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Musica!

Chorale

Musica!
The Name Says It All!

Instructor: Dr. Robert Jones
Office: M/T 129

Phone: 937-229-3909
robert.jones@notes.udayton.edu

 

THE ENSEMBLE

The chronological, geographical, and vocational makeup of MUSICA! is as multifaceted as its repertoire. Ranging in age from twenty-two to fifty-seven, and with two/thirds of the group over thirty, time is truly moving these singers toward musical perfection. They represent a myriad of vocations, including a painting contractor, an electronic publishing specialist, a vice-president of finance, a postal worker, a certified health physicist, an electronic circuit engineer, an administrative assistant, an information technology specialist, several teachers, and two domestic goddesses. They gather weekly at Grace United Methodist Church, itself a historic setting for choral music since the early part of the century. Hailing from all over the Miami Valley and as far away as Indianapolis, they are drawn together by a passion for choral music of every description, and as much of it as they can produce with artistic excellence. Whether outdoors at the Wegerzyn Gardens, in the Cloister at Dayton Art Institute, on concert series at the University of Dayton or Rio Grande University, New Year’s Eve in downtown Dayton, an AIDS benefit, church sanctuaries, private parties, on concert series, the Ohio Music Educators or Ohio Choral Directors Conferences, the singers of MUSICA! can be found anywhere there is an invitation to sing, offering fine choral music in a relaxed format where the audience feels invited to enjoy a gift of music among friends. MUSICA! often performs unconducted, with the singers speaking directly to the audience about the music during the concert.

 

THE ORGANIZATION

MUSICA! was founded in January 1990 by singers from the Dayton Bach Society who so enjoyed singing together for a Christmas party the month before that they decided to continue to meet. Initially, their rehearsals, choices of repertoire, and all ensemble-related matters were decided by group consensus. They soon expanded to sixteen singers and launched a subscription concert series. After becoming frustrated with the rehearsal-by-committee process, they invited Dr. John Leman of Cincinnati Conservatory of Music to assess their sound and offer suggestions for improvement. The rapport between John and MUSICA! was immediately apparent, and the ensemble asked him to become their Artistic Director in 1993. In the spring of 1999, Dr. Leman retired, and Dr. Robert Jones of the University of Dayton became MUSICA!’s new Artistic Director. Over time, the ensemble has worked diligently to improve the quality of their performances and to broaden their audience base through more frequent performances in ever-widening venues.

 

GREAT DAY the CD

Harvard Dictionary of Music defines MUSICA! as “that which relates to the art of the muses,” and more specifically identified with Polyhymnia, the muse of “many songs.” So it is that MUSICA!, the ensemble, and this debut CD,Great Day, embrace music from many musical eras and genres. Given the strong choral background of its singers, the disc includes several gems of the choral repertoire – All Creatures Now are Merry Minded, Il bianco e dolce signo (The pale and sweet swan), May Night, and Sing Ye Praises. Reflected as well is an appreciation of other cultures, in this case South American – Mata del anima sola, Te quiero, and Muie Rendera. With a nod to America’s indigenous music, jazz, MUSICA! swings with Route 66 and Java Jive, and croons the seductive Loving You. A special inclusion is the Four Shakespeare Songs by Jeffrey Van, whose works have been performed by the Dale Warland Singers and other professional ensembles and performers. Commissioned by MUSICA! in 1996, Van sets Shakespearean texts fromThe Tempest (“Full Fathom Five”), A Winter’s Tale ( “Lawn As White As Driven Snow”), Much Ado About Nothing (“Sigh No More, Ladies”) and Twelfth Night (“O Mistress Mine”). The inclusion of the lollipop I’m A Train by the King Singers’ reveals the omni-present lighter side of MUSICA! Finally, the program would not be complete without the inclusion of folksongs and spirituals - Song for the Mira,Great Day, I’m Gonna Sing ‘Til the Spirit Moves In My Heart, Shenandoah, and I Can Tell the World. Throughout this disc, the vocal talents of individual singers are spotlighted as soloists.

 

 

All sound clips are in 30 seconds long in Quicktime format (MPEG-4) and are best viewed with Quicktime Player
Mistress Mine
320K
Loving You
348K
I'm a Train
332K
Shenandoah
352K