Monday, November 7, 2011

Concert #2: Highlights from the 2011 NCCO Conference

Thursday Night Highlights

University of British Columbia University Singers, dir. Graeme Langager

Ave Virgo sanctissima, by David Azurza (Oihu Hau)

Rich, luxurious tone colours (there you go, friends from the north- I shall honour you by spelling in your manner)

Mitten wir in leben sind, by Mendelssohn (

Again, so many colours to the sound and impeccable Deutsch- btw, The Felix was well represented by choirs at the conference.

S I Do Mhaimeo, by David Mooney, (ECS)

Lots of fun, and also artistic- why do so many choirs never really sing their best on fun pieces? You can do so much more with pieces like this than just rip through them, and this choir proved it.

Nigra Sum sed formosa, by Jean L'Hereitier (

Heavenly- such beautiful lines, I absolutely loved this piece and the interpretation. I advise you to check it out at cpdl

I am the rose of Sharon, by Ivo Antognini (Alliance)

Melancholia, by Duke Ellington arr. by Rejean Marois (ms)

Can you guess I loved this choir? For me they were a very large highlight of this conference. They sang with a very rich, deep, and a bit different sound than the American choirs- it was wonderful to hear this contrast (not that any one is necessarily better than the other- hurray for variety). I wanted to keep listening to them- too bad they had to stop at their allotted 25 minutes! I was thrilled and honoured to meet Graeme the next day.

College of Charleston Concert Choir, dir. by Robert Taylor

Choral Dances from Gloriana, by Benjamin Britten

Wonderful, marvelous!

Three Shakespeare Songs, by RV Williams

Oh my, oh my-- Rapture. Robert is a good friend of a good friend (Lisa Fredenburgh). We now got a chance to talk more and I found out that he is as big a RVW fan as I am. He even invited me impromptu to tell his choir what I had just told him, mainly that they rocked. We also discussed things in the scores, like RVW's love of modes/temporary modal inflections (yes, RVW is a big influence on my sacred/spiritual music), in particular in some of these pieces the major third with a minor sixth

Movements from "The Passing of the Year", by Jonathan Dove

I was not excited by this piece, as the piano was too jangly and took away from the choir, which is so worthy of listening to in a cappella music.

Robert has some great things going with this choir and I love his passionate approach to music. He lays it all out there without apologies. If a big full Cabernet started to sing to you- this is what it would sound like! Southern choirs rocked here- Rob's choir and University of Louisville were great. And, by the way, ACDA South division (the largest ACDA division) is full of amazing choirs singing sophisticated music- if you have never attended a Southern ACDA conference you need to head there pronto.

All in all, I loved this choir! They will be the hosts for NCCO 2013 and I know many people will want to attend not only for the music but also for the Charleston, SC experience.

Next Posts: Day two program highlights

Announcement: If you would like a free pdf file perusal score of my latest advanced SATB piece, please contact me. The piece is a compelling, expressive modern arrangement of William Billings' famous round "When Jesus Wept" for SATB double choir, suitable for college and professional ensembles. It was successfully premiered this past September by Chor Anno, Reg Unterseher conducting, in Vancouver, WA. The duration is six minutes. E-mail me at for a pdf file.

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