Thursday, April 30, 2009

Traveling Choir Audition Requirements 2009-2010

From Traveling Choir 2008-2009
Auditions for the 2009-2010 WLA Traveling Choir will be held in the Choir Room from Monday, May 4 through Friday May 8, 2009. When you come to your audition, be prepared to sing the steps A-F below. You’ll also be asked to sight-sing two different exercises (step G), to test your level of musicianship.

Please print out the Audition Information Form and bring it, along with a Letter of Recommendation from a WLA teacher or coach, to your scheduled audition time. You may sign up for an audition time on the Choir Room door.


Sing the melody a song of your choosing, unaccompanied. Announce the title and composer of your song. Be prepared to sing the entire song, but you may be stopped during the song for the sake of time. Choose a song which highlights the vocal gifts God has given to you.


Sing the first verse of America the Beautiful ("O beautiful for spacious skies for amber waves of grain, for purple mountain majesty above the fruited plain. etc.") in the key given for each voice type.
Soprano I: F
Soprano II: Eb
Alto I: A (begin on e above middle c)
Alto II: G (begin on d above middle c)
Tenor I: E (begin on B below middle c)
Tenor II: D (begin on A below middle c)
Bass I: Bb (begin on F below middle c)
Bass II: F# (begin on C# below middle c)


Sing exercise #1 on "ah" (no initial consonants) in the manners indicated below, demonstrating your ability to sing different dynamic levels and articulations. You may repeat individual exercises if you wish.

Exercise 1 (MM=60)

a) mezzo-forte - legato
b) fortissimo - legato
c) piano - legato
d) forte - marcato
e) mezzo-forte - staccato


Sing exercise #2 on "ah", beginning in the middle of your range. Repeat the exercise, each time a half step higher, until you have reached the upper limit of your useful range. Please announce at the beginning in what key you are starting.

Exercise 2 (MM=60)


Sing exercise #3 on whatever vowel you wish, beginning in the middle of your range, at the same tempo as exercise #2. Repeat the exercise, each time a half step lower, until you have reached the lower limit of your useful range. Please announce at the beginning in what key you are starting.

Exercise 3 (MM=60)


Sing your voice part on Since by Man Came Death, Chorus No. 46 from Handel’s Messiah. Use the recordings below to help you prepare for your audition. You will sing along with the "Accompaniment with voice played by piano" in your audition. If you cannot download the music, see Mr. Witte for a hard copy of the music and a CD of the recordings.

Part Predominant recordings: | Soprano | Alto | Tenor | Bass |
Accompaniment with voice played by piano: | Soprano | Alto | Tenor | Bass |


At the audition you’ll be asked to sight-sing two different exercises to help determine your level of musicianship. Even though you won't see this music until you come to the audition, you should still come in with a plan. Read "Miss Lowell's Sight Reading Tips (for the non-reader)" to see one teacher's advice on how to prepare for a sight reading audition.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Star Spangled Banner Superbowl XXXIX

Does anyone know who wrote the arrangement of the Star Spangled Banner which was sung at SuperBowl XXXIX? It was sung by the combined choirs of the US Naval Academy, US Air Force Academy, US Military Academy at West Point, US Coast Guard Academy, and was accompanied by the US Army Herald Trumpets. There is a moment in the final trumpet fanfares that sounds exactly like a John Williams quote from the end of his Olympic Fanfare and Theme from the 1984 Olympics, but I don't know if it is his or not. I'd like to use this arrangement at the beginning of the next school year to open a memorial run for a WLA graduate, Derek Dobogai, who died serving our country in Iraq.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Accredited Schools of Music

The National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) is an association of approximately 615 schools of music, primarily at the collegiate level, but also including postsecondary non-degree-granting schools of music.

It is the national accrediting agency for music and music-related disciplines.

The Association also provides information to the public. It produces statistical research, provides professional development for leaders of music schools, and engages in policy analysis.

They also maintain a directory of accredited schools of music. This list can be used to find accredited schools of music across the United States or just in a particular state, like Wisconsin.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Final Traveling Choir Sunday Moved

The final church performance of the WLA Traveling Choir at Emmanuel, Hartford and Zion, Theresa has been moved from May 3 to May 10, 2009 due to the WLA prom being on May 2nd.

[UPDATED] WLA Students Perform at UW-Oshkosh WSMA State Solo Ensemble Festival

Directions from WLA to Arts & Communications Building on the UW-Oshkosh Campus

UW-Oshkosh Schedule
Saturday - April 25, 2009

800 Algoma Blvd, Oshkosh, WI 54901
[ Printable Program ] [General Information ]
[ UW-Oshkosh Home Page ] [ Campus Map ]

AC= Arts & Communications Bldg. (N=North, S=South)
SW=Swart Hall
The Experimental Theater is in the Frederick March Theater Bldg.
5=basement, 100's=1st floor, 200's=2nd floor, 300's=3rd floor

Rating | Time | Student | Event | Site
I - 8:00 AM Moldenhauer, Daniel 306 Piano Solo - AC N104
I - 8:20 AM Academy Kids 981 Mixed Show Choir - Experimental Theater
II - 9:02 AM Plagenz, Peter et al 941.4 TTBB Quartet - SW 301
I - 9:04 AM Haugly, Daniel 404 Tenor Solo - SW 101
I - 9:04 AM Goltz, Kristen 408 Music Theater-Female Role - SW 126
II - 9:10 AM Scharf, Charis 306 Piano Solo - AC N104
II - 9:36 AM Haugly, Daniel 409 Music Theater-Male Role - SW 101
I - 9:36 AM Goltz, Kristen 402 Alto Solo - SW 127
I - 9:52 AM Plagenz, Peter 405 Baritone or Bass Solo - SW 127
I - 10:02 AM Westphal, Seth 500 Concert Snare Drum Solo - AC S119
II - 10:10 AM Witte, Jonathan 306 Piano Solo - AC N110
II - 10:40 AM Wilsmann, Tanya 301 Violin Solo - AC N209
II - 2:10 PM Breister, Adam 306 Piano Solo - AC N104
II - 2:30 PM Wilsmann, Tanya 201 Flute Solo - AC N213
II - 3:16 PM Klein, Ben 404 Tenor Solo - SW 101
I - 3:20 PM Kuhlow, Ashley 306 Piano Solo - AC N104
II - 3:24 PM Leisses, Janeen 408 Music Theater-Female Role - SW 126
II - 3:46 PM Witte, Jonathan 101 Trumpet Solo - SW 5

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

WSMA Concert Festival at Mayville H.S. 4/29/09

This is the FINAL draft of the schedule for Large Group Festival, Wednesday, Apr. 29, 2009. Traveling Choir will be leaving after Noon A to critique other choirs (Kettle) and perform Kyrieleis (John Leavitt), For the Beauty of the Earth (John Rutter), and Betelehemu (Wendell Wahlum, arr. Barrington Brooks) for the WSMA judges. All performances will be in the Mayville High School auditorium, 500 N. Clark St. Mayville, WI. (map). Traveling Choir should return to WLA around 3:30 PM.

8:00 Mayville Cappella Choir
8:25 Mayville Concert Choir
8:50 Lomira
9:15 Lomira
9:40 Mayville Treble Choir
10:05 Break
10:50 Mayville Men's Choir
11:15 Rosendale
12:30 Horicon
12:55 Kettle Moraine Lutheran
1:20 Faith Lutheran Youth Praise
1:45 Kettle Moraine Lutheran
2:10 WLA Traveling Choir

Monday, April 20, 2009

WLA State Finalist's Recital

Sixteen events from WLA are going to WSMA State Solo Ensemble Festival this weekend at UW-Oshkosh. Each school year, more than 32,000 middle school and high school students will perform on eleven different campuses across the state of Wisconsin (read WSMA's press release). To help WLA's music students prepare for this prestigious event, we always have a recital the Wednesday night before state. Come to the WLA Choir Room this Wednesday, April 22, 2009 at 6 PM to hear the following students:

Daniel Moldenhauer
Nocturne in E minor, Op. 72, No. 1 (Frédéric Chopin) • 306 Piano Solo

Academy Kids
I’ve Got the Music in Me (Bias Boshell, arr. Kirby Shaw)
If I Were a Bell (Frank Loesser, arr. Mark Brymer) • 981 Mixed Show Choir

Nathan Boerneke, Daniel Moldenhauer, BJ Otte, Peter Plagenz
Yesterday (Lennon & McCartney, arr. Mac Huff) • 941.4 TTBB Quartet

Daniel Haugly
Zion’s Walls (Aaron Copland) • 404 Tenor Solo

Kristen Goltz
Adelaide’s Lament from Guys and Dolls (Frank Loesser) • 408 Musical Theater - Female Role

Charis Scharf
Fantasy in D Minor, K. 397 (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart) • 306 Piano Solo

Daniel Haugly
Dancing through Life from Wicked (Steven Schwartz) • 409 Musical Theater - Male Role

Kristen Goltz
Voi, che sapete (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart) • 402 Alto Solo

Peter Plagenz
The King of Love My Shepherd Is (Charles Gounod) • 405 Baritone or Bass Solo

Seth Westphal
Three Dances (Warren Benson) • 500 Concert Snare Drum Solo

Tanya Wilsmann
Romance, Op. 50 (Ludwig von Beethoven) • 301 Violin Solo

Adam Breister
Three Piano Preludes in Jazz Stylings, III (O’Hearn) • 306 Piano Solo

Ben Klein
6. Hear My Prayer, O Lord (Antonín Dvořák) • 404 Tenor Solo

Tanya Wilsmann
Fantasie (Gabriel Fauré) • 201 Flute Solo

Ashley Kuhlow
Fantasy in D Minor, K. 397 (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart) • 306 Piano Solo

Janeen Leisses
Falling in Love with Love from Boys from Syracuse (Richard Rodgers) • 408 Musical Theater - Female Role

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Traveling Choir @ Fox Lake & Manchester, WI

Sunday, April 19, 2009 marks the second-to-last church performance of the WLA Traveling Choir. We have been on hiatus since the end of February after an almost two month straight Sunday performance schedule. March was a light month for church visits, but filled with two solo ensemble weekends, two Jaroslav Vajda Hymn Festival concerts, Palm Sunday, and Easter.

Traveling Choir will sing during the 8 AM service at St. John's, Fox Lake (map) and the 10 AM service at St. Paul's, Manchester (map). The bus leaves WLA at 6:15 AM tomorrow morning, so I hope everyone gets a good night's sleep!
Before the sermon, in place of the Hymn of the Day:

1. He is Not Here! (Russell Nagy)
2. God Has a Plan for All (John Leavitt)
3. Kyrieleis (John Leavitt)

In place of the Closing Hymn:

4. Alleluia (Ralph Manuel)
5. Lord, Let at Last Thine Angels Come (Hans Leo Hassler)
6. Christ Goes Before (Carl Schalk)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

WLA Grad Sings the National Anthem for the Brewers

WLA grad, Jenna Looker ('03, UW-Milwaukee Peck School of the Arts '08), sang the National Anthem for the Milwaukee Brewers vs. Cincinnati Reds baseball game, Tuesday, April 14, 2009 at 7:00 PM. While it was not broadcast on either WTMJ 620 AM or on FSN , one of her friends posted a video on Facebook and YouTube. Thanks, Josh!

We're proud of you, Jenna!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Where is All the Easter Music?

Permit me to editorialize for a while...

I don't normally write on my blog to take up a stance on an issue or try to persuade my audience (albeit a very small one) to think a particular way. I try to use my blog as an information tool for my choir students and their parents so they know what is going on with WLA Choirs (even though my top hit articles are about In Tune Magazine's Best Music Schools 2008 and 2009). But yesterday was Easter Sunday and I wanted to listen to Easter music.

Everybody knows how inundated we are from October 31-December 25 every year with Christmas music. Entire radio stations dedicate their entire broadcast to all Christmas music 24/7. Yesterday I came home from church and just wanted to listen to Easter Music.

I searched the iTunes Music Store. No popups or links for Sacred Easter Music. Somewhere in the back of my memory I remembered a "Resurrection Symphony" so I searched for that too. It yielded the Gustav Mahler Symphony No. 2, the "Resurrection". I was disappointed because there was no recognizeable hymn tune or chant melody to even suggest Easter in Mahler's work.

I wanted to hear expressed in music the true message that Jesus Christ, true God and true man, who, as true Man, led the perfect life that none of us can ever hope to live, thereby fulfilling every part of God's law that he put on his chosen people, died on the cross on Good Friday in our place (the all-atoning sacrifice), and as true God raised himself back to life on Easter Sunday morning over 2000 years ago. I wanted to turn on the radio coming home from church and hear sacred Easter music that would reinforce the good news that I heard in church. I wanted to fill my iPod with glorious trumpets and strings and full orchestra playing major classical works which shouted Jesus' eternal triumph over sin, death, and the power of the devil.

But I found none.

The piece which I thought I was searching for (The "Resurrection" Symphony) was really the "Reformation" Symphony of Mendelssohn (Symphony No. 5 in D Major/D Minor, op. 107), which uses EIN FESTE BURG IST UNSER GOTT (the hymn tune we use to sing Luther's hymn text on Psalm 46, "A Mighty Fortress is Our God"). I wasn't in the mood for Reformation (a.k.a. Oct. 31, 1517). I was in the mood for the trumpets of Easter.

So I searched the internet for classical Easter music and got various lists of old music in foreign languages which (a) either weren't associated with a hymn tune, or (b) which the average listener wouldn't be able to understand. What good is it to sing the truths of God's Word in a foreign language if the audience can't understand what the words mean? (That also has implications for ennuciation of English as well!)

The radio wasn't much better. On the way to our family Easter gathering, I scanned all the FM stations, hoping for some Easter music. The best I found was on 89.3 WPNE (music listing for Easter sunday, April 12, 2009). I think it was either the St. John or St. Matthew Passion of Johann Sebastian Bach (after checking, it was the St. John Passion). I'm not sure because (a) it was sung in German, and while I did take two years of German in high school, my on-the-spot translation leaves something to be desired, and (b) I didn't hear the announcer introduce the work at the beginning, nor did I listen long enough to the end to see if all the recitatives and arias that I heard were Bach. I'm pretty sure it was, though, because I did hear two hymn tunes: HERZLICH TUT MICH VERLANGEN (O Sacred Head, Now Wounded) [a.k.a. O HAUPT VOLL BLUT UND WUNDEN] and HERZLIEBSTER JESU (O Dearest Jesus, What Law Hast Thou Broken?), both of which I'm pretty sure Bach used numerous times in his passions.

But even Bach was not "heart music" on Easter Sunday. It was "head music." I doesn't speak to American ears (or to any ears which don't know German). It doesn't even move Lutheran hearts when they can't tell that the text is really all about Holy Week and has nothing to do with The Resurrection. How disappointing, even from the father of Lutheran church music.

It got me wondering...where are all the major sacred Easter works? So I started to think...

Bach's Cantata No. 4 Christ lag in Todesbanden (BWV 4). What else did Bach write for Easter...I think he's got an Easter Oratorio (BWV 249). Ok, there's two...Doesn't David Holsinger or Randol Alan Bass have anything for Easter? They both have written large works for concert band or orchestra and choir. I'll have to look into their catalogs. Well, there's the Heinrich Schütz double choir motet "Ich bin der Auferstehung" (I Am the Resurrection), but once again, it's in German and doesn't have a recognizable hymn tune or melody for the casual Lutheran ears (even though I love the piece, have sung it and directed it).

Oh yeah, Handel's Messiah. (Duh, Dale!) It was originally written for an Easter performance (April 13, 1742 in Dublin, Ireland). But out of its 53 individual arias, recitatives, and choruses, only around 21 of them (22-33, 45-53) are directly connected with Christ's suffering, death, and resurrection. Even fewer of them (45 & 46) are specifically about the resurrection of Jesus.

I love Alfred Reed's Russian Christmas Music. I wonder if he has a "Russian Easter Music"? (Nope.)

So where is all the rest of the sacred Easter music????

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Sacramento - Sis Joe

I'm doing research on the origin of a song called "Sis Joe" which American composer Jackson Berkey incorporates in his popular choral work Sacramento - Sis Joe.

The original "Sis Joe" is a strange little song–mixed meters, not a very beautiful or easy-to-learn melody, strangely repetitive but having quirky intervals. As I've done more reading, I've realized it was more of a call between workers on a railroad yard than it was a folksong.

Alan Lomax recorded it in his Vol. 2 of Our Singing Country (Our Singing Country: Folk Songs and Ballads. With John A. Lomax and Ruth Crawford Seeger. New York: MacMillan, 1941.) p. 362, 363, and 364 He included the tune with three verses and a track lining holler.

The American composer, Aaron Copland, used "Sis Joe" in the first (Buckaroo Holiday) and fifth movements (Hoe-down) of his ballet, Rodeo. "Sis Joe" can be heard in this YouTube video from 2:15-2:28.

Then the question comes "What do the words mean?

SIS JOE (lyrics)
All right now boys, let me tell you 'bout Sis Joe, this time, Sis Joe!
On the M & O,
Track heavy,
But she will go,
on the Mud Line,
Jack the Rabbit,
Take a linin' bar for to line this track,
Take a mule on the sand,
Take a jack, get a man!

I'm guessing that...

...the foreman is the one shouting out the first line "All right now boys..." to his railroad yard workers to tell them the work that needs to be done,

...that "Sis Joe" is the name of a train,

..."the M & O" is a railroad line like "B & O Railroad" in Monopoly. It stands for the "Mobile and Ohio Railroad". (skeleton map) The now defunct railroad ran from Mobile, Alabama to the confluence of the Missippippi and Ohio Rivers at Cairo, IL. If you go to Google Maps, you can still trace the rail line south from Cairo, IL, to Mobile, AL,

...."track heavy" ...could it mean the track was in need of repair?
HEAVY OK: Term used to indicate that repairs (of more than 51 man-hours) have been completed for a car that was classified as a heavy repair

HEAVY REPAIR: Term used to indicate that a car is in need of repairs requiring more than 51 man-hours to complete. (from Encyclopedia of North American Railroads. Middleton, Smerk, and Diehl, eds. Indiana University Press: Bloomington and Indianapolis. © 2007. p. 1206 Appendix C, Glossary of Railroad Terms.

...the "Mud Line" is the name of a branch of the M & O Railroad,

JACKLocomotive. (A term often confused with the lifting device, hence seldom used)

JACK: A locomotive. A lifting jack (from Adams, Ramon F. The Language of the Railroader. University of Oklahoma Press: Norman. © 1977. p. 86)

..."Jack the Rabbit" is a derailed railroad car(s) that needs to lifted up and put back on the track (think: when you have to get a flat tire off a car, you put the car up on a jack),

RABBITA derail; an arrangement for preventing serious wrecks by sidetracking runaway trains, cars, or locomotives on a downgrade. Unlike regular sidetracks, the derail ends relatively abruptly on flat trackless land instead of curving back onto the main line. The term rabbit is applied to this device because of the timidity involved

RABBIT: A switch derailer. It prevents wrecks by causing runaway trains to side-track or run off onto the prairie. (from Adams, Ramon F. The Language of the Railroader. University of Oklahoma Press: Norman. © 1977. p. 123)

a "linin' bar" is a long steel bar, as tall as a man, cylindrical on one end and wedge-shaped on the other, used like a pry bar to push the steel rails in line to "line this track" by hand before the advent of a machine to did the same thing,

Lining track. Shifting the track laterally to conform to established alignment. Maintenance lining is ordinarily done during repairs; general lining is done to make the track conform throughout to predetermined alignment.

..."take a mule on the sand"

MULE: A brakeman (from Adams, Ramon F. The Language of the Railroader. University of Oklahoma Press: Norman. © 1977. p. 103)

...many men and jacks were needed to do the work.

Now I'm wondering if the "Sis Joe" was stuck in the mud and that the men and mules and jacks were there to get it unstuck. I don't know. I'll keep researching this.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

There is a Balm in Gilead

There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole;
There is a balm in Gilead to heal the sin-sick soul.

Sometimes I feel discouraged And think my work's in vain,
But then the Holy Spirit Revives my soul again. Refrain

If you cannot preach like Peter, If you cannot pray like Paul,
you can tell the love of Jesus And say he died for all. Refrain

Gilead was a mountainous region east of the Jordan River which stretched from the Sea of Gallilee in the north to the Dead Sea in the South. The Balm of Gilead was well known in ancient times as a fragrant, transparent, pale yellow ointment made from the gum of a tree peculiar to that area. It was in demand far and wide, therefore, because it seemed to assist in healing bodily ailments. The Bible refers to the Balm of Gilead in three places:
  1. Gen. 37:25 - Joseph was sold into slavery by his 11 brothers to a band of Ishmaelites who had just come from Gilead with balm.
  2. Jer. 8:22 - The prophet Jeremiah grieved bitterly for Israel because not even the balm of Gilead could heal their sins.
  3. Jer. 46:11 - Later in the book, Jeremiah goads Egypt they can't find help or healing in the balm of Gilead.
Biblical References to Balm in Gilead | Biblical References to Gilead
Wikipedia articles: Gilead | Balm of Gilead | Balsam of Mecca | Balsam Poplar
Purchase Balm of Gilead Cream | Balm of Gilead (Jobs Tears)