Sunday, April 16, 2006

Choir Questions

Well, our ward choir sang superbly today, and I am so pleased. We had been working on “Long Ago Within a Garden” for several weeks with moderate success. I have at least one or two very talented singers in every section except soprano. The piece has a couple short solo parts and one duet, so I could rely on my best singers for at least half the song. I actually had one of my best altos switch to soprano without my having to ask her because she saw the need (as most of us did). Don’t get me wrong, I have some faithful, dedicated sopranos, but often a joyful noise is what I get from their section. All was going somewhat well until Sister Kohler (a soprano with a beautiful voice who actually sings professionally right now) showed up for choir practice one week before today’s performance. Our soprano section came alive, and I also had her do the “optional descant” part. Today things really came together, and we did the piece better than we had ever practiced it. What a blessing to have the Lord make it work. I would hate to direct any choir outside the church. Well . . . no one in their right mind would ask a medical student with absolutely no formal musical training to direct a choir outside the church anyway, but you know what I mean.
So having said that, I now need to be thinking of another piece or two to work on, and I wanted to ask those of you who actually have formal musical training and/or real talent who have done choir directing if you have any suggestions for good music. I prefer hymn arrangements because it is for sacrament and those are the easiest to get approved. However, I am open to doctrinally correct non-hymns also. We can handle the harder pieces, but that means fewer people will actually be singing the right notes, so it’s a balance. Any suggestions??

John Craw


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