Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Last Week's Facebook Live Video

It was quite an experience to do our first Facebook Live Concert last Thursday. Below is the video of our Holiday Caroling Concert at the Legacy Estates in Lincoln, NE.

Facebook Live Video: Holiday Caroling Concert 12.8.2016

Monday, November 28, 2016

We are going LIVE: Facebook LIVE experiment for our Holiday Concerts

So I have decided to take the leap into Facebook LIVE and stream our two holiday caroling concerts on Dec. 8 and Dec. 15. Though I am very tech capable, this does worry me a little. The group is very excited to present our music to the community. But we have never tried anything like this! I'm working on the details now as I figure out how to set up my phone and hope everything runs smoothly.

Here's some of the info from Facebook I've posted today:
Lincoln Choral Artists will be using Facebook LIVE to share their concert of Holiday Music as presented at the Legacy Estates on December 8 at 7:00pm and the Grandlodge at the Preserve on December 15 at 6:45pm. This concert will feature beloved holiday classics for choir, quartet, duet, and solos. Lincoln Choral Artists will be sharing the holiday spirit with our community and want you to be a part of it on Facebook!

We are inviting anyone in attendance at the concert to join in on the Facebook LIVE. Turn on your phone and stream the performance with us!

Facebook LIVE Concert featuring the Holiday Music! 

Facebook LIVE Concert featuring Holiday Music 2

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Monday, October 31, 2016

Sharing the Podium...Pt. 2 The Sacred Arts Homeschool Choirs

A few weeks ago I shared my excitement for having guest conductors lead my choirs. I had the opportunity to do the same for two of our guest choirs for the upcoming concert this Sunday, last week. I worked with Deo Gratias and Corem Deo Choirs from the Sacred Arts Home School Choirs, directed by Mandy Swanson. Here are some photos I took at the rehearsals as I watched Mandy warm up the choirs. The "older" singers are members of Lincoln Choral Artists

Sacred Arts Homeschool Choirs Website     To Purchase Tickets for Sunday's Concert, CLICK HERE

Thursday, October 20, 2016

College View Church: A gorgeous setting for a beautiful concert

I am so excited to have our first concert of this 37th Season at College View Church. 
College View has long historical connections to Union College in Lincoln as does LCA. 
Lincoln Choral Artists began as the Lincoln Civic Choir in 1979 and were featured as a part of the Lincoln Civic Experience that year at Union College. 
College View Church continues to host several events for the college and community surrounding the church campus. Please enjoy the photos below of this amazing space and Come Hear 
the Lincoln Choral Artists, 
with special guests 
the Lincoln Lutheran Choir and the 
Sacred Arts Home School Choir 
on Nov. 6 at 3pm.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Sharing the Podium

I had the great joy last week of leading a rehearsal of the Lincoln Lutheran Choir and having Tom Trenney as a guest clinician at the Lincoln Choral Artists rehearsal.

Most every week, Mandy Swanson, our assistant director, does some rehearsal with the choir and our Choral Scholar helps with sectionals. I hand over the reigns and trust the hands of others often. I have shared my love and joy of choral music with ensembles that I have been invited to work with many times. And, like last Thursday, I have had the opportunity to watch colleagues, friends, and mentors work with ensembles I lead.

Each of these experiences is a growth moment for me, for the choirs I work with regularly, and the choirs I have visited. The strength of the choral ensemble comes from the "connectedness" we share in a common experience together. Our individual voices, strengths, and personalities join to become a new thing every week and every performance. Singers have the opportunity to grow by experiencing many conductors and leaders. Singers perspectives can change about the community of music that surrounds them as the world opens a little wider. I know that's how I have felt both as a singer in choirs and as a director "watching from the sidelines."

I am so very excited to watch the collaborations, conducting, leadership, and singing at our fall concert. I am proud to have 2 fabulous conductors with me on stage, Brett Epperson with LLC, and Mandy Swanson with LCA and Sacred Arts Home School Choir.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Music on Our Fall Concert Pt.4: Multicultural, Folk songs, and the Opener!

This is the final part of the look at the music on the LCA Fall Concert: A Capital City Choirs Concert, Sunday, Nov. 6, 3pm, College View Church, Lincoln, NE.

One of our selections comes from the Latinamerican community. "Salmo 150" is composed by Ernani Aguiar, thise piece is published through earthsongs, the leading publisher of multicultural choral music in the United States. "Salmo 150" uses the text of Psalm 150 sung in Latin.

Praise the Lord in his sacred places, praise him in the firmament of his power. Praise him for his mighty acts, praise him according to his excellent greatness. Praise him with the sound of trumpet, praise him with the psaltery and the harp. Praise him with the timbrel and the dance, praise him with strings and pipes. Praise him with the high-sounding cymbals, praise him with cymbals of joy. Let everything that has breath, praise the Lord!

Editor Maria Guinand says about this setting of the text, " will provide an opportunity for many choirs to get to know this wonderful music," speaking of Aguiar and his Brazilian compositional style. She goes on to say, "...and through it, to discover our traditions, our rhythms, and our soul." 

This setting is highly rhythmic with a wide open quality. 

I'll Tell My Ma, arranged by Erik Jones, will be our most visually impressive selection as it features body percussion divided into three distinct groups throughout the choir. Jones says about the piece "I came up with the idea for I'll Tell My Ma watching my young son play on the playground. there was a pair of girls playing patty-cake and the singing a nonsense rhyme, the cadence of which reminded me of the old Irish children's song, I'll Tell My Ma...I wondered what it would be like to arrange that song while the singers played patty-cake, and the idea quickly morphed into a tour-de-force of different combinations of movement and singing." This beautiful and lively text will add another level of excitement and a sense of playground fun to our concert!

Finally, I end with our Concert Opener: The Call of Music with words and music by Joseph M. Martin. This piece was commissioned for the 2015 All-Ohio State Fair Choir. 

The 200 members of the choir are selected each spring on the basis of their ability and experience, the recommendation of their high school choral director, and the consent and support of their parent or guardian. Five days before the opening of the Ohio State Fair, the new choir meets at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus and launches into a rigorous schedule that includes vocal training, sectional and full rehearsals, solo auditions, and marching instruction. Once the fair opens, the Youth Choir sings six to eight concerts a day and marches up to ten miles a day to various performance sites around the 360 acre fairgrounds.
The All-Ohio Youth Choir has been described by members as "an experience in living," "Introduction to College 101," "a secular retreat," and "the musical forte of the year." Parents have applauded the Youth Choir experience as "the finest opportunity for personal growth and development," and "a life-changing three weeks." Music educators have complimented the Youth Choir for "good, healthy singing," for encouraging "wonderful musical spirits," and for urging the singers to "take that energy back home to their own schools." 
©2016 The All-Ohio State Fair Youth Choir, Inc.

I hope you have enjoyed this brief look at Our Music for the Fall Concert 2016!
Please come see and hear this great music!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Music on Our Fall Concert p. 3: Three Giants

For part 3 of this blog topic, Music on Our Fall Concert, I am talking about 3 giants in the choral world; F. Melius Christiansen, Dale Warland, and John Rutter.

 We are performing Christiansen's "Lamb of God." F. Melius was the founder and conductor of the St. Olaf College Choir. He is credited with starting the Lutheran Choral Tradition in the United States. His sons, Olaf and Paul J, went on to serve as conductors at St. Olaf and Concordia (my alma mater) respectively. Students of this family have gone on to serve as conductors in high schools, colleges, and professional organizations across the country and the world. The approach and practices in tone, color, balance, and repertoire can be seen throughout the choral world. Few individuals have had as much influence over the choral arts as F. Melius Christiansen.

Coming out of the Lutheran Tradition, but primarily focused on the professional choral scene, is Dale Warland. We will be performing "To a Young Child" which was commissioned by Clarion Chamber Chorale in Omaha and is dedicated to the memory of the Americans who died in the Challenger Shuttle Mission, on January 28, 1986. Dale says about the piece "I read an inspiring and thoughtful response to the Challenger Tragedy that qouted from Gerald Manley Hopkins' 'Spring and Fall' (1880). The poets words spoke immediately to me. Although I hadn't intended to write a work that addressed such a serious theme, musical ideas flooded my mind and I sketched the entire setting in one sitting."

Reaching across the pond, John Rutter has been a seminal master composer in the choral field for over 40 years. He deftly writes gorgeous and memorable melodic lines and deeply understands the Anglican choral tradition. His "pop" music sensibility in rhythm and phrase has appealed to choir in US and across the globe. We are performing "Look at the World" and will feature the Sacred Arts Home School Choir and children's voices with this piece.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Music on our fall concert pt. 2: Nebraska Wesleyan Composers

I am so excited to share two pieces with you today that will be featured on the fall concert. Both composers Boyd Bacon and Jean Henderson have strong ties to Lincoln Choral Artists through our long relationship with Nebraska Wesleyan University. Featuring these composers connects directly to our season theme "Sowing the Seeds of Music in Nebraska" and our focus on the city of Lincoln at our fall concert "A Capitol City Choirs Concert."

Boyd's biography can be found at

We are performing an unpublished work titled "Nebraskaland Collage." This piece deftly combines the state song of Nebraska, "Beautiful Nebraska" and the American hymn "America the Beautiful."
In our performance the Sacred Arts Home School Children's choir will sing many of the sections on America the Beautiful while the combined forces of the Lincoln Choral Artists and the Lincoln Lutheran Choir will sing Beautiful Nebraska. This piece shows Boyd's ability to write in a beautiful choral voicing and full, rich piano accompaniment.

Jean Henderson has an excellent article in the Journal Star from her retirement in 2012.

We will be performing her arrangement of "The Ash Grove." This arrangement uses the familiar folk tune and text. In the middle verse the rhythm is offset and feels syncopated by adopting a duple time signature.

We are so pleased to feature these Lincoln composers in November!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Music on Our Fall Concert pt. 1: Gabriel Faure's Cantique de Jean Racine

For the next few weeks I will be posting information about the music being performed on our fall concert, A Capitol City Choirs Concert, Sunday, Nov. 6, 3pm, College View Church, Lincoln, NE.
Today I begin with Faure's Cantique de Jean Racine. All of this information is "searchable" via Wikipedia and other online sources. It's always possible to dig deeper than what I have posted, but this is a great start.

Cantique is a composition for mixed choir and organ. The text, "Verbe égal au Très-Haut" ("Word, one with the Highest"), is a French paraphrase by Jean Racine of a Latin hymn from the breviary for matins, Consors paterni luminis. The nineteen-year-old composer set the text in 1864–65 for a composition competition at the École Niedermeyer de Paris, and it won him the first prize. The work was first performed the following year on August 4, 1866 in a version with accompaniment of strings and organ. The style shows similarities with his later work, Requiem. Today, the two works are often performed together. LCA begins this season with the Cantique and will conclude with movements from the Requiem at our fall concert.

The text reflects sentiments from Ambrosian hymnody which was used for morning worship on Tuesdays in Ancient church. The Ambrosian music would have been sung in a chant style. Faure would often refer to texts and even melodic content of ancient chant throughout his career. The serene and lyric quality of the Cantique shows, even at his young age, a particular sensitivity to the lyric line and long legato phrasing.

Here is a translation:
Word of God, one with the Most High,
in Whom alone we have our hope,
Eternal Day of heaven and earth,
We break the silence of the peaceful night;
Saviour Divine, cast your eyes upon us!

Pour on us the fire of your powerful grace,
That all hell may flee at the sound of your voice;
Banish the slumber of a weary soul,
That brings forgetfulness of your laws!

O Christ, look with favour upon your faithful people
Now gathered here to praise you;
Receive their hymns offered to your immortal glory;
May they go forth filled with your gifts.

What is a cantique and who is Jean Racine?
Essentially cantique is a French word for song. In this case Faure is referring to the text only. Jean-Baptiste Racine was a 17th century playwright. And this is his translation from Latin to French of the Ambrosian hymn. 

Thursday, September 1, 2016

A New Season, A New Theme, and New Friends...

I am so fired up for the new Lincoln Choral Artists' 2016-17 Season. We start rehearsals tonight!
Our Season theme is "Sowing the Seeds of Music in Nebraska." We celebrate the state of Nebraska's Sesquicentennial, 150 years!

Our first concert, "A Capitol City Choirs Concert," will feature the unique "voices" of three Lincoln Choirs; the Lincoln Choral Artists, the Lincoln Lutheran Choir, and the Sacred Arts Home School Choir. The concert is Nov. 6, 3pm, at College View Church in Lincoln!

Our Gala event "Crooners Over Lincoln" will feature music from the 1940s and 50s. We will soar in the sky above Downtown Lincoln at the Nebraska Club. This concert and fundraiser will be on March 3rd, 2017!

Our final concert shares the theme of our Season "Sowing the Seeds of Music in Nebraska" and will feature guest community choirs from around the region!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Audition fun!

Well I had a very fun and successful night of Auditions on Thursday of last week. Hearing singers from all different backgrounds, of all different ages, and differing singing experiences make the process so enjoyable. I get to have conversation with people who are excited about singing in a choir. 
Some of them don't know what to expect and haven't had a lot of group singing experience. Some have been singing in choirs for their entire lives, or nearly. But the great thing is the spirit of joy in their voices and on their faces, even has they may struggle with sight singing or making it through a phrase. I am so excited to hear all our new singers and all our returning singers as we begin the 2016-17 Season this week! 

Monday, July 25, 2016

Come Join our Friends from Abendmusik in a two night community sing event! Elijah!

This is going to be fabulous!

Lincoln Choral Artists singers will be joining in the fun! Jason Horner, LCA Artistic Director, will be sitting in and singing with the Tenors at both performances!
Come and Sing Elijah!
First Plymouth, Lincoln, Wednesday

To the noble artist who, when surrounded by the Baal-worship of the false, has, like a second Elijah, employed his genius and his skill in the service of the true; who has . . . won [our ears with all] that is harmonious and pure — to the great master who has held in his firm control and revealed to us not only the gentle whisperings of the breeze, but also the majestic thundering of the tempest. — England’s Prince Consort Albert, in a note to Mendelssohn

Trinity Episcopal, Omaha, Thursday

Monday, May 16, 2016

Great Performances! Check out the videos.

Friday night was a great success! The choir sang incredibly well with artistry and power. Denis Plutalov gave a stellar performance of the Beethoven. Our guests, Becky Shane and Kurt Knecht, added so much to the event.

Here are a few clips from the night!

Beethoven Choral Fantasy

Music begins at 2:17

Brahms Requiem Mvmnts. I, II, IV, VII

Keep You Hand on the Plow 

Songs My Mother Taught Me

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Art-Link Interview, Friday Live at the Mill performance, and 10/11 First at 4

We are advertising like gangbusters for our final concert. 

Today, Charlie Brogan interviewed me for the Art-Link update on KFOR. 

On Friday we will be Live at the Mill with host,
Genevieve Randall. 

This will be  special interview and live performance by Rebecca 

Shane and Denis Plutalov, performing Antonín Dvořák's 

"Songs My Mother Taught Me."

Finally, Margaret Beech, Board President, and I 
will be on 10/11 News First at 4 on Monday, May 9.