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Be Thou My Vision
Celtic Worship

Steph Macleod – Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
Naomi Stirrat – Vocals
Mhairi Marwick – Fiddle, Rhodes
Scott Wood – Whistles, Bagpipes
Chris Amer – Electric Guitar
Gus Stirrat – Bass
Ifedade Thomas – Drums

I am studying up on flute music at the moment, due to several flute auditions that will be occurring soon (one is for symphony and one for opera, so I have my studying work cut out for me!). I’m on the panel and I want to be absolutely certain I know the music well.

As is typical, included are not only orchestral excerpts, but a concerto (or two).

The latest video of a work for flute and orchestra that I listened focussed on the soloist in the video, but behind her is a flutist in the orchestra, seen for the entire work. I’m betting that flutist had no idea how clearly she is seen, and how it is pretty darn obvious she isn’t impressed with the soloist. At the end of the work the orchestra musicians are applauding … except that orchestra flutist, along with the principal oboist. They just sat there.

This is a good lesson for me. We can be seen. Even if we aren’t totally impressed with the soloist, looking like we can’t stand the playing is unnecessary, and not applauding just looks rude. At least to me.

Parry: My Soul, There is a Country
Choir of Royal Holloway

My soul, there is a country
Far beyond the stars,
Where stands a winged sentry
All skilful in the wars:
There, above noise and danger
Sweet Peace sits crowned with smiles
And One, born in a manger
Commands the beauteous files.
He is thy gracious friend
And, O my soul, awake!
Did in pure love descend
To die here for thy sake.
If thou canst get but thither,
There grows the flow’r of Peace,
The Rose that cannot wither,
Thy fortress and thy ease.
Leave then thy foolish ranges,
For none can thee secure
But One who never changes,
Thy God, thy life, thy cure.

Some time ago now a musician posted some very negative things about a concert s/he was involved in. The person was primarily saying how awful the music was.

I would caution people about this.

Yes, sometimes we play music we don’t like. But to tell our audience that is unnecessary and could even be harmful. Some might love the music and think it’s the best thing ever. Others might skip buying tickets because of what they read from a performer. And, honestly, it just isn’t necessary.

I even try to be quiet about a performance as I’m walking to my car if there are things I want to complain about. (Mind you, I don’t always succeed!) I don’t want to tell an audience member about the mistakes; most of the time they haven’t a clue that something went wrong, and if they do they usually understand that that kind of thing happens. (Ah the joy of live music!)

Þorkell Sigurbjörnsson: Heyr Himna Smiour

William Byrd: Sing Joyfully

Linda Kachelmeier: We Toast the Days

Performed by Cantus on December 20, 2018 at the Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas in St. Paul, MN.

Music and lyrics by Linda Kachelmeier


When the clock strikes twelve and another year has gone,
I give a kiss to you
As remembrance of the past we have shared and the future yet to come.

We toast the days, both good and bad,
the old friends and the new.
When the clock strikes twelve and another year has gone,
I give a kiss to you.

While the night is long and the bitter cold has come,
we lengthen our embrace
To sustain us as we mourn our regrets and the fear of days unknown.

We toast the days…

As we stand on the edge of another bright new year,
I take your hand in mine
With assurance of the courage we will find
and the hope that leads us on.

L.A. Choral Lab; Michael Alfera, Conductor & Artistic Director

Jonathan Rathbone: The Oxen

Ensemble miXtur

Christmas, Christmas glorious Christmas
Shine over white forests
The crowns of heaven with sparkling lights
Glistening bows in each of gods houses
A hymn sung time and time again
Eternal longing for light and peace
Christmas, Christmas, glorious Christmas
Shine over white forests

Come, come holy Christmas
Wrap your white wings
Around the blood and turmoil of war
Around all the people’s sighs
Around all the families who travel to peace
Around the youth’s daily lives
Come, come, holy Christmas
Bring your white wings down