Advertise on ChoralNet 
ChoralNet logo
The mission of the ACDA is to inspire excellence in choral music through education, performance, composition, and advocacy.

Items by Ken Ahlberg

Results: 55
Title Author Date
Comment: Re: Need a Good Arrangement of Star-Spangled Banner
My personal favorite is Darmon Meader's arrangement.  It is a bit challenging, but I have all of my students 9-12 learn it and they are prepared to sing at events as asked.   http://www.jwpepper.com/sheet-music/search.jsp?keywords=Star-Spangled+Banner+Meader%27s
Comment: Re: Where can one find a script for Annie?
In recent years I have been charged $15 for perusals from MTI.
Forum message: Teaching Italian Diction to High School Musical Theatre Students
Hello,   My colleague and I plan to produce and direct the beautiful musical "The Light in the Piazza" next school year.  While many of the cast will likely be my choral students who have some exposure to learning foreign language diction, a notable percentage will likely not (yet) be part o...
Comment: Re: Mother's Day Concert
I have been fond of the song "I am Your Child"  http://www.jwpepper.com/I-Am-Your-Child/1973254.item#.Uv5Ga2JdWTM
Comment: Re: Choral Risers
Hi Ben,   Please feel free to come over and look through my files!  Since we are neighbors that should be a simple way to help you stretch what funds you come up with by simply borrowing octavos.   I would recommend getting Wenger risers.     Just a thought, but the new Bluebird Foundatio...
Comment: Re: Considering taking over musicals
As much as I love directing musicals and have seen it help my choir program, I would not choose to do it in class.  I tried that once with an eighth grade choir and, while not a disaster, I would never do it again for the reasons listed by the others above.
Comment: Re: Requiring Enrollment in Chorus to Participate in Vocal Jazz Ensemble
Several years ago I made the transition to having my vocal jazz ensemble meet before school during "zero hour" for which they receive academic credit with the requirement that each member sing in the main ensemble during the regular school day.  This system has improved the main ensemble and given ...
Forum message: Body-Signing for Sight Singing
Many years ago, I attended an ACDA event at Gustavus College in St. Peter, MN.  While there, I went to a session on using body signs as an aid in teaching sight singing.  This system was not Curwin Hand Signs, but incorporated full body movements that started with Do at the waist and moved up th...
Comment: Re: Using an iPad for conducting
I have been pondering the apparent distrust of the use of the tablet by some, and its seeming purpose to cheat composers out of their livelihood.  I, for one, am anxious for more composers to recognize this is a tool we will continue to use and provide ways for us to simply put the music on our ...
Comment: Re: Using an iPad for conducting
I have spent the past year using my iPad exclusively for both rehearsal and performances and it has changed my life.     I use ForScore as the app to read the music, but when I paired them with the AirTurn foot pedal when at the piano, and the Jot stylus I am able to run rehearsals with a fluid...
Comment: Re: SSA and guitar
I have performed the following two pieces with guitar accompaniment to great success:   Turn Around arr. René Clausen http://www.sbmp.com/SR2.php?CatalogNumber=542   Bumblebee by Anders Edenroth http://www.halleonard.com/product/viewproduct.do?itemid=8501821
Comment: Re: intro to musical theater
Hello Jennifer,   I have been preparing to teach a class on musical theatre for several years, waiting for administration approval.   One unexpected resource I found was on the American Theatre Wing's website, americantheatrewing.org.  They are the group who is responsible for the Tony Awards...
Comment: Re: Short sacred work for choir and French horn
Set Me As A Seal by Richard Nance is lovely.
Comment: Re: Name for New Choir
I would suggest gathering the kids and brainstorm ideas.  They will likely surprise you.  The two occasions I have done this with groups they came up with wonderful names.
Comment: Re: Rehearsal CDs
John, For the past 20 years in all of my choirs whether singers are nine years old or 90, I have told them that sight reading is easy. I have two rules for sightreading which are: 1. "If the notes go up, your voice goes up, if the notes go down, your voice goes down." 2. "The blacker the not...
Comment: Re: "Why can't we sing a song we all know?" said the 8th grade girl.
Amy,   I learned early on that great tunes cannot overcome bad arrangements.  I also learned that a pop concert at the end of the year can be a great motivator for groups.  I always explain that the more musical ability a group has by the end of the year, the more options there are in chosi...
Comment: Re: Concert Program with the theme of Eyes
Since you mention any era, the tune "Somebody's Eyes" used in the musical "Footloose" has surprisingly nice harmonies for three-part women and branches off into SATB as well. I am currently directing a production of the show.
Comment: Re: Choral music documentaries?
Twin Cities Public Television did a documentary on the Rose Ensemble entitled "The Rose Ensemble: Harmonies Across Time" that is excellent. I was able to show it to my students prior to their coming for a master class with my choirs. If you go to mnvideovault.org you can find numerous complete docum...
Comment: Re: iPad Apps for Chorus & Music?
I would second ForScore as being the best app for reading sheet music.  I am currently conducting a musical from it, as are several of my musicians in the pit.  I especially like the "annotate" feature where I can hand write in the score in different colors and thicknesses, type in different fon...
Comment: Re: sounds of nature...
Famine Song arr. by Matthew Culloton is a moving piece.
Comment: Re: Major behavior issues in MS choirs
I walked in to a similar situation 18 years ago - kids literally jumping out the ground floor window to get to the vending machines in the lobby during class! I agree with John - Keeping the kids busy is key to long term success.  What worked for me included a simple grading system: 50% in-class ...
Comment: Re: Suggested for readings for choir
Thank you everyone.  This helps greatly in filling out my choices in readings.  I will be spending so time ordering the books online - this will be a good assignment for me as well as my students.
Forum message: Suggested for readings for choir
Our district as a whole has taken on the goal of improving the literacy of all of our students.  One of the steps of our "Literacy Plan" is to provide three to five readings for each course, listing them on the plan.  Readings need to be three pages or more in length and can be from periodicals,...
Forum message: Secular SATB literature with organ accompaniment
I teach at a public school and this year have a small, but very capable SATB freshman choir.  Our venue for the midwinter classical festival is a former cathedral turned into performance hall, and has a wonderful tracker pipe organ.  Our accompanist is an accomplished organist and we are looking...
Comment: Re: Questions from young singers during rehearsal?
Hi Eric,   You could be describing my two 6th grade choir classes!  Answering one question invariably leads to 20 more several times a rehearsal.  What I have come to is when it is clear that there are more questions than we have time for I announce that I will take 2 more questions and tel...
Comment: Re: Classical Cartoon Music with Lyrics
Hi Steve,   I am friends with an arranger who has an entire cartoon medley of songs - it's called Saturday Morning Special -it includes - chip n dale: rescue rangers, muppet babies, ducktales, alvin and the chipmunks, darkwing duck, fraggle rock, and teenage mutant ninja turtles.  His name i...
Comment: Re: Vocal Score for Sleigh Ride - Anderson
This is what I have used for years.  Sang it in my youth, and recently replaced worn out copies.  It is a classic.  http://www.jwpepper.com/798124.item
Comment: Re: Easily-learned French repertoire
I would also recommend "Call of the Flowers" from Lakme by Delibe.  It is arranged for two-part women's chorus.  The original French is included along with a singing English translation.  I have used it with my women in the French and they have univerally loved singing it.     http://www.jwp...
Comment: Re: Singing Tests - What do you do? How do you defend the test?
Hi Pamela,   For the past 18 years I have had a category in my gradebook for "Music Mastery" where students sing for me music that the entire ensemble has down reasonably well.  I grade them on five areas - Accuracy, Independence, Musicality, Strength, Memorization.   I have never had a...
Comment: Re: Choir as an Independent Study online?
Hello Phil,   Like the others, I can't imagine a way to make this project work.    I had a student several years ago who suddenly developed a serious and rather frightening allergy to something in the school that prevented her from even entering the building.  In an attempt to let her ...
Comment: Re: Phone Tree Technology
Dear Paul,   Our district uses a feature of our records/grading/information program that will allow administrators to record a message that will call families homes as well as deliver email messages.   Our program is called "InfiniteCampus" but I would assume many school management programs ...
Forum message: A cappella extended work for High School mixed choir
I am seeking advice on choosing an a cappella extended work, like Britten's Hymn to St. Cecilia, that is challenging yet accessable for a good high school choir.  I am thinking 8-15 minutes in length.  It needs to be a cappella for we will be touring to places that will not have a piano availabl...
Comment: Re: Music from Video Games
My groups have performed a very good STB arrangement of the "Super Mario Bros. Theme."  Please email me for contact info of the arranger.   Ken
Comment: Re: SSAB Repertoire Suggestions
The first thing that came to mind was "Bumble Bee" by Anders Edenroth from the Real Group, published by Walton.  It is listed as SSAATB, but the TB is really an optional Baritone part.  In addition, the alto II is so low that it is conceivable that the men could cover that part.  It is worth a ...
Comment: Re: Wedding anthem for butterfly release
Hi Mike,   A possible song that may be appropriate is "You Raise Me Up."  The original rendition composed by Rolf Lovland and Brendan Graham was recorded by the celtic-styled group Secret Garden on their "Once In A Red Moon" album.  The complete music selection for the entire album scored f...
Forum message: Seeking findings on innate and inborn artistic abilities/inclinations
I have a student who is seeking scholarly research on the innate and/or inborn artistic abilities and artistic inclinations of those individuals who seem to naturally excel in the arts over those that have to struggle to develop artistically.   Is anyone aware of any studies that have oc...
Comment: Re: Running a high school musical theatre production: advise needed
Hi Laura,   Just one more resource that I have found helpful in putting on a show.  It covers everything from the choosing of a show that fits the folk you expect to audition to record-keeping to ticket sales to rehearsal prep.  "Play Director's Survival Kit" by James W. Rodgers and Wanda ...
Comment: Re: Concert Transitions
Jessica,   You could be describing my situation a few years ago!  The method our band director and I used to keep everyone at the concert until the last number was to make the final number a massive choral/band combined piece.  Every band member shared a stand and accompanies all of ...
Comment: Re: software to organize music library?
Teri,   I have used Microsoft Excel to set up my database of the high school choral library, and last spring my colleague at the middle school put her library on Excel and we were able to merge our libraries with the high school on one sheet and the middle school on the other.  The th...
Comment: Re: Middle School Drama/Musical Theater
The American Theatre Wing, who are the folks behind the Tony awards, have podcasts of their panel discussions available at http://americantheatrewing.org.  The "Working in the Theatre" segments feature "real live" broadway actors, directors, designers, and playwrites discussing their craft - all ...
Comment: Re: Christmas music with bagpipe
Hello Charles,   If you haven't worked with combining choir and bagpipes before you should be aware that bagpipes are incredibly loud instruments as they were first used as a military instrument.  Unless your ensemble is very large, I would suggest seeking out someone who has a set of "parlo...
Comment: Re: Written Assignments for Choir classes
Hello Art,   I have tried many different assignements for those who miss concerts due to illness/emergency and have recently taken to having the students interview at least three others - one from their choir, one from a different choir, and an audience member.  They have a form filled with quest...
Forum message: Preparing for a Sight-Impared Student
I have just learned that a boy with profound vision impairments will be joining the 6th grade choir next year.  His county service provider has asked for the music that we will be doing next year for there is a several month lead time to get his music transferred to Braille, which is done at a sta...
Comment: Re: Labels that stick to Gamble boxes?
Have you tried using white gaffers tape?  I have not found any dry material that it will not stick to yet come off cleanly when needed.  It is a theatre industry standard producat and is rather expensive, but unlike duct tape, it does not destroy what it is attached to.  It somes in a wide variet...
Comment: Re: Grade 5 selections?
I would suggest the following two tunes that are a challenge to 5th grade but are within their capabilities, yet provide enough of a challenge for the high schoolers that they learn from each as well.  They are essentially unison with very limited divisi.  They are both accompanied with rather cha...
Comment: Re: Mass Text Messaging
Check out:   www.swaggle.mobi   It is a free online service.
Comment: Re: Length of Concert
The instruction I received in college that I has always kept in mind and has proved helpful in programming comes from an audience members point of view:  "What my butt can't stand, my brain can't absorb."  I took it to mean take into account the comfort of the listeners and make sure they are comf...
Comment: Re: piano skills for student teachers
I believe that the use of midi technology can be of invaluable help for student teachers/directors with less than ideal piano skills.  Programs like Finale can be invaluable for score study and for helping choirs learn their parts quickly and accurately.  I agree completely with the concern that ...
Comment: Re: Favorite Pop/Rock arrangements?
Unfortunately, "I Sing the Body Electric" is out of print.   I tend to look closely at the following arrangers for they seem to be able to keep in mind the needs of a choir (ranges, musical interest within each part, appropriate text, etc.) than some others:   Mac Huff Tina Chinn Mark Brymer Ed Lo...
Comment: Re: Best Beatles arrangements
I have enjoyed the "Ticket to Ride" set from the Swingle Singers available as a book.   Ken Ahlberg