14 Songs in 14 Days: Day 9, The Later College Choir Years

Recap: I was challenged by one of my friends in EMU Choir to participate in one of those “14 Songs in 14 Days” kind of things, where you list or discuss 14 pieces of music that have had a profound impact on your life! Seeing as to how I have an abundance of time on my hands that I’m using only semi-usefully to this point in the quarantine/isolation, I figured why not step up my game a bit and use this challenge as the theme of a blog post series. For the entire series, click here.

This evening’s post is largely a continuation of yesterday’s writing about my undergraduate college choir days, so I’m leaving you with less text to wade through tonight… No spoilers, but I’ve got a different musical project simmer on the back-burner that I’m itching to get back to!

So, without further adieu, here are three more exquisite songs from the UTM University Singers/New Pacers time in my life. [Actually, I looked it up because I still have old tour program booklets! All of these were from the 2007–2008 years, and all were performed by New Pacers…guess they were more challenging/suitable for the chamber choir.]

The first of these is the last movement (No. 10) “There’s a Time to Live” from less-well-known (in the US, anyway) New Zealand composer Jenny McLeod in her modern masterpiece Childhood (1981). The work, deceptively complex, sets texts from the perspective of children written by the composer. While we initially set out to perform the entire work, we eventually settled for a handful of the movements, including “There’s a Time to Live,” which brings the set to a natural conclusion. There aren’t many recordings of the work, at least as stand-alone videos on YouTube, so here’s an MP3 recording of the movement from an album of the entire work performed by the New Zealand National Youth Choir.

The second piece on the docket tonight: an absolute classic! John Rutter’s Hymn to the Creator of Light. I had a difficult time choosing between this and the Rutter Gloria, which we performed with…I want to say the Jackson Symphony’s brass section and organ? freshman year. I went with Hymn to the Creator of Light because I’m guessing you my readers are less likely to know it, hmm?

One more to round out your evening listening (I’m sure that’s what you’re doing, right?) I chose this one because Karen and I still sometimes talk about it…it was that transformational at the time. One of (it not the) first times singing in a language outside the normal European canon (ENG, FRN, GER, ITA, Latin, and occasionally Russian or Swedish or Estonian if you’re lucky…) and in a very non-Western modality! Commissioned by Chanticleer, Jackson Hill’s In Winter’s Keeping has a Japanese text and employs a number of Japanese-inspired musical ideas/motifs, though Hill himself is American.

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