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Choral Caffeine: Making a Munchable Menu of Music

Don’t we all LOVE to eat?  Oh, the myriad tastes, textures, sensations!  And, of course, most of us have those gastronomic guilty pleasures that we’re perhaps just a little too embarrassed to share.  But rather than gorging on cheeseburgers every night, the sensible person develops a dietary habit that achieves some sense of balance.
 
In another case of art imitating life, we professional musicians and conductors have a responsibility to develop the same balance musically, don’t we?
 
In his article, “Programming for Choirs is an Art” (California Cantante, Vol.20, No.3), Ken Abrams (whose name, regrettably, is misspelled in the original article)  compares choral programming to designing a buffet menu, recommending “not too much that’s spicy, not all carbs, definitely not all sweets, but a balance of tastes and flavors for the palette.”  In his concise article, Ken discusses five areas to be considered when selecting performance repertoire:
 
[1] The tastes and appreciation level of your audience
 
[2] Varying genre and styles, including various historical eras where possible
 
[3] Using unique and/or unknown works thus exposing both singers and audience to something new
 
[4] Developing “themed” concerts, e.g., songs with a winter theme, songs by women composers, or
music from other cultures that also includes unique instruments
 
[5] Variety—in tempo, accompaniment choices, and styles, etc.
 
It sounds like that might make a pleasing choral menu.  But, shoot!  Now I’m hungry.  How about a pizza?
 
(To access the full article, simply click the highlighted title. For additional articles on a dazzling array of choral topics, visit ChorTeach.) 
on July 6, 2011 7:37am
Scott, you have delightfully expressed a thought I have had for years.  Thank you!
 
And to elaborate, myself being slightly dairy-sensitive, watch out for what's "cheezy" to some.  My pizza-program is flavored with Shitake mushrooms - drawing in various cultures is also delicious food for the soul, and builds community understanding.
 
on July 6, 2011 9:51am
Thanks for this, Scott.
 
For the record, the original article misspelled Ken's name and school; it should have been Ken Abrams at San Ramon Valley High School.
 
Cheers!
 
Tom
on July 6, 2011 10:31pm
Thanks for reproducing this Scott.  Glad to hear the my ideas and thoughts might be useful to somebody else.  Carry on!!