Issue 25 • Fall 2019
In This Issue: Sight-Singing and Solfeggio Dare to Share Beyond the Music What’s in the Folder? The Official Publication of the North Dakota Chapter
of the American Choral Directors Association www.ndacda.com | 1
North Dakota ACDA Leadership Cheryl McIntyre, president, Jamestown High School Dean Jilek, president-elect, University of North Dakota Rebecca Raber, past president, University of Mary Sheldon Weltz, treasurer
North Dakota Repertoire and Resources Committee Repertoire-Specific Coordinator: Tom Porter, University of Mary Men’s Choirs: Tom Porter Women’s Choirs: Lauren Brandenburg, Fargo South HS/Eielson MS Vocal Jazz: Mike Seil, Bismarck Legacy High School Showchoir: Connie Stordalen, Horizon Middle School Ethnic/Multicultural Music: Phillip Voeller, Beulah Middle/High School
Youth Coordinator: Sarah Barnum, Discovery Middle School Children and Community: Brady Gudgel, Mandan Middle School Middle School/Junior High:
Lacey Hanson, Center-Stanton Public School Samantha Steffan, Hazen Public Schools Senior High School: Brian Saylor, Bismarck High School
Collegiate Coordinator: Chris Redfearn, Valley City State University Youth College/University: Chris Redfearn Student Activities: Melanie Popejoy, University of North Dakota
Life-Long Coordinator: Sara Lichtblau, Fargo South High School Community Choirs: Sarah Barnum Music in Worship:
Traditional: Vicky Boechler, St. Mary’s High School, Contemporary: Sara Lichtblau Brent Rogers, Dickinson State University Editor and Designer, The Chorister firstname.lastname@example.org 2 | The Chorister • Winter 2019
Contents From the President
Cheryl McIntyre, Jamestown High School Sight-Singing and Solfeggio
Dean Jilek, University of North Dakota Dare to Share
Melanie Popejoy, University of North Dakota Beyond the Music
Lauren Brandenburg, Fargo South HS/Eielson MS Whatâ€™s in the Folder
Mike Seil, Bismarck Legacy High School
Visit NDACDA online at ndacda.com, or by clicking below.
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From the President
t is my pleasure to serve as President of North Dakota ACDA. I recall coming to North Dakota many years ago. As a Middle School and High School director I was looking for added incentives for my choral students, I found that NDACDA filled that need for the various age levels. NDACDA also gave opportunities to develop programs to add to the education of our students. Here is a brief overview of the upcoming NDACDA 2019-2020 sponsored events that you and your students can take part in.
that the following schools will receive a Zoom recorder at no charge:
Williston P u b l i c S c h o o l (John Bisbee)
Wing Public S c h o o l (Ryan Berry)
October 12: Surround the State in Song (Grades 5 & 6); 7 locations
February 7 & 8: NDACDA State Convention including professional development for teachers
Oakes Public School (Megan Delahoyd/ Kathie Hay)
7-9 Treble Honor Choir, directed by Laura Farnell (auditioned)
7-9 Mixed Honor Choir: directed by Jeff Stone (auditioned)
11–Collegiate Women’s Honor Choir- directed by Carrie Tennant (teacher recommendation)
March 16: Show Choir Showcase, Valley City (contact Sheila Zinke)
Based on feedback from judges who listened to auditions, NDACDA Board chose to purchase Zoom recorders to assist directors in making quality auditions with their students. Two Zoom recorders were given away at the 2019 State Convention. We drew for four additional recorders at our summer board meeting. We are happy to announce 4 | The Chorister • Winter 2019
NDACDA will have Zoom recorders available for use in case a teacher does not have the appropriate technology to make high quality recordings for auditions. If you are in need, please contact Cheryl McIntyre (cheryl.mcintyre@ k12.nd.us) well in advance of recordings. We will loan remaining recorders out on a temporary basis. We will draw for additional schools to receive Zoom recorders at our State Convention and at our ACDA “Meet and Greet” at the NDMEA convention in March. NDACDA has a SING UP program to assist newer teachers to join our organization. North Dakota, in conjunction with National ACDA, gives a limited number of free memberships to new teachers. If you know of a new teacher in your area who is interested in joining
NDACDA, please contact R e b e c c a R a b e r (email@example.com) who serves as Past President and membership chair. NDACDA is pursuing a commission piece for the 2020 Surround the State in Song. More information will be available in the future. I am encouraged by the work done with North Dakota ACDA. We have opportunities for collegiality, professional development, and enrichment opportunities for students and teachers. It is important for new teachers and experienced teachers to share experiences and knowledge. We all have something to learn from and to share with one another. We have an excellent website which provides information, necessary forms, teacher sub plans, and many valuable resources. Be sure to check out our website at ndacda.com. Quite often, music teachers from all over the state talk about “being on an island” in terms of teaching duties. Let’s help one another as we all tackle similar challenges and celebrate our successes. NDACDA provides a group of professionals who can help one another, and our students, succeed. Have a great year creating leaders through music. Cheryl McIntyre Jamestown High School NDACDA President
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Sight-Singingand Solfeggio In the Choral Classroom
No more be grieved at that which thou hast done. Roses have thorns, and silver fountains mud; Clouds and eclipses stain both moon and sun, And loathsome canker lives in sweetest bud. — Sonnet 35, Shakespeare
n last spring’s Chorister, my article focused on influential people, important moments, and the extraordinary opportunities I have experienced throughout my music career. I painted a picture of roses to highlight the joys I’ve experienced. We all know as educators that it’s not all roses. Then again, it was all roses for me...but those roses definitely had some thorns. Thorns My lack of experience in teaching sight reading and solfeggio was an obvious thorn in my career. My coursework did not include training in this area. As a result, I was 15 years into my teaching tenure before taking the steps needed to teach sight reading and solfeggio. So what storm changed the tide? The realization that my students were digressing in their musical skills. I taught for nine years at Roseville Area High School in Minnesota. The sounds of my choir, Cantus Certus, during the first three years were amazing. The choir’s intonation was commendable and the musical ability of the students was advanced. The maximum number of students allowed per school, six, were chosen for Minnesota All State two years in a row. However, the musical ability of the choir members, the sound of the ensemble, and the number of students selected for All State began to severely decline by my fourth year. This decline continued into my sixth year. A major change was needed. I just didn’t know it. Change Here comes the storm! In my sixth year, I had what I felt was a very successful fall concert. I was beyond excited to listen to the recording but was sorely disappointed when I heard poor intonation and a lack of musical awareness in the ensemble. I didn’t understand why this was happening. I approached several successful choir directors at both the high school and collegiate levels for advice. Aside from my undeveloped ear, the overwhelming consensus pointed to my lack of focus on www.ndacda.com | 7
sight reading. I needed to incorporate daily sight singing exercises, rhythm worksheets, rehearsing the music using solfeggio, and proper vocalization. The success I had in my first three years at Roseville was due to my predecessor's work in the classroom in these areas. In the spring of my sixth year, the tide changed. Daily sight-reading and rhythm sheets as well as rehearsing on solfeggio began. Success was at hand. Students retained pitches more quickly, the ensemble’s intonation improved, and musicianship took a step in the right direction. During the following years, we found ourselves selected to perform(by blind audition and invitation) at state and regional festivals. This culminated in a performance at the National American Choral Directors Association Conference in Dallas, Texas. However, the most important result was the knowledge and success each student gained through this process. More students were selected for Minnesota All State and they had increased opportunities to perform in high caliber college choirs. Three Minutes Area teachers who teach sight reading and solfeggio only use three to five minutes of daily class time and it works! I listen to almost 500 auditionees for the UND Honor Choir Festival each year. There is a definite correlation between those students with successful auditions and the teachers who focus on sight reading and solfeggio. Steps and Resources
There are simple steps you can take to incorporate sight reading and solfeggio into your classroom, even if you have little experience with it. 1. Learn how to demonstrate the Kodály Hand Signal Method: Do a quick search of the internet and you will find quality pdf’s you can print for free. 2. Teach your students the signs during warm ups: Take your time and learn with the students. This is a great way to increase musical knowledge in a short period of time. 3. Find a sight reading resource you are comfortable with for your classroom: I highly recommend Bruce Phelps Sight Reading Manual Vol. 1. I have used several different sight reading manuals throughout my career and, by far, this manual makes the most sense. It includes rhythmic study, melodic study, warm-ups, reading in bass clef and treble clef, two to four-part reading with proficiency tests at the end. The manual costs $60, which gives you the right to copy pages, without limit, for your students. http://phelpsmusic10.wix.com/phelps-musicincorporated#!__sight-reading-manual-vol-1 4. Rehearse using solfeggio: Rehearsing with solfeggio will be “painful” at first. Teaching the students which solfa syllable to place on each pitch can be cumbersome. In time, they will figure it out and their tonal memory skills will be tremendously enhanced. Some music teachers may only have 20-30 minute rehearsals. I promise you, if you take one or even two days to label the pitches with 8 | The Chorister • Winter 2019
solfeggio, the ensembles learning rate will increase and your choir will sound great! 5. Ask for help and ideas: The choral community is rich in knowledge and ideas. Don’t be afraid to send an email/text or call your music colleagues to help enrich your classroom experience! The Rose Bud Do you know that there are some species of the rose that do not have thorns? My rose bloomed after I conquered the thorns in my classroom, thorns I would not have encountered had I taught sight reading in the first place. I still use sight singing exercises and solfeggio in my college classroom. We are all learning and some of us may need more time than others. That’s ok! Don’t let time restrictions or knowledge gaps keep your tide from changing. Make that change! Musically,
Dean Jilek University of North Dakota NDACDA President-Elect www.ndacda.com | 9
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Dare to Share
the Good, the Bad, & the Ugly
t the University of North Dakota, I have had the privilege to teach Music Education methods courses, supervise Student Teachers, and follow the progress of our graduates as they land their first jobs. I enjoy following them on social media, watching their classrooms transform into fun, colorful, meticulously organized places for learning, and reading about the aspirations they have for their students. You get a clear sense that they are happy, nervous, excited, apprehensive, hopeful, and scared. Concerts have been scheduled, literature has been picked, and rules and procedures have been established. Then, the first day of school comes and so it begins! Sometime in early-to-mid October it is not unusual to receive a phone call requesting a meeting with one of these young teachers. I always look forward to hearing all of the details about their school, students, new colleagues, and the successes they have already experienced. After exchanging pleasantries, I throw out the much-anticipated question, “So, how is it going?” Their facial expression and body language immediately changed. Self-doubt, frustration, and feelings of failure have set in. It is evident that the “honeymoon” phase of the first year is over. Do you remember it? Do you remember the first time when you doubted that you could be the music teacher you had hoped to be? I know that throughout my teaching career I have encountered challenges that caused me to question whether I had what it took to be successful. After all, my high school choir director, who had a huge impact on my career choice, gave the impression that he loved his job every day. He inspired his students to do their best, knew how to meet them where they were and elevate them to become part of an award-winning choir. I knew that was what I wanted to do. He made it look so easy.
That is exactly what I hear from these young teachers. They feel that they are struggling because they are not smart enough, not talented enough, or don’t have what it takes to be a great teacher. Certainly, their mentors, their cooperating teachers, or fellow colleagues didn’t struggle. They made it look so easy. I am quick to tell these young teachers that they are not unique in this situation. We have all felt inadequate. Teachers tend to share their success stories, but are not as quick to share their failures, challenges, or struggles. The fact of the matter is that we are who we are because of the strength and knowledge we have gained from our past experiences. When I share stories of my own insecurities and shortcomings with these young teachers you start to see their anxiety melt away. www.ndacda.com | 11
We have all heard how social media has affected our perception of our own lives. It causes us to think that someone else has it better, does it better, has all of the answers that we don’t. We might find the few posts where someone talks about challenges they faced and how they persevered and ended up feeling successful. However, we don’t see someone posting when they are at their most vulnerable state, facing the challenges, trying things that didn’t work, feeling isolated, and not sure what to do next. From the wisdom of Mark Twain we hear “Do what you love, and you’ll never work another day in your life.” I believe that to be true because I absolutely love what I do and sometimes can’t believe that I get to do this for a living. However, if I am totally honest, there are some days that are more challenging than others. This is perfectly normal, and something all of us must deal with. As we begin a new academic year, I charge each of our veteran music educators to share with the new educators in our profession not only their triumphs and success stories, but also the many challenges they face. Letting the newest members of our profession inside our thoughts, and sharing with them how we problemsolve the issues we all face, will have a positive impact on helping our colleagues learn to love this profession as much as we do. Best wishes to all of us for a wonderfully productive and inspiring new academic year! Melanie Popejoy University of North Dakota NDACDA Student Activities Coordinator
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Beyond the Music
reetings to my ACDA colleagues! I am honored to serve on the board as the North Dakota Women’s Choirs representative, and I look forward to receiving your student nominations for our NDACDA Women’s Honor Choir this year (grades 11-collegiate). As we are settling into the school year, getting the first quarter under our belts, I am taking some time to reflect on the start of the school year. I always enter the year with so many exciting new ideas and plans for my singers. Nevertheless, it always seems that by the second week of school, most of those ideas are left under the pile of to-do lists and deadlines. In the midst of all the details we take care of day to day, it can be so easy to lose sight of the big picture - of the “why”. I always find value in looking back on thoughts and ideas I have collected at conferences, in articles, or from other educators along the way to give myself a sense of refreshment and renewal.
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Perhaps I am “preaching to the choir”, but I hope that something in this article might give you a little reminder and a renewed sense of accomplishment in what you do every day for your choir and your community - beyond the music.
Choir gives students a community - a place to belong. Wendell Berry said, “A proper community, we should remember also, is a commonwealth: a place, a resource, an economy. It answers the needs, practical as well as social and spiritual, of its members — among them the need to need one another.” Where do we need one another more than in a choir? In an ever-changing society where independence is prized, choir teaches our students that we do indeed need one another, and that it is okay to rely on others. Humans have an innate need for community and choir may be the only place they get this in their day.
Choir builds self-respect and respect of others. A choir member has to do a lot of work to take a song from sight-reading to performance ready, and so do all the other choir members. This builds self-esteem as well as respect of the work others put in, because our choir members understand that in order for a choir to do well, everyone must put in the work.
Choir helps your students learn that mistakes are part of life, and how to accept them and move on quickly. You hear something in rehearsal, you stop, correct it, and we all move on. Currently our school is very big on “growth mindset”. This is something we have been teaching our students all along. It is ingrained in our practice. That is something in which we can take great pride!
Choir has the ability like no other artistic medium to connect people. It has been scientifically proven that when a choir sings together, their heart beats fall into rhythm together.
We teach that it is ok to not have perfection, but that the idea of perfection is still worth the pursuit. We work and push all the way to the performance.
Choir represents what we need in this world. When a choir gets together to sing, it is a group of people from different backgrounds coming together in harmony. I believe John Rutter put it best when he said “When so much of the world is at odds with itself, that just to express in symbolic terms what it’s like when human beings are in harmony: that is a lesson for our times and for all time.”
Whether you accomplish five of your brand-new great ideas this year, or none you are doing amazing things. When you are feeling like you are under a pile of todos, try to remind yourself that you are changing your students’ lives and your communities for the better. Sing on! Lauren Brandenburg Fargo South High School/Carl Ben Eielson Middle School NDACDA Women’s Choirs R&R Chair
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What’s in the Folder?
elcome back to another school year of celebrating the gift of choral music in our wonderful state. I currently have the privilege to work with hundreds of vocalists of varying ages and abilities. The literature list that I have included below is a snapshot of a piece from several of our ensembles. Some of these are newer offerings, while others are certainly tried and true. Regardless, you will hopefully find several of these titles beneficial for your singers. I’ve included the meaningful portions of the publisher descriptions in addition to some of my thoughts about each piece. Enjoy! “All of Us Be Free” Michael John Trotta SATB, divisi, a cappella (optional solo) HRMG 1736 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-EuqT2qMLAk
The exciting rhythmic underpinning of the choir lays an energetic foundation for an enchanting melody that breathes life into a timeless text. The piece highlights the text "when all hate is turned to love, then heaven and earth shall blend. "The piece concludes with a rousing mixed-meter declamation, "When all are free, then freedom shall reign!" This setting was written to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. This work combines the text of William W. Brown, a fugitive slave and text inspired by the writings of seminal Methodist thinkers Thomas Coke and Francis Asbury. Written in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, this work uses the text alluded to in the work of Coke and Asbury as a rhythmic ostinato on which the rest of the piece is based. (Act's 17:26 "From one is made every nation, to live on all the face of the earth.") The resounding chorus "Cease we not the fight of faith, till all of us be free," is taken from the The Anti-Slavery Harp, 1848 and highlights both the considerable obstacles that have been overcome since the mid-19th century while at the same time gives voice to the continued struggle for freedom throughout the world. I’ve chosen to present the melody with a mixed small group rather than a solo. In addition to the powerful message, this song provides the opportunity to employ a wide range of dynamic variation.
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“My Mother’s Words (Part One: Adolescence to Womanhood)” Andrea Ramsey SSAA, piano & cello MS91081 https://issuu.com/musicspoke/docs/my_mother_s_words__part_1____andrea To honor the memory of her mother, this collection of four miniatures uses fragments of texts from Andrea's mother's journals. Samples of ordinary writing that when threaded together and set to music, present something more than ordinary. Part One: Adolescence to Womanhood includes four movements: wearing glasses, first dance, independence, and our family. The world premiere of this work was presented by the SSAA High School-Collegiate National Honor Choir at the 2019 ACDA National Convention in Kansas City MO. I wasn’t able to find any performances yet online and the music is difficult to attain. However, it is a work that will be impactful for the singers and immediately bring tears to all in the audience. If interested, you can purchase the ACDA recording of this performance on Soundwaves “Wade in the Water” Traditional Spiritual Arr. Stacey V. Gibbs SATB, divisi, a cappella JG2514 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UPLf-frx-xA This superb arrangement by Stacey Gibbs of this well-known spiritual is engaging and well crafted. From the start, the energetic rhythms and choral divisi help to paint an energetic picture of the turbulent text. A great festival piece, concert closer or encore number for advanced ensembles. This arrangement is fantastic. While it is challenging, there is enough repetition to make it attainable by a variety of ensembles. The minor sonority and rhythmic back and forth between the sections add an extra level of tension and excitement. “Walk Out On the Water” Royal Canoe Arr. Geung Kroeker-Lee SATB with bass guitar and percussion CP 1633 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X7FZgyAsxj8 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Hp9JQYBgsg Royal Canoe is a group of musicians based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on a mission to construct ambitious, inventive music. The songs are thick with catchiness, rich in rhythm and are consistently pushing against the boundaries of pop music. Up tempo, uplifting and great fun. Bring down the house with this rhythmic anthem! It is www.ndacda.com | 17
currently my intention to include this piece in the Cantus (Central Dakota Children’s Choir) performance at All-State in March. This arrangement blurs the lines of a choir performance and a rock concert. It has the rhythmic drive of a traditional work song with the feel of an Appalachian folk song. The message of “everything’s happening the way I want” is relatable and uplifting to the singers. “Home” Jennifer Parker Arr. Matt Falker SATB, a cappella (with solo) MSM1801 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZ5ZtE6QyWU This beautiful tune written by jazz singer Jennifer Parker was arranged for True North and is accessible to choirs with previous vocal jazz experience. This version is SATB a cappella with a soprano feature. This gorgeous ballade will take your ensemble and audience in many unexpected directions. The harmonies are at times unpredictable, but always beautiful. It is very reminiscent of some early New York Voices charts such as “Come Home” or “The Silence of Time.” “Summertime” George Gershwin Arr. Jeremy Fox SATB, a cappella (with solo & vocal percussion) http://www.jeremyfox.net/ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Or06fle5GxI George Gershwin and Heyward DuBose’s masterpiece from Porgy and Bess may be one of the most well-known songs in the jazz repertoire, but it has not been heard like this – in a fun latin-style groove! This arrangement features a female soloist at the beginning and end of the arrangement. You have the choice to include either vocal percussion, body percussion, or actual percussion instruments. Jeremy has a way of creating arrangements for ensembles that are both accessible and challenging. It has a similar feel to his very popular “Café.” This arrangement also features a notated percussion line for those who are new to the world of vocal percussion. Mike Seil Bismarck Legacy High School NDACDA Vocal Jazz Coordinator
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Photo Credit: Joel Walters