Blog Archives


A great article written by Robert Baldwin about how we need to keep our minds open to perception as musicians. I, myself, have a very different “style” than many of my fellow musicians. I have chosen not to be employed in music so I can enjoy it more. Many other musicians appreciate or enjoy music more due to the fact that they deal with it every hour of their lives. I am also glad, like Dr. Baldwin, that we have the freedom of expression in the United States. Please give this a read!

 

Before the Downbeat

Image

Perception is a major aspect of a musician’s life.  We perceive sound, rhythm, and phrasing and relate it to all of the stimuli around us, from our fellow musicians on stage to the drone of an air handling unit.  Hopefully, our attention is focused and blended with those around us.  Often times it is not.  And we can get pretty fussy about the score and the notes that are within, claiming some sort of ultimate authority on the subject.  But doing so without regard to different options, interpretations, and traditions can create assumptions that may actually block creativity. As Joseph Campbell reminds us:

“Our human species…is distinguished by the fact that the action-releasing mechanisms of its central nervous system are for the most part…”open.” They are susceptible to the influence of imprintings from the society in which the individual grows up.”  –Joseph Campbell, the Importance of Rites, 1964

Our music…

View original post 432 more words

Debut performance of Men’s Acappella Chorus of Cache Valley a success!!!


Please click on the link to read the review above.

I am so impressed by my fellow singers in the Men’s Acappella Chorus of Cache Valley. Our debut performance was a great hurdle to get over. It helps us keep something driving us in our rehearsals. It is a milestone that needed to be reached.

Our acappella group has been so much fun for me. And other chorus members have expressed similar sentiments. They say how even if we don’t have many people asking us to perform that they have plenty of fun just in rehearsals. And I agree, it is a LOT of fun to get a group of men together and sing without any instrument accompaniment. When those chords lock in, it brings a tingle to your whole body. I’ve literally had goosebumps during some rehearsals. I hope the other chorus members know how appreciative I am of their dedication and their support.

I love hearing comments from audience members after a performance. I love seeing their faces as they say how much they enjoyed the performance. Their smiles when they describe how glad they are that we performed a specific song. Singing music is a service. While we do sing for the sheer enjoyment of singing ourselves. We also sing to share music with others. Music can change the outcome of a day. It can brighten attitudes. It can leave lasting impressions. It can motivate. And we love it when our music has touched those we share it with.

I am excited to start working on new material with the Men’s Acappella Chorus of Cache Valley (MACCV). We will begin preparing for Christmas concerts in December and we will also work a few new pieces to add to our repertoire.

Thanks again to those who attended our debut performance!

 

The Men’s Acappella Chorus of Cache Valley had their debut performance Sunday night, July 22 in the Kent Concert at USU.

Here is a link to the announcement we posted for this concert: http://bit.ly/KDUj5s

The performance went extremely well! From estimates given by USU Alumni Band members based on performances that last few weeks, we only expected around 30 people to show up. Add on the fact that the concert was moved from the lawn of the Quad on the east side of Old Main building to instead be held in the Kent Concert Hall, and it was actually surprising to see such a huge turn out. The Kent Concert Hall holds 2168 people, and we believe the venue was over half full if not 2/3 full. We were definitely very enthused to have such a large audience for our debut performance. And we are very appreciative to the…

View original post 501 more words

Men’s Acappella Group of Cache Valley needs an official name


Click HERE to fill out our survey on

which group names you prefer.

A new men’s acappella group has been created in Cache Valley, Utah and is in need of help from fans to come up with a name for the group. I wrote a blog back at the end of April, 2012 describing the intent of organizing this men’s acappella group. Here is a link to that blog: http://bit.ly/Ix0QfP

Local men quickly showed their interest and we had our first rehearsal at the beginning of May. We have now been rehearsing for almost two months.

Before we schedule performances, we would like to settle on a group name. Now, we are planning on organizing a smaller sub-group of this larger acappella group hopefully in the near future. So we potentially need two group names. It has been proposed that the name for the larger group be a generic name such as “Men’s Acappella Chorus of Cache Valley” – meanwhile reserving the more specific name for the small group. Let us know what your thoughts are on this.

A survey has been created to gather votes from our fans on which group names they prefer. Please visit this survey and give us your preferences: http://bit.ly/LuZ0h4.

The Pit and the Pendulum, Part 2


Robert Baldwin, Music Director for the Salt Lake Symphony, Music Director for the Utah Philharmonia, and Director of Orchestral Activities at the University of Utah shares more of his thoughts on the importance of rhythm, meter, and tempo in music. He shares that music is not a perfect mathematical equation and neither is time in a musical piece. There is always ebb and flow. There is always adaptation, especially in live performances.

Before the Downbeat

Image

I’ll be climbing out of the pit after the last run of Susannah tonight.  It’s been a great experience, and full of potential for the pondering mind.  Inevitability.  Events that lead to something else.  The Grand Finale.  That incessant beat of the clock, metronome, and human heart; counting down to a predestined end.  Is this where we find meaningful rhythm and flow?  Or is it rather a stream into which we we enter, subdivide, and play?   Always present.  Welcoming us to participate.

The problem with the first example, is that it is too clinical, too easy.  In my experience it’s also completely wrong.  The thought that music, creativity, or life itself can be relegated to mere numbers is a popular misconception.  Yes, music is math.  Life is math.  Yes, proportions, ratios and relationships certainly exist.  But as human beings, our lives simply don’t operate this way.  Science is starting to…

View original post 592 more words

Rhythm in Music


Robert Baldwin, Music Director for the Salt Lake Symphony, Music Director for the Utah Philharmonia, and Director of Orchestral Activities at the University of Utah shares his thoughts on the importance of rhythm, meter, and tempo – an aspect of music often neglected when focusing on notes, pitches, timbre, sound quality, etc.

Dr. Craig Jessop, director of the American Festival Chorus, stresses this as well. Dr. Jessop uses “count singing” – a method he inherited from studying with Robert Shaw and the Robert Shaw Singers. This is where the notes are sung by singing “One, Two, Tee, Four”. This ensures the musicians keep an “inner pulse” going on inside their head when the time comes to put actual words to the music. It also helps musicians know exactly when notes are moving, beginning and ending of phrases, and note durations. Dr. Jessop swears by this practice.

Before the Downbeat

Image

I’ve emerged from the pit thinking about rhythm and tempo.  I’m there all week with the orchestra putting together Carlisle Floyd’s opera, Susannah.  There’s a lot that can go wrong on stage, and even more with this show as it includes live gunshots!  All in all, it was a good first rehearsal.  The only lingering issues are finding a consensus with rhythm and tempo.

Certainly, these are two things that are very important to my craft as a conductor.  Tempo control, metric organization and rhythmic precision are all something that is a great responsibility for all of us–the conductor, singer, and orchestra.  But behind all my admonishments to “watch the stick,” “play the subdivision correctly,” and  “don’t rush (or drag),” there is a deeper truth to the importance of flow and rhythm in the music.

“Time is like a superglue, keeping our story in order as we navigate the world…

View original post 362 more words

American Festival Chorus Concert – Sun Valley Summer Spectacular


Sun Valley Resort (http://bit.ly/HsFQYh) and Sun Valley Opera (http://bit.ly/HsFYHo) present Sun Valley Summer Spectacular with the American Festival Chorus and singer Alyson Cambridge on June 30, 2012 at the Sun Valley Pavilion in Sun Valley, Idaho.

Concert details: http://bit.ly/HsG6Xp\
More Concert details: http://bit.ly/HsJ1PV

The American Festival Chorus and Orchestra, conducted by Craig Jessop, are joined by Soprano Alyson Cambridge (http://bit.ly/HsGcyg) for this incredible evening of uplifting and beautiful music for the entire family! Come join us in beautiful Sun Valley for this incredible evening!

Add this event to your Google Calendar: http://bit.ly/HXC3Q8

Join the Facebook Event: http://on.fb.me/HsMvls

Further details to follow.

Blog on this event: http://bit.ly/HsUUFm

Tickets:
Buy Tickets Online: http://bit.ly/HsIJs0
To order general admission tickets call Sun Valley Resort 208-622-2135

Seating Map: http://bit.ly/HsITjj

GENERAL TICKETS can be purchased online at seats.sunvalley.com, through the Sun Valley Recreation Center in the Sun Valley Village, or by calling (208) 622-2135/(888) 622-2108.
All tickets are non-refundable.

DIVA TICKETS can be purchased online at www.sunvalleyopera.com, or by calling the Sun Valley Opera at (208) 726-0991.

Hotel Package available – Spend a memorable evening with the American Festival Chorus and Orchestra and special guest star Alyson Cambridge, then enjoy one night’s lodging in the Sun Valley Lodge or Inn for $133.50, per person, double occupancy, (includes two show tickets).
Call 800-786-8259.

WILL CALL/TICKET OFFICE opens at 6pm the night of the show at the Pavilion. They can also be printed at the Sun Valley Recreation Office in the Sun Valley Village in advance prior to June 30th, 2012.
Phone: (208) 622-2135 / (888) 622-2108.
Seating is reserved inside the Pavilion
– The last 5 rows are exposed to the weather

Location: Sun Valley Pavillion, 300 Dollor Rd., Sun Valley, Idaho
Google Map: http://bit.ly/HsGMMd

Gate opens at 7:00 p.m.

“A frequent and compelling presence on the recital and concert stages, lyric soprano Alyson Cambridge makes an encore appearance on the Sun Valley Opera’s concert stage on June 30, 2012. Equally comfortable in her high and low ranges, Ms. Cambridge has been appearing to critical acclaim around the world, has been signed by Choppard Diamonds to appear in their ads and is part of the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s bold new advertising campaign in which a 5 story poster of Alyson hangs on the outside of its building.” – Sun Valley Opera

Snocountry.com is offering a special rate for lodging and tickets to the American Festival Chorus and Alyson Cambridge performance. They will be $133.50 per person, double occupancy, (includes two show tickets). Call 800-786-8259.
http://bit.ly/HsDOra

News Articles:
Sun Valley Opera: http://bit.ly/HsGSDC
Idaho Mountain Express and Guide: http://bit.ly/GXx2KD

Sun Valley Opera Website: http://bit.ly/HsHysC
Sun Valley Resort Website: http://bit.ly/HsFQYh
Alyson Cambridge Website: http://bit.ly/HsGcyg

Here is Alyson Cambridge performing in the Elardo Opera Competition: http://bit.ly/HsIr4t


Here are two promos from our Sun Valley concert with Maureen McGovern in 2011:http://bit.ly/HsLNoi


Here is the promo video from our Sun Valley concert with Peter Cetera in 2010:http://bit.ly/HsMcqH

Reflections from the Past


Robert Baldwin, Music Director for the Salt Lake Symphony and Director of Orchestral Activities at the University of Utah, shares his insight into Edvard Grieg’s “Holberg Suite” and Ottorino Respighi’s “Church Windows.” The Utah Philharmonia will be performing these pieces this Thursday at the Libby Gardner Concert Hall.

Before the Downbeat

Image

In Back to the Future, Marty McFly (played by Michael J. Fox) travels from 1985 back to the time when his parents were young, ancient 1955.  He experiences all sorts of awkward situations, but in the end discovers that he shares many traits with his parents.   In essence, they are not really much different (although he is a lot cooler, naturally). Marty learns valuable lessons from the past that help him alter the perspective of his own life (and, of course, save the day).

The human mind has always been fascinated with the past, whether it’s our individual lives, or the collective history of an entire civilization.  We somehow believe that it is possible to find something important by studying the past. It might be lost wisdom.  Perhaps it is secret knowledge.  But in the end, all that we are really trying to do is understand something about ourselves.

View original post 648 more words

Reichel Arts Review releases their April Concert Calendar


Reichel Arts Review has released their Calendar for concerts in Utah for the month of April. This is VERY useful, please refer to it throughout the month. A couple American Festival Chorus concerts are listed: http://bit.ly/Ht3EbM

Every Breath You Take


Robert Baldwin, Music Director for the Salt Lake Symphony and Director of Orchestral Activities at the University of Utah, shares his thoughts and techniques of how to connect to music through the breath. He describes how essential the breath is to how we live our lives as well as the motion of music. A wonderful article!

Before the Downbeat

Image

Life’s first breath.  A pause filled with potential.  Then you scream.  While that may be the last time parents are overjoyed at hearing the sound, it is a reality of the beginning of life, the expression of potential. Certainly, genetics, environment and education will come into play soon enough.  But I invite you to consider that first event: a breath, a pause, an utterance.  Or put another way: Possibility, Preparation, Sound.

Our expression of music comes from this very personal space.  No one can exist, sustain, or express life without it.  The ancient Greeks had a word for breath: pneuma.  Interestingly, this was the same word they used for spirit.   They, along with people from many traditions, considered breath and spirit to be inseparable.  A  South American shaman uses breath as a magical curing device.  A Christian mystic chants long phrases, intoning praise.  Ancient mariners from many traditions…

View original post 912 more words

%d bloggers like this: