Agreed. I refuse to spell "disc" with a "k" and refuse EVER to patronise the "Plumb Center", "CenterParcs" or any similarly misspelt businesses. But when singing West SIde Story, a compromise is essential. The same applies to all musical set in America. Just don't sing like Leisel in The Sound of Music.
Originally Posted by hmvman
There are at least seven large-ish choral societies (60 singers +) within a ten-mile radius of where I live in Gloucestershire, and a host of other choirs - chamber, light music, ladies', men's, gospel, youth, community, world music, church etc.
The choral societies' membership is predominantly, but certainly not exclusively, over 55. Many of the other choirs attract more youthful singers.
We have a community choir in my village of just over sixty singers, the youngest of whom (a tenor) is sixteen with a fair scattering of 20-35 year-olds. The majority of us are over 55s but so what ? We're still alive,we enjoy it and singing is an ideal interest for older people in so many ways.
Our two nights of Christmas concerts were, as usual, sold out some time ago. And over the past fifteen years, we've raised £150,000 for a very wide variety of charieties and good causes.
Singing's certainly not on its way out round here !
I'm with a London LGBT choir, The Pink Singers. I was with them briefy about five years ago and have recently rejoined. In that time numbers have swelled from about 35 to 85, so that is a very impressive surge and suggests that not everyone's brains or musical appetites are going 'X-Factor' soft.
Our repertoire is perhaps not the most adventuresome but we are a choir of mixed abilities so there is an emphasis on accessibility.
What is a little depressing though is that despite our supposedly more democratic times we are a typically middle-class white professional dynamic, and that in a choir which is all about diversity.
In general terms though, is it wrong to say that there is less of an appetite for stretching one's talents.
Has 'shy' won the day?!
For girls espeically, up to about 35-ish, singing has come to mean X-factor, Katherine Jenkins-with microphone-amplification-effects singing, in a very particular imitation American semi-blues / single sleb style with all kinds of swoops, gloops, gulps and voice cracking and shaping pf phrases in very short cells.
If you try to blend that in a choir, unless all the other top line singers are doing something similar, you have a mismatch. A number of school choirs I have heard recently are now actively encouraging that kind of 'girls togther-but-as soloists' style. The notion of sustaining, shaping by the physical mechanism in the body, and the development of serious breathing skills seems to be slipping away. You don't hear boys doing this in quite the same way. I wonder why not?
And therefore I wonder about the future of the full-on traditional choral society / ensemble as we have known it eg the Wells Cathedral School Alumni sound we heard on Choir of the Year. Is that, should that, actually be going to remain? OK if you are miked, but in the central choral repertory, skilful blend, sheer volume and control over tone and intensity goes with the music, as I say, particularly for the women.
I don't think singing per se is dying, but I really do wonder about the future of choral socs.
I was criticised quite recently, for directing a singing group of children from the piano instead of using a backing track. I didn't budge, though, and the critics soon changed their attitude when they realised the benefits.
Interesting, particularly when viewed with the thread about background music. I'm still not sure that I understand what was meant by televisions playing pop music in school corridors. Really? I recently helped for a day in a very multinational infants school in London and it didn't seem that different from my wholly British one in 1967. The only difference was that the assembly wasn't what you could call religious and rather than hymns the children sang "Wimoweh - The Lion Sleeps Tonight".
I think the man you quote has it wrong about the late 1960s. In my school, it was 1955 in 1969. We had a huge post-war speaker in the hall on one day of the week which brought us a Reithian schools assembly. We sang Kumbaya and various other traditional songs. I recall several series, I think, of Time and Tune which may still be being broadcast for 7-9 year olds? There was one that sticks in my mind to this day called "Colour Me Cornwall" and I can still remember two of the songs and sing them. To my mind now, there is a loose association with Richard Gendall and the wonderful Brenda Wootton but I very much doubt they were involved. Have tried before to get some more information on the series so if anyone happens to know.
Eine - I really support your endeavours. Those early years have more impacts than many realise. I had a teacher who was Jamaican in what was an exclusively white primary and she had a wholly positive influence on me. I am sure that she paved the way to me studying race relations at uni and veering towards music from across the world. We had another who tended to put folk and country dancing above everything else - a bit bonkers and it was not always wanted as an alternative to football unless sticks and swords were involved - but there is no doubt that this led to a love of folk music. And my attitudes towards the mentally handicapped and the mentally ill were wholly informed by our annual visits at Christmas time to sing them carols.
At age eleven, all of us in what was just a local council school were even introduced to the songs of Copland, caribbean steel bands, and the distinctly avant garde which we were able to perform as part of the Croydon Schools Music Festival. It was an extraordinarily rich experience, particularly as they didn't select but rather told everyone that they had to chip in. And, yes, there was a huge amount of pop music at home - some of it tremendous - but schools should broaden experience and singing is so important. The lyrical and visual content of chart material now is often far from suitable so do keep up the good work.
Last edited by Lateralthinking1; 15-12-10 at 21:05.
I saw a bit of one of Gareth Malone's TV programmes where there was a lad of about 12 being coached. GM was stopping him and getting him to notice what he was doing naturally/unthinkingly - singing 'unnaturally', automatically, as if he were American.
Originally Posted by StephenO
...Well I think Junior Schools still do quite a lot of "Singing"-sadly this is more often shouting
tuneless PC Choruses without any other particular musical criterion...
Last Friday I attended the CLIC Sargent Christmas Celebration 2010 at the Royal Albert Hall - not my usual musical cup of tea, but I was there as a trustee of the Promenders' Musical Charities to make the official presentation of the cheque for their share of this year's Proms charity collection (£30,000 to CLIC Sargent). It was a bit of a shame that the concert opened with Bach's Tocatta and Fugue in D Minor - arranged for the band of guitars, keyboards and percussion while the organ console stayed firmly shut throughout the concert.... But uner the auspices of Young Voices there was a choir of several hundred primary school children (they filled the risers at the back of the stage, the chior seats by the organ, a block of the stalls either side of the stage, and block either side in the balcony). Most of the fare did tend toward the poppy, but the arrangements were challenging, polychoral effects and a fair bit of harmony.
On that front, DU, I was at an extraordinary concert on Sunday in Kendal Cumbria which involved all manner of musical young people.
Apart from the ubiquitously performed Armed Man of Karl Jenkins, there was the performance of an astonishing new piece called 'Celestial Light'.
Texts from Milton, Hopkins, the AV etc, scored for tenor soloist, very good little 16/17 yr old local rock band, an ENORMOUS choir - children, adults, soloists form the choir of all ages - plus a huge orchestra. It was no singalong stuff either but truly engaged and made the choirs / band work really hard too, so totally unpatronising. I thought as I drove away that it would be a great work to bring all sorts of performing forces in a community together for a musical celebration.
The composer is a chap called Roland Fudge, who apparently is a very fine violinist in his own right.