Choruses are good for you: official
2 June 2009
Cheerful: Oklahoma's Canterbury Choral Society
Choral singing is the most popular form of participation in the performing arts for both adults and children in America.
That is one of the findings of a new report from Chorus America, which found that an estimated 32.5 million adults regularly sing in choruses in the US, up from 23.5 million estimated in 2003. When children are included, there are 42.6 million Americans singing in choruses in 2009. More than one in five households have at least one singing family member.
The study also draws links between choral singing and success in life, stating that greater civic involvement, discipline, and teamwork are just a few of the attributes fostered by singing with a choral ensemble.
Among the findings were that choral singers donate 2.5 times more money to philanthropic organisations than the general public; 96% of choral singers surveyed who are eligible voters said they vote regularly in national and local elections, compared with 70% of the general public; and choral singers are at least two times more likely to attend theatre, opera, and orchestra.
Looking at children in choruses, the report said that 71% of parents with singing children felt that the children had become more self-confident; 90% of educators believe singing in a choir can keep some students engaged in school who might otherwise be lost; and children who participate in a chorus get significantly better grades than children who have never sung in a choir – 45% of parents whose children sing state their child receives 'all or mostly A's' in mathematics (compared with 38% of non-choir parents) and 54% get 'all or mostly A's' in English and other language arts classes (43%).
Chorus America chairman Todd Estabrook said: 'The data in this report suggests that it would be a mistake not to leverage the benefits that choruses bring to children, adults, and the communities they serve. Simply put, if you’re searching for a group of talented, engaged, and generous community members, you would do well to start with a chorus.'
The full report and an executive summary are available online at www.chorusamerica.org.
Elton John concert in aid of a new organ for the Royal Academy of Music
28 May 2009
Elton John and Ray Cooper are to give a concert in London’s Royal Albert Hall to raise funds for a new organ in Duke’s Hall, the Royal Academy of Music announced today. The concert by Sir Elton and his percussionist colleague Cooper will be compered by actor and comedian Stephen Fry and will also feature British rock star Teddy Thompson and Academy students.
Sir Elton was a Junior Exhibitioner at the Royal Academy of Music and commented that the training he received was ‘vitally important’ to the development of his musical career. He has already supported students there since 2002 through the Elton John Scholarship Fund; this concert will now help his alma mater to buy and install the new organ for the Academy’s principle concert hall.
The Academy’s principal, Professor Jonathan Freeman-Attwood, called Sir Elton’s close association with the institution ‘an inspiration… a supreme advocate for what the Academy represents in British cultural life.’ Head of organ studies David Titterington commented: ‘The extraordinary generosity of Sir Elton John will guarantee future generations of organ students at the Academy a world-class instrument for teaching and the performance of a wide-range of symphonic repertoire. What more could the organ world want, than the support of one of the music legends of our time?’
The concert will be on Tuesday 22 September 2009. Tickets priced from £35 to £175 are on sale from 9am Friday 29 May 2009. Box office 020 7589 8212, www.royalalberthall.com; Ticketmaster 0844 847 2450, www.ticketmaster.co.uk ; See Tickets 0871 2200 260; www.seetickets.co.uk ; Ticketline 08448 889 991, www.ticketline.co.uk
For VIP box packages only, please call Caroline Clark at the Royal Academy of Music: 020 7873 7333, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
International Organ Festival at St Albans
26 May 2009
The Duchess of Gloucester will attend the Three Choirs Concert on 13 July, given by the choirs of King’s College Cambridge, Westminster Abbey, and St Albans Cathedral.
A total of 21 young organists from 11 countries have won places in the final rounds of the interpretation and improvisation competitions, competing for a prize fund of over £16,000. They were chosen from a total of 49 applicants from 19 countries by a jury made up of festival founder and president Peter Hurford, artistic director David Titterington, City of Birmingham organist Thomas Trotter and Swiss organist Lionel Rogg.
Included in the line-up are three each from France, Russia, Germany, Hungary and the USA, and others from Switzerland, Korea, the Czech Republic, Australia, Switzerland and Italy. Surprisingly, for the first time no British organists made it through to the first round. Linda Sitkova from the Czech Republic returns to the competition, having won the special Jean Langlais prize at the last one in 2007. The competitions begin on 9 July.
Titterington commented: ‘It was very clear from the 49 recordings screened by the pre-selection jury that the International Organ Competition at St Albans continues to attract the very best young organists from around the world. I am certain from what we have already heard the 2009 competitions will deliver some thrilling performances, especially on the recently restored cathedral organ.’
The International Organ Festival takes place in St Albans on 9–18 July: www.organfestival.com
26 May 2009
The application deadline for the Organ Academy on 21–28
June in Alkmaar has been extended to accommodate latecomers.
Open to amateur organists, organ students and professional organists, the Academy welcomes both active and non-active participants. Those interested should contact the festival immediately.
The Academy gives the opportunity to try out the oldest playable organ in the Netherlands, by Jan van Covelens (1511), and the renowned 1645 Van Hagerbeer organ, both in Grote Sint Laurenskerk.
Concert tickets can be bought in advance online; concessions and tickets not listed are only available 45 minutes before the starting-time, at the paydesk of the church concerned.
After 10 June advanced bookings can be made at the tourist office in Alkmaar.
BIOS and RCM form new partnership
26 May 2009
The National Pipe Organ Register is being expanded and made more accessible thanks to a new partnership between the British Institute of Organ Studies and the Royal College of Music in London.
Launched by BIOS in 1987, the NPOR has been in computer-based form since 1991, making available lists of organ specifications, photographs and sound files of historic British organs. More than 1,000 stop-lists are consulted daily by people around the world. The free internet service is now run on the RCM’s computers, at www.npor.org.uk.
A new sound file of organ music played from Adlington Hall, Cheshire, has just been added to the NPOR website to mark the 50th anniversary of the instrument’s restoration by Noel Mander.
BIOS chairman John Norman says: ‘BIOS is very happy with the enthusiasm of both Paul Banks [RCM professor of performance history] and Nicholas Watkins [RCM head of ICT] to work with us on the future development of this invaluable service. Like all large databases the NPOR has some errors and omissions, and BIOS has a team of skilled volunteers updating the records in response to corrections sent in by interested organists.’
Update information should be sent to email@example.com. BIOS membership details are available from BIOSfirstname.lastname@example.org.