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Items by Chris Rowbury

Results: 69
Title Author Date
Comment: Re: Auld Lang Syne
I'd rather this one!   www.youtube.com/watch?v=0U3w_zpiWSE   Chris Suffolk, UK
Comment: Re: Stick Time: Dramatic Capabilities of Choral Sound
I love the guy reading his book at about 1min in!! He's sitting right next door to a substantial group of singers and doesn't bat an eyelid! I bet it was an amazing experience being surrounded by all those singers. Dramatic indeed.   Chris Rowbury Suffolk, UK chrisrowbury.com
Comment: Re: Problems in preparing World Music
Totally with you on this Jane. Couldn't have written it better myself!! And big thanks for referencing my blog.   I too "dislike most of the major publishers' versions of world music". As you point out, these songs come from cultures with long traditions so the type of harmonising must respec...
Comment: Re: Brain Gym exercises
One I use to enliven singers afetr lunch on a one-day workshop ...   Sing the Grand Old Duke of York a couple of times through (to make sure everyone knows it and is singing the same version!).   Next, replace the word 'up' with a clap. Nobody should sing the word 'up' (they will at firs...
Comment: Re: Choral Caffeine: Every Choir is Full of Kids
Whenever I run a singing workshop for adults and am faced with a sea of nervous faces before we even begin, I always tell everyone "This is your opportunity to be four-years-old for the day. Time off from your daily responsibilities. No need to get embarrassed as we're all in the same boat. Time t...
Comment: Re: The Next Wave: Rock Choir
Rock Choir is certainly NOT the "first choir to offer a very different experience in contrast to the traditional classical or community choir"! There are people out there who have been doing this kind of stuff for years.   She's just very good at marketing. (After all she managed to get a TV ...
Comment: Re: Community Choir Repertoire
JoAnne   In my experience, the only common thread holding a community choir's repertoire together is its artistic director!   Many times I've sent out a questionnaire to choir members asking them what they'd like to see in our repertoire, only to get as many different answers as there ar...
Comment: Re: Anti-perfect
I completely agree, Phil, it's not an either/ or. However, I've seen the "human connection sacrificed on the altar of technical proficiency" so often, that I'm afraid I've begun to equate the two!   Chris  
Comment: Re: Anti-perfect
Hear, hear Nick.   Chris
Comment: Re: Is Sheet Music Necessary for a Choir Rehearsal?
Of course, none of this is black and white, and the context of my blog is that I want to create debate and discussion (result!).   However, I do take umbrage at the apparent position of superiority that the musically literate sometimes take.   The vast majority of singers that I work wit...
Comment: Re: How to handle a HUGE brand new choir?
John: I DO think it's a difference between the US and UK. Unlike your experience, I don't know ANY community choirs that DO use written music!   Here in the UK I belong to a large network called the Natural Voice Practitioners' Network. Although not every member is a choir leader, we all adhe...
Comment: Re: How to handle a HUGE brand new choir?
Hi Liz   Yes, you're right of course -- those horrible bureaucratic approaches of "traditional" choral societies (when did that word get applied to them -- choral societies are a fairly recent invention!!!) were created for good reasons. Trouble is, like much else in life, the structures them...
Comment: Re: How to handle a HUGE brand new choir?
John, I realise after Nancy wrote that we might have been talking about different things! I'm not sure what you mean by 'standard community chorus'. In the circles I mix in I haevn't really come across the kinds of choir that you and others have been describing. Maybe it's a US thing? I think what...
Comment: Re: How to handle a HUGE brand new choir?
Andrew, I ALWAYS charge in advance. If you charge per session then people don't tend to commit. Also, on those cold rainy nights when you'd rather sit in front of the TV, knowing that you've already paid good money can get you off your butt into the car!   Although mine is an open-access choi...
Comment: Re: How to handle a HUGE brand new choir?
Janice, I think you're right: the biggest challenge is to be able to keep tabs on the individual progress of each member, and for them to feel noticed.   I think many of the suggestions so far about spacing, layout, sight lines, etc. are the key. I'll report back!   Chris
Comment: Re: How to handle a HUGE brand new choir?
Hi Nancy   Interestingly it seems like I arrived in town at exactly the right moment. The local Rotary Club did a poll of the town last autumn to see what kind of events that the people wanted locally. The top idea was for an alternative to the local choral society. Then I arrived! Yes, it is...
Comment: Re: How to handle a HUGE brand new choir?
So, Andrew, any hints on what you might do differently next time?   So far there has been little drop off and I still have 80 - 90 singers after two weeks, the majority of whom have paid for the whole term.   Fingers crossed that they'll keep coming! Chris
Comment: Re: How to handle a HUGE brand new choir?
John, I apologise if I seemed negative. That wasn't the intention! It's just that most of the suggestions I received seemed to come from a parallel universe of which I have no knowledge. It made me realise that there are many different kinds of 'choir' out there.   I do keep a roster in the s...
Comment: Re: How to handle a HUGE brand new choir?
Gayle, I've come to realise that I think you're right: the socialising takes place outside the rehearsal. What little we can achieve within the sessions is on a more general level about making an ensemble cohesive.   So far we have no plans to perform. With such a new group, I know that many ...
Comment: Re: How to handle a HUGE brand new choir?
Hi Wishart, yes it IS a marvellous problem to have!   I'm afraid I don't do rosters, attendance sheets, etc., not my style at all. And there's not much clerical help needed (apart from collecting the money!). We don't use written scores so no problems there. We also don't do audtions either. ...
Comment: Re: How to handle a HUGE brand new choir?
Jane, the portable voice ampllification system sounds like a good idea -- as long as I don't come out looking like a motivational speaker!! I think the acoustics of our new venue might help too. Chris
Comment: Re: How to handle a HUGE brand new choir?
Hi Stuart and thanks for your thoughts.   I don't have a problem with one-offs, it's an ongoing group of that size that I'm not used to. I've decided on the type of repertoire, I've been very clear and particular and that's what they've signed up for. Practicalities I have no problem with. ...
Forum message: How to handle a HUGE brand new choir?
I recently moved to a new town and am starting a brand new singing group from scratch for the first time in 15 years.   I did my homework, put lots of publicity out and hired a fair-sized room. I thought if only 10 came, I could build over the weeks, but if I got 20 I'd be really pleased. Las...
Comment: Re: Widening the net - how to recruit a wider age range for a community choir?
Christina, I have a theatre background and years ago wanted to start a theatre group for parents and their toddlers. I see so many parents saying "no, don't do that" to their kids, I thought it would be a great idea to work together in a safe environment and let the KIDS lead the ADULTS. My theory...
Comment: Re: Widening the net - how to recruit a wider age range for a community choir?
Hi Wishart, love your networking idea. I have contacted all the local school singing teachers and asked for referalls to past students (who might now be in their 20s) but have had no response so far. I guess teachers are generally over-worked! I'll stick with it though.   Chris
Comment: Re: Widening the net - how to recruit a wider age range for a community choir?
Heidi, I totally agree with you that we have to take what we're doing to the people we want to attract. It's no good sitting back and waiting for people to come to us, no matter how good, interesting or diverse we are.   A couple of points. Most of your suggestions are aimed at a group that a...
Comment: Re: YouTube enhancing choral music
Hi Tom   Since this discussion focuses on YouTube, could you point us to any recordings of the "many groups who were much more expressive than this one"? I'd love to be able to see and compare.   Thanks.   Chris chrisrowbury.com
Comment: Re: Widening the net - how to recruit a wider age range for a community choir?
Richard, I like this way of looking at the 'problem': what are the obstacles? It gives me a new way of looking at things.   Thanks. Chris
Comment: Re: Widening the net - how to recruit a wider age range for a community choir?
Allen, I want more men, more younger adults, more racial minorities, more of everything really!   If each group requires a different strategy does that imply that it's nigh on impossible to have a "one size fits all" choir?   Re: child care. I did have the mad idea of forming a choir for...
Comment: Re: Widening the net - how to recruit a wider age range for a community choir?
Thanks for taking time out to share your thoughts Frank. I am in the luxurious (?) position of not having a Christmas concert for the first time in 13 years and I'm quite enjoying it!   Good point about social and electronic media. I use them all, but still don't attract the younger crowd. ...
Comment: Re: Widening the net - how to recruit a wider age range for a community choir?
Rather underwhelmed by the responses here! I was surprised.   I guess it tells me one of the following:   a) the question has already been answered and is somewhere in the archives (but I can't find it!) b) for most choir leaders on Choralnet wider recruitment is not an issue c) most...
Comment: Re: Do "open-access" singing courses put experienced singers off?
Hi Sig   I can see where you're coming from with your emphasis on repertoire, but in my experience, sometimes there are simply not enough points of reference for new singers. I started a choir many years ago and persuaded people to join by doing songs that were familiar to everyone. Then I sl...
Comment: Re: Do "open-access" singing courses put experienced singers off?
I totally agree Saijen, and I have cut "singers and non-singers" from my publicity.   I too believe that everyone can sing and the whole of my work is based on that. However ... many individuals perceive themselves to be "non-singers" so I was trying to tap into that self-labelling as a short...
Comment: Re: Do "open-access" singing courses put experienced singers off?
On reflection I totally agree with John that I'm trying to tap into two different consituencies. So ... I will be starting a new singing group in the new year (won't be calling it a 'choir'!) and in parallel I will have a "six weeks to a better voice" course which I hope to then feed into the larg...
Comment: Re: Do "open-access" singing courses put experienced singers off?
Hi Jane   You're absolutely right about uses of language putting people off! It's a very subtle thing.   A colleague of mine uses "Proper singing for improper singers" and in smaller letters below: "and improper singing for proper singers". Not quite sure what it means if I think about i...
Forum message: Do "open-access" singing courses put experienced singers off?
I have recently moved to a new town and plan to set up some kind of regular community choir in the future.   As a first step, in order to get myself known, and to attract people who might not think of themselves as 'singers' I plan to run a six-week "training course". My emphasis is on fun, i...
Forum message: Widening the net - how to recruit a wider age range for a community choir?
The reality for me (at least here in the UK) is that most of the community choirs and singing workshops that I have ever lead are made up of white, middle class women in their 50s and older!   I know some choirs manage a wide spread of age ranges and backgrounds, but most of these are already...
Comment: Re: Dynamite
And the point is?   Chris Suffolk, UK
Comment: Re: Uniform
"Dress hems a uniform height off the floor"? Please! Trouble is, I think many boards of directors (and committees) have far too much time on their hands and often feel they have to contribute something no matter how inane.   Chris Suffolk, UK chrisrowbury.com
Comment: Re: Leading by Inspiration
I would add: "Maintain a sense of perspective and sense of humour in everything you do." It's all to easy to get sucked into the details, lose the overall picture, start to believe that what you're doing is the most important thing in the world AND forget to laugh about it all.   If you can m...
Comment: Re: Twitter for Teachers - and Choral Directors
Great idea to create these networks, but it only works if lots of people in your 'world' (in my case, the singing/ choral world) are on-line in the same way. Don't know about anyone else, but the proportion of people in my (UK) choirs and singing workshops who have Twitter or Facebook accounts is ...
Forum message: Work/ labouring/ building songs needed (non-English)
I am involved in a summer project that involves singing songs about labouring in general and BUILDING in particular. I need non-English songs, especially some from the Balkans. The odd English song wouldn't go amiss either!   I know lots of work songs and socialist songs about labouring, but ...
Comment: Re: Is it a collaboration or a dictatorship?
As a choral director working with a group of singers I have a good reason to collaborate. I'm not sure what my reason for collaborating with other choral directors would be. What are we working towards?   In my own small world (of Natural Voice Practitioners) there is enormous support, genero...
Community: World music choirs
For all those interested in traditional songs from across the globe.
Comment: Re: Ergen Deda
This is what I have: The old bachelor, red-faced old man, like this and like that, (nonsense syllables) wearing his peasant hat sideways, like this and like that, etc. tipped up and down, He went to the village,  and joined the circle dance, to dance next to the maidens, All the maide...
Comment: Re: What's wrong with jazz, show tunes, pop, etc in choir?
Hi Jane, I'm with you 100% on this!!   I take your point John about everything being an arrangement, and a good arranger can get beyond the idea that there's just one possible way of doing a song, but ...   When I run pop song workshops or when my choirs request pop songs in our repertoire, it is ...
Comment: Re: looking for early and roots a cappella music about "home"
Hi Anna   Great theme!   'Aye Makomo' (Zimbabwe)  “The mountains are far away. They remind me of home.”   The gorgeous 'Here is my home' by Si Kahn.   'Lashon ilang' (South Africa) - describes the anxiety of children waiting at home for their mother to return from work.   'Zungo' (Nigeri...
Comment: Re: Suggestions/experiences for best concert time for community choirs
 'Concertize' ????!!!!!! Is this a new choral term from over the pond?   Chris Rowbury Coventry, UK
Comment: Re: See it: Well-tempered vs. Pure
Apparently 'justonic' is commercial company (surprise!): Justonic Tuning Inc. which claims to have solved the "'insurmountable' tuning problem called the 'Pythagorean comma' ". Basically it seems to be a system which can re-tune MIDI synthesisers in real-time. Yawn! http://www.justonic.com/   As th...
Comment: Re: Basic skills for singers
Just stumbled across this via Twitter! If anyone's still following this thread, you might be interested in some posts on my blog which dealt with this issue. I'd be interested to hear your responses.   Singing in harmony 1 - how do they do that?     Singing in harmony 2 - small group skills    ...