Monday, August 2, 2010

Choral Concert Themes

Recently, I had the opportunity to share some of the reasons why I program my high school choir concerts using themes with the other WELS high school choir directors at our 2nd "Annual" WELS Choral Dialogues.  I like themes because they are a creative challenge.  Sometimes it's following an idea, like "Song of the Civil War" or "Rhythm".  Sometimes, it's following a composer, like Mozart, Gershwin, or Paul Manz. Other times the idea for a concert comes from a word, like "Light" for a sacred Christmas concert, or a certain piece of music becomes the central focus for a concert, like Eric Whitacre's Lux Aurumque.  The following is a partial list of concert themes I've tackled over the years at Winnebago Lutheran Academy.  Where I have them electronically, the programs for each concert are linked.

Work Songs, Slave Songs and Spirituals (Fall '10)
Rhythm - one of the elements of music, suggested by Ritmo (Dan Davison, Walton)
“His Truth is Marching On” - The Civil War in Song
Cole Porter
“By George!” - George Gershwin
Mostly Mozart
“Presidents, Politics, and Parties” - Campaign Songs of the American Presidency
“Good Words, Good Music” - Famous poems set to music
Jackson Berkey
Van Gogh’s Starry Night
American Song/South Dakota Shadows

Hymn Festivals:
Paul Manz
Jaroslav Vajda
Irish Hymns
Holy Week
“Dangerous” Hymns
Shape Note
Paul Gerhardt
The Life of Christ

Sacred Christmas:
Celtic (coming Christmas '10 or '11)
Light - centered around Eric Whitacre's Lux Aurumque
“Come and Worship” - Each verse of Angels from the Realms of Glory gave a section to the concert
"Tidings of Comfort and Joy" - Isaiah’s Prophecies fulfilled
"Night of Miracles, Night of Grace" (highlighting a newly designed Christmas mural)
"For Unto You is Born This Day"

Proposed Secular Concert Themes:
  • Due East: Nor'easter (Stephen Chatman)
  • Due East: Minke Whale (Stephen Chatman)
  • Due East: Farewell Nancy (Stephen Chatman)
  • Due East: Fishing (Stephen Chatman)
  • Waternight (Eric Whitacre)
  • Wade in the Water (Traditional Spiritual)
  • Lukey's Boat (Stephen Chatman)
Video Game Soundtracks (coming May 22, 2011)
John Williams
Daysongs (songs that are about the day)
TV Shows/Movie Themes
An Award Winning Night (Songs which have won awards)
Sentimental Journey (Songs of WWII)
Color (songs about colors)
Blue (Blue Moon, Blue Rondo alla Turk, The Blues, etc.)
Minnesota's 150th Anniversary (anything to do with MN)
Wacky/Strange Songs
Aspects of Love (a Valentines Day concert)
Underground Railroad

Hymn Festival Theme Ideas:
K. Lee Scott
Richard Hillert
Richard Proulx
Isaac Watts
Martin Luther (2017 - 500th Anniversary of Lutheran Reformation)
Christian Worship Supplement
Russian "Hymns" (April 10, 2011)
Welsh Hymns
American Hymns
English/Victorian Hymns

Sacred Christmas Concert Theme Ideas:
Voices of Christmas (from the point of view of each of the Christmas characters)
Prophecies of Isaiah

Sacred Concert Ideas:
The Church Year in Song

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