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Items by Eric S Betthauser

Results: 68
Title Author Date
Comment: Re: repertoire suggestions - famous poetry
"Sure On This Shining Night"--Morton Lauridsen/James Agee   SO GOOD! "Three Shakespeare Songs"--Vaughan Williams "Give Me My Romeo"--Delp/Shakespeare "O Mistress Mine"/"Sweet Day"/"Willow Song"--Vaughan Williams/Shakespeare&Herbert "At the Round Earth's Imagined Corners"--Spencer/Donne "My Spi...
Comment: Re: Pieces on the theme of My Home Town or specific towns
"Out on the Mira" or "Away from the Roll of the Sea" by Allistaar MacGillivray "I'll Be Seeing You" "Home for the Holidays" It'd be pretty easy to work up arrangements of these songs (or sing them unison!) Audience could join in: "Hometown" by Bruce Springsteen "Homeward Bound" by Simon and Garfun...
Comment: Re: Activities for 5th/6th grade general music classes of 40?
Good God, that's too many. That said, here are some ideas: Do some improv. They can use ostinati that you and/or the students create. Many of them will have likely done this in elementary school, if their teachers used the Orff approach. There's also a great book by Rhiannon (nor Rhianna) called Voc...
Comment: Re: live-streaming
You may have already covered this with your principal, but there is also the issue of privacy. Perhaps all of your students' parents already provided a signed permission form for allowing their children to appear online. If not, that certainly needs to happen.   If some parents are unwilling to p...
Comment: Re: Pieces to go along with Prayer of the Children
How about "Inscription of Hope" by Z. Randall Stroope, using texts from the Holocaust, set to a famous Russian melody? Maybe check out some music by Jim Papoulis, too.
Forum message: Choral music for Civil Rights commemoration?
Hello, all.   I'm sure that some of you have- or are going to perform some pieces honoring the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act. What suggestions have you? I'm looking for something for my high-school SATB choir--something fairly simple, like a Level 2 or 3.   I'm already planning on ...
Comment: Re: Differentiating in the choir rehearsal
One thing that I'm going to do this year is have an explicit assessment Google Form for my high-school choir students. They will each assess themselves every quarter, and it will hopefully give them an idea what benchmarks they have reached and where they can improve. (I will assess them, too, of co...
Comment: Re: Select Choir vs. Show Choir
You could also do what George Utphall did in Eau Claire, WI: His group sang Early Music and other chamber music during Fall Semester, culminating in a madrigal dinner. In the spring, they switched to Vocal Jazz.
Comment: Re: Repertoire for a Prairie style/Frank Lloyd Wright inspired concert
Lots of great selections mentioned here. "Shining Brow" seems a natural. Also, you might consider: the four wonderful Prairie Scenes by North Dakota composer/educator Edwin Fissinger Jackson Berkey's Native American Ambiances, which include "Prairie Fire" "Prairie" by the great composer/conductor...
Comment: Re: Guidelines for "Show Choirs"
Jay,   As with many microcosms (and Show Choir certainly is a world unto itself), there are "unwritten rules" aplenty. For example, when I was in high-school show choir way back in the late 80's and early 90's, a traditional show was typically this: 1. "Hot" up-temo opener. More often than not ...
Comment: Re: Randall Thompson non-Frostiana?
I don't know if anyone already mentioned it, but I adore "The Last Invocation". Great poetry by Whitman, in a wonderful post-Romantic setting. Here are two recordings of THompson's choral works: http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/notes/67679-B.pdf http://www.arsisaudio.com/cd103N.html   And I echo...
Comment: Re: Choir Summer Camp
I've done this before, and it worked fairly well. Some thoughts... 1. Schools (like mine) often do not allow you to teach other things in the building for money. If that's the case, you either find out if you can rent it, or perhaps do what I did: I tan the camp, and I told families that they were ...
Comment: Re: What songs/groups for students to listen too
If it's middle- and high-schoolers, I want them listening to good middle- and high-school choirs as much as possible. So, I would scour Youtube--maybe starting with honors choirs. (Tip: download the videos, so that you don't run the risk of their stopping in mid-stream. Firefox has a free download ...
Comment: Re: Help with falsetto question?
Patricia,   I'm sorry that I never responded again. I've sung quite a bit of falsetto my whole life, and I know that that has helped: "use it or loseit", as I tell my students. For my part, I began officially studying as a countertenor when I was a junior in college, and I sang mostly CT with ear...
Comment: Re: Help with falsetto question?
Patricia,   I suppose that you could have him check with an ENT, but is the rest of his range intact? Does his tone sound healthy? If so, I'm not sure that there's any reason for concern, especially if his chest voice has lowered with age (and this is coming from a singer who has sung counterteno...
Comment: Re: SAB, foreign language, festival piece, a cappella
Pitoni Cantate Domino  
Comment: Re: Durante/Pergolesi Magnificat
Is this the Jimmy Durante Magnificat?   ; )
Forum message: Why do middle schoolers choose Choir?
I'm always looking for perspectives from my colleagues: 1. Why do middle-schoolers choose Choir as an elective/after-school activity? 2. Why do they stay in Choir?   I've seen several lists at various places, but I'd like something from your experience--and a little more in-depth.
Comment: Re: Two ensembles in one class period
Trying to work both choirs in one period can be really challenging. If you the kids are prepared very well and taught independece, it can work, but that takes a while--and the students need to have the maturity to make this work. I work toward my students' not meeting me, but they are still young ...
Comment: Re: Middle School Contemporary Music
Amy,   I commend you for thinking ahead and wanting to do this in a healthy, balanced way. Ideally, vocal jazz is a great way to go, in my opinion, because the music inherently requires a higher level of musicianship than most pop music, and jazz is, of course, the great American art form.   I...
Comment: Re: ATTB music
In addition to English choral music, much--perhaps most--Renaissance music was written for male voices. The majority of the early Franco-Flemish repertoire (Josquin, Obrecht, de la Rue) was voiced ATTB.   Remember that shapenote music was intended to be sung by whatever voices were available. Yo...
Comment: Re: format of music for children's chorus
William,   Good for you. This has been my crusade for several years. I have contacted two of the major publishers about this--who shall remain nameless--but didn't get much satisfaction. I also talked with my Uncle Alfred and Cousin Hal, but they weren't much help either. In the past several c...
Comment: Re: Show or Jazz Choirs in MN/WI/IA or Dakotas
 Rachel,   I congratulate your for asking for feedback on this. I'm a graduate (many years ago) of UW-Eau Claire, and, after teaching in Wisconsin for three years, I moved to St. Paul to focus more on performing. I now teach in Charlottesville, VA; I just finished my first year at a public midd...
Comment: Re: The Countertenor Connection
Naomi,   You raise some good points. Even as someone who has sung countertenor professionally, I have noted times when male altos "got the part", rather than women, even though the women were clearly better singers. I would say a couple of things: 1. To some extent, fashion always dictates decisi...
Comment: Re: Seeking African music choral gems
That's a pretty big continent. Here's a breakdown of what I've found to be good: There are many great songs from northern Africa; this includes regional folk songs, great Sephardic songs in Ladino, and Sufi songs Southern Africa: Bonse Aba, (Bembe people from Zambia) yes, though i like the Victor ...
Forum message: Video-game songs?
Here's a theme: video games. Yes, I'm looking for good songs (preferably newly-written ones) from/about video games. Here's what I've got so far: Baba yetu (and others) by Christopher Tin The Mario Brothers themeLegend of Zelda "Korobeiniki" from Tetris "Pac-Man Fever" (I know that there used to ...
Comment: Re: Choir needs more energy
I like the ideas that I've seen here. Here are some that I've found helpful: 1. Have them speak and/or sing the text with tremendous exaggeration. Part of the challenge--especially for youg singers--is that they don't have a reliable self-awareness. In other words, when they are singing what they th...
Comment: Re: The Shy Kids
Bruce, I struggle with the same thing. Here are some ideas: 1. Assign everyone a solo or small group. In Wisconsin, the Solo/Ensemble Festival is a big deal, and I believe that it pays dividends. All students are expected to participate. putting them in that situation puts positive pressure on them-...
Comment: Re: "Pitch Perfect"
I suspect a lot of us have been looking for published arrangements from the movie. I've looked several times, but nothing yet. For what specific songs are you searching? (You could contact the arranger(s) directly. I wouldn't be surprised if Deke Sharon did some of it.) I've done that before, and t...
Forum message: List of buildings with good acoustics?
As musicians, we always want to sound our best. Since we can't take our showers with us on tour, it's helpful to find places with the best acoustics. This is a long shot, but has anyone encountered a list of "the best acoustics in..." I live in Virginia, so, naturally, I'd like that first. Maybe t...
Comment: Re: Star Wars Vocal Music
Franklin,   You can get Tim Jones's "John Williams is the Man!" for FREE at Mister Tim's website Here's the original recording.
Comment: Re: Looking for some good choral arrangements of country songs
Brian, I think that, if you look to Pepper--or any other big distributor--you'll find a number of decent arrangements of Country/Western songs. In my experience, the easiest thing is to get the paper catalog and turn to the "Pop" section. There is also a good medley by Huff&Jacobson called _...
Comment: Re: What is the most perfect piece of choral music ever composed? Opinions, please.
Vaughan Williams Mass in Gm, hands-down.
Comment: Re: Snow Themed Music for Jr. High
"Minka", the Russain folk song. Snow is only peripheral, but "Beautiful December" by Amy Feldman Bernon is gorgeous. If you've got the voices to do it, there "The Snow" by Elgar. "Winter, Fire, and Snow" by Brendam Graham
Comment: Re: Sight Singing for HS with on-line exercises
I also recommend Student Initiated Sight-Singing by Prof. David Castonguay. It's got many levels, goes through major and minor keys, and is true to its name. The price is reasonable, considering that it's essentially an unlimited "site license".
Comment: Re: What is the most perfect piece of choral music ever composed? Opinions, please.
My main criteria are: Text is expressed well by the music The voice parts are all interesting, and the voice-leading is effective THe piece has a dramatic "sweep", including a musical climax  Choose just one? Well, here are three, from different eras: 1. Sicut cervus by Palestri...
Comment: Re: Vibrato in pre-baroque era music?
Matthew,   I've spent time as a college choir singer, a middle-and high-school director, a singer in a professional early-music vocal ensemble, and a long-time Early-music Geek. Here are some practical considerations: 1. Yes, vibrato is usually a characteristic of trained singers in the We...
Comment: Re: Mounting a successful capital campaign
Yes, I am pretty new to this. Thanks for the resource ideas.
Forum message: Mounting a successful capital campaign
I am looking to raise funds for: 1. Our spring trip 2. Several "big ticket" items--risers, digital keyboard, microphones   Any general advide in mounting a successful capital campaign? I am looking to solicit both individuals and local businesses. In regard tot he trip, I'd like this to b...
Comment: Re: Unhelpful layout of choral scores?
Kristina, Thank you; I find your ideas very helpful, and I'm going to purloin some of them for my own use. : )
Comment: Re: Unhelpful layout of choral scores?
The "99%" was my feeble attempt at a political joke. To be clear: 1. I do teach my students to read as much as possible. We use a sight-reader in almost every rehearsal, I sometimes have them write solfege in their part, and I certainly encourage them to follow their part (with their "happy poi...
Forum message: Unhelpful layout of choral scores?
Am I the only one who continues to be frustrated by the appearance of choral octavos? Specifically, why do our young singers need to see the piano part? It breaks my heart to see my 6th and 7th graders struggle--on a daily basis--to find THEIR line amid the mass of ink on the page. Why not simply ...
Comment: Re: Sickness, sinus problems, & crud early in the school year
Gargle warm salty water Use a neti pot at least every other day Echinacea--though it's best to use for a few weeks, then go off it Drink some tea brewed with sage when your voice falters Throat Rescue actually works fairly well Throat Coat tea is good for a sore throat When the voice f...
Forum message: Odd mixture in middle-school choir
OK, I've got a group of twelve 7th-and 8th-graders. Two of them are boys, and only one of those consistently matches pitch. There are some good musicians in the bunch, but I'm having a challenge with repertoire. So far, I'm using some SAB (with modifications for the boys), as well as some 2-part-...
Comment: Re: Help with gaelic language in celtic traditional song?
Not to be too persnickity, but let's be clear here: Gaelic is part of the Celtic language family, and there are three varieties: Irish, Scots, and Manx. More often than not, we encounter Irish, but I think it's an important distinction to make--epecially if you're talking with people from Ireland ...
Forum message: Previewing choral octavos
What process do you have your singers go through when you give them octavos? I am creating a "preview sheet" for them, but I'd appreciate ideas--or examples of any such forms you already have.   Thank you.   Eric Betthauser Charlottesville, VA
Comment: Re: A Cappella French Music for Junior-High Age
"Je le vous diray" by Certon. It's fun, accessible, and it's a good middle-school lesson about gossip.  
Comment: Re: From solfege to the octavo!!
Hmm...aren't we all?    : )   Here are some thoughts: 1. Masterworks Press publishes music meant to be sight-read. Their originals are actually MUSIC; even my high-schoolers have sometimes said "we should perform these"--and you could. Maybe make up your own texts, or PERFORM them on solf...
Comment: Re: Looking to Find a KILLER CLOSER for a Conference Performance.
I second that. I was lucky enough to premiere the piece at North Central ACDA Convention. Loads of fun. Be advised, though, that you need two pianists and a good mallet player.
Comment: Re: part plunking
I have had the same challenge. "Getting the technology" wouldn't necessarily cost you that much, though, and you would likely find it useful for many applications. Finale Printe Music, for instance, costs less than $80. A handheld digital recorder is less than $200, and there's always Garage Band....