Christmas 2014 – Program Notes

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A few notes from Ralph B. Woodward about selections on the program for this year’s Cathedral Concerts:

A rose in stained glass.

A rose in stained glass.

The only piece the choir has sung every year since its inception is “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming” (Es is ein Ros entsprungen).  Apart from its sheer beauty, it seems to have a particular ability bridge the centuries.  Although relatively young in terms of the entire Christian Era (having first appeared around 1600), it is one of the the earlier carols which we sing, and when we do so, I somehow sense we are joining our voices with those of ages past. 

I grew up hearing my mother, a gifted singer and voice teacher, sing the beautiful ” Le sommeil de l’Enfant Jesus (Berceuse pour al Nuit de Noel) by Henri Büsser.   Years later, after founding the choir, I suddenly remembered the piece, asked her about it, and upon locating it, adapted it for use by our choir.  This piece, to which we often refer as simply “Berceuse”, or lullaby, has proven to be a stirring high point of our Christmas concerts ever since.

Other long-standing traditions of our Christmas concerts are the special descants which are sung with the audience at the end of our concerts.  The one to “Silent Night” is partially derived from one my mother created and sang and, as far as I remember, was sung along with our newly-composed “O Come, All Ye Faithful” descant at our inaugural concert in 1979.  Our other carol descants were added not many years later and are, themselves, part of a long-standing tradition.

 

30 Years of Cathedral Concerts

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Our 2014 Cathedral Concerts are barely more than a week away.

cathedral interior

Interior Photography of the Cathedral of the Madeleine. Photo by Pedro Szekely.

Did you know the Salt Lake Children’s Choir sang in the Cathedral of the Madeleine for the first time 30 years ago in 1984?   Here’s how Ralph B. Woodward, founder and director, remembers that concert:

It has occurred to me that this December marks the 30th Anniversary of our choir’s first performance in the Cathedral of the Madeleine.  We were still rather new then, and, of course, in awe of the Cathedral.  However, I thought the Cathedral would be the ideal setting for a wonderful work my father had performed at Brigham Young University back in 1955 ( just a couple of years following the work’s actual creation).  The piece, “Une Cantate de Noel” (or Christmas Story) by Swiss Composer, Arthur Honegger calls for full orchestra, mixed choir, baritone soloist, children’s choir, and organ.  I loved the piece – particularly the thrilling way the children’s voices were employed.  Now that I directed a children’s choir and since my father (now retired from BYU) still had the Ralph Woodward Chorale (a fine community ensemble),  I decided to approach Dr. David Dalton, then conductor of the Salt Lake Symphony about a joint performance.  He responded favorably and the orchestra later did, as well.  The next task was to approach then Cathedral Rector, M. Francis Mannion, about the idea–which he fully embraced. At the time, he was interested in opening up the cathedral to more community cultural events, and this suggestion came at the perfect time.

So, on Sunday, Dec. 2, 1984, the program was presented as follows:  

The Salt Lake Symphony, directed by Dr. Dalton opened the evening with the sublime “Adagio in G Minor” for strings and organ by Tomaso Albinoni.  We, The Salt Lake Children’s Choir, then gave unaccompanied  performances of the several carols which would later appear during the course of the Honegger work.  This was then followed by a very stirring performance of Arthur Honegger’s “Une Cantate de Noel,” conducted by my father, Dr. Ralph Woodward.  It was a glorious event for all present, and a wonderful beginning to our long association with the Cathedral of the Madeleine. 

Please join us this year to enjoy this beautiful Salt Lake tradition.  December 5 & 7th, 8:00 P.M. at the Cathedral of the Madeleine.

 

Christmas Past and Present

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Our 2014 Christmas Cathedral Concerts (details here!) are just around the corner on December 5th and 7th.   Something else to put on your Holiday calendar is a week’s worth of broadcasts from our friends at Classical 89 (KBYU radio).  Each day from December 8th to 12th, at 10:00 A.M. and 4:06 P.M. (just after the BBC news), Classical 89 will broadcast three selections from the live recordings of our 2013 Cathedral Concerts.   The listings for these broadcasts are already posted on Classical 89’s website.   Check there if you had a particular favorite last year that you’d love to hear again.   (The link jumps to the current day’s playlist.  You will have to hit “Next Day” until you come to the day you are interested in.)

If you’d like to have reminders to tune in – follow us on Facebook!

 

KUTV Holiday Pops Concert featuring The Salt Lake Children’s Choir

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CASU-Christmas-Concert-Poster-2014Poster-

2014 KUTV Holiday Pops Concert will feature the Salt Lake Children’s Choir as special guests.

This year the Salt Lake Children’s Choir is excited to be appearing as special guests of the Choral Arts Society of Utah in their annual Holiday Pops Concert.  Proceeds from the concert benefit the Salvation Army Angel Tree program.  Please share this post with people you know who would want to support this cause and enjoy this concert.

2014 Christmas Concerts

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Many of you have asked already about the dates for the Cathedral Christmas Concerts this year.  Though it is hard to believe, the holiday season is nearly upon us.

children in cathedral

The Children’s Choir at Dress Rehearsal, 2013.

The choir will present its traditional Cathedral Christmas Concert Friday and Sunday, Dec. 5 and 7 at 8 PM  in the Cathedral of the Madeleine (331 East South Temple). Featured will be music of Bach, Handel, and other early masters, as well as familiar and lesser-known carols from many lands–including “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming,” “What Child Is This?,” “Pat-A-Pan,” “Cantemos,” (a traditional Venezuelan villancico), and the sublime “Sleep of the Child Jesus” by Henri Büsser.  Audience and choir will join in several carol favorites to conclude the evening.  Accompaniment will be provided by harpist Lysa Rytting and organist Ken Udy.

There is no charge but admission is limited to those over 6 years of age.   Due to the resonant nature of the cathedral and the relatively late hour of the concert, please leave small children at home.

On another note – please BRING the small children, and everyone else, to our Family Christmas Concert on December 21st. Traditionally held at the LDS Chapel at 951 East 100 South, Salt Lake City, this concert is slightly shorter, slightly earlier, and has much more parking than our Cathedral Concerts.  Anyone with mobility issues will also find it easier to navigate than the Cathedral.  It will be our last concert of the season.

One exciting addition to our holiday schedule this year is the chance to appear as guest artists on another holiday program.  On Saturday, Dec. 6 (Yes, this IS the night between our Cathedral Concerts), at 7:30 PM, the choir will join with the Choral Arts Society of Utah, Sterling Poulson, Music Director, and the West Valley Symphony for the popular KUTV Holiday Pops Benefit Concert at Cottonwood High School. The program will include music by Holst  and Handel–plus traditional carols–as well as “Sleigh Ride,” “The Night Before Christmas,” “Frosty, the Snowman,” and a combined sing-along.  Tickets are available at Smith’s-Tix.

 

2014-15 Season Auditions!

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Children singing with twilight visible through the windows behind them.

Salt Lake Children’s Choir performing in the Excellence in the Community Concert Series, Spring 2014. Photo by Lex Anderson

Participating in the Salt Lake Children’s Choir is a great way to expose your child to the wonderful world of classical music.  The Choir is now scheduling auditions for children between ages 8-15.  No previous musical experience is required.  Please call 801-537-1412 to set up an audition or to find out more.   Please share this announcement with friends, family and neighbors who might be interested!

Presenting the Phoenix Boys Choir

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Phoenix Boys Choir_Federal Heights_WebThe Salt Lake Children’s Choir is excited to be hosting the Phoenix Boys Choir for a few days this June.  They are visiting Salt Lake City as part of their 2014 tour of the Western States.  On Saturday, June 14th at 7:30 p.m., they will present a free concert at the Federal Heights LDS Chapel, Virginia Street (1340 E.) and Fairfax Road (335 North).  Our choir will also participate in this concert.   Please help us get the word out and fill the chapel for these visitors! It will be a beautiful evening and an exciting opportunity to hear a world-renowned boys choir. Founded in 1947, the Phoenix Boys Choir has programs featuring training in voice, music theory, and performance for boys age 7 to 14.

While in Salt Lake, the boys choir will also sing an extended postlude for Mass at the Cathedral of the Madeleine on Sunday, June 15th before continuing on to Park City.  To view the rest of their tour schedule or learn more about them, please visit: http://www.boyschoir.org/ 

 

Spring Concert Program Notes, 2014

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As our concert approaches this weekend, we wanted to share some program notes on some of the pieces to be performed written by our artistic director, and founder, of the choir – Ralph B. Woodward.  The concerts will truly be a journey across the history of music in both time and geography.  We hope that you enjoy learning more about the music, its place in the world and the relationship our choir has with some of these pieces.  Of course, no reading takes the place of hearing the real thing!  Please join us on May 2 & 3.  (Additional concert details available in the previous post – Tickets available from our website or at the door).

Hodie Apparuit:  This is a short motet by the great Franco-Flemish master Orlando di Lasso and is a prime example of 16th Century polyphony.  Its wonderful interweaving of parts makes it an extremely gratifying work to sing and to hear (the kids love it).

Bonne Nuit:  One of the great joys of working with these young people is to see what they can do with the Art Song.   We sing many of this genre–usually those by German masters.  However, in the beginning years of our choir, the very early ’80’s, one member’s mother (who also belonged to our first choir board) loaned me a book of songs which happened to contain the charming “Bonne Nuit  by the French composer, Jules Massenet (probably best known to most for his violin solo, “Meditation”–from the opera, Thais).  I then made an adaptation for the choir and we have done it periodically over the years.  I had never heard this charming song  before, and I have never heard it since — other than being sung by our choir.

Techot Volga ( by M. Fradkin):  This is a much loved by older Russians, and  was first sung by our choir in 1987.  It speaks of the permanence of the ever-flowing Volga and the stages and changes in our lives.  It is wistful, expressive and very beautiful. .

Caliche (by R. Alarcon):  This popular Chilean song, in the “cueca” dance rhythm, is a real favorite.  It refers, in endearing terms,  to  dark-complected “Caliche, ” which I originally thought meant a pretty girl.  In fact, this is a symbolic reference to a black ore that is mined in Northern Chile and which sustains  many miners of that area and their families.

Turn Ye to Me: from Scotland, is a bitter-sweet song of parting of someone who is leaving a loved one to go to sea.

Follow Me Down to Carlow: a rousing Irish dance tune, is one of the Choir’s all-time favorites.

Makedonska Devoice:  from the Republic of Macedonia (formerly part of Yugoslavia and not to be confused with Greek Macedonia) was introduced to me by a friend from Bosnia.  It is very tuneful, rhythmic (in 7/8) and very popular all over the Balkans.

Vienna, City of My Dreams:  This captivating waltz by Rudolf Sieczynski is much loved the world over (and especially by German-speaking people). It is full of irresistible Viennese charm and one of our favorites,

Kaya Kaymanta Ripusaj:  An Andean song of farewell from Bolivia in the ‘quechua’ language (language of the Incas)–with a couple of Spanish words. The melody and complimentary harmonies (which we have added) have a unique, mystical quality.

Palomita del arrozal:  This song is also from Bolivia, but from the Santa Cruz region–which is lower and more tropical.  It’s lyrics are mostly Spanish–but also include words of the native Guarani people of that area.

Kapusi Kali Kongo: is a novelty song from Zambia with fascinating poly-rhythmic percussion.

On the Sunny Side of the Street by Jimmy McHugh:  This popular American standard will be a lively, refreshing return to our own shores.  The perrformance will be complete with skat singing by the choir and the artistry of jazz pianist extraordinaire, Steve Keen.

Spring Concerts! May 2 & 3, 2014

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Children singing with twilight visible through the windows behind them.

Salt Lake Children’s Choir performing in the Excellence in the Community Concert Series, Spring 2014. Photo by Lex Anderson

From Vienna —  to the Andes —  to “The Sunny Side of the Street”, a concert by the award winning Salt Lake Children’s Choir, will be presented  Friday and Saturday, May 2 and 3, at 7:30 PM in Salt  Lake City’s beautiful St. Ambrose Church (1975 South 2300 East). Spanning four centuries and four continents, the program will include musical treasures, both familiar and little known, from the British Isles, Eastern and Western Europe, Africa, South America and the USA — including the much-loved “On Wings of Song” and “Vienna, My City of Dreams” — as well as the lively “Follow Me Down to Carlow” from Ireland and the wistful Bolivian “Kaya Kaymanta Ripusaj”–sung in native Quechua, the language of the Incas.  Jazz pianist extraordinaire Steve Keen will join the choir on Woodward’s rhythmic “Canto” and the American favorite, “On the Sunny Side of the Street.  The evening will conclude with the choir’s own “Evening Prayer” and. “A Day in Spring.”

All seats are $9:00 ($6.00 students) and tickets are available at Day Murray Music or at the door.   Online tickets can be purchased here and will be held at will call on the nights of the concerts.   Admission is open to those ages 6 and older.

Please note:  The choir is now scheduling auditions for new members, and there will be a sign-up sheet for an audition time at the concert for those who attend.