Music Class: Beriozka Recording

Here’s a stunning recording of the Russian Red Army Choir singing a rendering of “Beriozka,” the “Birch Tree.”  The arrangement I wrote (in Music Theory for Choral Singers, p. 85) is patterned (very loosely) after this great interpretation.  The lyrics refer to the balalaika and you can see and hear some being played in the video.


Thanks to Lyubov and Alexander for their help pronouncing the Russian lyrics!

Cantamus Party!

Food, Fun, Games, Swimming, Trampoline!

  • Date: Saturday, September 8
  • Time: 4-8pm
  • Who: Cantamus members (and parents) only
  • Place: the Wolfe home
  • Bring: $3 or food to share (salad, chips, ice cream bars, fruit, beverages); and a modest swimsuit if you wish to swim.  Dr. and Mrs. Wolfe will provide barbecued hamburgers and hot dogs with buns and condiments.  Veggie burgers will be available by request if you prefer a vegetarian option.

Any money you bring will go to a Cantamus scholarship fund.

The Wolfe home is close to TPA, walking distance.  If you need directions, email me and I’ll send them to you.

Creating a Film Score: Harry Potter

TPA students (and parents) may find the following feature of interest: “Creating the World of Harry Potter Part 4: Sound and Music.” It is 54 minutes long.

[Well, the YouTube video was removed “due to a copyright claim by MC for Warner Brothers.”  Oh, dear!]

In lieu of the longer video, which I believe is now available commercially, here’s a short video, narrated by composer John Williams about some of the thinking that goes into a film score:


Students of music history will recognize that the film composers for the Harry Potter series utilized the leitmotiv technique, developed in nineteenth century European opera (notably, Carl Maria von Weber’s Der Freischütz) and especially exploited with a vengeance by opera composer Richard Wagner.  Students of film also will acknowledge that composers for epic films have been using this technique — which associates musical ideas with theatrical ideas — for years, perpetually as far back as the 1930s.

Unfortunately, film audience members often pay little or no attention to the film score.  Poor dears!  Unlike TPA students, they frequently are unaware that some of the best in pop culture derives directly from classical culture.  Time will only tell what our students, whose study is exclusively in the classics, will accomplish in years to come!

Cantamus Audition Results

Cantamus audition results will be posted on the Zelman Center Door early tomorrow, Friday, August 24.  Congratulations to everyone who auditioned!

The sections are as follows:

Sopranos = 14                    Altos = 13

Tenors = 8                           Basses = 14

Total = 49 wonderful singers!

Note: To actually join the ensemble, singers who were accepted into Cantamus must complete the registration process as described here

Performing Arts Registration Form

Members of Performing Arts ensembles, including Cantamus, Sinfonietta, Junior High Choir, and Junior Varsity Strings, must

  1. Complete and return the registration form below
  2. Pay participation fees or make arrangements with the business office

When both of these easy steps are complete, membership in the ensemble is assured and the director may check out a folder and scores to the student.

Students are required to complete the registration process by the third regular meeting of the ensemble in order to become “members.”  Until that time, they are “guests” of the ensemble.

  ECPA_Registration_Form_and_Participation_Policy.pdf (204.1 KiB)

Cantamus off to a Great Start!

While we started a little late due to the many changes around campus, Cantamus is off to a great start!

With some great icebreakers, wonderful auditions by individuals, and an incredibly powerful and beautiful sound as a brand new ensemble, this surely will prove to be one of our best groups ever!

If you have not completed your audition — both the range check and the audition song — plan to do so early next week.  When I’ve heard everyone, I’ll be able to place you in your section and we can get started on our repertoire!

Cantamus rehearses every Tuesday and Thursday, 7am – 8am in the Zelman Center auditorium.

Cantamus Rises!

The premier choir on campus, Cantamus, begins get-acquainted time, rehearsals, and auditions on Tuesday, August 14 at 7am in the magnificent Zelman Center!

All singers, both returning members and prospective members need to prepare an audition song: sixteen measures of a song of your choice.  The audition also includes a range check that requires no preparation.

A beginning of year party is scheduled for Friday evening, August 17.

This promises to be an outstanding year.  The Cantamus Council has brought up some great ideas.

If you have questions please don’t hesitate to contact me.

This just in: the ASU Choral Leadership Workshop definitely is scheduled for Saturday, September 15.  

Welcome to a New Year!

Welcome to a new school year at TPA!  On this blog you’ll find helpful forms and schedules for 10th and 11th grade music classes.  Students who sing in Cantamus will find downloads and other information they’ll need for the school year.

Right now, the old postings from last year are still online.  I’ll be updating these within the next two weeks.  Thank you for your patience and welcome to the new year!