The AESTHETIC of Choral sound
The course so far with the Genesis 16 has been (to use a UK term) absolutely brilliant! I feel as if the leaders of the program, Harry Christophers and Eamonn Dougan, are speaking my language of what the choral sound should be at all times. The two work in tandem seamlessly. Where Harry is superb at inflection of musical line and creating nuance, Eamonn truly understands the vocal technique and how to train the choral singers to achieve that desired aesthetic. I have learned so much in just two days, I can not imagine how much I will learn by the end of the course. My head may explode. Needless to say, I am excited to dig in with all of you wonderful students at WHS!
The students in the program are young (ages 18 - 23... ok, young to me), talented and eager to grow and learn. These students have auditioned for the program (many have auditioned several times and just finally got it - never give up!) and have enrolled in an intensive study of choral music over a course of a year. The time at Magdalen College, Oxford is the kick off week long intensive course. Throughout the year they will meet on weekends occasional to continue to work with one another. Most of these students are in Uni (college/university) so they have to balance their busy lives at college with the Genesis 16 program. Keep in mind, that these students are not the best of the best singers from across the UK. These students are a step down. Why? The top young singers in the UK are getting superb musical training as singers and choristers, its the students like the ones involved the Genesis 16 program that need this unique experience because these students are the future of choral singing in the UK and in Europe. These are the students that will be educating the future musicians as well. They need the investment! The Genesis 16 program is completely free to those students accepted, the catch, you must be from the UK (sorry, Americans!).
An insider's tour of new college!
If the first three photos look oddly familiar, it is because the Cloisters at New College of the University of Oxford were used in the Harry Potter series. (see picture) As Harry, Eamonn, and I were walking and chatting we passed by New College, where Eamonn did his studies at "Uni." Naturally, he said, "Hey, shall we have a look? I think my Scout is still here." (At Oxford, each college has Scouts. These are typically men who come from a family of Scouts. Scouts are, in many ways, are father figures to students. In the UK, students usually go away from home for the first time when they go to Uni. Naturally, during their time they develop these excellent relationships with the Scouts. The Scouts are usually found at the gate of each college and will do general house cleaning, like making beds, emptying trash, etc... but often take a more "pastoral" role and begin looking out for the students. Harry told me of a time where one of his scouts at Magdalen College (at Oxford) (oh, and Magdalen is pronounced Maudlin, BTWs) once brought him food for several days to his own room because Harry was so ill. Any way, back tracking, Eamonn knew the scout on duty at New College and got us in! He took us on a private tour of parts of New College. We got to see the choristers room where the young boys who sing in the choir (ages 9 - 14) practice, we got to see the chapel, the alter, and an El Greco original painting. How cool!?
CLICK on the first picture for a slideshow that includes descriptions of a majority of the photos. Navigate using the arrows that appear on the left and right margins of each photograph. Enjoy! These pictures are not as good as the ones below since they are from my iPhone.
I have been invited to Oxford University, Magdalen College to study the art of choral music with Harry Christophers, Eamonn Dougan, and the Genesis Sixteen Program. I will be in the United Kingdom from August 23 until September 1. Don't worry students, I'll be in school on Tuesday, September 2nd ready to go!