Thursday, March 6, 2014

Recap of 2014 ACDA Central in Cincinnati

Here is a PART ONE recap of some of the goings-on at the 2014 ACDA Central Division Conference in Cincinnati last week.

I could only be in town for the first few days- I had to leave Friday late afternoon to get back to Chicago and then Madison, WI for a performance in Madison of a big piece of mine by The Festival Singers, directed by my friend Bryson Mortenson.

I was there early enough in Cincinnati to hear the opening night "Festival of Anthems" at Christ Church Cathedral. This was a wonderful program presented together by the following choirs: The Christ Church Cathedral Choir, directed by Stephan Casurella; The Cathedral Choir of Hyde Park Methodist Church, directed by Neal Hamlin; and the Xavier University EdgeCliff Vocal Ensemble, directed by my friend Tom Merrill as well as the Xavier University Concert Choir, directed by Richard Schnipke.

Tom Merrill

These four choirs sang some great music interspersed by congregational anthem selections as well as readings by ACDA officers Tim Sharp, Mary Hopper, Loren Veigel, and Diane Hires (wow, Diane was choral director at my high school WAY BACK when I was a student and pianist there, not yet a choral person).

I was very impressed by the Christ Church choir- I would assume that all or most of this choir are artistically devoted paid position singers. Everything they sang was spot on, as the Brits would say. Especially solid and artistic were the Parry "I was Glad" and James MacMillan's " A New Song". MacMillan needs to be FAR more known in the US- he is a major talent with a very personal voice. We need more choirs to begin recognizing his talent. Actually Central division directors Tom Merrill and Nancy Menk have discovered him and brought him to the US for wonderful programs of his music.

The selections by the Xavier choirs which were beautifully sung were the Josquin Ave Maria (Virgo serena) and the Purcell "Thou knowest Lord". I am again very impressed by the rock-solid artistry of Tom Merrill's singers and applaud the program he directs at Xavier University in Cincinnati. Congrats, Tom!

The concert ended with a rockin' and rollin' postlude- the "Festival Toccata" by Arthur Banyon, performed by Christ Church's  multi-talented Stephan Casurella  on a pipe organ that had been a bit balky all night (cipher issues which we did our best to ignore!).

 All in all last Tuesday was a great opening night for ACDA Central.

NEXT POST: more recaps of Central Division, even though I am now in Jacksonville for the ACDA southern division, and also did a ton of stuff in between these events- blogging and keeping up is a bear of a challenge!

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