My Favorite Holiday

Yes, it’s true, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I mean, I love all the other holidays and all, but Thanksgiving holds a special place in my heart. Coming together with family, eating great food, and taking some time to reflect on what we’re truly grateful for. It’s a true American tradition (and Canadian I suppose). I love this time of year.

Of course, since Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, I’m always a scrooge about all that Christmas stuff that comes out before Halloween. This year though, I didn’t mind so much. I dunno. I guess I’ve been too busy to notice. Oh well.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Our Concerts this Weekend


This last weekend I got to sing in a concert with BYU Singers and Concert Choir. It was a lot of fun. It was full of ups and downs, but we came out soaring. One of my favorite parts of the concert was our format. When our two choirs perform we don’t just have one choir perform than the other and that’s it, we actually go back and forth alternating between the two. When one of the choirs isn’t performing, they’re seated upstage behind the group that’s performing. That way, both choirs get to rest between sets and enjoy hearing what the other choir has prepared. I can’t really imagine any better way to perform a concert now.

BYU Singers started the concert with two 12th Century Irish pieces, “Armaque cum scuto,” and “Christus resurgens,” both arranged by Michael McGlynn. To be honest, it wasn’t our best, and I wish we could’ve had another chance at both of these. Overall, it was okay. The percussion we had was really cool though and really added to the effect we wanted.

Next was the set that we’ve really been preparing for, our pride and joy. We sang Un Soir de Neige (A Night of Snow) by Francis Poulenc. If you’re not familiar with this work I encourage you to listen to it, and study it for a bit. It’s a remarkable piece that’s really hard to learn and even harder to master. We’ve been rehearsing it since early September and have been continually understanding it more and more till the moment before we performed it. It went really really well.

Next, Concert Choir performed their set of songs called, “Savior of the World.” It was magnificent from beginning to end. They performed,
“Salvator Mundi” from Herbert Howells’ Requiem
“Dare to Call it Good,” by Thomas Tallis,
“Alleluja, Christ is Risen,” by Stephen Paulus and
“Jesus, the Very Though of Thee” by Bert Vander Hoek.
It was a moving set of music, especially the “Alleluja” by Stephen Paulus. Concert Choir’s interpretation was stunning with their trademark shimmering sound.

After this set, Singers got up and sang a set called “Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum” of four Latin pieces. These are old and new works of familiar latin text. These included,
“Cantate Domino” by Claudio Monteverdi,
“Kyrie in Eb major” by Josef Rheinberger,
“Alleluja, Christus resurrexit” by Colin Mawby and
“Gloria” by Greg Knauf
I could go on for a while about each of these pieces. but I’ll just say that our “Gloria” was rockin’. The piece is so dynamic and electric that it’s hard to not be caught up in it’s tour de force.

Concert Choir sang next a delightful set called “Seasonal Shakespeare.” Three Songs of Shakespeare texts set by different composers. They sang,
“It Was a Lover and His Lass,” by William Mathias,
“Blow, Blow, Thou Winder Wind,” from When Icicles Hang by John Rutter and
“Summer Sonnet” by Kevin Olson
The last piece was my favorite, using the words “Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day,” the composer set it to a jazzy, rumba theme that just made everyone smile.

We finished the concert with a set called “The Road Home,” which included pieces that will be on our fourth PBS concert film. Concert Choir sang, “Shenandoah,” by Steven Samertz, and “Ain’t That News” by Stephen Hatfield. Singers sang “I Feel Like I’m on My Journey Home,” by Dr. Staheli. Then both choirs together sang a brand new arrangment of “Whither Goest Thou, Pilgrim Stranger,” by Dr. Staheli that brought the audience to their feet.

It was a really fun concert to sing, and I had a blast both singing and listening. In case you couldn’t make it, they taped it to be broadcast again on KBYU next year. So, so if you can catch it then.