Choral Caffeine: Making a Munchable Menu of Music
Date: July 6, 2011
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:
 The tastes and appreciation level of your audience
 Varying genre and styles, including various historical eras where possible
 Using unique and/or unknown works thus exposing both singers and audience to something new
 Developing “themed” concerts, e.g., songs with a winter theme, songs by women composers, or
music from other cultures that also includes unique instruments
 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.)