PSALLAM! RSCM America News & Info
April 2014  
 

Long time, no PSALLAM! The only excuse I can give is that the Board and I have been busy bringing projects to a close, or ending one phase or another, and striding forth to the next. We also had our annual Board meeting in January, the highlights of which I have shared below.

On behalf of the Board, and especially for all those of you who work within the liturgical year, we pray that Holy Week may be a time of reflection and a new resolve to serve Our Lord in the best way we can. Also, that following the week of Our Lord's Passion, may we all rise to greet the Risen Lord with a mighty shout of ALLELUIA! (At St. Michael's, I have scheduled the Randall Thompson "Alleluia" as the Introit! Nothing but Alleluias from start to finish--with an Amen!)

Soli Deo Gloria,
 Andrew's signature
Andrew Walker
President, RSCM America
andrew@stmichaelschurch.com

In This E-mail
Highlights from our January Meeting
RSCM America Choir to Sing in Westminster Abbey
Anthem Competition Results
2014 Summer Training Courses
RSCM Chorister Festival in Delaware
Composing and Singing Invitations
Libera in Concert
Highlights from our January Meeting

For some reason, the Board really seems to enjoy coming down to Florida in January. Here they are at right, hard at work as usual.

Many items were discussed  during the Board's time together at its January meeting (it's amazing what the sea air does to one's energy!) Here are some highlights that I wish to share with you:
  • RSCM America remains at over 600 members, partially as a result of the Board's initiatives to call and welcome new members and to call those who have not renewed to see if we can bring them back into the fold. It was decided, due to increases in what we pay each year to RSCM International per member (a "capitation" fee that is the same for all international branches), a small increase to our annual membership dues is necessary at this time. As of June 1, 2014, the new rates will be--Affiliate: $125 (up from $115); Individual: $100 (up from $85); Friend: $60 (up from $55).  
  • We continue to develop a means of helping all of our members with the implementation of the VOICE for LIFE trainingVOICE for LIFE logo program. Within the Board, director Diane Caruso will be looking at what each of us do who use the program, in order that helpful items and modi operandi might find their way to our website or be disseminated by other means. The Getting Started section of our website has already had many responses from our members detailing how VOICE for LIFE is implemented in their organizations.
  • All of the Training Courses are in good shape as we head into another summer of music making.
  • The Board especially noted its grateful thanks for the years of splendid service given by Phillip Brunswick in running the St. Louis Course. During his 16-year tenure as course manager, he continually maintained the highest standards and showed great creativity in the managing of the week itself, the schedule, and places to sing. A job MOST well done, Phillip! We will miss you!
  • In terms of PR, the Board continues to look for inroads into various organizations and denominations where we can promote the work of RSCM America, its presence in this country, and the VOICE for LIFE program. The National Association of Pastoral Musicians Convention in St. Louis this summer may well be one avenue we will pursue. There will also be a strong presence, including an exhibition table, at this year's Association of Anglican Musicians Conference in Washington, D.C.
  • We welcomed John Wahlstrom as a new member of the Board in January. In thinking about the future needs of the Board, we ask all our members to help us identify candidates that are both great supporters of choral music and the work of the RSCM, and that are skilled in matters of PR and marketing. Click here for a Director Recommendation Form
  • In late spring the RSCM is adopting a new Bronze and Silver Awards Syllabus, with many of the processes involved with obtaining a Bronze or Silver Award becoming standardized and available online. We thank Linda Buzard, our awards agent, for devoting much time and energy into tweaking the repertoire and hymn lists to include American titles.
RSCM America Choir to Sing in Westminster Abbey, December 2014-January 2015

The big news is: We have a national choir! Initially trickling in, the auditions arrived toward the end of 2013, but then gathered momentum until a week or two into March, when we had achieved the advertised maximum number of voices--40! The choir is well-balanced, too--14 sopranos, 8 altos, 8 tenors, and 10 basses. Click here to see your RSCM America National Choir!

   

One of the most exciting aspects of this group is its make-up--we have highly-trained voices and musicians with years of experience, young singers with a great deal of training and a few years of experience, and also those without advanced levels of musical or vocal training, but definitely with the experience of singing "cathedral-level" music for years. We have folks in their 20s to their 60s--choir members, choir directors, band directors, organists, and even a few from upper academia! The group truly does represent RSCM America and all that we are.

 

We will be singing four Evensong services at Westminster Abbey: December 29 and 30, 2014 and January 1 and 2, 2015. The Evensong on Tuesday, December 30 will be conducted by Andrew Reid, Director of the RSCM. Stay tuned for many more updates as our trip approaches! 


Anthem Competition Results
Our five judges for the Anthem Competition (Katherine Dienes-Williams, Simon Lole, Bruce Neswick, Craig Phillips, and Richard Webster) carefully reviewed and studied each of the six entries received and arrived at a decision at the beginning of March. Unfortunately, the consensus was that the committee would not declare a winner or an honorable mention this time.

One of RSCM America's purposes for existence, as noted in our by-laws, is to promote the creation of new choral music, so there will be another competition in about a year or so. Some of the lessons learned in this year's contest will be put into place for the next one. It may well have been helpful for composers to know the kinds of pieces we were looking for, by naming several published, well-known choral anthems as examples of the length and level of difficulty being sought. I have also suggested that we ask for a specific text to be set--perhaps a text that would add to the anthems available to sing for Easter or Epiphany, where, once you have sung all the standards, it can be challenging to find items that are fresh and say something original. So, all of you composers out there, keep an eye out for an announcement of our next competition!

Psallam Spiritu et Mente!
RSCM America promotes excellence in church music practice and choral singing, is part of the worldwide network of The Royal School of Church Music, and works in collaboration with Westminster Choir College of Rider University.
2014 Summer
Training Courses
 
Registration is FULL for both the St. Louis and Carolina Courses, and is filling up fast for the King's College Course! Click here to view the spots at King's that are still available. For full information about each of our nine Training Courses (including the Montreal Course, which is in Boston this year), visit our Training Courses page.

RSCM Chorister Festival in Delaware
 
Malcolm Archer of Winchester College, U.K. will lead an RSCM Chorister Festival on Saturday, April 26 at Immanuel Church Highlands in Wilmington, Del. Click here to download a flyer with full details. All are invited to attend the concluding Evensong service at 4 p.m. that day! Repertoire will include the music of Brahms, Sumsion, and Archer.
  
Composing and Singing Invitations
The Choral Art Society of Portland, Maine announces a carol competition contest. Note that the deadline for submissions is June 1, 2014.

Bruce Neswick is looking for a few extra altos, tenors, and basses--preferably with good sight-reading abilities and who can blend well--for a tour to England in August 2014. Bruce writes:
The Indiana University Organ Department, teaming up with the Evensong Choir of St. Francis in the Fields Episcopal Church, Louisville, will be the choir-in-residence at Southwark Cathedral, in the heart of London, for the week of 11-17 August 2014. Daily services will culminate with a final Sunday Eucharist and Evensong. Current IU organists will serve exclusively as the organists and conductors for all the services, though alums and friends would be welcome (pending approval from Prof. Neswick) to join as singers.
If you or someone you know might be a serious candidate, please contact Bruce Neswick directly.
  
Libera in Concert

Libera, the South London- based vocal group, will perform two concerts next week--April 15 at Church of the Incarnation in New York City, and April 16 at the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown, N.J. Click here for more information about the group.
 
 
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