There’s No “I” in Choir

There is no “I” in “choir.” Well, yes, technically there is the letter “i”, but a good choral group avoids having a distinguishable voice. A choir is not a collection of soloists, but rather a blend of quite an assortment of vocal sounds. The goal is a fully blended sound, capable of singing the complete range of human feelings as a team.

Choir directors spend a great deal of time and effort to achieve the perfect blend of voices within a section, and blending the sections into one unified sound. Sometimes singers are placed where their voices will complement a different quality of voice next to them. Singers may be asked as an individual or a group to change their pronunciation of a word to be quite different from how we would normally speak it.

Directors sometimes need to walk a fine line between diplomacy and improving a section’s sound. The longer a group such as Opus 24 performs together, the easier it is to come close to the perfect blend. Our talented and experienced conductor is especially fortunate to have such capable singers (especially the tenor section) who understand and work hard to match their voices for that one sound which a section strives so hard to create.

Bill Horton
President
Decatur Choral Society

My Favorite Song

Enough time has passed since Opus 24’s 2015 fall concert, “There Shall a Star,” for me to share what was my favorite concert piece.  I have many friends who have learned to anticipate this question, and many have even written themselves notes about what they heard in the concert.

The pieces most frequently chosen by our audience were What Child, Bleak Midwinter, and Caroling, Caroling.  Practically all of the songs in the program were mentioned.  Most people also qualified their answers with the statement, “It is so hard to choose one.  I liked them all!”  After checking with many of the Opus singers, their favorites leaned toward Bleak Midwinter,  but also included most of the pieces that we sang.

My favorites were Personet Hodie, Gloria in Excelsis Deo, and He is Born. In Personet I enjoyed the cheerful tempo, the blended use of Latin and English, and the tenor arrangement.  He is Born seems to be a song that tells us that we have received joyous news, and the chance for our listeners to hum merrily along with the tenors.  Gloria seems to be the one that edges out the others.  Parts of the song frequently invade my thoughts with dynamic entrances, then soaring melodic phrases, declarative statements, and of course, the tenor section, which adds so much to the beauty of the piece.

Be ready to choose your favorite in our 25th Anniversary concert coming up on May 15, 2016. I’ll probably ask you.

Bill Horton
President
Decatur Choral Society

I Am Just Warning You Now…

…that I have been known to ask our concert audience a very hard question. “What was your favorite piece that Opus 24 sang at our concert?” The truth is, I would have trouble answering my own question. There are several pieces which I will not only enjoy singing, but would like to sing them again for you.

What makes a pieces of choral music a favorite? After every concert people tell me a variety of favorites. Some music will tingle memories of pleasant and meaningful events of places and people . Sometimes we are swept away by clever melodies and harmonies so skillfully woven together by the composers, our conductor, and the “Opus singers.

So as you sit and listen to Opus 24, the Tudor voices, and our young vocal scholarship recipients, keep you pen handy and try to sort out your favorite number. There will be a test at the end.

Bill Horton
President
Decatur Choral Society