The Idea Corner (Letters to the Editor)

Honor choir for adult it time?
by Ken DeJong


When might be the best time for ACDA - probably regional, but perhaps state - to consider having an adult massed choir for a convention? I suspect that lots of church choirs have members who would consider it an honor and a privilege to prepare a "larger choral work" for presentation at a convention, representing their conductor and church, and having the opportunity to work with an honored guest conductor.

It may be a way to further engage our church conductor-musicians in the ACDA mission that is more than the K-12 to college/university emphasis. It might be necessary to do it rotationally (by geographic area) because there are SO many possible participants, but it may well allow a group of 150 singers to prepare a work quickly. I bet it would also ensure (because of families and friends) a sellout for that evening's (or day's) event.

I've been thinking about this for some time, and was reminded of it again lately when I received my audition packet in the mail, again to note that there wasn't any type of event for adults (honor choir type) beyond education institutions.

Ken DeJong, Bellevue, Washington

Matters of Note
Portland Symphonic Girchoir programming earns 2003 Chorus America/ASCAP Award  
The Portland Symphonic Girlchoir has won the 2003 Chorus America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, one of four such annual awards. The choir is under the direction of Roberta Q. Jackson, Artistic Director, and Debra R. Burgess, Associate Director. These awards are for choruses that demonstrate adventurous programming through performances in the United States of the music of our time. The $500 cash award and plaque were presented at the 26th Annual Chorus America Conference in Kansas City, Missouri. The award was given to the chorus that demonstrated the most interesting and adventurous programming throughout the 2001 – 2002 Season. Judges looked in particular for the performance of music by contemporary composers written after 1975.

The Girlchoir’s 2001 – 2002 Season included the world premiere of their 2002 commission, “Colcannon”, by Canadian composer Stephen Hatfield; the United States premieres of “Into An Unknown Land” by Canadian composer Imant Raminsh, introduced by the composer, and “Star Tribes” by Australian composer Stephen Leek, accompanied by the Portland Youth Philharmonic; the Northwest premiere of “Jubilate Deo” by Florida composer David Brunner; and the world premiere of “The Moon Shades Red” by Girlchoir alum Amy C. Burgess, a music composition major at Pacific Lutheran University. The Portland Symphonic Girlchoir is a 170 voice choral organization consisting of 4 choirs and a non-auditioned choir class for girls ages 6 – 18.

Performances of new works written by contemporary composers were also presented during the season by each of PSGC’s choirs: Debut, Intermezzo, and Encore Singers, in addition to the above commissions performed by the Premier Choir, exemplifying Girlchoir’s mission to provide a challenging performance-based program of vocal music education for young singers/artists. Holiday Concerts included repertoire arranged in an eclectic mass, “Misa Eclectica”, consisting of mass movements by Bach, Delibes, two movements from Lee Kesselman’s Shona Mass, Rupert Lang’s “Sanctus” from Mass for Many Nations, and “Creo en Dios” from Misa Pequena by Francisco Nunez. The final “set” presented at PSGC’s Spring Concerts was “In the Gospel Tradition…”, which included the Intermezzo Choir presenting “My Lord, What a Morning”, arranged by Howard Helvey and James Ewing; Premier Choir singing “This is the Day”, “City Called Heaven”, and Living in a Holy City”; and concluding with all choirs joining to sing “Feel Good”, arranged by Barbara Baker and David Elliott. In all, 32 works written after 1975 were performed during Girlchoir’s 2001 – 2002 Season.

Previous winners of this coveted award include the San Francisco Girls Chorus, Glen Ellyn Children’s Chorus (Chicago), and Syracuse Children’s Chorus. Past adult choir winners include the Dale Warland Singers, the Gregg Smith Singers, and the Choral Arts Society of Washington DC.

In Spring 2005, the Portland Symphonic Girlchoir will present the West Coast premiere of “The Nightingale”, a children’s choral opera by Imant Raminsh, which it is co-commissioning, by invitation of the composer, with the Glen Ellyn Children’s Chorus and the Children’s Chorus of Washington (DC), who will present the Midwest and East Coast premieres, respectively.

2003 – 2004 will find the Portland Symphonic Girlchoir celebrating its 15th Anniversary with a year-long celebration, culminating with the 15th Anniversary Gala Concert on Sunday, June 20, 2004, at 3 pm in the First United Methodist Church on SW 18th & Jefferson. This Gala Concert will feature performances by all five PSGC ensembles, as well as a “solo” set sung by the Alum Choir made up of former Girlchoir singers. Other Alum activities include a Saturday morning rehearsal followed by an Alum Luncheon at the MAC. You are invited to help PSGC celebrate!