Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Why we should and do connect with our commnity

As an organization, Lincoln Choral Artists have made decisions to be actively involved in the community. But what does this mean? We no longer have the luxury of being an event that the whole community rallies around and supports. And maybe there was never a time when choral organizations had that support, it just seemed  like it. In today's world, where you can see live music, support an organization, or engage in civic duty without actually leaving your home, we need to make our connections to community about the art and collaboration at the event and our partners in the event. 

For our first concert we join with the
They will work with us to engage the community in giving as We Gather...

We need and want the audience to help us decorate the stage with gifts of canned and packaged foods. The choir will also provide in some of this cornucopia of gifts and we will then directly donate all collected food to the Food Bank. 

From an article by Chorus America

"... our expectations of engaging with communities have changed because of the confluence of three factors: 

  • Arts organizations are finally admitting they are in trouble. Their traditional audience is decreasing, and their traditional “outreach” programs that provide “exposure” to large numbers of children or adults have proven to have very little real impact. “Change or die” is a compelling directive, and many arts organizations now believe it is true. 
  • Funders are requiring and rewarding more ambitious community engagement. And funders, let me tell you: with your increased support, you can really help this experimentation grow. 
  • The experiments that most organizations have underway are actually exciting and successful, and there are more and more successful examples of arts organizations making innovative long-term relationships with new groups in their vicinity."
LCA is aware of these changes and we are working to collaborate and engage with the reality of the community we live and work in.

From the same article:
"Three emerging trends in the way arts organizations are approaching community engagement, which we might call promising practices. 

  • Listening more. Listening is key to deepening existing programs and discovering new kinds of partnerships. This listening takes time, a shift in intent, patience to press through awkward stages, and sometimes even facilitation. A guided discussion with an outside facilitator can help different parties define their interests and provide a vital ground upon which to partner. Simply put: healthy partnerships cannot grow unless arts organizations learn how to hear a community’s true aspirations. 
  • Increasing experimentation. Every arts organization should have exploratory partnership experiments underway. No exceptions for size or history; this is becoming the new norm.
  • Investing in teaching artists. Teaching artists are already the key deliverers of most community engagement, and those who can design and lead this experimentation have become crucial change agents. Many organizations are investing in the development of an advanced cohort and increasing their commitment to raising teaching artist capacity in general, since training pathways are generally haphazard and demands for this type of expertise continue to grow."
It is our goal, as the Lincoln Choral Artists, to create and maintain caring and quality partnerships with organizations and community members. We are in fact a community ensemble, made up of the community itself. We have singers from all kinds of backgrounds, who engage in civic and community volunteering on a weekly basis outside of their excellent work in Lincoln Choral Artists.

Help us to connect. 

Singers: Tell your family, friends, neighbors, strangers...everyone about us and our real connection to the life of Lincoln. 

Friends, blog readers, supporter, donors: Share this blog with your network of peers and work with us in engaging the art and life of Lincoln's community. Help us lift up not just the concerns, but the joys of our community. Join us as We Gather...with One Step on October 26th with the Food Bank of Lincoln at O' Donnell Auditorium, 3pm for a concert filled with the spirit of engaging art and community in unity.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Rosas Pandan, Music of the Filipino culture

 have taken on the Visayan language for the first concert of the season in the selection Rosas Pandan.

This is a great high energy choral arrangement of a popular folk song. Popularized on the album "Philippine Love Songs" by Pilita in 1974,
the song talks about Rosas Pandan who comes down from the
mountain to celebrate with a community. She brings a song and a dance; and causes a little drooling from the boys. The choir in large part is representative of an instrumental accompaniment with the sopranos singing most of the Visayan text:

Here is Rosas Pandan
Just arrived from the mountains
To be with all of you
To celebrate the fiesta

This song is my livelihood
An inheritance from my parents
A most ancient song
The pride of our hill country

Dika ding dika ding dika ding
Hey!, our song
Is still nice to dance to
Like fog on a cold day

Dika dong dika dong dika dong
Hey!, also the young man
He's looking at the young lady
His drool is falling

Ayayay ayayay ayayay
Hey!, my song
Is it nice to dance to
Like fog on a cold day

Visayan is the name of the language family in the central islands of the Philippines. It is also known as Bisaya, as technically there is no "C" in the Philippine alphabet. Visayan is comprised of several distinct languages. Sometimes the names Visayan and Cebuano are substituted for each other, but Cebuano is really a subset of the Visayan language family.

Filipino (Pilipino) is a language based on Tagalog, renamed and modified in order to create a national language. Before 1989 Pilipino was the national language. Filipino is said to be a combination of all the different Philippine languages, but is essentially Tagalog. In the Manila and the surrounding area, Tagalog is the primary language. Filipino and English are the official languages in the Philippines. Taglish is a combination of Tagalog and English.
One word used in English, boondocks, comes from the Tagalog word bundok, meaning mountain.
Tagalog is spoken natively by people living on the islands, Marinduque, Mindoro, and large areas of Palawan. It is spoken by approximately 70 million Filipinos, 96.4% of the household population. About 22 million of the total Philippine population, speak it as a native language.

Here is an example of the spoken language:
Hot and Cold

Here is a short article about the popularity of Filipino Choral Music around the world:
Choirs around the world take on Filipino classics

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Music and its effect

Maybe this is too weighty of a title, but I recently heard a great segment on Science Friday. This is an NPR show that doesn't air in Nebraska. So I pick it up on Podcast. What you need to now about me is that I am a science fan as well as a music fan! I've never been a ceiling fan...puh dum dum! I love things that are science related, especially Space, space travel, and science behind music and sound. I am also a SciFi fan; Star Trek, Star Wars, X Files, Dr. Who...my list can go on and on. But what I am sharing today is much more profound than just the science.
A professor of mine shares his story in this video of his final days with his mother.

What this story shows me is the the real power of music. Below is  link to this SciFri Podcast and an episode that deals specifically with why music effects our brains, especially damaged brains in stages of alzheimer's or dementia. 
Why do I talk about this today? Well firstly it's on my heart and mind after hearing this podcast, but also we, musicians, and specifically the Lincoln Choral Artists, will soon have an opportunity to share our music with the community. The reason we can, should, and do work hard in rehearsal is that we want and need this music to effect people. I look to perfect, or remove imperfection, from every measure of music we perform. We never know which song, phrase, or even a single chord might profoundly effect someone's life. We are given the great gift to share ourselves and our love of singing, and specifically singing in a  choir, to a group of witnesses with expectations, excitement, who offer support, and may or may not love our music too! It's not our job to change the reason for attending the concert, but it is our job to effect them, emotionally, maybe challenge them aurally, and definitely our way into their spirit, their energy, and our oneness as We Gather...with one step!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Rehearsal 1 for With One Step...We Gather

Wow! It was so exciting to hear the LCA singers step up to some new  and classic music last night!
We started our time together with an arrangement of the National Anthem originally created for use by the US Army and Navy in their educational songbook series. Here is a video of the current Army Men's Chorus and their arrangement of the Star-Spangled Banner today:

Continuing in the spirit of national pride, LCA singers have started work on one of Georg F. Handel's most famous Coronation Anthems. Written for the coronation of King George II in 1727, we are focused on the first of three movements, "Let Thy Hand Be Strengthened." The irony is that even though this text is biblical, it was chosen to represent the strength of the monarchy. However, George II is remembered with disdain and was considered boorish. He hated and did not understand parliamentary politics and was basically ineffective as a King. However, scholars have recently started to reconsider George II's role. He seemed to be effective in foreign policy and military appointments, especially during the Seven Years' War. His other claim to fame was that he died at 77, making him the oldest reigning King in his lineage.

Some of you may have noticed I spelled Georg wrong. Handel's actually pronunciation is in fact "Gay-org." George is the British equivalent and once Handel was appointed in Britain he mostly likely would have begun to refer to himself as such. Gotta Love nerdy choral trivia!


Thursday, September 4, 2014

Welcome to the Director's Connector

Hello Lincoln Choral Artists!
This is the first blog post for the Director's Connector.  Jason Horner, LCA's new director will be using this blog to communicate with choir members and the community about musing on music and other topics related to Lincoln Choral Artists.

Follow us and Stay tuned.