Episode 63: “We Face People.” The Courage of the Choir with Bob Chilcott

An installment of the Oxford Series on the Choralosophy Podcast

In choral music, in a different way than in other types of music making, WE ARE the instrument. This creates a unique vulnerability within choral music. If my saxophone is flat, I can fix the ligature, and EXTERNALIZE the problem. With singers, we must still fix technical things, but we can’t escape INTERNALIZING the problem. In a profound way, the same reason many are attracted to singing, is the reason many are also afraid of it. There is power in conquering that fear.

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In this open conversation, renowned composer, arranger and long time King’s Singer Bob Chilcott and I discuss performance anxiety, the unique properties of choral music, his transitions between performer and conductor, and much more. This conversation is a must listen!

Episode 63: Bob Chilcott
Episode 63

Learn More About Bob and His Music!

As a composer, conductor, and singer, Bob Chilcott has enjoyed a lifelong association with choral music, first as a chorister and choral scholar in the choir of King’s College, Cambridge, and for 12 years as a member of the King’s Singers.  He became a full-time composer in 1997, and has produced a large catalogue of music for all types of choirs which is published by Oxford University Press.  His most often performed pieces include Can you hear me?A Little Jazz MassRequiem, and the St John Passion.

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Bob has conducted choirs in more than 30 countries worldwide and has worked with many thousands of amateur singers across the UK in a continuing series of Singing Days. For seven years he was conductor of the Chorus of The Royal College of Music in London and since 2002 he has been Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC Singers. In 2017 Bob was awarded an Honorary Fellowship by The Royal School of Church Music and in 2019 takes up the role of Principal Conductor Birmingham University Singers.

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His music has been widely recorded by leading British choirs and groups including The King’s Singers, King’s College, Cambridge, Wells Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, The Sixteen, Tenebrae, The BBC Singers, The Bach Choir, Commotio, and Ora. In 2016 he enjoyed a collaboration with the celebrated singer Katie Melua on the album In Winter.  In 2017 two new discs were released by Commotio and Choralis – All Good Things on Naxos, and In Winter’s Arms on Signum, his first recording collaboration with an American choir.  Newer recording projects are with the BBC Singers, Houston Chamber Choir, and Wroclaw Philharmonic Choir.

Find the TOP of the line Resonance Singers mask as well as all of your choir folders, choir supplies as well as choir robes at MyChoirRobes.com. Use Choralosophy at checkout to get a 5% coupon every time you shop!
Shop for the wonderful choral works of Ryan Main at http://www.ryanmain.com! Each purchase will receive a 10% discount when you enter choralosophy at checkout. Plus you will OWN the pdf, and make as many copies as you want!
Receive 10% Discount on your orders at http://www.graphitepublishing.com where you will find the works of Jocelyn Hagen, Eric Barnum, Timothy C. Takach,
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Thoughts on What ‘Elitism” Means in Choral Music

Many people use the term “elitist” to describe aspects of choral music.

The problem, as I see it is that this term means different things to different people. So in this short verbal essay, I reflect on the need to be specific when we criticize. I also discuss some places that I see Elitism in choral music. From the teacher training programs to the trenches of the profession, as well as in conversations on what it means to be a “great” choir. Should we avoid language that seeks to elevate some choral ensembles as “great” and risk creating an elitist culture? Or, is such a hierarchy a necessary outgrowth of working toward performance art related goals? *audio on this episode is not normal. I am traveling!

A Car-less episode of Car Thoughts!

Some possible areas that draw this type of critique:

  • The concept of “what it means to be a good choir.”
  • How much focus gets placed on musical elements being “perfect.”
  • How does Academia contribute to elitism in the training of teachers?
  • Are there aspects of teaching “in the trenches” that are hard to see until you’re there?
www.sightreadingfactory.com is the best literacy tool on the market today. Enter Choralosophy at checkout to get 10% off memberships for you AND your students!

Tune in via podcast platforms or on YouTube for the first volley of the conversation. Then feel free to add your thoughts in the Choralosophers facebook group or in the response form on the main page of choralosophy.com

A modified Car Thoughts Episode
Shop for the wonderful choral works of Ryan Main at http://www.ryanmain.com! Each purchase will receive a 10% discount when you enter choralosophy at checkout. Plus you will OWN the pdf, and make as many copies as you want!
Receive 10% Discount on your orders at http://www.graphitepublishing.com where you will find the works of Jocelyn Hagen, Eric Barnum, Timothy C. Takach,
Paul Rudoi and MANY more.
Download the FREE software trial at http://www.vocevista.com/choralosophy and try it for 30 days! When you LOVE it, enter choralosophy at checkout for a 10% discount!
Find the TOP of the line Resonance Singers mask as well as all of your choir folders, choir supplies as well as choir robes at MyChoirRobes.com. Use Choralosophy at checkout to get a 5% coupon every time you shop!