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Choralosophy

Christopher M Munce

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This page is dedicated to driving a conversation for choral musicians with the PHILOSOPHY of Choral Music at the heart of every post and podcast episode. Topics will be wide ranging from the technical aspects of our jobs and careers all the way to the artistic interpretations and values that make us who we are as artists. Join me in this conversation in which I hope we can learn from each other.
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CHORAL CHIHUAHUA

Choral Chihuahua

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Choral Chihuahua is a podcast in which British choral directors chat about things that matter to them: composers they love, points of technique, classic but also niche choral works, other groups and singers they admire. With a light touch, Eamonn Dougan, Robert Hollingworth and now also Nicholas Mulroy chew the choral cud about how (and why) you do it and what they've learnt along the way. Choral Chihuahua is brought to you by I Fagiolini and University of York Music and produced by Polyphon ...
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Irish Choral Podcast

Irish Choral Podcast

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The Association of Irish Choirs (AOIC) supports and promotes all forms of choral music in Ireland. We do this through a range of programmes and activities designed to respond to the needs of our members, the wider choral community and the public.
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Choral History is a podcast dedicated to conversations with choir conductors from around the world. We explore the choral art form from the inside with honest talk from the artists themselves. The conversations are light-hearted and fun, but also honest and real, and explore the work of the conductor as you’ve probably never heard it before.
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Choral Cacophony Podcast

Stairwell Carollers

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From live rehearsal audio with The Stairwell Carollers, each Podcast is 7 minutes or less. For singers who want to improve performance - solo or in chorus. Warmups, ear training, rehearsal and challenging vocal gymnastics with Director Pierre Massie are fun and engaging. Live and fresh, the Choral Cacophony Podcast will help any vocalist develop their range, enunciation, breath control and vocal quality. Sound advice for singers who want to improve their listening, rhythm and pronunciation f ...
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Eamonn & Robert 'get French' but also enjoy Echo Ensemble's new CD 'Innocence' and drop into the York Early Music Festival. Music by Machaut, Ravel, Anna Rocławska-Musiałczyk & anon LINKS : www.tenebrae-choir.com/learning-connection/classroom-singing thesixteen.com/freevideos/eamonns-top-tips-creating-space/ www.echo-choir.com/innocence www.apotrop…
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I frequently engage in and read discussions with young music educators about the ways in which the music education profession is or is not “adapting with the times.” As always, the answer to that is yes. And no… Mak Barton is a second year teacher in Maryland who I found on her wildly entertaining TikTok account that is fast approaching 100k follow…
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As teachers, we often try to build culture and foster a sense of belonging by seeking out the “right checklist” of games, ice breakers, fun warm-ups, and even classroom wall art. However, these are just the frosting, not the cake. In this episode, I am joined by Dr. Kari Adams from the University of Missouri to discuss the essential ingredients for…
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Robert is in rural Kent, just down the road from Canterbury Cathedral, chatting with back row singers from three cathedrals including WINCHESTER. He also remembers the Nigel Perrin, top line of the original Kings Singers, with Nigel's colleague Alastair Hume. TRACKS : (1) Gabrieli Jackson - Sancte Deus; Canterbury Cathedral Choir / David Newsholme …
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“If you don’t learn what listening is, your choirs will never sing in tune.” James Jordan is one of the most prolific choral conductors in the modern era. Not just in terms of performance and recordings, but also in scholarship and pedagogy. Introducing, the NEW GIA/Walton Series on Choralosophy! I recently had the privilege of attending two sessio…
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Recently, we offered a free virtual meetup to practice “Choir Nerdery.” If you missed it, I have carefully curated some of the most useful and interesting moments for this episode. Discussion topics were derived from survey responses from 120 educators. The full 2 hour and 15 minute work session is available unedited over at Patreon or Substack for…
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Eamon and Nicholas bring you some of their favourite Bach Cantatas. TRACKS : (1) Johann Sebastian Bach - Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen, BWV 12: II. Chorus "Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen"; Collegium Vocale Gent / Philippe Herreweghe - Listen on Apple Music https://apple.co/3XC892h (2) Johann Sebastian Bach - Nun ist das Heil und die Kraft, BWV 50: N…
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“It is not my job to answer the questions. It’s my job to ask the questions.” Programming for our choirs carries with it a wide range of challenges, from the skill levels of our groups, and their needs to the considerations of speaking to an audience. There are many ways to wrestle with this balance. Renowned conductor of the Crossing Donald Nally …
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“I cannot believe I’ve been muzzled by my own people.” All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, CA cancelled a concert that was set for June 2nd, 2024 citing the “pain and anguish felt by 18 Black members of the church.” The response was that Michal and the choir, and the music they were set to perform from the African American cultural and musical…
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Robert chats to Sammy about his new album of Monteverdi / Purcell and songs from South America 'De pasión mortal' and learns about the history and music of the Clergy Support Trust's May festival. Also a development with the 'Music & Pregnancy' episode. Listen to De pasión mortal by Nicholas Mulroy on Apple Music https://apple.co/3wZ1gNB Support th…
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The scientific consensus is that our ability to understand human speech has evolved over hundreds of thousands of years. After all, there are whole portions of the brain devoted to human speech. We learn to understand speech before we can even walk, and can seamlessly absorb enormous amounts of information simply by hearing it. Surely we evolved th…
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Standard music notation that is now used ubiquitously around the world does some things really well. But it also has limitation. Katerina Gimon is a composer who is actively working to dream up new ways to use notation to communicate sound ideas to musicians that expand our written music vocabulary. Katerina first exploded onto the choral scene in …
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What is new music? And new when? How tricky does it get for singers? Can composers hear what they write? Could they in 1375? Fascinating discussion with composer James Weeks and Lucy Goddard of Exaudi Vocal Ensemble which has attempted the parts other ensembles daren't reach! TRACKS : (1) Michael Finnissy - Tom Fool's Wooing; Exaudi Vocal Ensemble …
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Standard #1 from NAfME is the best one I think. “Singing alone AND in small groups a varied repertoire of music.” It is of course, crucial in vocal and general music. But it’s value is also present in instrumental focused courses as well. In this return of “Car Thoughts” I will take you through a short explanation of how I conceive of individual si…
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Richard and Eric try to locate the intersection point of emotion and performance. They not only attempt to differentiate the difference between how emotion works for the audience versus performer, but also debate the value and perception of emotion's usefulness as a performer of music. Do we overvalue, or misjudge, emotion in the act of performance…
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“Because of music, in this time and space, we can hold hands. And we can sing a common song.” From a story Steven tells in this episode to illustrate the ways that music CAN help us transcend the issues that divide us. Dr. Steven Hankle directs the choirs at University of Dayton in Ohio. Steven caught my attention recently with a very vulnerable po…
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Richard and Eric wonder about the goings-on of music and performance in dreams. What piece is heard there? Who wrote that piece? What ensemble performed the piece you heard in the dream? Is there anything to be learned from those questions? Maybe there is something similar going on when a conductor references their mental/aural imagery when adjudic…
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In the third episode about issues facing female singers, Eamonn again talks to Dr Jenevora Williams and Charlotte Mobbs about how physical and mental changes affect singing, with contributions from several female colleagues. TRACKS : (1) Tomás Luis de Victoria - Ne timeas Maria; The Sixteen / Harry Christophers - Listen on Apple Music https://apple…
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The Choralosophy Podcast has been at the epicenter of the music education conversation since 2019. The first episode that really made a splash was #18. Ripping Off the Bandaid. It seemed to draw a two sided coin of responses. Colleagues were either offended or found their instruction revolutionized for the better. In this episode, I look back to 18…
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Choralosophy Book Club is back with a discussion of the book I am currently reading. “The Anxious Generation” by Jonathan Haidt (author of “The Coddling of the American Mind” and “The Righteous Mind”) which is #1 on NY Times Best Seller List This book has powerful insights and implications for teachers in addition to parents. I, of course, have my …
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Open your eyes and ears to the US choral scene, and be surprised! Christiana Howell and Luthien Brackett tell Sammy and Robert about the wealth of choral music in the US, from schools to spirituals, social change and MONEY... TRACKS : (1) Trad. Arr. F.M. Christiansen - Beautiful Savior; St. Olaf Choir / Anton Armstrong / Kelly Becker - Listen on Ap…
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Is it possible that we are all grasping at the wrong straws trying to reach program growth in an equitable way? Bruce Rockwell believes we need a transformative revolution in choral music. One where we turn our collective focus toward the Elementary School Choir. Bruce is a high school choral educator who teaches in a district in which a very small…
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Tim’s article “How to Ruin an Alto” was published in 1982-83 in The Choral Journal and in MENC’s publication. It included some strong language like “there are no good reasons for allowing women to sing tenor.” In this episode Timothy Mount, a Professor Emeritus at Stony Brook University, joins me to discuss his very strongly worded article from the…
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Eamonn Dougan kicks-off our eighth season, talking choral conducting with guests Patrick Russill, Hilary Campbell and Jack Apperley. TRACKS : (1) Tomás Luis de Victoria - Tantum Ergo; Choir of the London Oratory / Patrick Russill (2) Judith Weir - Love Bade Me Welcome; Eric Ericson Chamber Choir / Fredrik Malmberg - Listen on Apple Music https://ap…
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The Oakwood University Aeolians have a long standing and proud tradition. Over the last few years, they shot to international fame. Jeremy Jordan is tasked with keeping the flame alive. Ever since Jason Ferdinand moved from Oakwood, the choir world started to wonder what was next for the Aeolians. After their 2019 National ACDA performance, they we…
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Odell’s presentation was discussed in a recent Choral Journal article, but not named. This is his side of the story. Find more blogs at Choralosophy.Substack.com By Odell Zeigler March 23rd, 2024 In April of 2023, I was fortunate to present “An Unconventional Approach to the Urban Chorus Classroom” at the NAfME Eastern Division Conference, which wa…
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A Christian service performed on only three days of the year: just before Easter, focussing on the darkness of life without Christ. Insightful chat from Sammy, Robert and (finally) Eamonn with brilliant performances from I Fagiolini (Victoria), Tenebrae (Gesualdo), Les Arts Florissants (Couperin), Trinity Cambridge (Poulenc) and Gesualdo Six (Joann…
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Queens is one of the most diverse places in the world. How can music serve as a “common language” for diverse students? This week, I am joined by Shanan Estreicher, a middle and elementary music teacher in Queens, New York. Shanan is also a composer, and songwriter who has found a magic formula to reach the students of a Title 1 school with a const…
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Dr. Bridget Sweet is the first scholar to examine adolescent female voice change through systematic research protocols This week, we fill in a major gap in programming on the Choralosophy podcast. This is the FIRST episode on the feed diving into research and teaching practice of the female changing voice in adolescence. There will be more to come!…
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On this episode of InChoir, we talk to two composers about the intersection of choral music and the human experience of grief and loss. Dr. Terre Johnson, is Chair of the Fred and Dinah Gretsch School of Music at Georgia Southern University. Johnson’s career has included conducting every kind of choir, from church music to professional conducting t…
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Revd Canon Dr Victoria Johnson - outgoing precentor at York Minster and incoming to St John's College Cambridge - gives Sammy and Robert some context on Lent while they listen to plangent and powerful tracks by Dobrinka Tabakova, Buxtehude, Tallis (natch) and Bairstow. (THIS EPISODE DOES NOT CONTAIN JAMES MACMILLAN'S MISERERE. BUT IT SHOULD.) Follo…
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Is “Tough Love” outdated? Or is it the tool of caring parents and educators? Recently, a “Facebook post dialogue” of sorts went viral amongst music educators between Juilliard professor Geoffrey Keezer and James Falzone. Professor Keezer made a relatively short post related to the problems he is seeing in his teaching position related to reliabilit…
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Professor and researcher Martin Ashley from the UK is back to talk about more recent research related to the boys changing voice from both a biological and empirical view, as well as a qualitative experiential one. We discuss his latest compilation of crucial information, which he has made available for FREE. The eBook is called “Dead Composers and…
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In this episode of InChoir, we talk with composer Christopher Tin and naturalist Scott Weidensaul about the intersection of music, art, and conservation. Christopher Tin's The Lost Birds is sung by the preeminent British vocal ensemble VOCES8, accompanied by Tin's longtime collaborators, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (conducted by Christopher Ti…
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Robert tries to understand where singing and music are in schools in 2024 and gets a summary from Tim Burnage on how things have changed. He talks to Thomas Leech, director of the Diocese of Leeds Schools Singing Programme and we also hear from Eamonn in Dublin on a new initiative run by Chamber Choir Ireland. Follow Thomas Leech on X Find out more…
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In the digital realm where voices meet ideas, there’s a podcast that’s become a community hub for Choral Music: The Choralosophy Podcast started in February 2019. It was just a small gathering of a few hundred colleagues, sharing their love for choral music. Then, the unexpected happened. When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, episode 33 of the podcast se…
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Activist, author Chloé Valdary is a diversity and anti-racism trainer with a refreshingly loving approach. This week, on Valentine’s Day, I am encouraging us to approach our ensembles, our classes, our colleagues and our neighbors with Agape. In music education, we have a very popular, and important euphemism: “I want my students to see themselves …
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In this episode of InChoir, we talk with composer Eric William Barnum about music and memories of home. Eric Barnum is an internationally known conductor and composer who has received numerous awards and grants and has held residencies all over the world. He is currently the Director of Choirs at Drake University. His piece, A Thousand Red Birds, r…
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Clare Wilkinson, Sammy and Robert chat about what matters when singing or listening to polyphony - mostly in Renaissance music but relevant more widely. Some good tips in this one for singers - and even conductors! Follow Clare Wilkinson on X Find out more about Cambridge Early Music Summer Schools TRACKS : (1) William Byrd - Mass for Three Voices:…
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Nicholas Weininger, software engineer and composer, joins me this week to discuss the power of the Hebrew language in choral settings. Both in terms of its sonority and aspects of diction, but also in the contributions many ancient Hebrew texts can make to our philosophical discourses to this day. We discuss the difficulties finding choral music wi…
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This podcast has become the place to go for Music Literacy pedagogical training tools for teachers over the last five years. As a result, I have never received as much correspondence about content NOT created by me, than Dr. Marshaun Hymon’s February 2024 Choral Journal Article called “A Skills First Approach to the All-State Choir Selection Proces…
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...or IMPENDING DOOM. Nicholas has an actually very light-hearted chat with Ellie Slorach of Kantos Chamber Choir and Harry Bradford of Recordare about the journey with their young choirs so far, while Robert tries to remember what it felt like back in 1986 with I Fagiolini... www.kantoschamberchoir.com www.recordarechamberchoir.co.uk TRACKS : (1) …
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There is something magical about the first creations of a young artist! In this inaugural episode of InChoir, we talk with composer Alex Berko about artistic beginnings and his six-movement composition, Sacred Place. Berko’s choral music is featured on two GRAMMY®-nominated albums, Conspirare’s “House of Belonging” which contains Sacred Place and T…
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Are there core skills that MUST be acquired in order to teach music? Should there be? This week, I welcome Lynn Atkins to discuss the current challenges we face getting young teachers ready to teach music in an era when our current students and recent graduates had a pretty serious interruption in their education. In addition to this, we have debat…
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We are doing something different and fun this week! Just me, and three young colleagues about half my age. Over the last few months, I have gotten several requests to do an episode dedicated to the issues and concerns faced by the next generation of educators. What better way to do that than host a panel?! In this lively discussion with Amenah Ghan…
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We're back! Our spring season ('spring' is a bit 'hopeful' at the moment and also autumn for southern hemisphere listeners) opens with a look at vocal jazz in the cool company of the sextet, STANDARD DEVIATION. Ever tried it yourself and wondered just how it works? Now you can. Robert is joined by Tegan Eldridge, Olivia Hugh-Jones, Nell Norman, Hug…
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This week, I welcome a colleague who shares my crusade of teaching teenagers to be the best they can be through choral music. Jimmy Robertson is a veteran teacher from Garland, TX. In this episode we discuss the ways in which being a teacher can, at times, drain us of our joy. We both love our jobs, but it takes intentionality, and sense of communi…
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The quest for diversity in Western art music has led to the influx of ‘Westernized’ African music into the choral canon, albeit tagged as ‘world music’. This approach to the inclusion of diverse repertoire has led to the homogenization of indigenous African folk tunes by non-indigenous composers, thus creating Western-sounding African music. In thi…
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Richard and Eric gather round the old fireplace to chat about a variety of things, including reading a wonderful note from Swedish composer Mattias Sjöberg. High-back chairs and a roaring fire is a wonderful time to reminisce and celebrate hygge during the dark, winter season.Από τον Eric Barnum and Richard Robbins
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Another year of Choralosophy has come to a close! In this episode I have collected short clips, commentary and show highlights from the top 10 episodes and milestones of the year! The criteria is a a bit complex, because the longer the episode is out, the more total people will hear it. So, to make it fair to all episodes over the year, I have come…
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