St. George's Choral Society Summer Choral Festival
Posted 5/15/2017

Matthew LewisBeginning Tuesday, June 6, St. George's Choral Society will host a two-week choral intensive, with two rehearsals a week, culminating in a performance of Copland's In the Beginning and Thompson's The Peaceable Kingdom on Saturday, June 17 at 7:00 PM. I spoke with Director Matthew Lewis about the significance of this Festival and the Choral Society's bicentennial celebration.

Claire Marinello: How does the Summer Choral Festival work?

Matthew Lewis: Basically, it’s a way of attending a summer choir festival without leaving New York City. A sort of “staycation” for choral groupies. There are wonderful opportunities to leave New York to attend choir festivals, but this one allows people to continue their summer routine while participating in a two-week intensive workshop with a performance at the end.

For me, it started when we used to host “summer sings.” These were evenings when we would gather to read through a big choral piece, often with a guest conductor. The singers had so much fun, but often wished they could get to know the piece a bit better, allowing them to enjoy it more. So, we started this festival with that thought in mind. After four rehearsals, the singers know the piece better than they would with only one reading! Not to mention we have professional section leaders, which really helps. The result has been wonderful – an outstanding choral sound after only two weeks. More...

Russian Chamber Chorus offers "Stories Spoken and Unspoken: Vocalises and Folk Songs"
Posted 5/10/2017

RCCNY: Stories Spoken and UnspokenThroughout music history, singers have looked to words for clues on how to best unlock music’s expressive potential. So what are they to do when the music has no words? That is the challenge for the first half of the Russian Chamber Chorus of New York’s spring 2017 concert, “Stories Spoken and Unspoken: Vocalises and Folk Songs.”

The songs without words, or “vocalises,” included in this program represent the varied inspirations for this genre. Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) wrote his Vocalise, possibly the most famous example of this genre, for soprano Antonina Nezhdanova in 1912. It approximates the sort of vocal line that a singer might use while practicing. But more than a mere warm-up melody, it is a showcase for the voice, allowing us to enjoy the sound of the voice unencumbered by words or dramatic meaning. Having been adapted for many different instrumental/vocal combinations, such as the arrangement performed here by composer/pianist Mikhail Zeiger for chorus, cello and piano, the piece is not completely devoid of dramatic import, the vocal lines and harmonies recalling the Russian Romanticism that is one of the hallmarks of the chorus’s style. More...

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  • Sad to report that In Transit, the a cappella musical, will have its final performances on Sunday, April 16. Worth seeing, if you have the opportunity. It's well-sung, with an appealing, energetic cast and a lot of in-the-know commentary about life in New York. (2017-4-15)
  • The New York Times has a profile of Deke Sharon, one of the forces behird the new a cappella musical In Transit. (2016-11-24)
  • The Choir of St. Luke in the Fields has released a new album entitled Pierre de Manchicourt: Missa Reges terrae and other works on the MSR label. For more information and to order a copy, visit www.stlukeinthefields.org/store/product/pierre-de-manchicourt-missa-reges-terrae-cd. (2016-10-4)
  • See the New York Times review of David Lang's the public domain, performed at the Mostly Mozart Festival. (2016-8-15)
  • Neil F. Brown is the new music director of The Shrewsbury Chorale. (2016-7-26)

Archive of old "News" items

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The latest additions to the site's content and features.
  • May 15, 2017: New link for Tobacco Free Life, offering a page about smoking and singing.
  • May 5, 2017: New link for VAN Magazine, a subscription-based fanzine covering contemporary, classical and early music. The magazine is named after Ludwig van Beethoven and is not affiliated in any way with Vocal Area Network.
  • May 3, 2017: New link for Musicaroo, Camila Rabin's resource site for beginning singers, violinists and trumpeters
  • March 31, 2017: New Choir Directory listing for Key of Q, an LGBTQ a cappella chorus in Kingston, NY.
  • March 21, 2017: New Choir Directory listing and Choir Auditions ad for Sonaré, Continuo Arts Foundation's year-long Young Artist Program, based in Summit, NJ.
  • February 27, 2017: New Choir Directory listing and Choir Auditions ad for The Stamford Chorale.
  • January 15, 2017: New link for Best Vocal Lessons, a site offering techniques and tips for aspiring singers.
  • November 22, 2016: New link for Galaxy Music Notes, featuring downloads of piano sheet music.
  • October 11, 2016: New link for We Love Singing, a site offering tutorials and resources about singing.
  • October 4, 2016: New link for National Sawdust. New link for Shalshelet, whose mission is to enhance spirituality and build community through the creation and dissemination of Jewish sacred music.

Archive of old "New on VAN" items

See also the Info Exchange.
  • Need some exquisite beaded jewelry to complement your concert attire? Or perhaps a distinctive gift for that special singer in your life? Or maybe you'd like to host a jewelry show to benefit your favorite non-profit organization? Try Carnelian Knoll, where you'll find necklaces, bracelets and earrings of vintage beads and silver handcrafted by Julie Siegmund.
  • Looking for rehearsal space or performance venues? Try NYC Music Spaces, part of Fractured Atlas's SpaceFinder NYC database of available rehearsal and performance spaces for instrumental and vocal musicians. You'll find places to rent, from studios to large venues, for classical, jazz, rock--whatever you need to rehearse or perform in NYC.
  • Looking for an outstanding vocal ensemble coach? Mark Johnson, possessor of an amazing ear and terrific interpretive insights in a variety of styles, is available to coach your group. Contact Mark via e-mail.
  • Liz Fleischer's Sight-Singing Program is offered each season at the Kaufman Center (129 West 67th Street). Classes include ear-training, rhythm and pitch reading, music theory, basic notation and terminology, with emphasis on learning to hold a part with confidence. For more info, visit www.kaufman-center.org/lucyadults_mus_sight.htm, e-mail fleischerliz@aol.com or adultdivision@kaufman-center.org or call (212) 501-3362. The sight-singing program is just one of the classes offered by the Kaufman Center's Lucy Moses School.

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Vocal Area Network gratefully acknowledges the support of the following Sustaining Member ensembles:

The Dessoff Choirs, Grace Church Choral Society, The West Village Chorale

Big Apple Chorus, The Brooklyn Community Chorus, The Brooklyn Contemporary Chorus, The Canby Singers, The Cecilia Chorus of New York, Cerddorion, Chelsea Song, Dalton Chorale, Florilegium Chamber Choir, Greenwich Village Chamber Singers, Riverside Choral Society, St. George's Choral Society, Schola Cantorum on Hudson, The Stonewall Chorale

Americas Vocal Ensemble, AmorArtis, The Babylon Chorale, C4: The World's First Choral Composer/Conductor Collective, Cantabile Chamber Chorale, Chorus 802, Christ Church Choir, Douglas Frank Chorale, Down Town Glee Club, Greater Nassau Chorus, Lehman College and Community Chorus, New Amsterdam Singers, The New Choral Society, New York Choral Society, Nikolai Kachanov Singers, The Peace of Heart Choir, Renaissance Street Singers, Renaissance Vocal Ensemble, Riverdale Choral Society, Russian Chamber Chorus of New York, Sacrum Convivium, St. James' Compostela Choir, St. Paul's Englewood, Sing We Enchanted, Uncommon Chord, Voices of New York, Women Singing

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