Articles by Jenny Clarke
One of the most challenging aspects of the choral concert process in New York is finding the right place for the choir to perform. Searching out affordable space with resonant acoustics that can accommodate a large group of singers, with good backstage and audience facilities, a cool vibe, and a strong reputation for music is a preoccupation I share with many other choir leaders.
While the starting points for music preparation and marketing spin can be far apart at the outset, they will hopefully meet up perfectly at concert time, when an exquisitely prepared concert lands on the ears and in the hearts of a capacity audience.
It’s not unusual for singers to be involved in selecting choral repertoire. Singers often gain an appreciation of their conductor’s sensibilities and taste and are perfectly poised to suggest work they’ve experienced or created. This can create exciting opportunities for composer outreach.
Looking out into the choral world, there’s a lot of commissioning going on. When conductor Cynthia Powell and I started Melodia Women’s Choir nine years ago, we knew we wanted to commission composers to create new work for the group. Since we were both new to commissioning, however, we had a lot of questions. How much time does a composer need? Is it reasonable to request sample movements before delivery of the final piece?
The upcoming 10th anniversary of September 11th looms large, with plans for memorials and television specials already underway. Like so many in New York and across the nation, deep personal memories are rooted in the day, and for me, some powerful ones connected to choral moments. So I was interested to learn about the world premiere of Philadelphia-based composer Bob Moran’s Trinity Requiem, commissioned by Trinity Wall Street, the Ground Zero church, for their youth chorus.
I was recently browsing through some of my old choral scores, looking to see if there were any I could recycle to make room for new material, when a score spilled out of the pile marked “college choir.” What would be in the “college choir” stack of scores of the students currently singing in U.S. colleges. What are they singing and why?
Summer months bring a massive shift in the choral world. As the season closes, it’s not just the music that fades away. Gone are the protracted and intense rehearsal periods when conductors and singers seek perfection for their long-anticipated concerts. As a choral singer and the founder of a choir, I experience a change, even a loss, every year. Others tell me the same thing—and there are 2 million choral singers across the U.S.