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Spartanburg community-based choir announces new name

The Spartanburg Festival Chorus, Spartanburg’s choral union of community singers and Converse students, has a new name: The Spartanburg Master Chorale.

The new name more accurately reflects the purpose of the chorus: to present masterworks of choral and choral-orchestral repertory from the 16th century to the present day. The group has been together, under various names (Spartanburg Symphony Chorus, Spartanburg Festival Chorus) for more than 50 years and has presented high-profile concerts with the Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra and with Ballet Spartanburg, and they have participated in major choral festivals in Prague, Paris, and in Oppenau, Germany. The Spartanburg Master Chorale has also been a part of the immensely popular "Lessons and Carols" holiday program at Converse for many years. On Nov. 17, 2022, the Spartanburg Master Chorale will present Robert S. Cohen’s Alzheimer’s Stories to the Spartanburg Community, in collaboration with the local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. Writing in the Choral Journal in October of 2018, Kody Wallace wrote about Alzheimer’s Stories, One of the greatest achievements a work of art can hope to achieve is to bring us to our darkest places and show us a light. To illuminate our fears, ease our anxieties, and heal our pain. Whether or not you’ve struggled with this disease personally or as a caregiver, this is what makes Alzheimer’s Stories a truly special experience.”
The Spartanburg Master Chorale rehearses on Tuesday nights from 7-9:30 p.m. on the Converse campus, beginning on Aug. 23. Interested singers should contact Dr. Keith Jones (keith.jones@converse.edu or 864.596.9004.

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Sandlapper Singers seeks part-time general manager

Application deadline: open until position is filled The Sandlapper Singers, headquartered in Columbia, S.C., is a semi-professional chorus specializing in American choral music. The general manager is a part-time position supporting chorus operations. The schedule will range from 10-20 hours per week, but workload will vary depending on the season and needs of the organization, with increased hours before concerts, with summer mailings, and other times as needed. This position reports to the board chair and collaborates with the artistic director. Candidates should have excellent communications and organizational ability, problem-solving skills with attention to detail and ability to multitask and meet deadlines. Candidates should be self-motivated and have the ability to work with minimal supervision and possess an entrepreneurial and team spirit that utilizes creative thinking and attention to detail. Candidates should have knowledge or experience with Microsoft Office Suite and desktop publishing software. The general manager must be able to work flexible hours, including some evenings and weekends, to accommodate organization needs. Familiarity with the operations of a musical organization is preferable. Experience managing an arts group is also preferable. Qualifications

  • Must have an interest in the arts and music.
  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent job description experience, with at least two years of  administrative, marketing, and/or customer service experience preferred.
Responsibilities include but are not limited to: Development
  • Raise funds through fund raisers and sponsorships
  • Secure interested board members
  • Write effective grants
  • Able to create long-term plans and prepare board members and volunteers on all projects and concerns so that important needs are completed in a timely and efficient basis.
  • Work vigorously and collaboratively on development with the artistic director
  • Timely preparation and content of promotional material for all Singers concerts as approved by the board of directors.
  • Production, content and publication of season brochure and concert programs.
  • Develop concert production timeline in conjunction with artistic director; coordinate all concert preparations including communication with host facility about equipment availability and setup, ticket sales, concert payment distributions and managing volunteers.
  • Work with artistic director to maintain master calendar of rehearsals, concerts, meetings and events.
  • Attend board meetings as an ex-officio member.
  • Oversee volunteers to ensure that all necessary tasks are completed and all deadlines are met.
  • Work with the webmaster to ensure the website stays current by providing board-approved content.
  • Survey audiences and monitor audience demographics for analysis and present statistics and evaluation to the board of directors.
  • Other duties as assigned by board of directors and a close collaboration with the artistic director.
Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. To apply, submit a resume and supporting materials by email to feedback@sandlappersingers.org. About the Sandlapper Singers Founded in 1996, the Sandlapper Singers, South Carolina's premier professional choral ensemble, presents American choral music in a uniquely entertaining and engaging style to audiences throughout the state and beyond. The 30-35 voice auditioned ensemble performs an annual subscription series of three concerts presented twice in acoustically superior venues in the Columbia metro area. Directed and co-founded by Dr. Lillian Quackenbush, the Singers specialize in the works of American composers, past and present, offering a delightful mix of both familiar and new music. In addition to beautiful and inspiring singing, the Sandlapper concerts may include a variety of the other arts, visuals, dance, and insightful commentary. The mission of the Sandlapper Singers is to present American choral music in a uniquely entertaining, inspiring, and engaging style and to provide educational opportunities for young singers.

Sandlapper Singers seeks artistic director for 2016

Position available: July 1, 2016 Application deadline: March 13, 2015 The Sandlapper Singers, based in Columbia, S.C.,  is seeking an energetic, creative, and experienced part-time artistic director to lead an established four-voice chamber choir of approximately 30 auditioned performers that, up to this time, has focused on American choral music. The artistic director will have overall responsibility for artistic and musical leadership of the ensemble, will serve as an ex-officio member of the board of directors, and will work closely with the board, executive director, and concert manager to ensure the smooth operation of the organization. He or she will partner with other community and arts organizations to develop audience and expand programming options. In addition, the artistic director will supervise and assist the director of an auxiliary youth choir, the Young Sandlapper Singers. Salary negotiable based on education and experience. For full job description and application process, visit www.sandlappersingers.org. About the Sandlapper Singers Founded in 1996, the Sandlapper Singers is South Carolina’s premier professional choral ensemble. The Sandlapper Singers has promoted the creation of new music, has performed for noteworthy public events, and has expanded its educational outreach to include sponsoring a youth choir, performing with high school and college choruses, and offering vocal scholarships to promising high school students. It also performs occasionally with ensembles such as the South Carolina Philharmonic Orchestra, the University of South Carolina Symphony, and the Augusta (Georgia) Symphony. Via: Sandlapper Singers

Sandlapper Singers co-founder Dr. Lillian Quackenbush announces retirement

Lillian QuackenbushThe Sandlapper Singers of Columbia have announced that artistic director and co-founder Dr. Lillian Quackenbush will retire at the end of the 2016 season. The transition begins with the hiring of a general manager for the organization in 2014. The search for a new artistic director begins in January 2015 with the goal of selecting three candidates by summer 2015. These three candidates will each be asked to join Dr. Quackenbush to prepare and conduct the chorus on one of the three series concerts in the 2015-2016 season. The candidate chosen will join the organization in July 2016. About The Sandlapper Singers Sandlapper Singers The Sandlapper Singers, South Carolina’s premier professional chorus, was established in 1996 by Lillian and Dave Quackenbush and has presented American music in a uniquely entertaining and engaging style since that time. The 34-voice auditioned ensemble is currently in its 19th season, performing an annual subscription series in the Columbia area. The Singers also presents additional performances each year in communities across the state of South Carolina and the Southeast and has performed overseas. The group is directed and conducted by co-founder Dr. Lillian Quackenbush, retired chairman of the Columbia College music department and recipient of the 2012 Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor's Award for Life Time Achievement in the Arts, sponsored by the South Carolina Arts Commission. The Singers focus on the works of American composers past and present, a departure from the usual programming of European choral literature, offering a delightful mix of both familiar and new musical sounds. The organization has established a strongly supported educational program with the Young Sandlapper Singers, the Katie Quackenbush Vocal Scholarship for high school students, and a Side-By-Side program for high school choral ensembles -- the next generation of Sandlapper Singers!

Hardeeville Elementary participates in statewide honor choir for first time

In 1999, Patricia H. Croft with the Elementary Division of the South Carolina Music Educators Association dreamed of creating a South Carolina Elementary Honor Choir. Her vision was to promote choral singing for elementary students, raise the quality of existing elementary choral programs and provide much-needed professional development for South Carolina's elementary music teachers. Croft secured a $1,000 grant from the South Carolina Arts Commission to help finance the first choir and contracted with Henry Leck, founder and artistic director of the Indianapolis Children's Choir, to come to South Carolina for this new project. Leck made suggestions for the statewide audition that are still followed today. Croft and other teacher volunteers listened to 600 children singing "America" on the first audition tapes. Leck sent a challenging list of music to be taught, and the teachers of the first choir members began preparing the students for the weekend's rehearsals in Greenville. The first performance was held at the Hyatt Regency in Greenville to a standing-room-only audience. hardeevillechoirstudents2This year, 465 students from 95 schools auditioned for the 2014 choir and 242 were selected. The choir performed at the SCMEA's annual conference in North Charleston Feb. 6-8. Two of those students, Tre’Mari Cunningham and Isaac Taliaferro, (pictured right) presented Hardeeville Elementary School in Jasper County. From Savannahnow.com:

Jasper County elementary school students Tre’Mari Cunningham and Isaac Taliaferro were selected to participate in the South Carolina Elementary Honor Choir in Charleston. The choir performed Feb. 6-8 for a crowd of about 1,000. Cunningham, a student at Hardeeville Elementary, and Taliaferro, a student at Ridgeland Elementary, auditioned under the direction of Hardeeville music teacher Brandon Hutson. “We had an audition through the school where I listened to the fourth- and fifth-grade kids and taught them the requirements,” Hutson said. “We narrowed it down to 16, and then we had another audition and narrowed it down to six. Tre’Mari and Isaac were among the top six.” Hutson said every student had to sing the same song during the school auditions. “They were all based on the same requirements and were scored on a rubric of pitch, rhythm, tempo and consistency,” Hutson said. Taliaferro started the year out at Hardeeville Elementary when Hutson was auditioning students for the choir. The 11-year-old relocated to Ridgeland after the audition CDs were sent to the choir judges. After he was selected to be in the choir based on his audition score, his father brought him to Hardeeville each Friday. “It’s pretty awesome to see that two of our kids made it out of so many that auditioned in the state,” Hutson said. “That’s impressive. They only missed one point.” The school-wide auditions included all of the fourth- and fifth-graders who are required to take music as part of their curriculum. This is the first year the school has participated in the statewide honor choir. Hutson attended the S.C. Music Educators Conference last year and saw the choir perform. “When I saw them perform, I knew our kids had to do that because it was such as mass of students that were able to represent their school and district,” Hutson said. “We have some great talent in Hardeeville and I knew we had to get our kids to audition.” Of the 465 students who auditioned, Taliaferro and Cunningham were among 240 who scored high enough to make the honor choir. Cunningham said participating in the choir event in Charleston was a fun and exciting experience. “We rehearsed for nine hours,” Cunningham said. “We went for three days, from Thursday to Saturday. Rehearsal didn’t seem that long, though, because it was fun.” Guest clinician Cristi Cary Miller came from Putnam City, Okla., to assist and teach the students. “I liked what she (Miller) did; it was fun,” Cunningham said. “She was teaching us things like how to move your mouth, going high and low and used different things that were fun to make us do it. When we were practicing we used games. … It was hard work, though. Sometimes the teacher would be fun with it, but then she’d stop being fun and start teaching. She would never yell but she would be serious, because she’s a teacher.” Cunningham and Taliaferro were friends before participating in the choir, but it has brought them closer together. “Me and Tre’Mari were already friends before the event,” Taliaferro said. “But to find out before we were going to be in the same thing was shocking and we knew the experience was going to be fun.” According to Taliaferro’s grandparents, who attended the event, Cunningham’s uncle and Taliaferro’s first cousin sang together in school. Cunningham wants to be a singer when he grows up and hopes to play the piano. Taliaferro hopes to sing more. “We saw a lot of people that we knew at the event,” Taliaferro said. “It was more boys than girls. The way it affected me was that I think it helped me with being on stage performing in front of a lot of people so when you grow up you won’t be scared or anything.” Joseph Taliaferro, Isaac’s grandfather, commented on his experience in the audience. “The instructor was excellent and the crowd was very obedient,” he said. “It was a wonderful experience for these two young kids and for us, too.” Tre’Mari and Isaac will not be eligible for the statewide choir again next year because they will be moving up to middle school. There is currently no statewide honor choir for middle school students, but Hutson and others hope that will change.
Via: S.C. Music Educators Association (choir history), Savannahnow.com

Florence Men’s Choral Society preps for Carnegie Hall trip

From the Florence Morning News: The Florence Men's Choral Society is raising funds to participate in the invitation-only Distinguished Concerts International series at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
There’s an old saying: “How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice.” That’s partly true. You also need money. And that’s what the Florence Men’s Choral Society is hoping the community can help with. On Nov. 19, the FMCS will host its annual fundraising dinner and concert to raise money for underprivileged youth interested in music. But there will also be opportunities for the public to help with the getting the choir to travel in January to the famed Carnegie Hall in New York City as part of the invitation only Distinguished Concerts International series. “It’s one of those things that I have on our (FMCS’s) bucket list,” FMCS founder and artistic director Julian Young said. It will be a memorable experience for the choir, albeit one that comes at a hefty price. Less than half of the 25 member choir are able to go due to the expense. In all the group is hoping to raise the almost $9,000 needed to attend. During the free concert Tuesday, there will be a special collection in hopes of raising some of the money. Until the money is raised, choir members are having to dig into their own pockets. “We’re basically paying out of our own pocket individually at the moment,” Young said. “The money that has been raised is being spread around the members going.” The idea of going to Carnegie Hall was pretty far down the bucket list until six months ago when Young got a call inviting the FMCS. “I put it down on the list because I’d heard there were ways to get invited to go there. One phone call changed all that and put it at the top of our list,” he said. Matt Oltman, one of the organizers for the festival, saw a video of FMCS on YouTube. “I couldn’t believe it. He said, ‘You are exactly the kind of group we’re looking for and we want you,’” Young said. “I told the guys, ‘This is the time, we have to do do this.’ We are the only male organization in the Pee Dee that have ever been invited to Carnegie Hall. We’re not professional but we’ve worked hard enough to be recognized. This is a great opportunity to be ambassadors for the Pee Dee.” As fate would have it, one of the songs the choir is set to sing at Carnegie — “The Testament of Freedom” — is also a song that will be performed Tuesday night. It was part of their planned repertoire already and is a collection of writings of Thomas Jefferson with music by Randall Thompson. The concert Tuesday night features patriotic freedom songs from all over the world including a selection from the musical “Les Miserables” and arrangements of “America” and the “Star Spangled Banner” with an accompanying orchestra. The concert starts promptly at 7:30 pm in the First Presbyterian Church sanctuary, 700 Park Avenue, Florence, following dinner at 6:30 p.m. in the Family Life Center. Tickets to the dinner are $30 for adults, $25 for senior citizens and $20 for students. Tables are $250, seating eight. WANT TO HELP? To make a donation to the Carnegie Hall trip, make checks payable to FMCS and write New York on the memo line and mail to 1106 S. Edisto Dr., Florence, 29501, or P.O. Box 7258.
Via: Florence Morning News

Clemson University Singers travel to Italy for “An American Celebration of Music”

Clemson University Singers is an elite, mixed-voice ensemble of selected auditioned students across all academic majors. Each year, the choir performs several concerts in the Brooks Center for the Performing Arts, gives several off-campus concerts, and tours regionally each spring. In May, members of the CU Singers had life-changing experiences while touring and performing in Italy.

Clemson’s premier choral ensemble, CU Singers, was destined for memorable performances when they accepted an invitation to tour Italy for “An American Celebration of Music.” [caption id="attachment_7473" align="alignnone" width="600"]Clemson University Singers Clemson University Singers after a performance in Florence, Italy[/caption] In May, 42 students performed a selection of high renaissance music and African-American spirituals in some of Italy’s most historic venues. There were scheduled concerts at Santa Maria Sopra Minerva in Rome, Santa Maria de Ricci in Florence and Santa Maria dei Miracoli in Venice. The group also served as the choir for mass at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome and St. Mark’s Cathedral in Venice and gave several impromptu performances in the Pantheon in Rome and other locations in Venice and Verona. “We made music in some of the most beautiful cathedrals in Europe,” said James Quarles, a rising senior from Seneca. While some students had traveled abroad before, others were having their passports stamped for the first time. Either way, they were able to experience musical culture that extends beyond the classroom. “It’s an extension of the education that you get when you’re studying performing arts,” said Clemson University Singers director Justin Durham. “Things you read about and listen to in a lecture come alive.” Brooks Center for the Performing Arts Director Mickey Harder was also along for the trip. This being her first time in Italy, not only did she marvel in having the opportunity to share the experience with the students, but witnessing their reactions to the reception of their music by overflowing crowds was thrilling. “To hear beautiful singing in these venues was an artistic and spiritual experience that will provide a lifetime of memories for singers and audience members alike,” she said. “I think the students felt like celebrities because the audiences responded so enthusiastically everywhere they sang.” But despite reaching celebrity status, the students were humbled. “It was incredible to see how our music affected people,” said Patrick Munley, a rising sophomore from Simpsonville. “They were truly passionate about it. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.” Neither Quarles nor Munley are performing arts majors. In fact, they are majoring in political science, and like them, all but three of the choir’s singers are studying something other than performing arts. Yet love for musical performance is something they all have in common, and that’s what Harder says is great about arts education at the college level. “To hear comments such as ‘This was a life-changing experience for me’ and ‘This has changed my perspective on everything’ is precisely what we hope for as teachers and administrators,” Harder said. “To hear so many of the other students talk about how much they love to sing and the relief that being in CU Singers provides them from other courses in their major reinforces how important the arts are for everyone at Clemson.”
Via: Clemson University  

Choir singers’ hearts beat as one

CNN's health blog, The Chart, reports that a recent study suggests people who sing together have synchronized heartbeats.

Singing together can be an emotional experience.  As churchgoers, choir singers or sports fans raise their voices as one, they feel connected. Turns out, that connection may have a physiological foundation. A small study suggests people who sing together have synchronized heartbeats. Singers often inhale and exhale at similar times. When your heartbeat is connected to your breathing pattern, it’s called respiratory sinus arrhythmia, or RSA. RSA can have a soothing effect on the cardiovascular system. For instance, past studies have shown guided breathing – like what’s done in yoga – can be beneficial for high blood pressure problems. “If this is correct, singing would probably have the same effect,” said Bjorn Vickhoff, a professional singer/songwriter-turned-neuroscientist at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden. Vickhoff is fascinated by music’s effect on the human body. He hopes to eventually find new ways music can be used in medicine, rehabilitation and preventative care. His latest study, published this week in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, focuses on how song structure can affect a singer’s heart rate.
Read the complete article.

Piccolo Spoleto Festival: Something for everyone May 24 – June 9

The combination of historic Charleston’s old European charm and the world-class Spoleto Festival USA together produce a unique and impacting synergy for all who come to the city by the sea to experience this magnificent international multi-arts festival. But what really adds the ingredient of magic to the mix is Piccolo Spoleto, which provides access to the festival for every person, especially children. Focusing primarily on artists of the Southeast region, Piccolo Spoleto is the perfect complement to the international scope of its parent festival and its 700 events in 17 days, transforming Charleston into an exhilarating celebration of performing, literary and visual arts. Piccolo Spoleto’s traditional program offerings include visual arts exhibits, classical music, jazz, dance, theatre, poetry readings, children’s activities, choral music, ethnic cultural presentations, crafts and film. Visit Piccolo Spoleto's website for the complete schedule and ticket information. Poster: Piccolo Suono Bartholomeux by Nathan Durfee Related: Spoleto Festival USA May 24 - June 9 in Charleston Via: Piccolo Spoleto

Spoleto Festival USA May 24 – June 9 in Charleston

[gallery link="file"] For 17 days and nights beginning Friday, May 24 through Sunday, June 9, Spoleto Festival USA fills the historic theaters, churches and outdoor spaces in Charleston, South Carolina with performances by renowned artists as well as emerging performers. Take your choice of opera, theater, music theater, dance and visual arts, plus chamber, symphonic, choral and jazz music. The 37th annual Festival will feature one of Spoleto’s largest lineups in recent history, with expanded dance and theater offerings and two original opera productions, as well as a wide range of classical and contemporary music.
The Opening Ceremonies take place at noon in front of Charleston’s City Hall. The newly retrofitted TD Arena will see its first performances on Friday night as Compagnie Käfig presents a program of hip-hop-influenced Brazilian dance. Following the evening’s performances, the Spoleto Opening Night Fête kicks off the 2013 season with an elegant street party with cocktail supper, live music, a full bar, and the company of Festival artists and patrons. Spoleto Festival USA is known for introducing audiences to new and groundbreaking work, and the 2013 Festival offers a number of American premieres in a variety of genres, beginning with the contemporary opera Matsukaze by Toshio Hosokawa, one of Japan’s most prominent living composers. In dance, young tap virtuoso Jared Grimes makes his Spoleto debut premieringa new evening-length work created especially for the Festival. The theater program offers the American premiere of a production of  Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream by England’s Bristol Old Vic in association with South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company. One half of the operatic double-bill—Umberto Giordano’s Mese Mariano—will receive its first fully staged U.S. production. On the music front, John Kennedy, Spoleto Festival USA’s resident conductor and director of orchestral activities, will lead the Festival Orchestra in the American premiere performances of Pierre Boulez’s arrangement of Ravel’s Frontispice and Pēteris Vasks’Credo; and the Bank of America Chamber Music Series will feature the world premiere of a new work by composer-in-residence Samuel Carl Adams (son of composer John Adams, whose landmark piece Harmonielehre is being performed in a separate orchestral concert). Find the full schedule and ticket information on the Spoleto USA website.