Yes!!! The first hurdle is passed! The repertoire is set. Just 14 days to make this happen! Thanks to all of the students and parents who submitted repertoire suggestions. I seriously considered all 47 pieces that were sent in. One student suggestion made the cut and will be in the final set. It was a hard sell and not an easy process to whittle down. I want to especially thank the creative team. Wendy Senzig, Angela Peavler, Jenni Balch, Jeremy Peters, Donovan Senzig, and Mike Cobb. We have already begun arranging them for the choir and I am confident that our covers will be more beautiful and moving than the originals! Each member of the team contributed a great deal to the discussion.
I have a lot of unanswered questions about what auditioning for this really means. There are more loose ends than leaves on a tree but please be patient. Please consider sharing my perspective with the kids. They have had the most amazing experience that any elementary school from Racine has ever had. The WCDA convention and being an international sensation have both been huge points of pride for all of us. This is the best trained children’s choir I have ever directed. If we packed it in and called it quits for the year right now, we had an incredible year! This offer to audition is not the direction that I had planned when I conceived of the effects we could have with the correct repertoire. Those benefits will take some time, maybe even a couple of years to develop fully. Each year better than the last. Listen to the choir from the last three years. See the growth from one year to the next. No one should lament the gains made in the year they sang in choir but rather revel in their triumphs. I chose to have kids in choir as young as 2nd grade so that the choir will continue to benefit from the growing experience. This is all part of my vision to help create a culture in our world where people choose to experience and express themselves through music and song. Where people can learn the values of working together for a common expression of beauty. Where everyone can find a place to feel valued and have a sense of belonging. Join Choir is not just my screen name but my way of throwing a lifeline to everyone who has ever felt alone. I saw some of that same need for belonging in the comments of many people who watched our video. These memes or cliches from the Portal video game that people keep posting are a way that they can feel a shared experience with other human beings. Check out this screen shot that someone posted: http://imgur.com/HBmOI.png
This opportunity has opened the doors for even more great things to happen. The level of commitment of members and families has gone ballistic. Donations are starting to come in, people are reprioritizing their lives, volunteering and making sacrifices for the benefit of the whole group. This is what it is to be a part of a community. I want you to focus your attention on the concert on May 2 at UW-Parkside while using the chance of passing the audition as the catalyst to take us to the next level of performance ability. Whatever happens we are going to go out there and give the audience at UWP the best Children’s Choir concert ever. Think of what we are doing: Premiering a new piece of music in Spanish that was written for our choir. Singing a song in Latin with a wonderful college choir (the kids almost brought me to tears on Thursday with the sheer beauty of their sound on the Fanshawe “Dona Nobis Pacem”), we will have an audience of college aged kids that will be appreciative of the “Still Alive” piece, 400,000 people around the world are waiting to see the video and on top of all that we will be presenting the three biggest brand new multimedia pieces we have ever done!
Sorry, I’ve been obsessing a bit…
Here are some of the questions that people have raised. I am posting them so that you know you are not alone and so that when I can answer them I will.
example of questions:
Q: when is the audition?/ a: Saturday May 1 we shoot a video at the end of rehearsal from 1-3 (rehearsal 10-3PM)
Q: where is the audition?/a: Gifford Auditorium
Q: what are the costs of the audition?/ a: Nothing (musicians,videographer, etc yes but no fee)
Q: what is the commitment towards the audition?/ a: No one can miss more than 1 hour of rehearsal and still
participate, must be present for video taping.
Q: what is the commitment if they are chosen: a: Unknown
Q: will the TV producer choose the whole choir or just some of the kids?/a: I don’t know and I’m not sure he does.
Q: what is the benefit to the kids?/ a: first of all ask the kids what it would mean to them. Financially I have no idea.
Q: what is the cost to the kids?/a: unknown
Q: where will the show be performed or taped?/a: unknown
do I have to quit my day job?/a: I can’t imagine. Unknown
Q: what about your family?/a: Not sure what this means?
Q: what about all the other kids at Gifford? who will teach them music while you are away?/ a: I don’t suppose I have any more chance of leaving because of this than other things that could take me away. Anyway, I want to be at Gifford to produce ZOMBIE ATTACK! next year.
Q: where can I find out more info about RDF USA? /a: http://www.rdfusa.com/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RDF_USA http://www.linkedin.com/companies/rdf-usa
Q: What if my kid has to miss more than 1 hour of rehearsal?/ a: It is impossible to be in two places at once. You have to make a choice and I wish I could make it easier for you. If one or two soccer games is more important than a chance at being a part of three amazing pieces for choir and a possible part in a TV show then soccer it is. The concert at Parkside is going to be the world championship of choir concerts.
Q: What if I take my kid out of the audition? Can they still be a part of choir?/a: Yes! They are still expected to be a part of choir. The choir year ends on May 25 after the concert. They will simply not be a part of the new repertoire. At UWP and Case they will sing Still Alive, El Tiburon, Dona Nobis and maybe Grand Entry.
Q: If my kid has not been coming to Caiman Chorus does it matter?/ Yes! Being in Caiman Chorus is a requirement for being in Children’s Choir. Be there this week Thursday!
Q: Why R U being so strict?: /a: The pieces are to be choreographed. If we are to pass the audition things must be as close to perfect as possible. It will already be a herculean task to prepare four new pieces with instruments and movement in 8 days and just 11 hours of practice. It has taken us a semester to prepare three pieces. All you need to do is look at the last video to see the off centered top row caused by missing students in the lower rows.
Add your questions as comments. Please do not mention the songs we are singing.