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Items by Susan Raccoli

Results: 48
Title Author Date
Comment: Re: What is the most perfect piece of choral music ever composed? Opinions, please.
Someone once described Mozart's "Ave Verum" as the most perfect 46 measures in all of western music. I see some people have already mentioned this piece. One never tires of it. It is always beautiful, and I have found that singing it brings out the best in the singers.
Comment: Re: Rude Church Choir Director
Devil's Advocate response: As a church musician, I would not want to see a choir director get in trouble because of complaints by the boyfriend of one of the singers. Why is the boyfriend complaining and not his girlfriend? Does the girlfriend exaggerate? Does she like to tell stories depicting ...
Comment: Re: Photocopying?
About 30 years ago a famous composer came to do a workshop at a community college. The college choir sang one of his pieces. After the performance, many of the students took their copy to the composer to get his autograph.   Alas, the copies were all xeroxed copies. The composer was shocked. ...
Comment: Re: Adele's voice problems
I don't disagree that nodes come from poor vocal technique, but surgery is not always the right answer. Often speech theory can eliminate that problem, but that means total cooperation with the therapist and doing the exercises daily without fail. Speech therapists also have tips about diet and li...
Comment: Re: Missing your ChoralNet Mail? Have too much?
I have not been receiving Choral.Net since Sept. 21. Please re-start my subscription. I have never marked it as spam.   I have no e-mail address other than SRaccoli@sbcglobal.net.   Thank you. Susan Raccoli Indianapolis, Indiana
Announcement: Anthem of Anointment by William Harvey
New anthem (written in March 2011) for anointing altar or new members; for SATB choir and piano. Set to Psalm 45 vs. 7. Hear the anthem on YouTube:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihPeewcn6F8
Comment: Re: Please recommend a school grand piano
Kawai, without a doubt. Better tone than Yamaha or Young Chang. Tunes well, holds up well. Used Steinway, depending on year and condition.   But Kawai is my choice these days. Whatever you get, put it on a spider dolley so it can be moved easily and harmlessly. Susan Raccoli
Comment: Re: Fundraising.
Minority viewpoint: Our two sons were involved in music organizations that raised funds, as well as the school PTO which sold sausage and cheese, wrapping paper, etc. to fund school convocations. Somehow the idea of selling "junk" never appealed to me. I really didn't want to buy any of this...
Comment: Re: Sitting vs. Standing
Has anyone answered for a church choir? I start each rehearsal with stretching and then we stand for vocal warm-ups. We sit while learning a piece, but each rehearsal, I do each piece at least once with everyone standing, in the formation they will have in the Sanctuary. I do notice that sometim...
Comment: Re: Habitual Lateness on the part of a volunteer church choir for Rehearsals and Services
Here is a solution I have heard of but did not use myself and to put this into practice, everyone must agree. Suggest that when people are late, they put a nickel (or penny or dime, depending on agreement) in a very visible "bank" for every minute they are late. The money can be used either for a ...
Comment: Re: be happy church choir leads
I started a new system this year which is more work for me but saves rehearsal time. Previously, I set out new music on the piano along with the music list and any liturgy music that was needed. Then when people came in, they went to the piano to pick up everything needed. But this didn't work. So...
Comment: Re: Teaching privileges as a church music director
Another issue is what my church administrator calls "double dipping." I am a full-time music director, and the question came up if I were to teach, would it be on "my" time or "their" time." The insurance issue also was mentioned, as well as the possibility of the church losing tax-free status if ...
Comment: Re: How do you get people to come to performances?
Thanks, Tom. I will present your idea to our church administrator tomorrow. The concert is advertised as free and the posters have been circulated already, but if the administrator likes this idea, we could start publicizing it too. Susan Raccoli
Comment: Re: How do you get people to come to performances?
The Contemplative Rosary music was by David Haas. We did use icons on a screen, and the people who came were thanked. They have been very gracious to us. We did have a reception after our Sanctuary dedication, but it was decided not to have one after the Contemplative Rosary. We do have a receptio...
Comment: Re: How do you get people to come to performances?
To answer John's question about weekly attendance: we have 5 passes per weekend: average attendance is between 2200 and 2500. Easter attendance was over 3700. In fact, we have 2 extra masses (in the gym) on both Easter and Christmas Eve to accommodate the Christmas-Easter overflow, or "Chreasters,...
Forum message: How do you get people to come to performances?
I am very discouraged this morning. I am music director in a church of 1250 families, and attendance is not good at major events, despite lots of publicity through our bulletin, newsletter, posters, and e-mail. The dedication for our renovated Sanctuary on April 7 with our new Bishop presiding dre...
Comment: Re: Paid Section Leaders
John, I'm afraid my experience with college singers is not just with one singer. This pattern has been going on awhile with altos. My paid tenor and soprano are a dream come true. They show up with sinus infections, headaches, and my tenor came the week his mother died. They NEVER let me dow...
Comment: Re: Tips - Winning the Interview
Long ago when I applied for a fellowship, I called Thomas Willis, who was then music critic for the Chicago Tribune, and asked his advice on how to do a good job at the interview so I could get the fellowship. (I had already filled out the appliction and done all the required tasks.) Willis gave...
Comment: Re: Paid Section Leaders
I work in a church of 1250 families and have 4 paid singers: SATB. My soprano is any choir director's dream, and my tenor can do anything--even sing bass when the bass is gone. My bass is new and a good addition. However, I have had trouble finding an alto I can count on. I have used college stude...
Comment: Re: Advice on how to communicate committment with parents of a church children's choir.
I identified with the post by Thomas Clark-Jones. Children's choir comes after soccer, kickball, softball, volleyball, and any other sport that kids can find. That is really tough to fight. Our school music teacher faces this constantly when kids tell him they have a game or ball practice so can't...
Comment: Re: Chicago Sunday question
St John Cantius is one of the best Roman Catholic parishes in the country, often including orchestral masses as part of their liturgy which is always splendid. http://www.cantius.org/
Comment: Re: What's in your bag of tricks for intonation problems?
Daniel,   My method sounds simplistic but it works for minor flatting. I simply stand on tiptoes and point up, and look up. They get it right away. This has even worked with children. With the kids, sometimes I say a word or two as well, but with the adults, I seldom say anything--the mes...
Comment: Re: Can't match pitch
I can't resist replying to this thread. I am a music director in a Catholic Church and have trouble recruiting. You would not believe how many people tell me "I can't carry a tune in a bucket" or "My school music director would never let me sing." I would guess that by now I have heard these excus...
Comment: Re: Need support/ documentation for disadvatages to sitting down while conducting a children's choir
LeAnn,   For what it's worth, my church children's choir performs (without music) with me behind them at the piano with no director leading them and no mother mouthing words. I am a pianist/conductor so have no choice. (The choir is grades 3-6.) So far this has worked, but at the same time ...
Comment: Re: Pay systems for church musicians
I've been a paid singer (in graduate school), an organist, a full-time music director, a piano accompanist. etc.   All my life someone invariably asks me why I don't play in churches for free, since many people volunteer their talents as Sunday School teachers, Eucharistic ministers, ushers, ...
Comment: Re: Music of Three Faiths
This comment comes from my son William Harvey, who teaches violin in Afghanistan and has performed in Pakistan, Turkey, Tunisia, Egypt, and Qatar." While the commenter is correct that chanting the Koran and calling the faithful to prayer are not considered music (however they may sound to non-Mus...
Comment: Re: changing genders in lyrics
Kathy, Once when I was music director in a Protestant church, the associate pastor wanted to use the hymn "On Eagle's Wings" for a special occasion, but he wanted to use inclusive language, instead of the all-male pronouns in the piece as written. I did not feel right doing this, so I tracked do...
Forum message: Effect of paid section leaders on recruiting
  I have worked in churches with paid section leaders and without paid section leaders. My current position utilizies paid section leaders in the the small amateur choir. Paid section leaders were added by my predecessor so the system was already in place for me. This particular chur...
Comment: Re: Attendance policies for professional musicians who are members of the church
Yes, we choir directors must be flexible. In general, policies are for insurance companies, not choirs.   I do have one member who can never make the Thursday rehearsal. I always make sure she has the next week's anthem, and she does come to our 10:30 rehearsal on Sunday, and then sings with ...
Comment: Re: Copying out of print music
I seem to have a fondness for out-of-print music. This year I chose 2 anthems that were POP, and I called the publisher (after some sleuthing) and received permission to make 16 copies (what I needed) and then was told to send them a check for $16 and to print on the copies "copies by permission o...
Comment: Re: Questions about River in Judea arranged by John Leavitt
I've used this piece in a Protestant church, in a Catholic high school, and in a Catholic church. Everyone has loved it everywhere. Susan Raccoli
Comment: Re: When should voice lessons start?
I agree--piano lessons are the best preparation. I hire section leaders for my church choir, and the best ones are always those who know piano. For parents who want more, I advise that here in Indianapolis, the best voice instruction is with the Indianapolis Children's Choir. I think that experi...
Comment: Re: Choral War Horses...
  With a Voice of Singing by Martin Shaw     Susan Raccoli
Comment: Re: Paid Section Leaders
My choir, in a church of 1250 families, started the tradition of paid section leaders before I was hired, and I am grateful. We have 4--and the pay is $40/service. That means $40 for Thursday night rehearsal, from 7 to 9, and $40 for Sunday 11:30 Mass, which includes a warmup and rehearsal at 10:3...
Forum message: another old chestnut search
ChoralNet has helped me find a number of old chestnuts, and I have used them all. My paid soprano is a choir-director's dream, and she sings these old songs magnificently. Now I'm looking for another oldie: the one about the Pharisee and the Publican, but I do NOT mean the one by Heinrich Schutz o...
Forum message: The Prodigal Son
The Scripture message for Sept. 12 is The Prodigal Son. Any repertoire suggestions for solo or SATB? Thank you. Susan Raccoli
Comment: Re: Catchy Choir names???
I'm one who doesn't care for fancy names. I'd rather the "fancy" be in good singing. I worked in a church with cutesy names for the children's choirs and people were confused: which age group is which choir?   I call my adult choir the "Parish Adult Choir" and my children's choir the "Parish ...
Comment: Re: Appropriate compensation for paid church choir singers
I was a paid alto in a large Episcopal church when I was in graduate school at Northwestern. I earned $15/week (for one rehearsal and one Sunday service) and my rent was $14.50/week so I had 50 cents for extras. But times have changed. I have 4 paid singers, and I prefer older, established singers. ...
Comment: Re: Vocal Problems
Sally, I am a success story and I just turned 65. I had severe vocal problems since 2002--I not only could not sing but also could barely speak. But first of all, I repeat as others have said: you really need a scope for a diagnosis. They are not fun, and after my first few I felt as if I had swallo...
Comment: Re: Serious vocal problems
I am a success story with vocal cords, though I am long past my school days. The problem started when I took a job as a high school choral director. I was a piano major in college so probably did not use my voice correctly, plus this was a tough school and I had discipline problems so talked and san...
Forum message: More old chestnuts wanted
Thank you to ChoralNet users who have helped me find some old chestnuts. I have a fondness for this type of repertoire that I heard as a child--my mother sang many of them in our church. Now I like to use them as solos in the church where I am music director and I find that they go over well. The la...
Forum message: Search for another old chestnut
ChoralNet helped me find the song about the sparrow by Liddle. Now I'm searching for another song from the past: a song about the Pharisees who prayed ostentatiously versus the humble man who prayed alone. I think one line was "Have mercy on me a sinner." Was it called "The Public...
Comment: Re: Lenten and Easter works
I think I might be interested. Susan Raccoli Director of Music St. Louis de Montfort Fishers, Indiana e-mail: sraccoli@sldmfishers.org cell: 317-910-1903
Comment: Re: Sparrow search
To everyone who replied: Thank you. I did listen on YouTube to both recordings, and the Samuel Liddle is the piece I remember. My mother sang it in church when I was a child.  It brings tears to my eyes to recall that, and I will indeed order the music now and perhaps find someone to sing it in the...
Forum message: Sparrow search
Many years ago I remember hearing a sacred song based on this Bible verse: Psalm 84:3 (NIV) ~ Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young— a place near your altar, O LORD Almighty, my King and my God. Does anyone remember the song? I think I...
Comment: Re: New hymnal for a Catholic church
Hello again. I'm the one who wishes I could use the Methodist hymnal. I have read all these postings and have another comment. The parish I work for has an attached school, with a children's Mass every Wed. morning. Someone else (not me) does the music for it. Generally the music is pop-based and c...
Comment: Re: New hymnal for a Catholic church
I am a music director in a Catholic Church. If I could, I would use the Methodist hymnal, but of course that would not be allowed.   This issue brings up so many problems that I can't possibly mention them all.   Another problem for a church musician who grew up playing in Protestant churches: so...
Forum message: Pentecost anthems with trumpet and timpani
I need 2 anthems for Pentecost that use timpani and at least 1 trumpet. Any ideas? (Catholic church)