Notes and Phrases

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Keep your O

From very early on, the Christian Church created a rich liturgy of preparation for Christmas. This season of Advent was a time for reflection, self-examination, intentionality--something that usually gets trampled somewhere between Black Friday, holiday menu planning, and the mad dash to send out the Christmas cards. One of the most ancient and lovely rituals of Advent is the singing of the great O Antiphons each night during Vespers in the week before Christmas. Boethius mentions these chants in the first years of the 6th Century, and by the 8th Century, manuscripts contain frequent examples of monks cheerfully reminding each other to "Keep your O." The original chants, sung on December 1

Consider the basses

Consider the basses. They neither toil nor spin... As they rumble out their low frequencies, sad to say, these poor guys must also countenance numerous indignities visited upon them by their conductors and, shockingly, their fellow singers. In choral circles, they are victims of ‘vocal profiling.’ It pains me to report that the grossly unfair stereotypes of basses include (but are certainly not limited to): pitch inaccuracies random rhythms unfortunate tonal choices dynamic insensitivities idiosyncratic articulations generally lumbering vocalism difficulty with foreign languages difficulty with English poor tolerance of sopranos indifference to altos resentment of tenors trouble identifyin

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