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YouTube enhancing choral music

I was recently reminded of this video the other day - an arrangement of "Abide with Me" by composer Greg Jasperse.  It is a stunning piece and beautifully filmed by Riddle Films.
I thought I would explore more videos by the Nathaniel Dett Chorale and found this one - a video that gives more background shots of the film crew:
A couple of observations:
1.  115,000+ views - quite a statement about what YouTube can do for the choral audience.
2.  It helps if you have beautiful, expressive people in your choir - the camera loves them.
3.  The setting is important - what a great church - colorful and intimate - or am I being fooled by the video?
4.  All of that adds to the excellent technique and interpretation by the conductor - it starts with the great music and moving performance and goes from there.
What do you think?
on December 31, 2010 5:04am
I think you're right!
Think also if the the programming is somewhat original It can become a scholarly adjunct to Grove. If it was rationally indexed/linked to Choralwiki then who knows?
on December 31, 2010 10:47am
Thanks for finding and sharing; a great start for New Year's Eve Day!  And a great model of choral video -- terrific music well-performed but also singers fully engaged.  Their beauty is in their commitment.  The shots of conductor, film crew and venue add interest, although I'd consider those elements as seasoning rather than the main dish.
on December 31, 2010 1:04pm
I've worked with and have known the Nathaniel Dett Chorale's conductor, Brainerd Blyden-Taylor for several years, and have had the great pleasure of hearing both of these pieces (Abide With Me and Didn't My Lord Deliver Daniel) performed by this stunning ensemble, here in Toronto.  
A very fine vocal music educator whom I work with at an arts high school recently used this riveting Didn't My Lord Deliver Daniel recording as a reference for her students, in preparation for their spring concert.  (I also recommended the legendary Moses Hogan Chorale video, as a comparison.)  
I was initially quite reticent to use YouTube with our choristers, but no longer.  We've found it to be a very powerful...and highly enjoyable (!) learning tool for many reasons, especially as a comparative resource.  
It's also a great way to have a bit of fun: we were performing Ríu, Ríu Chíu recently, so I included this link, along with several others, for our choristers' perusal:  (There is even a version posted there performed by The Monkees!)
Happy New Year, and all the best for 2011!
Jenny Crober,
Artistic Director, The East York Choir, 
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
on December 31, 2010 4:11pm
Greetings, Philip, and thanks for posting this! Hello to other choral directors/singers as well.
Focusing on your second point ("It helps if you have beautiful, expressive people in your choir - the camera loves them"), I would add that...
*Not only does the camera love them, but live audience members do as well
*ANY person who sings with "whole body" commitment and "whole soul" vulnerability is "beautiful and expressive," and engages/awakens our humanity in poignant ways
*And a corrolary to that last point: No matter how stereotypically attractive a singer is, if they're NOT engaged and vulnerably connected to the meaning of the text, they will NOT engage their audience as deeply
That said (and with all due respect to this wonderful group), I've seen many groups who were much more expressive than this one -- and that includes several high school groups who sang the same song. And by 'more expressive groups,' I mean that every singer was more expressive than the most expressive singer in the Nathaniel Dett Chorale.
However, these groups started out singing with less expression than most in the Nathaniel Dett Chorale. What did it take to empower them to shift? About an hour of play (tip of the hat to Leon Thurman) in which they learned what makes each of us wonderfully expressive in our daily lives ... then applied those exact same skills to their singing.
I know, I know -- I sound so arrogant, don't I?? Yikes! The man must really be desperate! (Actually, I have little time to coach/present anymore since I've taken a full-time job.) But seriously, singing with expression is SO EASY TO DO, and it dramatically transforms the experience for all involved. And yes, it builds programs, too.
If you can get past what might look remarkably like self-promotion, check out my website or my book. (I make about $1.65 per sale -- trust me, my convictions about shifting the choral paradigm are not based on personal gain! And there is a LOT of info on my website which is 100% free.)
Warm regards and Happy New Year!
Author of Choral Charisma: Singing with Expression
on January 1, 2010 11:14am
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.
on January 2, 2010 9:41pm
Hi Chris,
I wish that I could! Unfortunately, I have no YouTubeable videos of the choirs I'm thinking of. Hopefully I'll be able to remedy that in the future.
Warm regards,
on January 2, 2010 1:22pm
Thanks, Phil, for bringing this YouTube video to our attention.  My children's chorus (ages 7-14) is about to be taped for an upcoming TV series here in western Mass and I will recommend that they view it, too.  The camera crew moving around, the facial close ups--there's a lot to talk about with my kids.  And the music is great!