First Concert of the Year

This last weekend was our first concert of this new school year. It’s the typical Choral Showcase with the Combined Choirs at BYU. Men’s and Women’s chorus started the evening with their combined number and their individual sets. Both have been working really hard and it payed off.

For our set we sang three songs:

– “Alleluia Cognoverunt Discipuli” by William Byrd
– “Abide with Me” arranged by Molly Ijames
– “With Drooping Wings” by Henry Purcell

The first is surprisingly difficult to memorize. I’m not exactly sure why this is, but it could have something to do with all the uneven rests. It actually came off really well, and were all glad that it all came together so well. Byrd is a really amazing composer. We’re doing a song of his in Wasatch Chamber Choir.

The arrangement of “Abide with Me,” was easy to learn and easy to sing, but what a powerful statement it turned out to be. It means much more to me now that it did in the past. Look up this arrangement.

The last song we sang a cappella without any strings. In this piece, we worked really hard on tuning and phrasing. It was easy to learn but hard to execute. When we took it to performance Dr. Staheli took it much slower than we ever took it in rehearsal. And even though we took much more time in certain places, all of us followed him with incredible flexibility. It was exhilarating to have everyone following something that we’d never practiced. We didn’t do it as well the second night, but it was good.

Concert Choir sang just one piece, but it was the Magnificat by Finzi. Holy Cow. It was incredible. They sound like a million bucks. It was the first time I’d heard it, and I was blown away. Kudos to them for working the hardest of all of us. What a miracle.

Our next concert is with the King’s Singers at the end of October. We’ll be performing a relatively new piece by Eric Whitacre called “The Stolen Child.” Tickets go on sale tomorrow! Also, a hello and thank you to “Ian” who came from the University of Utah to see out concert this weekend.

Wee Payson

Photo by BJ Zeyer (

The last couple of weeks before school started my friend BJ and I went up to Payson Lakes to have one last hoo-rah before school started again. I’ve been here once before but it was kinda busy, not really crowded, but busy. We decided to go Thursday during the day. Since school had started and other people were at work, we virtually had the place all to ourselves. For an hour or so, there was literally not another soul around.

Photo by BJ Zeyer (

There are three lakes up at Payson Lakes (which is located on the Mt. Nebo loop). The first time we went, we walked around the third one for a while and then swam for a bit in the second one. It was nice, but it was rather small, wasn’t very deep and quite a bit of pond scum.

The third time we went up we bought some inner tubes (on sale) and floated out in the middle of the third lake (which is the largest). We just sat there floating for several hours, relaxing, enjoying the scenery and soaking up the sun. It was well nice. There’s nothing quite like drifting around without a care in the world. It just felt so great to forget all responsibilities and give our minds relief. The third lake is prolly the best one.

After we were done drifting around, we got up on this dock nearby and got dry while lying in the sun. We spent the rest of the time talking about life, career plans, and this coming school year.

It’s kinda sad that we didn’t get to using this place till the end of summer. We should have come here all summer. I guess at least we got to come here while it was still warm. It reminds of me of relaxing on the beach in California. There are very few times when I feel so calm. So what do we do for winter?

Thanks for the pitchers BeeJ!

Photo by BJ Zeyer (


Back in BYU Singers

Well, I’m back in BYU Singers this year, and I’m very excited about the possibilities. So far, we’ve been looking at a lot of Renaissance stuff, mainly Byrd and Taverner. We also looked at the first two pages of Bob Chilcott’s “High Flight” that we’re doing this with the King’s Singers next month. Really looking forward to that.

Being back with a completely new group of people (there’s been a lot of turnover this year) I started to ask a question: What does it mean to be in BYU Singers? Well, in my pondering, I’ve come up with a small list:

– You must be willing to learn a piece, rehearse it relentlessly, take time outside class to memorize it and then end up never singing it in concert or even recording it. All this without complaining, because it never felt like a waste of time.

– You must be willing to forfeit all personal space you once had. You do not have a “bubble.”

– You must accept the fact that you will drop your music folder and all 60 pieces of music will spill out everywhere. And if you lucky, this might even take place in the middle of rehearsal. Bonus points for all the paper cuts you get trying to put your music back in some sort of order.

– You must not only gratefully accept constructive criticism and correction from those around you, but seek after it.

– You must get used to people thinking that because you’re in BYU Singers you have this amazing voice that can do no wrong.

– You are with a bunch of other choir nerds who love choral music and have a palpable sense of ownership and commitment to sharing something profound. You’ve never felt more at home.

It’s just a few things I thought of, and looking back on it, I’m just flooded with so many wonderful memories. This is such an amazing ensemble and I’m so privileged to be a part of it. At the same time, I understand completely that I’m still a pup in this group compared to everyone else around me.

I’m counting down the hours every day till the next rehearsal.