Tell us about touring with Chorale.
The ensemble tours annually and has enjoyed great success with international concert tours to Switzerland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Yugoslavia, England, the Republic of China, Italy, and most recently Latvia and Estonia. Three years ago, Chorale also had an all-time epic opportunity to perform with the Rolling Stones on their 2015 Zip Code Tour!
A memorable moment outside of rehearsal
One of the soloists, Daniel Mata, asked if we could do a “flash mob” while we were eating at a restaurant in Memphis, TN. My response, “Here? In ‘On the Border’ (Mexican Restaurant)?” “Sure, why not!” He and the other soloist, Ali Sicinski, stood on chairs and began the solo call. The choir immediately came in on cue. It was fun, amazing, and went CRAZY viral across the WORLD.
Location: Belmont University – Nashville, Tennessee
Style: Classical, but also incorporates world music, including idiomatic music of the African American culture
Number of singers: 70
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What’s an emotional moment you’ve had in a performance?
We performed in a cultural exchange choral concert with Souls of Seoul from South Korea, in February 2018. At the close of the show, both choirs sang farewell songs to one another on stage. The moment was organic – everyone was openly expressing love, embracing, tears, joining hands. It caught us all by surprise;truly a serendipitous encounter.
How does your choir bond as a group?
Sometimes at the end of a rehearsal, I’ll ask if there are any joys or concerns to share. The moment never seems awkward because of the community/safe haven that has been established in Chorale. We try to stand with one another, and work toward a common goal: making beautiful music to change lives.
We are a community of voices who enrich and touch the lives of others.
–Director Dr. Jeffery Ames
A funny moment in rehearsal:
Chorale was rehearsing a very contemporary piece of music with unconventional notation (ripples, squiggly lines, circles, dots, zigzags). We were experimenting with the various sounds and one chorister blurts out loud, “Um…what is this?”
What was a challenging performance?
Performing a memorized and staged work by Jihoon Park (South Korean composer). “A Fisherman’s Song (of Korean Sentiment) was a challenging work tackled by Chorale for its 2016 Fall Concert. There were vocal, intervallic, language, staging, and movement challenges galore! You can find the video here!
How did you face this challenge?
We meticulously followed a detailed rehearsal plan that allowed sufficient time to learn everything. There was one additional three hour rehearsal (with food and drink of course…) to block the staging and figure out the transitions. For instance, we had to form a fishing boat with 70 singers. SO HARD! With the help of very intelligent graduate students, we made it happen. And, “A Fisherman’s Song” was the highlight of the concert. I must mention, that Mr. Park watched the video and was blown away we Americans did so well. That was a HUGE compliment and Chorale is grateful.
An insight about singing:
It’s amazing how God placed our larynx half way between our brain and our heart. When performing, it is necessary that we engage both organs in order to touch other minds and hearts.
A favorite piece of repertoire & why:
“In Remembrance” by Jeffery Ames. Every year, I receive messages from complete strangers who share their stories with me about how this piece touched or even changed their life.
Dr. Jeffery L. Ames serves as Director of Choral Activities and Professor of Music at Belmont University. As a choral clinician, Dr. Ames has conducted collegiate, senior and junior high school mixed, and male choirs at national, regional, and state conventions of the American Choral Directors Association and the National Association for Music Education. He has performed and guest conducted internationally in Australia, Costa Rica, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Estonia, and South Korea.