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More music - ideas for next year

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  • Karen Kasper
    Hi folks! Please keep the ideas and comments coming! As Lady Erlan said, the members of the Board of the KWC are listening, and working to improve not only the
    Message 1 of 6 , Sep 20 5:47 AM
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      Hi folks!

      Please keep the ideas and comments coming! As Lady Erlan said, the members of the Board of the KWC are listening, and working to improve not only the Pennsic Choir but also the practice of medieval and renaissance polyphonic music at Pennsic and in the SCA as a whole.

      We want to make not only choral music but all period music practice easier to access and participate in, and more fun for everyone. To accomplish that, we need your help!

      Some of the Board members, along with several long-time choir members, met at the end of Pennsic to brainstorm some additional things we can do to achieve that goal. Here are some of the ideas we came up with:

          * Create a Children's Choir at Pennsic. We've had this idea on the back burner for a while, but a mom and child actually came up to the directors after this year's Pennsic Choir concert and requested this, spurring us to act on it sooner. We already have a potential volunteer to direct this choir, a lady who is mundanely a music teacher, and would love to get your feedback on how this could best be organized.

          * Develop a full track of music classes for Pennsic. We made a good start this year, with Lady Erlan's noon-time singing and conducting classes, but we want to expand the list of classes to cover a wider range of topics, and have a greater presence at Pennsic. YOU can help by volunteering to teach a music class, or by suggesting topics/teachers for such classes. We would love to have so many music classes that the Pennsic University could devote a tent just to us, as they do with the bardic track.

          * Expand the Pennsic Choir's performance into an hour-long concert by multiple ensembles performing all kinds of Western polyphonic music. If you or someone you know has a local or Kingdom choir or instrumental group that would like to perform a short set at such a performance, please let us know! The proposed Children's Choir would be one possible group.

          * Create an additional, smaller choir that would be audition-only, meet fewer times than the Pennsic Choir, and perform a shorter set of more challenging pieces, again as part of the expanded Western Polyphonic music concert.

          * Implement the Top Ten Songs Project. You may recall that we did a survey last spring asking people for suggestions of period choral works that everyone should know and be able to sing at the drop of a hat. We tabulated your votes and Master Robyn and Lady Erlan used some of the top vote-getters at the noon-time singing, as a test run. We're planning to finalize the list and then provide links to sheet music and audio learning tracks for everyone to learn them. Then, wherever you are throughout the Known World, you can sing any of those pieces with other members of the KWC! 

           * Get the KWC's new website up and running, so there's a repository for all of this information that's more easily accessible than the Yahoo Group. 

      As a reminder, the Board of Directors of the KWC consists of all of the active past directors of the Known World Choirs around the SCA. At the moment, the active members include Lady Erlan Nordenskaldr (this Pennsic's director, from the East Kingdom), Master Robyn Solarius (once and future Pennsic Choir director, from the Middle), Mistress Arianna Morgan (past Pennsic director, from Atlantia), and myself, Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope (past Pennsic director, from AEthelmearc).

      Keep on singing!

      Arianna of Wynthrope
    • Jo-Ann
      I like the idea of a smaller choir that practices fewer times. Auditioning might be a challenge - would that need to be done prior to Pennsic? I think folks
      Message 2 of 6 , Sep 20 7:49 AM
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        I like the idea of a smaller choir that practices fewer times.  Auditioning might be a challenge - would that need to be done prior to Pennsic?  I think folks know their comfort/ability level and might choose which choir would suit them. 

        Siiri



        -----Original Message-----
        From: Karen Kasper <arianna_wyn@...>
        To: KWChoir <KWChoir@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Tue, Sep 20, 2011 8:47 am
        Subject: [KWChoir] More music - ideas for next year

         
        Hi folks!

        Please keep the ideas and comments coming! As Lady Erlan said, the members of the Board of the KWC are listening, and working to improve not only the Pennsic Choir but also the practice of medieval and renaissance polyphonic music at Pennsic and in the SCA as a whole.

        We want to make not only choral music but all period music practice easier to access and participate in, and more fun for everyone. To accomplish that, we need your help!

        Some of the Board members, along with several long-time choir members, met at the end of Pennsic to brainstorm some additional things we can do to achieve that goal. Here are some of the ideas we came up with:

            * Create a Children's Choir at Pennsic. We've had this idea on the back burner for a while, but a mom and child actually came up to the directors after this year's Pennsic Choir concert and requested this, spurring us to act on it sooner. We already have a potential volunteer to direct this choir, a lady who is mundanely a music teacher, and would love to get your feedback on how this could best be organized.

            * Develop a full track of music classes for Pennsic. We made a good start this year, with Lady Erlan's noon-time singing and conducting classes, but we want to expand the list of classes to cover a wider range of topics, and have a greater presence at Pennsic. YOU can help by volunteering to teach a music class, or by suggesting topics/teachers for such classes. We would love to have so many music classes that the Pennsic University could devote a tent just to us, as they do with the bardic track.

            * Expand the Pennsic Choir's performance into an hour-long concert by multiple ensembles performing all kinds of Western polyphonic music. If you or someone you know has a local or Kingdom choir or instrumental group that would like to perform a short set at such a performance, please let us know! The proposed Children's Choir would be one possible group.

            * Create an additional, smaller choir that would be audition-only, meet fewer times than the Pennsic Choir, and perform a shorter set of more challenging pieces, again as part of the expanded Western Polyphonic music concert.

            * Implement the Top Ten Songs Project. You may recall that we did a survey last spring asking people for suggestions of period choral works that everyone should know and be able to sing at the drop of a hat. We tabulated your votes and Master Robyn and Lady Erlan used some of the top vote-getters at the noon-time singing, as a test run. We're planning to finalize the list and then provide links to sheet music and audio learning tracks for everyone to learn them. Then, wherever you are throughout the Known World, you can sing any of those pieces with other members of the KWC! 

             * Get the KWC's new website up and running, so there's a repository for all of this information that's more easily accessible than the Yahoo Group. 

        As a reminder, the Board of Directors of the KWC consists of all of the active past directors of the Known World Choirs around the SCA. At the moment, the active members include Lady Erlan Nordenskaldr (this Pennsic's director, from the East Kingdom), Master Robyn Solarius (once and future Pennsic Choir director, from the Middle), Mistress Arianna Morgan (past Pennsic director, from Atlantia), and myself, Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope (past Pennsic director, from AEthelmearc).

        Keep on singing!

        Arianna of Wynthrope
      • Daniel Speis
        I was not able to participate with the choir this past year due to conflicts with the rapier schedule, but I like the suggested steps with the goal of
        Message 3 of 6 , Sep 21 4:06 AM
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          I was not able to participate with the choir this past year due to conflicts with the rapier schedule, but I like the suggested steps with the goal of increased the practice and peformance of medieval and rennaissance polyphonic music throughout the SCA. I do hope to get involved next year if there aren't too many conflicts with music & rapier.
           
          The group that I conduct in my local shire, although we are relavtively new group (about 8 months old) and consist of people who are for a large part music novices who are learning as we go, would be interested in performing at this potential hour-long performance of local groups and would be happy to talk more one-on-one off list about this if someone is interested.
           
          I love the idea of a music track and I know I certainly would be VERY interested in classes to help somone (me!) develop and refine a period vocal technique for someone whose primary training has been classical technique. I would also be interested in connecting with a class/ coaching/ master class that would focus on countertenors and their development and use in period music (perhaps from an academic perspective), but then more specificially a workshop to help develop skill as a countertenor (since for me my training has been as a lyric tenor).
           
          Orlando di Bene del Vinta
          AEthelmearc
          Shire of Sylvan Glen

          On Tue, Sep 20, 2011 at 8:47 AM, Karen Kasper <arianna_wyn@...> wrote:
           

          Hi folks!

          Please keep the ideas and comments coming! As Lady Erlan said, the members of the Board of the KWC are listening, and working to improve not only the Pennsic Choir but also the practice of medieval and renaissance polyphonic music at Pennsic and in the SCA as a whole.

          We want to make not only choral music but all period music practice easier to access and participate in, and more fun for everyone. To accomplish that, we need your help!

          Some of the Board members, along with several long-time choir members, met at the end of Pennsic to brainstorm some additional things we can do to achieve that goal. Here are some of the ideas we came up with:

              * Create a Children's Choir at Pennsic. We've had this idea on the back burner for a while, but a mom and child actually came up to the directors after this year's Pennsic Choir concert and requested this, spurring us to act on it sooner. We already have a potential volunteer to direct this choir, a lady who is mundanely a music teacher, and would love to get your feedback on how this could best be organized.

              * Develop a full track of music classes for Pennsic. We made a good start this year, with Lady Erlan's noon-time singing and conducting classes, but we want to expand the list of classes to cover a wider range of topics, and have a greater presence at Pennsic. YOU can help by volunteering to teach a music class, or by suggesting topics/teachers for such classes. We would love to have so many music classes that the Pennsic University could devote a tent just to us, as they do with the bardic track.

              * Expand the Pennsic Choir's performance into an hour-long concert by multiple ensembles performing all kinds of Western polyphonic music. If you or someone you know has a local or Kingdom choir or instrumental group that would like to perform a short set at such a performance, please let us know! The proposed Children's Choir would be one possible group.

              * Create an additional, smaller choir that would be audition-only, meet fewer times than the Pennsic Choir, and perform a shorter set of more challenging pieces, again as part of the expanded Western Polyphonic music concert.

              * Implement the Top Ten Songs Project. You may recall that we did a survey last spring asking people for suggestions of period choral works that everyone should know and be able to sing at the drop of a hat. We tabulated your votes and Master Robyn and Lady Erlan used some of the top vote-getters at the noon-time singing, as a test run. We're planning to finalize the list and then provide links to sheet music and audio learning tracks for everyone to learn them. Then, wherever you are throughout the Known World, you can sing any of those pieces with other members of the KWC! 

               * Get the KWC's new website up and running, so there's a repository for all of this information that's more easily accessible than the Yahoo Group. 

          As a reminder, the Board of Directors of the KWC consists of all of the active past directors of the Known World Choirs around the SCA. At the moment, the active members include Lady Erlan Nordenskaldr (this Pennsic's director, from the East Kingdom), Master Robyn Solarius (once and future Pennsic Choir director, from the Middle), Mistress Arianna Morgan (past Pennsic director, from Atlantia), and myself, Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope (past Pennsic director, from AEthelmearc).

          Keep on singing!

          Arianna of Wynthrope


        • John
          good evening! I have a mandate from their Majesties of Gleann Abhann to create a choir to perform at Gulf Wars this year in March. I was hoping to get some
          Message 4 of 6 , Sep 22 7:57 PM
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            good evening!

            I have a mandate from their Majesties of Gleann Abhann to create a choir to perform at Gulf Wars this year in March. I was hoping to get some input as to repertoire, voicing and rehearsal time. I have done several pick-up choirs at SCA events, and have pretty good access to a music library, but I definitely want to get some advice from people who have done the Pennsic Choir. If you are planning on coming to GW XXI, please let me know by email: dunnj [at] nsula [dot] edu. Thanks for your time!

            --Lord Iain O'Donnell
            GA Choir director
          • Karen Kasper
            Greetings, Lord Iain! I m excited to hear that you ll be creating a choir to perform at Gulf Wars! I wish I could attend, but I wish you the best of luck. I m
            Message 5 of 6 , Sep 23 5:58 AM
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              Greetings, Lord Iain!

              I'm excited to hear that you'll be creating a choir to perform at Gulf Wars! I wish I could attend, but I wish you the best of luck.

              I'm also glad that Master Christian has already sent along his suggestions, since he has a great deal of experience running choral singing at Gulf Wars.

              To add to his advice, one of the key things that we've found helpful for growing the Pennsic Choir and lowering the bar for people to participate is to make the music available online well in advance of the war. Providing MIDI/MP3 renditions of each part, along with sheet music, means that even people with limited sight-singing skills can learn their parts ahead of time and be prepared to concentrate on nuance instead of pitch and rhythm during rehearsals. If you have the resources to make learning tracks like Master Robyn did two Pennsics ago - recordings of people actually singing each part, not just electronic instrumental versions - people will find it even easier, and also have the benefit of hearing any foreign languages correctly pronounced.

              Another thing that will help you tremendously is to set up a pre-registration system with links on the Gulf Wars website. This will allow you to get an idea of who's coming, and how many you'll have of each voice part. Where you see gaps, you can try to recruit people (though it's a given that we're always in need of more men, especially tenors). For Pennsic, we've been fortunate that the web minister, Mistress Jessa d'Avondale, has graciously programmed a registration form that automatically emails everyone's registration to the director, but if the Gulf Wars web minister isn't able to do that, you can just ask people to email you their information. Knowing, at least roughly, how many of each voice part you'll have will also allow you to tailor your selection of pieces. Because choral singing doesn't have as long a tradition at Gulf Wars as it does at Pennsic, you may want to have an array of options picked out that will allow you to work with any combination of voices - SSA, SAB, SATB, etc.

              Rehearsal time is a thorny question. At Pennsic we set aside 2 hours every day, but that definitely gives people pause and we do lose people who aren't willing to commit that much time to singing. We've also tried a variety of times of day, but always ended up back in the late afternoon, on the theory that this allows any fighters to get their battles out of the way and still sing with the choir afterward. In practice, I'm not so sure that's worked - we seldom have more than one or two fighters in the choir. People have suggested evenings, but of course then you're bumping into dinner/party times. I think Master Christian is right, that taking over the noon time slot has both advantages and disadvantages, too. 

              I assume you'll need to work with the A&S autocrats to find a place and time for rehearsals and the concert, and the web minister to advertise the choir on the GW website. Does GW have a newspaper like Pennsic? If so, you might want to place ads for the concert in it. If not, then perhaps posters to be put up around the site?

              For music sources, pretty much whatever you can find! Of course there are lots of books, like the Historical Anthology of Music vol. 1, the A Capella Singer, all the Thurston Dart, Noah Greenberg, and Kings' Singers compilations, and so on. Online, I use the Choral Public Domain Library (cpdl.org) extensively, but always with caution since the music there is contributed by amateurs and tends to have errors. It's wise to compare any music you find there with sources that have been reviewed by an editor, and fix any mistakes you find. I recommend that you get a music notation program if you don't already have one. The big names are Sibelius, Encore, and Finale, but they're pretty expensive. I use Noteworthy (http://www.noteworthysoftware.com), on the recommendation of Duchess Constanzia from Lochac (thanks, Stanzi!), which has the benefit of not only being relatively inexpensive ($50) but also that a major contributor to the CPDL, Brian Russell, transcribed hundreds of period pieces in it. There's also Lilypond (http://lilypond.org/), which is free, but not as intuitive to use as many of the other programs. There's a site with reviews of a variety of notation programs here: http://music-notation-software-review.toptenreviews.com/ppc-index.html?cmpid=71363 FWIW, although it says Noteworthy doesn't support Windows 7, I've been using it on a Win7 computer for over a year with no problems. 

              Finally, you'll want to figure out what you're going to use to facilitate learning. Past Pennsic Choir directors have had different philosophies. I rely on a battery-powered electric keyboard to teach parts. Lady Erlan prefers to use a recorder. I think Master Robyn has done a little of both. It's really up to you.

              Good luck, and feel free to contact me with any additional questions you may have.

              Arianna of Wynthrope
              Barony-Marche of the Debatable Lands
              AEthelmearc


              From: John <im_no_poet@...>
              To: KWChoir@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Thursday, September 22, 2011 10:57 PM
              Subject: [KWChoir] Knowne World Choir at Gulf Wars

               
              good evening!

              I have a mandate from their Majesties of Gleann Abhann to create a choir to perform at Gulf Wars this year in March. I was hoping to get some input as to repertoire, voicing and rehearsal time. I have done several pick-up choirs at SCA events, and have pretty good access to a music library, but I definitely want to get some advice from people who have done the Pennsic Choir. If you are planning on coming to GW XXI, please let me know by email: dunnj [at] nsula [dot] edu. Thanks for your time!

              --Lord Iain O'Donnell
              GA Choir director



            • Erlandr Nordenskald
              Greetings Lord Iain Mistress Arianna has covered all of the basses (LOL) for the starting of the organizing for the Choir. Since you were asked by your Crown
              Message 6 of 6 , Sep 25 3:37 PM
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                Greetings Lord Iain
                Mistress Arianna has covered all of the basses (LOL) for the starting of the organizing for the Choir.
                Since you were asked by your Crown to organize the choir, you may want to see if they have any requests.
                It is the Mission of the Known world Choir to open people to the singing and learning of renaissance polyphonic vocal music. that being said, you need to get the music to fit into the time frame that you've been given. If you have the chance to prepare learning tracks, you can do more music. (idealy)
                Start with the practice and performance details. find out where your practice space will be and how many days/hours per day you can have to practice. Perhaps co-ordinate with the "Noon time" singing that happens.
                It is our goal to have the website up and running by the end of the calendar year. You could host the learning tracks and music on the site. For now, you are welcome to use the yahoo groups to host your music and learning tracks.
                I have found that very helpful.

                good luck and don't hesitate to ask questions!!

                erlan
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