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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Denver-Chorus America/NPAC

We went to the Chorus America conference from June 10-14, which this year was a joint effort with the other service organizations (orchestra, opera, chamber music, theatre, dance, etc.) as the National Performing Arts Conference in Denver.

I have to say, with combined organizations it was harder to find people (one of the chief reasons for going to these conferences!) and there were fewer purely choral sessions. However, it was still worthwhile.

We got there on Tuesday, before things really began, and ran into Dale Warland and his wife Ruth at the hotel, plus Roger Sherman of Loft/Gothic records, so had dinner together at a very nice Indian restaurant that evening.

We had a lovely time. I've known Dale for some time, since I brought him out to a PLU summer choral workshop some years ago (about the time he was leaving Macalester College and doing the Dale Warland Singers full-time. And I met Ruth not too long afterwards--as I mentioned, one year I flew out to Minneapolis-St. Paul to observe Dale's auditions. They're both wonderful people, incredibly warm. Roger I've known since 1978, when he recorded my performance of the Monteverdi 1610 Vespers just before the National AGO conference in Seattle. Roger's a fine organist/church musician who'd met Dale a number of years before I did while Music Director at the Episcopal Cathedral in Minneapolis (later in Milwaukee). He wanted to get back to the Northwest and took a position at a little start-up called Microsoft. After "retiring" more than 10 years ago, he started Loft Records (which is now Gothic Records) and it has gradually grown, recently taking over the Clarion Records catalogue. He recorded and released all three of Choral Arts' CDs that I did. He specializes in organ and choral music and has a great catalogue, re-releasing many of Dale's older recordings that were out of print, and several from performance tapes. A terrific guy.

We also had time with our Pro Coro Canada colleagues (in order in the photograph below next to me): David Garber (manager), Trent Worthington (tenor, associate conductor), and Peter Malcolm (bass and treasurer of the board).

We also had a great time, time to brainstorm, and all found worthwhile sessions and networking.

Maria Guinand, our wonderful friend from Venezuela, did a great session which was essentially reminiscing about how her career had evolved--moving and fantastic. Maria has guest-conducted Pro Coro twice.

In the picture below, Karen Thomas (conductor of Seattle Pro Musica, which I founded in 1973 and which has blossomed under her leadership), Trent, Maria, and Vance George (retired from the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, but not from conducting:

We also had a lovely dinner organized by Earl Rivers of CCM/University of Cincinnati choral department, again with Dale and Ruth Warland, and Johnny Ku, who's finishing up his DMA at CCM and was recently appointed conductor for the Taipei Philharmonic Choir beginning next year. I'll be guest professor at CCM again next May while Earl is on sabbatical, and am looking forward to it.

On Saturday, after the conference was primarily over, we met with Mike and Simone Rogers. Simone is a childhood friend of Kathryn's and they've always stayed in touch, even though they've seen each other rarely. Mike was in the Air Force, but is now retired from the service and working in Colorado Springs.

Mike and Simone:

We had a great trip into Rocky Mountain National Park, wonderful picnic lunch prepared by Simone, and a really nice visit. We had dinner in Boulder on the way back to Denver. At the park, we saw lots of wildlife, from Elk and deer to pikas and marmots.

And since Kathryn always takes these pictures and is rarely in them, here she is, too!

It was a good week. We've been back home now for a little more than a week, trying to catch up on work, and leave tomorrow for Portland, then Eugene for a performance of the Bach Mass in B Minor with Helmuth Rilling at the Oregon Bach Festival.

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