Thursday, May 2, 2019

Tonight's Collaboration with Ariel Merivil- guest rehearsal conductor

Image result for ariel merivil powerlifting

I am very excited to have Ariel join us at rehearsal tonight. He has become and integral and creative part of the fabric of choral music and church music in Lincoln, NE since he was hired a First Plymouth Church a few years ago. His experience with and excitement for choral singing will be a great part of what he will offer us tonight.
From Ariel's bio:

Ariel Merivil
 Associate Minister of Music

Ariel Merivil, Atlanta, Georgia. Ariel served as Director of Music, Worship, and Administration designing worship, conducting the choral ensembles and leading weekly worship as organist-choirmaster, pianist, and vocalist in Atlanta.

A collegiate and high school choral conductor and instructor, Ariel served the choral departments at Georgia State University and Atlanta Adventist Academy

He frequently served as a collaborative keyboardist for many ensembles and soloists in the southeast including the Georgia Boy Choir, The Wendell P. Whalum Community Chorus and The Sons of Lafayette Men’s Choir. 

Active in the Atlanta music community, Ariel serves as the Repertoire and Resources Chair for Music in Worship for the Georgia Chapter of the American Choral Directors Association and serves on the Executive Committee of the Atlanta Chapter of the American Guild of Organists.

As a vocalist, Ariel sang with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus and with Atlanta’s Chorale—New Creation. 

A passionate and gifted musician, Ariel enjoys leading congregations in diverse and meaningful expressions of music in worship that allow others to experience the divine presence of God in a powerful way.

A graduate of the Georgia State University School of Music, Ariel earned a dual-concentration Master of Music degree in choral conducting and organ performance and also received the Bachelor of Architecture degree from Southern Polytechnic State University (Kennesaw State University). Ariel has an active love for design, photography, and technology and actively competes as an amateur powerlifting athlete with USA Powerlifting.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

What donations, giving, and supporting does for an organization like the Lincoln Choral Artists.

There is this weird thing about organizations like the Lincoln Choral Artists. We cannot do what we do on our own. There are three major levels of participating that we require of our community to be able to survive as an organization.

First we require an Audience. Where does this audience come from? It comes from family, friends, and neighbors who support individual singers. It comes from a following of audience members who regularly attend our concerts because they enjoy and know the quality of event they will be a part of. It also comes from the curious, brave first time attendees. We hope these become regular attendees and supporters.

Second we require Patron Supporters, people who donate beyond the ticket price of a particular concert event and feel like they get back much more than they receive. We are indebted and dependent on this group. I hope we do as much for them as they do for us. This kind of participation is not just a financial giving. Sometimes it includes volunteering, donating items, or using spaces and places to create our events.

Third is our collaborating organizations and donors. These are people and groups that advertise with us, play music with us, and give financially in large amounts. Developing and maintaining relationships with this group is a high priority.

What do donations, giving, and supporting do for our organization? It allows us to sing, make music, create community, and bring joy to the world in a unique and creative way. It allows us to fulfill our mission: " serve the community by providing an excellent experience for our audiences and members."

I hope you will consider joining us at any and many levels. If you are a singer, please sing and give. If you are a family or friend of a singer, please continue to support and donate. If you are able to support this organization in large financial ways, we so very much thank you for your generosity and and hope that our relationships stay strong.

If you would like more information on how to support LCA visit:

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

No Blog this week! Blog

No blog this week. Just a blog notifying you there is no blog. Does that count as a blog anyway? It's also definitely not a vlog as there is no video. But it's also not a blog, because there is no blog this week.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Ola Gjeilo Skype Rehearsal with LCA March 28, 2019

Well what a joy it was to work with and talk with Ola Gjeilo last week during our rehearsal. Below is a video of the last 7 or so minutes of our time together. Ola talk about current projects, his inspiration for composition, his thoughts on ECCE NOVUM which we are singing in May, and his love of New York City. There are some very moving moments. I can only say how grateful I was to have this experience. Many choir members thought it was a unique and interesting experience as well. I hope you enjoy the video.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Technology, Rehearsals, and Composer Ola Gjeilo

Tonight is going to be a very cool evening at LCA rehearsal. We have invited Ola Gjeilo, composer and pianist, to join us via Skype during our rehearsal tonight. This is not the first time I have experienced a Skype rehearsal. And of course as many people, I have interviewed for jobs, engaged with old friends, and connected with other directors via Skype or Facetime. But no matter what I love the fact the technology has made it so much easier for choir, conductors, and composers to make meaningful connections around music.
Ola Gjeilo
As a part of this evenings session I will be recording session and I hope to have that video posted on our social media pages early next week.

Choir of Royal Holloway
The music we will be performing on our spring concert from Ola is called Ecce Novum. We have previously performed this on holiday concert in December with piano. I am very excited to tell you that this time we will be adding strings (violins, violas, cello) in May.

12 Ensemble
The piece was originally performed by the Choir of Royal Holloway and 12 Ensemble. Ola wrote the text for this composition. It distills the joy of the birth of Christ into a beautiful "soundscape." Sung in Latin, this piece like many of Ola's focus mostly on the sound of the words, in combination with the instrumentation. Though the actual translation is beautiful, the text is there to support an overall concept of sound more that be clearly understood.
I look forward to sharing more insight from Ola after our session tonight.

Here is a link to the original recording.

And please come and hear our performance of the music on May 19th at First United Methodist Church in Lincoln, NE at 4pm.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Fern Hill: A Melancholy Masterpiece

Fern Hill, with text by Dylan Thomas, and the first of three settings called "A Dylan Thomas Trilogy" by composer John Corigliano will be featured on the Lincoln Choral Artists spring concert:
Modus Emotus: Exploring Human Emotion - Love and Longing.

Facebook Event Concert Page

I will be sharing a lot of information about this piece at our annual "InChoir" Event on Thursday, May 2nd. For more info visit: "InChoir" Event

Today, I simply want to give a little info on the feeling of and reasoning for performing this piece. It has become a Choral Masterwork and a huge part of the standard repertoire for American Choirs. This is second time I will have conducted the piece.

The music from it's open measures elicits a melancholy nature that moves quickly into moments of youthful exuberance and even dark flickers of hidden memories. The text, full text , which is really a memory of Dylan's childhood visits to a family farm, are filled with interesting and familiar tropes. This is definitely not the farm of the Midwest, it is in Wales, but it is quintessentially "American" in feel being interpreted and set by John Corigliano. I think many singers and audience attendees can and do make a strong familial connection to this text. I know I did about 20 years ago when I first heard this music on the Kansas City Chorale's recording on the same name, Fern Hill. I love the challenge of putting together an extended work for a choir like LCA to perform. Our last endeavors of this kind were Beethoven's Choral Fantasy and selected movements from Brahm's Requiem.

I am very excited to share this music and more about this piece in upcoming weeks, on May 2nd for the "InChoir" Event and culminating with the performance on May 19th. Both event will be held at First United Methodist Church in Lincoln, NE.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Video post for March 14, 2019

Today I'm posting another facebook live video as this week's blog post. I first give thank you to those involved with out Fundraiser concert back on March 3. I then give a little info on our upcoming concert on May 19th. Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Another Video Post!

Last week I shared this blog, along with thanks for your support in a video. Today I am putting a new video right into this blog. (Does that make this a VLOG?) Enjoy!

For more information and TICKETS to The Big Show: Joy and Inspiration visit:

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Our 100th Blog: thanks and what would you like to read about?

Well, I can hardly believe it! This is my 100th Blog post since 2015. I have found the process of writing in an open format to LCA supporters and concert goers exciting. I do hope the ideas and random thoughts have brought insight to you. My most heartfelt thanks for reading and engaging with this blog.

If this is your first time reading, scroll back to some previous posts. You will see my thoughts and information on our next concert on March 3rd. You will also see some music and non-music related topics I'm passionate about.

Two things I'd like to do more is share some of the thoughts and topics from members of the choir, and I would like your thoughts and ideas on topics you would like me to write about.

So, SINGERS, reach our with your blog thoughts!

PATRONS, SUPPORTERS, CONCERT-GOERS, regular BLOG READERS, give me your ideas on new topics for this blog. I look forward to hearing from you. I can be reached at several places on the interwebs!

This Blog:




Thursday, January 31, 2019

Musicals in the modern era a.k.a. stuff on our next concert

There is a relatively clear distinction between the music of the Golden Age of Musical Theater (1920-1959), the era of the 1960s as musicals took on more social and political issues, and then the take over of overt "pop" music styles in Musical Theater with shows like "Jesus Christ Superstar" and "Tommy." 

The Lincoln Choral Artists next concert on March 3 at the Royal Grove in Lincoln, NE will feature music from musical in the last 40 years. 

Here is a list of some the hows and basic plots of each:

The Greatest Showman
Inspired by the imagination of P. T. Barnum, The Greatest Showman is an original musical that celebrates the birth of show business & tells of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a spectacle that became a worldwide sensation. The film opens with Barnum (Hugh Jackman) joining his circus troupe in song, playing to an enthusiastic crowd as he and his performers put on a dazzling show. After a number of ups and downs as Barnum has been building his show, Barnum goes to drink at a bar. The entire troupe finds him and confronts him. Lettie tells Barnum that while he may not have always done the right thing, he saw them all as more than freaks and gave them a real family and home. Barnum is encouraged to pick himself up and help get the troupe back to performing. WICKED tells the incredible untold story of an unlikely but profound friendship between two young women who first meet as sorcery students at Shiz University: the blonde and very popular Glinda and a misunderstood green girl named Elphaba. Following an encounter with
The Wonderful Wizard, their friendship reaches a crossroads and their lives take very different paths. Glinda's unflinching desire for popularity sees her seduced by power while Elphaba's determination to remain true to herself, and to those around her, will have unexpected and shocking consequences for her future. Their extraordinary adventures in Oz will ultimately see them fulfill their destinies as Glinda The Good and the Wicked Witch of the West.
 Rent is a rock musical with music, lyrics, and book by Jonathan Larson, loosely based on Giacomo Puccini's opera La bohème. It tells the story of a group of impoverished young artists struggling to survive and create a life in New York City's East Village in the thriving days of Bohemian Alphabet City, under the shadow of HIV/AIDS. The names and identities of Rent's characters also heavily reflect Puccini's original characters, though they are not all direct adaptations. For example, Joanne in Rent represents the character of Alcindoro in Bohème but is also partially based on Marcello. Also, Joanne is the only Rent character whose predecessor in La Bohème is the opposite sex. Rent is also a somewhat autobiographical work, as Larson incorporated many elements of his life into his show. Larson lived in New York for many years as a starving artist with an uncertain future.
He sacrificed a life of stability for his art and shared many of the same hopes and fears as his characters. Like his characters he endured poor living conditions, and some of these conditions (e.g. illegal wood-burning stove, bathtub in the middle of his kitchen, broken buzzer [his guests had to call from the pay phone across the street and he would throw down the keys, as in "Rent"]) made their way into the play.
 Les Misérables, colloquially known in English-speaking countries as “Ley Miz”, is a sung-through musical based on the 1862 novel of the same name by French poet and novelist Victor Hugo. Set in early 19th-century France, Les Misérables is the story of Jean Valjean, a French peasant, and his desire for redemption after serving nineteen years in jail for having stolen a loaf of bread for his sister's starving child. Valjean decides to break
his parole and start his life anew after a bishop inspires him by a tremendous act of mercy, but he is relentlessly tracked down by a police inspector named Javert. Along the way, Valjean and a slew of characters are swept into a revolutionary period in France, where a group of young idealists attempt to overthrow the government at a street barricade.
 Ragtime is a musical by Stephen Flaherty. The music includes marches, cakewalks, gospel and ragtime.
Based on the 1975 novel by E. L. Doctorow, Ragtime tells the story of three groups in the United States in the early 20th century: African Americans, represented by Coalhouse Walker Jr., a Harlem musician; upper-class suburbanites, represented by Mother, the matriarch of a white upper-class family in New Rochelle, New York; and Eastern European immigrants, represented by Tateh, a Jewish immigrant from Latvia. Historical figures including Harry Houdini, Evelyn Nesbit, Booker T. Washington, J. P. Morgan, Henry Ford, Stanford White, Harry Kendall Thaw, Admiral Peary, Matthew Henson, and Emma Goldman are represented in the stories. Justice cannot be achieved through violent actions on either side.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

New Year, Midseason, Big Show

Wow, I just realized it's been over a month since I have taken some time to share my thoughts and joys working with the Lincoln Choral Artists.

We had an incredibly successful and beautiful holiday concert on December 13. I heard about and read on social media so many singers excellent experiences and joy-filled holiday celebrations. We had a tragic loss of a long-term choir member on New Years. But as is the case with this group, we came together in our grief and celebrated the life of our dear colleague, Jerome Urwiller.

We began the Mid season rehearsal schedule with incredible music for our BIG SHOW, which I will be spending the next few blogs discussing. And we are in big discussions about next year's 40th Anniversary Season plans.

I'm not really a new year's resolution person. But I do think about what will be important in the next 12 months. Of course for me personally it is that fact I am getting married to an incredible and supportive person. We are in the midst of plans for our December 2019 wedding. As the year goes on I will probably share a few things about our plans.

When it comes to the choir, this time of the year is always fun as we prepare for our Fundraiser concert. It is usually focused on pop styles and includes unique venues. This is year is no different. And, as has become a great part of the new year reboot, we have new singers. I am always delighted to invite new members to ensemble.

If you are not following us on the social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) I encourage you to check them out. A lot of new information about upcoming concerts and guest musicians get posted there.
LCA Facebook Page

LCA Twitter Page


Thanks so much for your support. I look forward to sharing more about LCA, music, personal thoughts, basically whatever comes to mind.