January 2010 Newsletter

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The Opus – January 2010
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AGO, NPM Chapters Will Learn about Twitching in Joint Meeting

Date: Monday January 25, 2010
Event: To Twitch or Not To Twitch: Thoughts on Choral Conducting and Meaning It!
Dr. Jeffrey Carter, Webster University

Grace United Methodist Church
6199 Waterman (at Skinker)

Time: 6:30 Dinner
7:30 Program
Host: Dr. Kathleen Bolduan
Cost: $10 for dinner

Kathleen Bolduan (314-725-1251 or kathleen.bolduan@gmail.com)
Please confirm reservation by Wednesday, Jan. 20

Directions:From I-64/U.S. Route 40 East/Westbound:
Take the Skinker Blvd. exit. Proceed north on Skinker for 1.23 miles. The church is located at the northeast corner of Skinker and Waterman Blvds. The church parking lot is one block north of the church at McPherson and Skinker (look for parking signs). Additional parking is available on Waterman Blvd.

Our chapter will kick off the new decade by joining in a meeting with the St. Louis chapter of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians, an organization that fosters art, music and liturgy in the Roman Catholic Church. Our January guest lecturer is Dr. Jeffrey Carter, chairman of the music department at Webster University. His program is entitled .To Twitch or Not To Twitch: Thoughts on Choral Conducting and Meaning It!. In his discussion, Dr. Carter will present techniques and ideas for improving the sound of volunteer choirs.

Dr. Carter holds a DMA degree in choral conducting from the University of Kansas, and an MA degree in vocal performance from the University of Central Missouri. Before coming to Webster University, he held positions at Kentucky Wesleyan College, the University of Kansas, Graceland University, University of Central Missouri, and the Metropolitan Community Colleges in Kansas City. He is an active composer and was the recipient of the Opus Award from the Missouri Choral Directors Association for his composition Phos Hilaron. He is also the director of the St. Louis Gateway Men’s Chorus.

Our meeting will be held at Grace United Methodist Church, a descendant of the old Union Methodist Episcopal Church. Union Methodist, originally located in the Piety Hill area of St. Louis, made two moves as St. Louisans began to migrate and build neighborhoods to the west. The first move was in 1892 to a location on Lindell and Newstead, and the second in 1913 to the present location. The Lindell Avenue buildings were literally removed block by block and rebuilt at the corner of Waterman and Skinker. The church was renamed at this location and rededicated in 1914. The congregation has a history of musical excellence and enjoys a Moller pipe organ of 4 manuals and 60 ranks.

Please join us for this special meeting with our fellow church musicians.

. Henry Evans

From the St. Louis Chapter Dean…

Half-Time Pep Talk, or Some Thoughts for the New Year

Let.s keep this whole column between us, OK? I have good reasons. Mainly, I.m using a sports metaphor and anyone who knows me knows I am the biggest sports idiot on the planet. I never have understood any of it, or had any interest in it. But I am aware that this is the season. this is the January issue and the Super Bowl is always in January, right? (See, it just goes to show what I know. Luckily, I don.t make wagers or critique the players, either. More on that later.)

Rainer Maria Rilke said it best, .And now we welcome the new year, full of things that have never been.. A blank canvas on which to create new beauty. And here is where my pep talk begins at this .half time. of the choir year.

I.d like to suggest what makes our profession really work: We create transcendent beauty. We don.t do it alone. God provides talent and training and some on-the-spot serendipity to make that beauty happen. People are attracted to that beauty.more than to preaching, to mission, or to credos. (I didn.t say those things weren.t important, and remember, I.m speaking from my perspective as a life-long church musician. I never said I was objective!)

If the Church has failed in recent years, it has been in areas where the Church willingly gave up its own authority in an elusive quest for relevance. The loss resulting from this mindset has been its historical ability to confidently create and display jaw-dropping, stunned-into-awe-filled-silence beauty. Beauty that transcends mere objects found in every day life, music at a more sublime level of meaning and emotion than everyday life can supply. The Church downplays architecture, the visual arts, and music at its own peril. At some level, yes, it is enough when .two or three are gathered in my name.. At another level, it is not so successful if we are to be .in this world but not of this world.. Ironically, it is exactly when playing the numbers game, or the .envy. game (.Why can.t we do what THEY do, why can.t we have the attendance THEY have?.) that churches make the biggest errors: they marginalize everything by thinking it.s best to be more casual about all of it. Then it ends up transcending nothing; it ends up saying nothing unique that people can.t hear or see out in The World. This makes me very sad. Half the time people think less critically about what they do in worship than they do about the commercials during the Super Bowl. And that.s supposed to turn out OK in the long run?

Worse yet, somehow this whole church music thing has become so.democratized. Don.t get me wrong, I love democracy, but it doesn.t work on the football field and it doesn.t work in church music. Remember when I said I don.t wager on sports or critique the players? That.s because I.m not qualified to step in that arena. Consider how opposite this is to how things work as a church musician. Somehow everyone.s opinion of what the music should be is given equal weight as your own. Everyone belongs in the arena. What happened to discernment, to calling, to expertise? Everyone deserves to have their (quite-often-stupid) ideas tried out in real time, and if you say .Uh, I don.t think this will work, musically.. you can literally be shouted down for not being a .team player.. Wait.does every member of the team have autonomy and equal say? I think not. Some people just don.t get the concept of music. just like I don.t get the concept of sports. Yet they want to say what should happen because they know what they .like.. This is pure folly. While we.re at it, let.s just have the colorblind
people choose the stained glass window designs. That.s just as democratic and just as foolish as what we do in music.

The winds of change are blowing. Not the ill wind of .hip-a-titis. where clergy and committees will do whatever seems .cool. at the moment. We.ve been through that and are coming out the other side a bit bruised and shell-shocked, I.ll admit. But in places of worship around this country, I see the realization that true time-honored beauty and a sense of connection with a long line of worship tradition is what will truly energize the Church. And it is working.

So, my New Year Half Time Pep Talk is: You have a wondrous gift. Do not let yourself or your music be marginalized. Do not give up your calling and training to create uncommon beauty. Colleagues, I firmly believe it is now time for us all to slap each other on the backsides and say .Go for it!. (Uh.football players do that, right? Or baseball players? Well, somebody does it.) It.s time to move our agenda forward. Use your skill, your insight, your inspiration without apology. Be fearless.

Best wishes for the New Year and may all your.I.m sorry, I.ve exhausted my plausible sports metaphors at this point.

. Chuck Peery

Pipe Organ Encounter (POE) Dates, Guest Faculty Are Set

The POE Steering Committee is pleased to announce the dates for the 2010 St. Louis POE. We will host young organists from around the country here from June 13-18. Housing for the students will be at Fontbonne University in St. Louis. The guest faculty include:

Marie Rubis Bauer, Omaha, Nebraska

Michael Bauer, University of Kansas

Douglas Cleveland, University of Washington

Carla Edwards, DePauw University

Wilma Jensen, Concert Organist

Christopher Marks, University of Nebraska Lincoln

The foundation of the POE is daily private lessons for each student with a teacher. In addition to a daily lesson, each student will receive practice time. The week also features organ recitals (open to the public), an organ building session, workshops with faculty, an organ crawl, and a recreational event. The week will conclude on Friday morning with a student recital. If you have any questions about the POE, please feel free to contact the POE Director Andrew Peters at 314-367-0367 or music@secondchurch.net.

Please also consider a contribution to the POE!

Contributions will help defray some of the expenses from the week. In addition, extra income may provide scholarship assistance for some potential students. All contributors will be acknowledged in an upcoming issue of THE OPUS newsletter. Contributors will also be recognized in recital programs during the POE week.

Download a donation form here.

Members May Nominate Candidates for Chapter Offices

A word to members about placing names on the ballot for the annual Chapter election:

Soon after the first of the year, a Nominating Committee, to be chaired by Martha Shaffer, will be established to select candidates for vacant positions and present a proposed slate to the Executive Committee. If you have any interest in serving as a member of the Nominating body, please contact Chuck Peery, Chapter dean, and he will forward your name to the committee chair.

Offices to be filled in the calendar year 2010 election are dean and sub-dean, both of which are two-year positions with the sub-dean also serving as the chapter.s program chair. In addition, positions on the Executive Committee, to be designated the Class of 2013, will be filled in the election. Voting will begin in mid-April and will be concluded and validated by early May so that electees may be installed at the chapter.s annual meeting and banquet in May.

At any point prior to approximately April 1, any member may submit a nomination for a vacant office. The procedure stipulated for this by the National AGO is that you need a petition signed by five Chapter members in good standing in order to place your candidate on the ballot. We recommend that you do as the Nominating Committee does: Make the first step to ask your candidate if he/she is willing to serve if elected!

Please remember that, as Chapter members, you are always welcome at Executive Committee meetings. We appreciate hearing from you via e-mail or phone as well.

On the Concert Horizon

Sunday, January 17, 4 p.m. St. Elizabeth Roman Catholic Church, 2300 Pontoon Road, Granite City, Ill. Sixty-voice Millikin University Choir in concert. Doors open at 3 p.m. Freewill offering (suggested donation is $10). Information 618-876-1708.

Sunday, January 17, 4 p.m. Second Presbyterian Church, 4501 Westminster Place, St. Louis, Mo. Israeli-born soprano Yael Handelman performs art songs of Purcell, Ravel, Schubert and others, as well as Israeli and Jewish music. Free. Information 314-367-0367.

Sunday, January 24, 9 a.m. (traditional service) and 11:15 a.m. (informal service), Webster Groves Presbyterian Church, 45 West Lockwood, Webster Groves, Mo. Daryse Osborne, dancer/Della Enns, concert pianist/composer collaborating in a beautiful expression of praise. Information 314-962-9210, ext. 3108.

Sunday, January 31, 3 p.m. Chapel of St. Timothy and St. Titus on the campus of Concordia Seminary, 801 Seminary Place, Clayton, Mo. The American Kantorei Chorus and Orchestra, Robert Bergt, music director and conductor. Dennis Bergin in organ recital. Bach chorales, Bach Sonata for flute and harpsichord. Freewill offering.

Tuesday, February 2, 7:30 p.m. Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, 4431 Lindell Blvd., St. Louis, Mo. Canadian Brass. Brass players from the Missouri High School All-State Band and Orchestra will join the world-famous Canadian Brass quintet. Tickets $37, $27, $17. Information 314-533-7662; www.cathedral concerts.org.

Sunday, February 7, 4 p.m. Second Presbyterian Church, 4501 Westminster Place, St. Louis, Mo. Carolbeth True Jazz Quartet, a local well-known quartet, will highlight compositions of African-American composers in celebration of Black History Month. Free.

Friday, February 12, 7:30 p.m. St. Paul United Church of Christ, 115 West B Street, Belleville, Ill. .And the Winner Is.. Valentine concert. Freewill offering. Information norbert-krausz@stpaulucc.org.

Saturday, February 13, 7 p.m. St. Anthony of Padua Church, 3140 Meramec Street, St. Louis, Mo. Choral and Handbell concert featuring the Notre Dame University Celebration and Handbell Choirs, Karen Schneider-Kirner, director. Freewill offering. Information 314-353-7470; btsmith52@hotmail.com.

Sunday, February 14, 2 p.m. St. Louis Abbey Church on the St. Louis Priory Campus, 500 South Mason Road, Creve Coeur, Mo. Dr. Andrzej Zahorski in an organ recital to benefit the St. Anselm Parish Conference of the St. Vincent De Paul Society serving the needy in the St. Louis area. Organ arrangements of Italian concerti grossi of J.S. Bach and Johann Walther. Freewill offering.

Sunday, February 28, 2:30 p.m. Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, 4431 Lindell Blvd., St. Louis, Mo. Internationally distinguished organist Lynne Davis in concert as part of the French Festival. Tickets $12. Information 314-533-7662; www.cathedralconcerts.org.

Sunday, February 28, 7 p.m. Webster Groves Presbyterian Church, 45 West Lockwood, Webster Groves, Mo. The Bypass, a modern praise band, a collaboration of the church.s music and youth ministries. Information 314-962-9210, ext. 3108.

For Sale:

1886 Estey Chapel Organ, restored in 1987 and has been in home parlor since then. This instrument has two full five-octave sets of reeds, nine stops. Has good sound and is also a beautiful piece of furniture. Because it is finished on the back side as well, it can be placed ut in a room and not just against a wall. $600. A photo can be sent or can be seen near Washington, Mo. For information, tamunn@hughes.net.

Voices Wanted

If you like to sing and are looking for a special opportunity, you.re invited to join the Second Presbyterian Church Chorale & Orchestra for its April 11 presentation of .Dona nobis pacem. by Ralph Vaughan Williams. Weekly rehearsals begin on Wednesday, Jan. 20, from 7:15-8:15 p.m. through the April 11 performance. All voice parts are welcome. For more information, contact Andrew Peters, 314-367-0366 or music@secondchurch.net.