In my study of Choregie and work with Richard Bjella, I have come to consider the program itself to be a powerful vehicle of expression. Cornerstones of my current practice involve the following:
A narrative approach governed by an external structure.
Inspiration includes current events, books, theories, art, and experience.
Inclusion of solo and instrumental repertoire.
Attention to the "Dramatic Arc" (Gustav Freytag).
Unexpected juxtapositions of style and affect.
Reduction/elimination of internal applause.
Thoughtfully prepared transitions.
In addition to a carefully constructed internal design, I often use the physical shape of the ensemble to reflect the purpose and meaning of each moment within the program. Just as each piece serves a distinct purpose in the program, so too does the posture and shape of the ensemble.
a political allegory
In October of 2017, the Symphonic Choir performed in the Opera and Lyric Theater Department's production of Purcell's masterpiece Dido and Aeneas. Anticipating the fall semester as a politically charged time, I chose to create a program reflecting the conflict present in Dido's experience and impending conflict of the American political landscape, to be presented on November 20, 2016. As the campaign unfolded, ugliness appeared on all sides, and the program developed a very poignant meaning to the students sharing in its preparation. It speaks to the climate of Autumn 2016, while calling all of us to act with compassion, respect and hope, regardless of personal affiliation.
Lament for Pasiphae // Morten Lauridsen
Dido's Lament // Henry Purcell
Mid-Winter Waking // Morten Lauridsen
What Would You Do If I Married a Soldier? // Mack Wilberg
To the Hills and the Vales // Henry Purcell
I Hear an Army // Samuel Barber
She Tells Her Love (Interlude) // Morten Lauridsen
Zoriu Byut (Reveille) // Georgy Sviridov
Hard Times // Stephen Foster/Craig Hella Johnson
Darkest Midnight // Moira Smiley
The video below highlights the transitions between pieces, offering an example of program structure.
The women's glee club
The Womens Glee Club is largely populated by non-music majors. Typically, first year music majors sing in this ensemble. This group meets three days per week for 55 minutes per rehearsal.
The symphonic choir
Historically, the Symphonic Choir has been comprised of both music majors and non-music majors. Most often, first, second, and third year music students sing in this ensemble. This group meets three days per week for 55 minutes per rehearsal.
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