to the question regarding a Children's chant colloquium
  • kevinfkevinf
    Posts: 1,132
    Alright, I am back from the trenches. Would there be any interest in a "colloquium" for children that could be held in the Souitheast US in a yet to be disclosed location (easily travelled to). My confreres are open to working on it. I will have to talk to the PueriCantores leadership, but we want to know if something like this for children (and adults who work with children) would hold an interest to anyone. There are enough RSCM and Pueri things out there, so this focus only on chant and polyphony. We would need adults to come to sing the ATB parts and also to focus only on the unchanged voice child. Would CMAA support such a notion. I am happy to "lead" the charge, but I gotta know if this is interesting to a core of folks.

    Talk to me. Send me email, chat about it here. The framework for this exists among about 8 or 10 of us in the southeast US. But it will take more than that.

    Your servant who believes children are the salvation of the reform movement.
    kevin
  • AngelaRAngelaR
    Posts: 268
    You go, Kevin!!! If this materializes, perhaps some of my schoolkids would be interested. I don't know if I can help in any way, but let me know if I can.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,369
    I think some of my kids might be interested. I would definitely be interested in helping with organization, singing, and/ or teaching.
  • Isn't this what I first suggested? Of course I would want to be part of this. I could bring to the table all the training and insights I learned from Sir George Guest, Sir David Willcocks, Sir Michael Nicholas, and Sir George Thalben-Ball.
  • In addition to adults singing ATB parts, why not have the kids singing 2, 3 and maybe even 4 part polyphony by themselves. Maybe having the kids sings the treble and alto lines (older unchanged boys and girls). The important thing is to not have adult singers dominate the course vocally / chorally of course. Cambiata singing boys could sing with men in a light head voice (tenor - quasi falsetto sotto voce).
  • tdunbar
    Posts: 120
    YES, I would plan to attend. and also to sponsor another person in my parish, assuming scheduling makes that possible.
  • tdunbar
    Posts: 120
    I suspect that planning re logistics will be important for the success of this
  • kevinfkevinf
    Posts: 1,132
    Ken,
    That is one of the areas that my cohorts do not agree on. Some only want children to sing. Some want SATB and some want combinations thereof. This has to begin slow. It already feels overwhelming.

    Kevin
  • Kevin

    Count me in..............we have 22-25 girls and 12 boys in the choir at St. Mary's Grenville.
  • Sorry,

    that is Greenville, SC.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,369
    For a first time, I would think that homophony would be preferable. Begin with chant, move on to polyphony once the children have learned to read. That's my local policy anyway.
  • Kevin, like I said somewhere earlier, keep it as small and as simple as possible. Most likely no more than 20 boys and 20 girls in your locale. A simple audition selection process via tapes / CDs sent in would be helpful. By planning now, it might be ready a year and a half from now.
  • Maureen
    Posts: 671
    Audition selection process via tapes/CDs?

    But if the kids know how to chant already, to know to send in audition tapes and be able to make them, wouldn't they be too advanced to need a homophony workshop? Or are you talking about auditioning the teachers? Or are you talking about this being a chant intensive for kids to run their own scholas? Are you trying to make some kind of all-star select choir? How old are these kids?

    I'm confused about the concept. I thought the whole point about chant and kids is that pretty much any kid can learn this stuff, and pretty much every Catholic kid used to learn it (depending on where they lived). If kids have to be auditioned for this stuff, either you're having them learn something really hard and complicated, or you're saying that chant itself is too hard and complicated for most kids, and that chant is only for those with golden voices and advanced musical training. Right?

    Shrug. All I know is that, on the first year running anything, you're probably lucky if you can get forty people to show up. If it involves persuading parents to send kids and persuading kids not to feel oppressed, you'll be really lucky. You will not have to be selective; you will be glad to have every last body that shows up. If it looks like you're getting more than 40 people your first year, thank God for miracles and send back the money and signup sheets of everybody sending stuff in after the "enough plus a skosh more" point has been reached. If you get too many people signing up all the time, you need more sessions or events. I don't see where auditions are going to help you, and it sounds like a very tiring and depressing process for everyone with very little return. Asking people questions about the child's musical training (with assurances that you just want to place them correctly) would probably be more useful for class planning purposes.
  • Maureen, a simple interview / written questionnaire / simple audition type process is necessary simply for a trainer / music director / vocal coach / to know a person's voice, know where to place them (especially if you have different levels of advancement ), and to know a person's level of skill and accomplishment. In a brief course such as this would be, it is also important to teach children (and any adults auditing) how to sing correctly. Learning and knowing how to sing correctly is not widespread in the USA and it is vitally important so as to make singing music actually easier.

    Some plainsong chants are simple, some moderately difficult, while others are very difficult. And certainly polyphonic choral pieces vary wildly in levels of difficulty. If a child is very young, it would be inappropriate to place them with other children more advance vocally and then ask them to sing at a level where compositions would be overwhelmingly to difficult for them.

    Filling out a simple form that asked questions about a child's musical level and background, a simple interview and an audition does not smack of elitism. Since most people can't just up and travel, I suggest making a little tape or CD to go along with the form. It is merely a tool to evaluate in order to best know and help that student. A little song selection like AMERCIA (My Country Tis of Thee) or STILLE NACHT (Silent Night) would help a music director(s) in planning for the course; especially in polyphonic music.

    How old are these kids? Well, that is certainly something for a planning committee to work out. There many many different levels for consideration. What do you do if you have one third grade chorister who can't read music, can't sing well, has trouble matching pitches, but yet is keen, smart and eager to learn while on the other hand you have another third grader who reads music well, can sing correctly and beautifully, matches pitch well and has a great concept of rhythm yet is not eager to be there, does not follow directions or instructions, and doesn't have a team spirit conducive to good choral attitude? Also, within age groupings, it is best to group children according to their level of development and not so much age. Are you familiar with the violin - instrumental music program called, "The Suzuki Method?" If anyone here associated with the CMAA does NOT know the Suzuki method. I strong advise them or anyone to read such books as, "Nurtured by Love" and "Ability Development from Age Zero." These two books should be MUST reading for any musician teaching children and for parents. They are FULL of information and eye opening insights!
  • kevinfkevinf
    Posts: 1,132
    Wow, the interest is incredible! I cannot believe it. The e-mails have poured in. Still thinking about the discussions that have happened here and my cohorts are excited.

    Okay, CMAA leadership, is this an area that should be included in the mission of this group? Pueri does some things like this, but not with the focus so sharply defined (chant, polyphony). I know the Pueri leadership personally, so should this be a joint venture ( I will talk to Jan)? Or not?

    Keep talking to me. I am excited. Ken of Sarum, we NEED to talk as we share a teacher.

    A bientot,
    kevin
  • AOZ
    Posts: 369
    Kevin in Atlanta -

    Can you write to me at programs@musicasacra.com

    Thanks!
  • kevinfkevinf
    Posts: 1,132
    Thanks to all of you who have written,e-mailed and chatted about this here. I will gather my wits about me after the first of the year and call us together. This has passed into the realm of real possibility and I am excited about it. Looking at the possibility of Summer 2011.

    Paix
  • Hi Kevin, I would be happy to help conduct such a course. I'm a professional singer as well as conductor with family ties to Chicago so I am in that area each summer but can travel. Transplanted to the UK quite a few years ago, studied choral conducting with David Hill and Andrew Lumsden, been a countertenor lay clerk at Winchester Cathedral since 1991, can give references etc. Have guest conducted the St Cecilia choir at St John Cantius Church, Chicago on a number of occasions and have worked with boys voices aged 10 to about 18 in Sweden and the USA, and also founded a successful chamber choir while I lived in Chicago. Am reachable by email from my profile here if anyone wants to get in touch. Like others here, I have bandied this idea around with a few USA musicians but questions inevitably rose over funding, scheduling, details etc etc, but I am sure if there is a will there is a way. I would love to help if anyone needs me.
    Thanks!
    Richard Childress
  • Kevin - My email is SarumChant@aol.com

    Ken