Festival Chorus

Festival Chorus

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Where charity and love abide, God is there

The setting of "Ubi Caritas" by Maurice Duruflé is one most sublime sacred choral music pieces in existence. It is one of four motets (anthems) based on chant melodies. The use of the chant as a melodic source, combined with the rich harmonic texture create a very effective communication of this ancient text.

Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est.
Congregavit nos in unum Christi amor.
Exultemus, et in ipso iucundemur.
Timeamus, et amemus Deum vivum.
Et ex corde diligamus nos sincero.

Where charity and love are, God is there.
Christ's love has gathered us into one.
Let us rejoice and be pleased in Him.
Let us fear, and let us love the living God.
And may we love each other with a sincere heart.

This is a great recording with the choral parts displayed along with the music.

 This is a clip from a DVD from Kings College, Cambridge called "Anthems from Kings" featuring many of the "greatest hits" of sacred choral music. It is hard to find something unpleasant about this recording.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Messiah Video (Trinity Wall Street)

This is a performance video from the church that brought you the American Premier of Handel's "Messiah" Trinity Episcopal Church on Wall Street. No this is not the premier, it is however done with instruments and techniques that are from the time period or reconstructions of historical instruments. The Trinity Choir is the church's top choir and completely professional, meaning this is their full time gig! Simply incredible.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Messiah Resources

Handel's Messiah is one of the best loved and most performed works in choral literature and probably "classical" music in general. There have been a number of editions of Messiah published over the years, many of which are full of additions by editors and composers including many done by Mozart. In the last 50 years there has been a great deal of research into the performances that Handel gave of the piece in his lifetime and the manuscripts used for those performances. From those manuscripts editors have come up with a number of scholarly printed editions suitable for performance.

This year we will be using Watkins Shaw edition, named after it's editor and published by Novello. Unfortunately neighborhood music stores don't really exist anymore, if you are interested in picking it up locally you might want to try Allen's Music Center in La Mesa. Of course this edition is available from a number of online retailers.

In terms of part learning resource, it is hard to go wrong with Cyberbass.com. Don't let the name fool you, it has all of the voice parts for each of the choral movements of the Messiah.

If you were ever interested in hearing what it might sound like if you had a chorus of robots then this sight might be for you http://savedsounds.com/Messiah/Messiah_parts_mp3/index.html
The benefit of this site is that they are mp3 files and may be downloaded to your music player.

For those that want extra help but do not want to be tied down to their computer, there are training cds available at note-perfect.com and other sites.

There is a playlist on YouTube of the various choral movements, it features a rather fine recording but does not have the sheet music available to view. You may find that playlist here http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL69564B74489180A1
I have yet to find a YouTube video of all of the choruses with sheet music but I have been able to find individuals, I will be posting those as we go.

At some point I will make a brief list of some of my favorite recordings of Messiah but for now I will leave you with just one. Arkiv Produktion's recording of Messiah conducted by Mark Minkowski featuring Brian Asawa (the countertenor from our performance in 2008) other fantastic soloists and an orchestra playing instruments from the time period or reconstructions of historical instruments.
also available on iTunes and Amazon Music

Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Celebration of Music in Worship

I thought I would post some  recordings of the songs we will be presenting as a "Sermon in Song" on June 24th

My Song in the Night - arr. Paul Chrisiansen
Sung here by the Concordia College Choir

Praise His Holy Name by MusicMinistryFUMCCV

Sing Me to Heaven - Daniel E. Gawthrop

Sing Me to Heaven by MusicMinistryFUMCCV

God, You Made All Things for Singing - John Ferguson

I'm Gonna Sing 'Til the Spirit Moves In My Heart -Moses Hogan
Sung by the University of Utah Singers

The Majesty and Glory of Your Name - Tom Fettke and Linda Lee Johnson

The Majesty and Glory of Your Name by MusicMinistryFUMCCV

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Videos for Sunday, April 29th

This is a video of Sunday's anthem from this years Choristers Guild Festival which included our kids.

Just for fun, I decided to include a funny take on Anglican Chant

POPS Flyer

Friday, April 13, 2012

What it's all about

I came across this article in the LA Times about the Soweto (South Africa) Gospel Choir and I was struck by the closing of the article and how it related to our discussion (okay, my rant) about the beauty of volunteer choirs. Of course in our society commitment and uniformity are not two ideals valued very highly so it is no surprise that the reviewer ends the article with a question about this phenomenon. Perhaps it is just me but I continue to believe the whole of a choir is greater than the sum of it's parts.

Near the end, a quartet of singers joined an electric guitarist for a deeply sensual rendition of “Angel” by Sarah McLachlan, and the music lent credence to an introductory speech in which one choir member had said the show’s objective was to “reflect the meaning of the word ‘grace’ — not just religion, but beauty, love and the strength of the human spirit.”

The human spirit, yes — this you couldn’t miss. If Wednesday’s concert failed to deliver anything, though, it was a strong sense of any single human; even the group’s most expressive vocalists (such as the woman who sang Jimmy Cliff’s “Many Rivers to Cross”) seemed hemmed in by a responsibility to maintain the whole.

To some degree, of course, that’s the essence of choral music — and there was no doubting the powerful uniformity of Soweto Gospel Choir’s well-rehearsed sound. But for all its emotion and stimulation, the group’s performance seemed to pose a question it couldn’t quite answer: Must representing one’s culture preclude the representation of oneself?

For the full story please see the full LA Times Article

"Low" Sunday

On Easter Sunday immediately following the services Andrea and I had a quick lunch and then packed up the car and the dogs a for a get away to Lake Arrowhead where some friends of the family have a cabin. As we drove off I was still buzzing from the wonderful services that day made more powerful by the events of Holy Week. I couldn't help myself and was playing some of the music I was hoping to use at the Crossing on the car stereo despite Andrea's gentle reminder that I was on vacation. When I finally turned the tunes over to some secular music I was still overcome by God's grace, beauty and our chance for rebirth as Easter people. I literally had tears of joy and gratefulness in my eyes as we drove up the mountain.

This coming Sunday is often referred to as "Low Sunday" and although the name has liturgical roots that relate it to the celebration of Easter it also has cultural relevance because it is often the lowest attended Sunday of the Christian year. I can't help but think that so many in our world are living life like the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, with heavy hearts full of worry, death and sorrow because they have not experienced the power of the resurrection and the tomb empty of a body and yet full of promises.

Most sane people's first response when asked to try to share their faith is one of doubt, something like "I am no saint, who am I to share". There is not one of us who is perfect but neither were the disciples and yet they were called to bare witness to the hope of a risen Savior and Redeemer. On this "Low Sunday" Pastor Brian is calling us to be witnesses and I am so confident that the gospels are full of Good News, I hope you will help me share this message!

Sunday's Anthem "Witness"  arranged by Jack Halloran

Recommended reading: "With Burning Hearts" by Henry Nouwen

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Easter music resources

I was hoping to add recordings of our other two choral pieces since I couldn't find them on YouTube but apparently I didn't record a full run through of "Alleluia! Christ is Risen" so we will have do without it. I was able to upload our very rough recording of "The Lord is Risen this Morning" from Thursday night and upload it to Soundcloud. If everything worked it should be embedded below.

If anyone is able to locate a version of "Alleluia! Christ is Risen" by Lloyd Larson please let me know. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012


Easter is not here yet, but I wanted give you help and encouragement on the upcoming anthem "Hallelujah" from Handel's Messiah. Many of you have never sung it, which is almost enough reason to do the piece in of itself.

Here is a Menonite congregation singing the Hallelujah chorus. Not bad for a CONGREGATION, I wonder if they have to audition!

This is a very fine version done by professionals

I couldn't find a version with the scrolling choral parts, but this kind of like being able to see your part.

Here is a video with the full score shown and the soprano part played by a midi instrument.

Finally, here are the links to some more resources
Midi versions of individual parts at Cyberbass.com http://www.cyberbass.com/Major_Works/Handel_GF/Handel_Messiah.htm
Free sheet music at CPDL http://www0.cpdl.org/wiki/index.php/Hallelujah_Chorus_%28from_Messiah%29_%28George_Frideric_Handel%29

Thursday, March 1, 2012

My Song in the Night

This "southern folk hymn" has been called hauntingly beautiful and I have to agree. I've checked a few of my hymn resources and can't find anything about this hymn, the arrangement we have by Paul Christiansen lists the text as anonymous and the composer is unlisted which only makes this harder to track down. Mr. Christiansen was the conductor of the Concordia Choir from Concordia College, Moorhead, Minnesota which will be at the Calvary Lutheran Church in Solana Beach this Saturday. If anyone knows more about this hymn or is able to dig something up please pass the info along.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Remember Not, Lord, Our Offences

One never knows what one will find on the internet. Today I found this interesting YouTube contribution that syncs the choral score (sheet music) with an audio recording that is apparently sung all by one person. Not bad honestly, just be glad it wasn't recorded by me.

The audio recording on this video is a bit more to my tastes but doesn't provide the score for you to follow along with.

I should note that this anthem is currently scheduled to be sung in worship on Sunday, March 18th 2002
Public domain sheet music can be found at

Monday, January 9, 2012

Flash Mob

I'm not generally a fan of flashmobs. I know that sounds crazy, but I've never been the type of person who just really liked to be on stage. I some how feel like flash mobs are more publicity stunts than authentic expressions of your art but not so in this case. This performance rings of beauty and authenticity.