Spring Concerts! May 2 & 3, 2014

Children singing with twilight visible through the windows behind them.

Salt Lake Children’s Choir performing in the Excellence in the Community Concert Series, Spring 2014. Photo by Lex Anderson

From Vienna —  to the Andes —  to “The Sunny Side of the Street”, a concert by the award winning Salt Lake Children’s Choir, will be presented  Friday and Saturday, May 2 and 3, at 7:30 PM in Salt  Lake City’s beautiful St. Ambrose Church (1975 South 2300 East). Spanning four centuries and four continents, the program will include musical treasures, both familiar and little known, from the British Isles, Eastern and Western Europe, Africa, South America and the USA — including the much-loved “On Wings of Song” and “Vienna, My City of Dreams” — as well as the lively “Follow Me Down to Carlow” from Ireland and the wistful Bolivian “Kaya Kaymanta Ripusaj”–sung in native Quechua, the language of the Incas.  Jazz pianist extraordinaire Steve Keen will join the choir on Woodward’s rhythmic “Canto” and the American favorite, “On the Sunny Side of the Street.  The evening will conclude with the choir’s own “Evening Prayer” and. “A Day in Spring.”

All seats are $9:00 ($6.00 students) and tickets are available at Day Murray Music or at the door.   Online tickets can be purchased here and will be held at will call on the nights of the concerts.   Admission is open to those ages 6 and older.

Please note:  The choir is now scheduling auditions for new members, and there will be a sign-up sheet for an audition time at the concert for those who attend.


Choral music enriches a child’s life

Feeling strongly that the study of choral music was beneficial for my children, I wanted to see what supportive evidence was out there. So I Googled, “Why should children study choral music?” These were a few sites that caught my eye:

The Central Coast Children’s Choir web page listed a good number of benefits. I liked what I saw, but I wanted more . . . so I ventured to the Chorister’s Guild, which not only had some information to answer my question, but some helpful suggestions. Still not satisfied I had learned enough, I gathered some interesting insights on the Classics for Kids website. I’m sure there is more out there, but here’s what I learned:

First some benefits:

  • Music is Science, and is exact and specific. This is comforting to my children because it helps them to make sense of the chaotic, ever changing world around them. I think it is safe to say the music brings them peace.
  • Music is Mathematical with its divisions of time into fractions. Who couldn’t use more math practice? Learning a piece of music with its various dynamics is like deciphering a puzzle. It’s great brain exercise, as the mind figures out how all the parts work together to create the final piece.
  • Music is History; it reflects the environments and cultures from the time and place it was created. Any time we study the arts of a particular time period, we gain understanding and empathy for others.
  • Music is a Foreign Language, using symbols to represent ideas. And lyrics are often sung in foreign languages. My children have sung songs in Japanese, German, Russian, Spanish, Navajo and French, to name a few.
  • Music is Physical: it requires good posture, proper breathing, coordination, and muscle control. The body and mind, then, work together, responding to sound as it enters through the ears, interpreting that sound with the mind, and producing the notes their eyes see.
  • Music is Critical Thinking. It provides the opportunity to develop insight and requires thought to understand the lyrics and create the music’s dynamics.
  • Music is Emotional and it is Art: It involves all of our being. The child enters a creative zone as he focuses intently and puts forth concentrated effort, making it a good stress release. The musician has a passionate, whole body experience. And she gives a performance that serves self and the community as it heightens the life experience for both. Let’s just say, music is joy.

 The benefits go deeper

As you can see, the benefits go far beyond musical skill. The experience enriches many facets of a child’s life and opens doors to many other skills.

  • Studies prove that participation in choir, band, and orchestra raises student IQ and improves the ability to think and reason. The students also have higher SAT scores. And the longer students participate in musical programs, the greater the impact on their learning.
  • Music performance uses almost every part of the brain because a person must synthesize an array of skills and concepts.
  • The choral setting provides emotional and social growth. The individual and team work required provide members an understanding of self and others. This also translates to success in the child’s future workplace.
  • Students learn to make good judgments.
  • They learn that problems have multiple solutions; they do the problem solving and they realize there are unanticipated solutions to be discovered.
  • They learn to say poetically what cannot be communicated with standard methods.
  • Children learn what’s important. They learn to dig into the details, and then step back and get the big picture as well.

Choir on KBYU: Dec 9 – 13

Don’t miss the chance to hear the Choir from the comfort of your own home.  Tune in to 89.1 FM

Dec 9-13 at 11am and 4:06
children in cathedral

Wednesday Choir’s Dress Rehearsal at the Cathedral of the Madeleine 2013

Join Classical 89 for selections from the choir’s 2012 Christmas concert in the Cathedral of the Madeleine. Favorite carols, music from many lands, newer compositions, and lesser-known gems.

Salt Lake Children’s Choir at the Cathedral – Christmas 2013

children in cathedral

Wednesday Choir’s Dress Rehearsal at the Cathedral of the Madeleine 2013

The Salt Lake Children’s Choir, Ralph B. Woodward, Artistic Director, will present its traditional Christmas Concerts Friday, Dec. 6 and Sunday, Dec. 8 at 8:00 PM in the Cathedral of the Madeleine (331 E South Temple). Featured will be works by di Lasso, Handel, and other early masters, as well as familiar and lesser-known carols from many lands–including “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming,” “Infant Holy, Infant Lowly,” Ill est ne, le divin Enfant, and the Peruvian villancico, “Venir, pastorcitos.” Also heard will be the title theme from the motion picture, “King of Kings” by Miklos Rozsa. The evening will conclude with audience and choir joining in several carol favorites. Accompaniment will be by harpist Lisa Rytting and organist Ken Udy. There is no charge, but admission is limited to those over 6 years of age.

Just in time for Christmas…

DVD bannerLast spring’s concert  has been produced into a beautiful DVD now available for purchase. We are also releasing a CD with 18 selections from the 2012 Christmas Concert.   They will make excellent keepsakes of your child’s participation in the choir or as gifts to family and friends not near enough to attend the concerts. Below is a clip taken from the DVD as a preview.

Pricing is as follows:

  • 2013 Spring Concert DVD:  $20 (first copy),  $10 (additional copies)
  • 2012 Christmas audio CD:  $15 (first copy),   $10 (additional copies)
  • DVD/CD Combo:  $30
  • Shipping:  $4 per address, domestic only. Free pick up option available at the Community Christmas Concert on December 22nd.

To place an order, please click here to send an email to the choir listing the items you would like to order, shipping addresses (if applicable), and a phone number in case we need to clarify anything. You will receive a PayPal Invoice from the choir for these items which you can then pay by PayPal, credit card, or mailed check. The order is not final until the payment is received. Be sure to include your preferences for shipping or pick-up at our upcoming holiday concerts.

If you would prefer to place an order over the phone or have any questions, please call/text Ali at 801-792-9641 or email slcc@q.com

Contact us for information on Blu-ray discs if interested.

Celebration of Christ tickets now available!

poster for Celebration of Christ Concert, November 30th, 2013 in the Salt Lake Tabernacle on Temple Square.

The Salt Lake Children’s Choir will be appearing as part of a large cast in the “Celebration of Christ” Concert on November 30th, 2013.

The choir’s first public Christmas appearance will be at the Tabernacle on Temple Square on November 30th.  The concert is titled “A Celebration of Christ” and features the choir, Vocal Point (from BYU) and Jenny Oaks Baker as well as performers from many Christian denominations in the Salt Lake Valley.  Tickets can be purchased from LDS events for $10 general admission.  There are two shows that day:  a matinee at 4:30 p.m. and an evening performance at 8:00 p.m.

Upcoming Performances for the 2013 Holiday Season

poster for Celebration of Christ Concert, November 30th, 2013 in the Salt Lake Tabernacle on Temple Square.

The Salt Lake Children’s Choir will be appearing as part of a large cast in the “Celebration of Christ” Concert on November 30th, 2013.

The holiday season is quickly approaching.  The Salt Lake Children’s choir will be helping sing in the Christmas spirit in the “Celebration of Christ” Concert on November 30th in the Salt Lake Tabernacle.  There will be a 4:30 matinee of this concert as well as an evening performance at 8:00 p.m.  Tickets are not yet available, but will be distributed through the LDS temple square events web site.  We will post a link and more details when they are available.

Other dates for your calender, including our traditional Cathedral Christmas Concerts, have been updated on our Performances Page.  The Choir is looking forward to singing for you this special season!

2013-14 Season Begins…

Choir on stage in church.  Sunset through stained glass window.

Sunset during the Spring Concert 2013.

The 2013-14 Season is upon us!  Last minute auditions are still being conducted through the first two weeks of September.  Scheduling is underway for Christmas events and beyond.  If you or a group you are part of wish to hire the Choir to sing this year, contact the director, Ralph B. Woodward at 801-537-1412.  More information about concerts and appearances coming soon on this website!

Helping My Children Enjoy Music

My husband is a musician. He plays various instruments and does some singing and composition as well. But he talks of a tragic moment in the past when he lost his passion for piano. He had enjoyed a feverish excitement with each new piece he played…until he began to discover other genres. His teacher was not open to having him play music in those other genres. When it came time to choose a recital piece, she insisted he play a piece he did not want to play. As he finished his piece at the recital, the audience laughed. In that moment, he thought, “That’s it for me. I’m done.

Some children continue to develop their musical talents and grow their passion for music. Others have experiences where they lose interest. Still others fall somewhere in between…maybe they are exposed to music but do not choose to pursue it. I began to ask myself a few questions, “What’s the difference from one child to the next? What do parents do differently? How can I help my children to grow their talent and their passion?” I don’t have all the answers, but I came across a few ideas to encourage my children to practice more regularly and willingly. And that seems to be the first step to developing a passion. After reading several articles and learning various strategies, I compile here a few favorites. I hope this helps you, too.

  1. Try, try, try: Praise effort, not intelligence. We just need to make sure we are using every opportunity to praise. And we need not wait until a piece is mastered, but give plenty of praise for each small attempt. Instead of saying, “OK, now let’s do this,” we need to say, “Good job. That was great the way you kept your eyes on the music. Next, let’s try…”
  2. Mistake = Opportunity: How many people see failure as a path forward? As musicians, we must. Our children need to understand that their mistakes are the wonderful fuel for improving and learning. They are not setbacks and they are not something to be embarrassed about. When children make mistakes, they need to challenge themselves, “How can I sing this better?” Just think – if they learn this concept with music, they will be able to apply it in other areas, like academics and sports.
  3. Effective Practice: Practice makes perfect, right? Not if the child is just playing his pieces through twice and moving on. Effective practice has two criteria: first, the musician slows the piece down, even to an unrecognizable tempo, to promote a deep practice where the musician is able to fix errors as he goes. This is a method taught at Meadowmount, a classical music school attended by Yo-Yo Ma and others. Second, he needs to focus on something specific, a few lines in the song, for instance. Some parents help the child set goals for each practice session until the piece is learned. Others sit with the child as she practices and call her attention to a section to work on. The goal is to reach a point when the child is able to find his own mistakes and identify on his own the sections that need work, understanding that what he puts in is what he gets out.
  4. Fun: Practice needs to be fun and rewarding. That means families need to be creative and find positive ways to practice. I read about teens that placed their music pieces on their left and moved them to the right as they finished them so they could easily see their progress (and the light at the end of the tunnel). I learned about parents who took the time to create a game board on which the kids moved a piece along to see their progress toward a predetermined reward. Another parent gave their children magic beans that counted for $1 each. They could save up five and choose one type of reward, or save up 20 and earn a trip to the symphony.
  5. Go and see: Finally, mimicry is an important step in learning and igniting passion. When Jackie Evancho saw “Phantom of the Opera,” at age seven, she decided she wanted to sing ‘like that.’ Daniel Coyle, author of The Talent Code, found one study that showed a child learned 400% faster when he saw himself as an adult musician. One of my sons decided he wanted to learn to play the cello when he saw Cello Wars on You Tube. We just need to help them find opportunities that enable them to see possibilities and bring their potential to life. I remember vividly a point in my childhood when I would have put forth any amount of effort to become like Nadia Comaneci.

We, as parents, can help motivate our budding musicians, but what do we do when the child poses that nagging request because he would rather ride his bike or play his favorite video game than practice music? Recently, one of my sons voiced his desire to quit the choir. First I told him to make a list of pros and cons, and let me know what he decided. He just said, “Oh, never mind.” Then I suggested we Google “Should I quit the choir?” We did so and came across a blog by Matt Hanson titled, “Why I Can’t (Won’t) Quit the Choir.” When my son read it, he agreed with Matt:

First, he loves the feeling of being on stage with fellow choir members before hundreds of spectators, performing the numbers they each and all diligently practiced for four months; and he enjoys the time they spend together as ‘family’ backstage before the performance.

Second, he feels that he is part of something historic and unforgettable. (My son added that he feels he is part of something important, larger than self).

Third, Matt admires his choir director, who is part of a group of people out there who care enough to take the time to share their knowledge and their passion with others.

Finally, Matt mentions the doors of opportunity that are open to him, such as the trip to Italy his choir was planning.

So, good luck to all of you child musicians out there and the parents trying to help you find the motivation to move forward on your road to success. May you find the passion in the music you perform, the inspiration from those you see in the world around you and the love of music in your very own beautiful heart.

- M. Cantwell

From Mr. Woodward…

Dear Choir Members (and Prospective Members),

I hope you are all having a great summer. Even though the summer is far from over, it is time for me to start looking ahead. One of the things that get’s me most excited is choosing and organizing the music we will be singing–and i have already been selecting the music for our first concerts (and can’t wait to hear you sing it)..However,I get even more excited at the opportunity to see each of you at our annual evaluations (or auditions, if you are new to us), because you (not the music) are the most important thing –and what give the music its meaning..

If you have already been in the choir, please be sure to schedule a time for your evaluation so we can see how you are getting along and make any needed recommendations for the future. (Even if you are not sure about your plans for the coming year, I encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity.)

If you are new and just considering membership in the choir, I invite you to make an appointment for a brief (15 minute) audition. Some instrumental background can be helpful, but it is certainly not required.  (By the way,most of our choir members have had no previous vocal training).  Also, you don’t need to worry about any special preparation for the audition, because I will find plenty of things to do when you come.  I don’t want you to worry about anything at all beforehand and I think you will have fun once you are there.

One small choir news item:  Even though the choir has been on the radio quite regularly over the years. it has been a long, long time since it has been on TV. We have recently gotten word that a documentary about the recent presentation of Mahler’s Symphony No 8 in Helena Montana, in which the choir played a significant role, will be seen on PBS later this year–so that will be something to watch for.  Of course, we plan to kick of our own major concert season the first week-end of December in the Cathedral of the Madeleine–and go from there.  So, it’s easy to start getting excited.  But again, the summer is still far from over–so let’s all take full advantage of it!.

With best wishes,

Mr. Woodward.