Welcome and thank you for visiting ChoralTracks! I have been singing choral music since I was a boy in the La Crosse, WI Boychoir. I started ChoralTracks because of one similarity of every choir in which I have ever sung – there is only enough rehearsal time to just learn the notes and what is on the page. This was the case in high school, community choirs, church choirs, and even professional choirs. There was never enough rehearsal time to actually make art of of the music. In my second year singing tenor with Chanticleer, I have already worked with over 5000 K-12 and college students around the world. I see the same thing everywhere I go. Choirs that sing every note on the page correctly but give the most boring, lifeless performances. There is so much more than just the notes on the page when making art.
So why is this? We live in a culture of visual spectacle, and young singers see Glee and American Idol as the definitive guide for performance. Artistry in choral music takes work and critical, thinking is much different. I grew up in the upper Midwest in La Crosse, WI, where show choir rules in high school. I student taught for a semester at Central High School. Here is a recent video of their show:
So how are the same students who perform in groups such as this completely lifeless and uninspired in a choral music setting? Is it the music? Is it the inability to move on stage? Is it the lack of visual spectable? To a certain extent yes. It is the choir director’s job to keep his or her students interested. My theory is that it is an inability of choirs to manage their limited rehearsal time well. Many choirs maximize time on technical work. “Are the tenors singing a high enough third on this chord?” “Are we pronouncing this Latin correctly?” This is missing the big picture. It is about the text and the communication of the text to the audience. I don’t care if you are in a high school vocal jazz ensemble or the best church choir in your city. Artistry takes discussion and needs more time in a rehearsal.
Choir directors – expect more from your singers and hold them accountable in their preparation for rehearsal. Singers – come to rehearsal prepared. Let ChoralTracks help! Challenge them to take ownership of their spot in the choir. Your singers don’t need to know how to play piano or get together with others outside rehearsal. They simply need to know how to press play!