Stretching the Skills of Church Choirs
Working with amateur singers in church choirs is a different world than working with professional singers. Auditioned choirs weed out singers with problems, but church music should be more inclusive than exclusive. Some singers hurt the sound of our choirs—what can we do about it? This session presents accessible paths to solving common vocal problems, using simple analogies to explain often-mysterious vocal terms, such as breath support, tone placement, and open throat. By following these suggestions, most of the vocal concerns of your singers will simply disappear. In addition, this session covers effective choral warm-ups, offering fresh, new exercises.
Michael Kemp, conductor, lecturer, and author, is conductor of the Academy Chorale and Academy Chamber Society in Philadelphia. He led prestigious church music programs in Texas, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania, and served as both choral and orchestral director for Germantown Academy in Ft. Washington, Pennsylvania. While in Texas, he founded the Arlington Choral Society, which critics placed “on the top rung of choral music in the Dallas Metroplex,” and was church music lecturer at Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology. He built, from ground up, two adult community choruses, one community symphony orchestra, four church youth choirs, and two academic high school choirs. A respected choral clinician, he has taught in almost every state and Canadian province, and at national music conferences of fourteen different denominations. He authored The Choral Challenge: Practical Paths to Solving Problems (G.I.A.), with a second book on amateur choirs and aging singers available soon.