aaron Copland William Billings William Dawson Lukas Foss Daniel Pinkham Ned Rorem Robert Shaw Alice Parker Rand. Thompson
Contemp. Composers DeVenney – how to know if music will stand the test of time Sally Albrecht David Conte Lee Hoiby Morten Lauridsen Nick Page Eric Whitacre
“Golden Age” of choirs Small professional choirs Robert Shaw Chorale Folk arrangements Roger Wagner Chorale Dale Warland Singers Forum for new works Gregg Smith Singers Also a composer
Choral Sound St. Olaf Choir: pyramid of sound Gregg Smith Singers: transparent sound (new & early) Moses Hogan Chorale: natural, organic sound Robert Shaw Chorale: not all professional singers
Choral Programming Commercial viability “Greatest”/compilations Sacred choruses Patriotic songs Recognizable classical music “Updated” classical Vehicle for conductor/composer Niche: new/little known works
Margaret Hillis Encouraged not to be an orchestral cond. Studied with Shaw at Juilliard CSC – first professional symphony chorus Stepped in for Solti at Carnegie Founded American Choral Review “There's only one woman I know of who could never be a symphony conductor, and that's the Venus de Milo.”
Alice Parker Went to Smith College, Juilliard Hated twelve-tone composition Found own aesthetic Spare musical syntax Folk & sacred genres Composer, conductor, teacher Enrichment opportunities for mid-career professionals
Gregg Smith Singers Not-for-profit chorus Grant driven Programming implications Mission: 20 th Century new works Affiliations: Chorus America, Meet the Composer Summer Festivals, outreach
GSS: who? Regular programming of new works: connoisseur music = small audiences Limited resources = small staff Little self-promotion No web presence
References Crawford, R. (2001). An introduction to America’s music. New York: W.W. Norton & Co. DeVenney, D. P. (1999). Towards a canon: Monuments of American choral music. American Choral Review 42 (1), 1-4. DeVenney, D. P. (1999). Varied carols: A survey of American choral literature. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.
References cont. DeVenney, D. P. (2000). American choral music at the millenium. In J. Heintze & M. Saffle (Eds.), Reflections on American Music: The twentieth century and the new millenium (119-126). Hillsdale, NY: Pendragon Press. Thompson, R. (1980). Writing for the amateur chorus: A chance and a challenge. In D. DeVenney (Ed.), Source readings in American choral music (192-204). Missoula, MT: The College Music Society.
The Clague Consort Folk song: “I Am a Poor Wayfaring Stranger” Spiritual: “Keep Your Lamps”