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No choir in San Diego

What happened to La Jolla Presbyterian, Mission Valley United Methodist, St. James by the Sea, First Presbyterian downtown?

Wiki Commons photo of Verdi's Requiem
Wiki Commons photo of Verdi's Requiem

I was speaking with a friend who is a music professor and a choir director. One of the institutions he works for would like him to build a bigger choir program which he is definitely capable of doing. The problem is they aren’t paying him for the time it would take to build a program. Therefore, he is doing what he can with the time that he has and this is correct.


Why music isn’t considered a core subject such as reading, writing, a arithmetic, is beyond me. Of all the subjects taught, music is the one subject that most of us interact with on a daily basis. Not a day goes by that we don’t hear music. Even if we don’t purposefully listen to music we will still hear it in a commercial, or in an elevator, or in a grocery store,or in the annoying car next to us at a traffic signal. Not only do we hear music every day, it will be played at our freaking funeral but no, let’s not teach it.


Some of the greatest experiences of my entire life have been standing on a stage a singing as loud or as quiet as I possibly could along with dozens of other people doing the same thing. It is intoxicating and the scale doesn’t matter. The effect was the same when I was in junior high choir, high school choir, college choir, and then finally for 20 years with the San Diego Opera Chorus. At each stage, I had the same amazing experiences in both rehearsals and performances. I have no experience with being in a band or an orchestra but I assume the experience is similar.


As my friend and I spoke, I felt my temper rising. When I moved to San Diego in 1991, there were several massive church choir programs at La Jolla Presbyterian, Mission Valley United Methodist, St. James by the Sea, and First Presbyterian, to name a few. The first time I heard Verdi’s Requiem was at First Presbyterian in downtown San Diego in 1993 and it was awesome. I knew people who sang in a church choir who were atheists but they loved singing in a choir and that was the best place to go to sing. Those church programs are a shadow of what they used to be.


Most of those churches had choirs of a hundred singers or more. Not now. A few years ago I filled in at a rehearsal at First Presbyterian for the tenor section leader. There were about 25 people there and they weren’t singing Verdi’s Requiem.


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What happened? We all know what happened. Music was systematically removed from schools. 


Music is a hidden talent. The fastest kid at school is visually the fastest kid. The best-looking kid is visually the best-looking. The best singer is hidden and will remain hidden unless there is an opportunity for that child to sing. We are robbing that child of developing what could be a rich and full musical life.


To be fair, California State Proposition 28 does provide additional funding for music and the arts. From what I’ve heard, finding qualified teachers is difficult and the going is slow.



There's nothing like singing in a great choir.


Video:

Brucker: Locus Iste



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Wiki Commons photo of Verdi's Requiem
Wiki Commons photo of Verdi's Requiem

I was speaking with a friend who is a music professor and a choir director. One of the institutions he works for would like him to build a bigger choir program which he is definitely capable of doing. The problem is they aren’t paying him for the time it would take to build a program. Therefore, he is doing what he can with the time that he has and this is correct.


Why music isn’t considered a core subject such as reading, writing, a arithmetic, is beyond me. Of all the subjects taught, music is the one subject that most of us interact with on a daily basis. Not a day goes by that we don’t hear music. Even if we don’t purposefully listen to music we will still hear it in a commercial, or in an elevator, or in a grocery store,or in the annoying car next to us at a traffic signal. Not only do we hear music every day, it will be played at our freaking funeral but no, let’s not teach it.


Some of the greatest experiences of my entire life have been standing on a stage a singing as loud or as quiet as I possibly could along with dozens of other people doing the same thing. It is intoxicating and the scale doesn’t matter. The effect was the same when I was in junior high choir, high school choir, college choir, and then finally for 20 years with the San Diego Opera Chorus. At each stage, I had the same amazing experiences in both rehearsals and performances. I have no experience with being in a band or an orchestra but I assume the experience is similar.


As my friend and I spoke, I felt my temper rising. When I moved to San Diego in 1991, there were several massive church choir programs at La Jolla Presbyterian, Mission Valley United Methodist, St. James by the Sea, and First Presbyterian, to name a few. The first time I heard Verdi’s Requiem was at First Presbyterian in downtown San Diego in 1993 and it was awesome. I knew people who sang in a church choir who were atheists but they loved singing in a choir and that was the best place to go to sing. Those church programs are a shadow of what they used to be.


Most of those churches had choirs of a hundred singers or more. Not now. A few years ago I filled in at a rehearsal at First Presbyterian for the tenor section leader. There were about 25 people there and they weren’t singing Verdi’s Requiem.


Sponsored
Sponsored

What happened? We all know what happened. Music was systematically removed from schools. 


Music is a hidden talent. The fastest kid at school is visually the fastest kid. The best-looking kid is visually the best-looking. The best singer is hidden and will remain hidden unless there is an opportunity for that child to sing. We are robbing that child of developing what could be a rich and full musical life.


To be fair, California State Proposition 28 does provide additional funding for music and the arts. From what I’ve heard, finding qualified teachers is difficult and the going is slow.



There's nothing like singing in a great choir.


Video:

Brucker: Locus Iste



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