Episode 24: Thanksgiving-Finding your “Why” by Practicing Gratitude

It’s a FriendsGiving!

“We live in a time where directing choirs for a living is possible. In the broad scope of human history, THAT alone is an amazing luxury.”

Episode 24

I believe that an underlying philosophy is a necessity for each successful professional. Some call this a “why statement.” Have you found your “why?” Is it the same as it was 10 years ago? In this episode, I share my thoughts about practicing gratitude as a life principle, as well as an exercise in class. In order to illustrate this, I enlisted the help of some friends. In addition to my thoughts on gratitude, you will hear “why” statements from Dr. Ryan Board of Pepperdine, Mark Lawley of Willard High School, Robert T. Gibson of Reed Academy, Dr. Giselle Wyers of U of Washington, Dr. Jennaya Robison of Luther College and Ryan Main, composer and director of the Kansas City Youth Choir program and Dr. Andrew Crane of BYU. Special thanks to each of them for sharing with us!

Composer Exposer: Paul John Rudoi

Bonus: Teaching Vowels, Blend and Resonance with 21st Century Tools

I am beyond excited to show you an amazing tool that I use to introduce my students to the concept of vowels, resonance and formants! And, by extension, the concept of blend. This is a passion for me in the classroom. I love watching the students eyes and ears come alive to the power of an overtone rich sound. To that end, we provide visual aid for them to understand if they are doing it correctly. One thing we know about good teaching is that not all students learn in the same way. What if the visual learners could SEE if their vowel is correct or if the choir is tune?!

Bonus episode!

No more arguing with kids about their “O” vowel! You don’t have to be the bad guy anymore!

When singers can SEE if they are in tune, if they can SEE that they are singing the right vowel, it creates an amazing path toward being able to HEAR it in context.


Episode 23: Words, Music and Art with Charles Anthony Silvestri

In this episode, I have the privilege of chatting with Charles Anthony Silvestri, noted lyricist, about the artistic magic that is possible when music and text are fused. He believes that this intersection is what makes our beloved art form special, and I whole heartedly agree. I pick his brain about his process from idea to final project for a new piece. We talk about his new endeavors as a composer of notes and not just lyrics, as well as some witty banter about Eric Whitacre’s early years and his role in bringing the choral art form into the 21st Century.

Charles Anthony Silvestri
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Poet, composer, and speaker Charles Anthony Silvestri has worked with composers from all over the world to create texts tailor-made for their commissions and specific artistic needs. He has provided custom poetry, opera libretti, program notes and other writing for composers including Eric Whitacre, Ola Gjeilo, Kim Arnesen, and Dan Forrest, and for ensembles ranging from high schools to the Houston Grand Opera, from the King’s Singers to the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, from Westminster Choir College to Westminster Abbey. As a clinician Silvestri speaks to choirs, classes, and concert audiences about his works, the creative process, the marriage of words and music, and about his collaborative relationships with composers. He is the author of three books, including A Silver Thread (GIA 2019), a retrospective of almost 20 years of his lyric poetry. He teaches Ancient and Medieval History at Washburn University, and lives in Lawrence, Kansas.

Find more about Tony as well as links to his published poetry books mentioned on the website at:


Find Tony on Social media @CharlesAnthonySilvestri on Facebook @tony_silvestri on Instagram @TonySilvestri on Twitter