Posts Tagged “song”
Concert Chorus is going to be singing “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” for spring concert, despite the fact that the language arts department frowns on the grammar I don’t have a recording to play for you in class. I didn’t buy the accompaniment CD for this song, because the little band that accompanies us each year at spring concert plays it so well, the recorded accompaniment is kind of a disappointment. But I know that most of you like to hear the songs we’re singing, especially if it’s something you don’t know.
He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother was originally recorded by the British rock band, The Hollies, in 1969. You might be interested to know that Elton John played piano on the recording. That was before he was famous on his own. But the link I have for you here is a recording that was done by the Justice Collective and released last year. The Justice Collective is a group of well-known musicians and celebrities who came together to record this song for a group of British charities related to the Hillsborough Disaster, when 96 people were killed and almost 800 injured in an accident at a soccer match. I think I like this recording as much as the original. I hope you enjoy it, too.
The Justice Collective, He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother
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In Sleigh Ride, which Concert Chorus is singing in its Kravis Center performance, there is a reference to “picture print by Currier and Ives.” Nathaniel Currier and James Ives were master printers who had a very successful business making lithographic prints of artwork. The artwork was printed in black ink, and then workers would color in the prints. Their company was based in New York City, and produced its prints from 1834 to 1907. Neither Currier nor Ives was an artist, but printed works by many well-known artists.
For many years, Currier and Ives prints were popular on Christmas cards. I remember, when I was young, that there would be several cards with their prints among the Christmas cards that my family received. I’ve included a couple that you might enjoy. The second one is of skaters in Central Park in New York City.
If you want to watch the YouTube clip I played in Concert Chorus of the song Birdsong, by Paul Read, you can do that again. The performance is by the Tar River Children’s Chorus from North Carolina. There are some other performances of this song on YouTube, as well, but this was the first one I came to, and it’s not too bad, so I haven’t watched any of the others. If you find one that’s better, please let me know.
As I said in class, the lyrics to the song come from a poem written by a child in Theresienstadt concentration camp in Czechoslovakia during World War II. Near the Czech town of Terezin, this camp was the one that the Nazis would “show off” to demonstrate that they were treating their prisoners humanely. There were a lot of cultural activities for the inmates in the early years, and there was a lot of music written by composers who were interned there. There were classes for the children, and there were a lot of children who spent time in Theresienstadt. However, it is estimated that less than 1,000 children who had been at the camp survived by the end of the war. Most people, including the children, were eventually transferred to one of the death camps. Late in the war, a crematorium was also built at Theresienstadt.
Over the years, we have sung a number of songs that have some tie to the Holocaust. This one is my favorite, partly because of the interesting music, but also because of the very hopeful, uplifting nature of the lyrics.
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Blackbird is one of my favorite Beatles songs, and Concert Chorus will be singing an arrangement of it in spring. I happened to find this version by The King’s Singers while I was on YouTube, looking for some clips of Renaissance music to show the general music classes. The King’s Singers are a group of six male singers from England. The group originally began in 1968, formed by six music students from King’s College at Cambridge University. The people in the group have changed since then, obviously. They sing an incredible variety of music. In fact, one of the songs that I’m considering for MPA, Can You Hear Me?, was written by Bob Chilcott, who was a member of The King’s Singers for many years. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the video.
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I found a performance on Youtube of “Gloria” by David Giardiniere that we started to look at yesterday in Concert Chorus. This is by a girls chorus from Bogota, Colombia, and they aren’t too bad. There are some pitch problems, but overall, it’s a pretty good performance. I have a problem with their director being in jeans, but that’s just me I think you will enjoy listening to this. It is one of my favorite choral pieces.
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This song has become a tradition for Concert Chorus, and we will sing it again for Winter Arts Festival and for the performance at the Kravis Center. I have never seen the movie The Snowman, which is where the song is from. However, I found this clip from The Snowman, where you can watch and listen to the original recording. For the movie, it was sung by Peter Auty, who was a choirboy at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. According to Wikipedia, The Snowman is a holiday favorite on television in Great Britain, just as we see Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer or The Christmas Story every year.
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In Beginning Chorus, we have been singing American Tears. We started working on it on 9/11, which is appropriate, since it was inspired by the events of 9/11. However, the song is about more than just those who lost their lives on that day. This video has images from throughout American history, and I think it really reflects all the different kind of sacrifices people have made to make our country what it is.
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Posted by: Mrs. Pernezny in Chorus, tags: song
He Never Failed Me Yet is, in my opinion, one of the best All-State songs I’ve ever heard. I found this video of the Florida All-State performance that I would like you to watch. I want to try this song with Concert Chorus this year. We sound so good on the three-part African Praise Noel, that I think we should have no problems with the three parts of this.
This song is in gospel style, and is written by Robert Ray. He is a very respected black composer. The school district this year is incorporating an emphasis on African-American culture and heritage, so singing this song fits very nicely with that. Plus, it’s fun!
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Posted by: Mrs. Pernezny in Chorus, tags: song
We had a couple of questions today about the song “Oh, Dear, What Can the Matter Be?” that we are singing in Concert Chorus. So I looked up the answers! A “fairing” simply meant a gift that was bought or given at a fair. It’s kind of surprising, since all the other references to gifts in the lyrics are pretty specific: flowers, a hat, and some ribbons. However, it turns out that there are several versions of the lyrics. I think that Russell Robinson, who arranged the music we are singing, may have taken the lyrics from a couple of different versions. The other question was about where the song came from. It actually is an old English folk song that was popular in England in the late 1700′s. It came to this country not long after the Revolutionary War. Of course, as with all folk songs, nobody knows where it originally came from. Finally, posies means an arrangement of flowers, sometimes called a nosegay, that was meant to be carried or worn. Here’s a pretty posy!
December will be hear before you know it, and so will Concert Chorus’s performance at the Kravis Center on December 14th. Because it is so close to the holidays, we will be doing some holiday music. We started working on “African Praise Noel” already. You can follow this link to watch a YouTube performance. You will notice that they don’t build the chord at the beginning, the way the music directs. I think that’s because they use this as a processional song, singing as they come onto the stage. If just part of the chorus was singing, it might not be loud enough. Listen to them; I think we can do better!
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