"You sing a lot of Bach, don't you?"

It has recently come to my attention that I sing rather a lot of Bach.

I am perfectly happy with this arrangement.

I never sang a note of Bach's music before moving to Boston in 2015, besides preparing my graduate school audition (somehow I thought it would be a good idea to struggle through the virtuosic BWV 1 soprano aria with no prior experience). I thought it might be fun to keep a running list of what I've done since then. Boston tossed me into a sea of dizzying melismas as soon as I arrived, and I had no idea what had hit me! Here is my comprehensive Bach repertoire list, mostly for my amusement and to gather the memories, but also as a supplement to my ordinary resume. I hear that sometimes people want to know everything you've ever sung, ever. Let's go!!

Bach Cantatas:

BWV 4: Christ lag in Todesbanden
Boston University Graduate Recital: Motoaki Kashino, April 2017 *soloist
Music at Marsh Chapel: Bach Experience Cantata Series, April 2016 *soloist
BWV 6: Bleib bei uns, den es will Abend warden

Music at Marsh Chapel: Bach Experience Cantata Series, November 2015
BWV 8: Liebster Gott, wenn werd ich sterben?
Music at Marsh Chapel: Bach Experience Cantata Series, April 2019
BWV 10: Meine Seel erhebt den Herren
Music at Marsh Chapel: Bach Experience Cantata Series, November 2016 *soloist
BWV 31: Der Himmel lacht! Die Erde jubilieret

Music at Marsh Chapel: Bach Experience Cantata Series, February 2016
BWV 36: Schwingt freudig euch empor
Handel+Haydn Society: Bach Christmas, December 2017
BWV 46: Schauet doch und sehet
Music at Marsh Chapel: Bach Experience Cantata Series, November 2018
BWV 69a: Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele
Music at Marsh Chapel: Bach and Bernstein, April 2018 *soloist
Music at Marsh Chapel: Bach Experience Cantata Series, April 2018
BWV 74: Wer mich liebet, der wird mein Wor
Music at Marsh Chapel: Bach Experience Cantata Series, April 2017
BWV 75: Die Elenden sollen essen
Bach Akademie Charlotte: First Annual Bach Festival, June 2018 *soloist, partial
Music at Marsh Chapel: King’s Chapel Noon Recital Series, October 2016
BWV 95: Christus, der ist mein Leben
Music at Marsh Chapel: Bach Experience Cantata Series, November 2017 *soloist
BWV 127: Herr Jesu Christ, wahr' Mensch und Gott
Music at Marsh Chapel: Bach Experience Cantata Series, February 2019 *soloist
BWV 130: Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir
Bach Akademie Charlotte: Second Annual Bach Festival, June 2019
BWV 136: Erforsche mich, Gott, und erfahre mein Herz

Music at Marsh Chapel: Bach Experience Cantata Series, Feburary 2018
BWV 147: Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben
Handel+Haydn Society: Bach Christmas, December 2017
Bach Akademie Charlotte: First Annual Bach Festival, June 2018
BWV 182: Himmelskönig, sei willkommen
Bach Akademie Charlotte: Bach Family Motets and Cantatas, January 2018

Other vocal works:

BWV 225: Singet dem Herrn
Bach Akademie Charlotte: First Annual Bach Festival, June 2018
Handel + Haydn Society, May 2019
BWV 227: Jesu, meine Freude
Bach Akademie Charlotte: Priceless Treasure: Bach and the Motet Tradition
BWV 228: Fürchte dich nicht
Handel+Haydn Society: Jubilee Day Concert, December 2017
BWV 230: Lobet den Herrn, alle Heiden
Handel+Haydn Society: Jubilee Day Concert, December 2018
BWV 232: Mass in B minor
Bach Akademie Charlotte: First Annual Bach Festival, June 2018 *soloist, partial
BWV 243: Magnificat
Bach Akademie Charlotte: Second Annual Bach Festival, June 2019
BWV 244: St Matthew Passion
Music at Marsh Chapel, 2015 *soloist, partial
Bach Akademie Charlotte: Second Annual Bach Festival, June 2019
BWV 245: St. John Passion
Handel Society of Dartmouth College, May 2018 *soloist
Music at Marsh Chapel, March 2018 *soloist, partial
BWV 249: Easter Oratorio
Music at Marsh Chapel, 2016

Soli Deo gloria!
last edited: 12/29/18

Marsh Madness! The Adventures of a Baby Soprano

[This blog entry was originally posted on May 24th, 2016 on another platform.]

Hi there.

Let’s get straight to business: I’d like to share a bit with you about how stinking wonderful Music at Marsh Chapel is.

Back in February 2014 when I auditioned at BU, I sat in on the Marsh Chapel Choir’s rehearsal of Rachmaninoff’s All Night Vigil and fell immediately and desperately in love. I knew, right then, that I had to move to Boston. I had to move to this beautiful, blizzard stricken city where people get off work and casually go make some of the most delicately polished and breathtaking music I’d ever had the pleasure of hearing. A huge, happy bubble of longing had taken up permanent residence in my chest, and I knew I simply must own that BU audition. You know the rest. I was accepted to Boston University despite my nice feelings of crippling self doubt and nearly cried all over Meredith Cornwell, who was very nice about it indeed. I waffled between a couple of schools for a bit, before finally submitting my decision to BU. Fast forward to August 2015, trundling through New York behind a U Haul. I got a very crackly phone call, this time from Scott Allen Jarrett. He offered me a position as a choral scholar at Marsh Chapel, you know, if I thought I’d be interested. Hold. The. Phone. Someone wants to PAY me to sing in the ensemble that captured my heart and mind in one simple evening rehearsal? Hmm. How do I phrase this? YES PLEASE, I AM THE MOST INTERESTED OF ALL HUMAN BEINGS EVER. And it turned out to be everything I could’ve wanted and much, much more. What follows is a list of everything the Marsh Chapel Choir sang this school year, leaving out service music, special services, and chamber music concerts.

I was incredibly honored to sing a healthy number of solos, as well.

Bach Cantatas:
Erfreut euch, ihr Herzen, BWV 66
Bleib bei uns, denn es will Abend werden, BWV 6
Der Himmel lacht! Die Erde jubilieret, BWV 31
Christ lag in Todesbanden, BWV 4

J S BACH Easter Oratorio

Resilient Voices: 1915-2015
A concert dedicated to the centennial of the Armenian Genocide- MANSURIAN Requiem (Boston Premiere) with Harvard University Choruses and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project

The Forty-Second Service of Lessons and Carols
2 hours’ worth of wonderful carol arrangements

J S BACH St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244

James Kallembach’s The Most Sacred Body of Jesus

“Regular” Sunday Repertoire:
Arise, my Love- Julian Wachner
Alleluia- Thompson
Os justi meditabitur- Bruckner
A New Song- James MacMillan
Hear my Prayer- Moses Hogan
Exaltabo te Domine- Palestrina
Verleih uns Frieden- Mendelssohn
Quam pulchri sunt- Victoria
Pater noster- Verdi
Notre Père- Duruflé
A Hymn for Peace- Alistair Coleman
Ubi caritas- Duruflé
Beati quorum via- Stanford
Haec dies- Byrd
Jubilate Deo- Britten
Mass of Creation- Haugen
I want Jesus to walk with me- arr. Moses Hogan
O taste and see- Vaughan Williams
Unsere Trübsal die zeitlich und leicht ist- J.L. Bach
Der Gerechte, ob er gleich- J.C. Bach
Justorum animae- Stanford
In paradisum (from Requiem, Op. 48) Fauré
Ochte nash- Nikolai Golovanov
God is gone up- Gerald Finzi
A spotless Rose- Howells
Magnificat “The Advent”- James Kallembach
O Radiant Dawn- James MacMillan
O thou the central orb- Charles Wood
Ave maris stella (from the 1610 Vespers)- Monteverdi
I’m gonna sing ‘til the spirit moves in my heart- arr. Moses Hogan
Set me as a seal- René Clausen
Sicut Moses- Schütz
Light of the world- Elgar
Herr, nun lässet du deinen Deiner- Mendelssohn
Laudate Dominum (Vespers, K339)- Mozart
Miserere mei, deus- Allegri
Hear my prayer- Purcell
Call to remembrance- Farrant
Love bade me welcome (Five Mystical Songs)- Vaughan Williams
Agnus Dei- Morley
Civitas sancti tui- Byrd
Fix me, Jesus- arr. Augustus O. Hill
Drop, drop slow tears- Leighton
Sing and Ponder- Larry Fleming
Ego sum panis vivus- Byrd
Tantum Ergo- Duruflé
O vos omnes- Pablo Casals
Hosanna to the Son of David- Gibbons
Rise up, my love- James Kallembach
Alleluia, Christus surrexit- Felice Anerio
Worthy is the Lamb (Messiah)- Handel
This joyful Eastertide- arr. Charles Wood
Mitte manum tuam- James MacMillan
Also hat Gott die Welt geliebt Coenantibus autem illis- Juan de Lienas
Thou didst rise (Vespers, Op. 37)- Rachmaninoff
Te Deum in C- Britten
To thee, victorious Leader (Vespers, Op. 37)- Rachmaninoff
The Beatitudes- Arvo Pärt
O sacrum convivium- Messiaen

And so, my friends- if I have gushed to you at any point during the last 8 months about Music at Marsh Chapel, know that I was severely understating how special it is. And at the urging of Scott, I’ve finally made time to sit and reflect upon it. I am a grateful baby soprano. Special thanks to Scott Allen Jarrett, Justin Blackwell, Carey Shunskis, Jacquelyn Stucker Drye, Kimberly Sizer Leeds, Doug Dodson, Sam Kreidenweis, Ethan DePuy, Dominick Joseph, Patrick Waters, Meg Weckworth, Kevin Neel, Sean Watland, and Anna Carro, for being mentors by example and a wonderful staff.

From the U.K. to Texas, or, how dream chasing can be unpredictable

"There is no such beauty as where you belong."

When I auditioned for the U.K. Voces8 Scholars Programme last winter, I thought it might be a long shot. Any time I'm competing with British singers, I know that they will have been sight reading since the age of six months or something, and have been brought up in the rich English choral tradition, which was unparalleled far before the birth of the U.S. I only though that if I stood a chance, it would be a privilege to learn from singers of that background. 

Enter the U.S. Voces8 Scholars Program.

Apparently there was so much American interest in the program this year that Voces8 was kind enough to begin an American program, which resulted in the emotional roller coaster of a half rejection, half acceptance letter that I shortly received.

On Thursday, six young singers, ages 22-26, showed up in Plano, Texas with not the slightest idea of what was about to happen (other than some music making). So, what did we learn? What was the end result of this adventure?

  • We engaged with the community and learned some incredible pedagogical techniques designed to get even the most hesitant of singers to sing (check out Paul Smith's 'Pas de Deux' and 'The Voces8 Method' for more on that).
  • We learned exercises and techniques to create a cohesive small ensemble sound for one on a part singing.
  • We learned how to connect across the ensemble, to unify entrances, and to communicate with each other.
  • We learned how to run a rehearsal without a leader, but with six leaders working as a team, and trying things out whether they worked or not.
  • We had the luxury of rehearsing just a handful of pieces for hours on end, and found that everyone was so nerdy that we LIVED for the picky details.
  • We convinced Paul to make a Bitmoji, which is likely the most important thing that happened.
  • We became friends in three days.
  • We were treated to vigorous Southern hospitality by the staff (especially Taylor, Jonathan, and Philip) and choir of St. Andrew United Methodist Church in Plano, TX, and ate far too much food.

It was a huge privilege to learn from Paul Smith of Voces8, who is extremely knowledgeable and was kind enough to guide and mentor us. It was also a huge privilege to learn from my American colleagues as they brought their variety of knowledge and experiences to the table in our collaborative rehearsals, the likes of which I had never experienced.

I write this in my hotel room. Everyone has departed except for me, so here I sit, unpacking this beautiful, whirlwind experience so that the memories don't slip away as soon as I fly home to Boston. I look forward with great anticipation to whatever comes next, and hope that it involves all of the wonderful people I just met.

For a long time now, whenever I hear the soprano solo in Paulus's 'The Road Home', I will hear Christine's ridiculously silvery and lovely voice. Seriously. Get it, girl.

As if all of this wasn't enough, I have finally lived my dream of singing Renaissance polyphony one on a part. This is a dream I've had since seeing the Tallis Scholars perform at ACDA in Dallas. I was both changed and transported by that performance, because apparently the combination of British singers and Texas creates actual magic.

I am, forever, the most grateful of sopranos.

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