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  • May 2006
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My Backround in Choral Music

Posted by thesinger on May 28, 2006

Today I would like to fill you in on my background in music. First of all, when I was 7 or 8, my family knew me as the loudest singer in our family. I was confident to say the least; brash at the worst.

Our family is a homeschooling family but we also take some extracurricular courses at the local church school. One of those was a music class which me and my brothers took from second grade up. This was my first exposure to the rudiments of music. Class usually consisted of bookwork and doing some singing as well. The years passed by.

I think it was in fifth grade that I was given the opportunity to sing in the Messiah and the Kansas Mennonite Mens Chorus. (KMMC) Both were very good experiences under very qualified directors.

In seventh grade, Mr. Nisly taught music at Pilgrim Christian Grade School. He was a wonderful music teacher that had an excellent teaching method, a love for kids, and a desire for good music production. It was from him that I learned to breath correctly. From then until now, breathing correctly has become a habit, not something I do when singing. Another part of seventh grade was the formation of a home-school choir led by Eldo Miller. That was the first really good choral experience that I had. I attribute that to two things. First of all, Eldo was an excellent musician. He settled for nothing but the best. Secondly, he knew how to get what he wanted. He had methods of getting exactly what he wanted. Methods that I look at now and say, “WOW!!” In Seventh grade, I had to choose to drop KMMC or Messiah because of a busy schedule. I dropped KMMC.

In eighth grade, I continued to sing in the Messiah, the home-school choir, and took classes at PCGS under Mr. Miller.

Ninth grade was another year of the same except for two things. I did not go to the High school for music instruction and secondly, I went to a place in Guys Mills, PA, called FBEP in Jan. of 2005 with my parents. They mostly offer classes about Christianity, the world, and some doctrinal classes. What got me going was when I found out that they offered music classes. Dad then talked with the music instructor and guess what, he let me take them. That was very cool because I figured that all I would do all day is study and mess around in our apartment while dad was at classes. The classes were Class Voice and Choral Conducting. Class Voice was good because it stretched me and made me practice every day. The instructor also offered 15 min. of private voice lessons per week per student for each of the three weeks we were there. He focused mostly on my high voice during the lessons. Choral Conducting was good because it made me realize the work and the effort that conductors put into a successful concert. Also the facts and the practice was very good for me.

We came home and I joined Pilgrim Christian High School at the end of the year. The reason for this was that the teacher, Bro. Nisly, was leaving that next year. He is an incredible musician and teacher. I wanted to take the entire year of music class under him but our family has a policy of not taking any classes away from home in ninth grade. But dad relented sort of and let me take the last quarter of the year under Bro. Nisly. That was a very good experience.

In the summer of 2005, a friend of mine named Shane wanted to get a group together to sing at a local christian coffee shop. It worked out! We met approx. once a week and prepared some songs that the Kansas Youth Chorus had sung previously. Had a lot of fun together and delivered a great concert.

I forgot to mention that the Home-school choir was an SSA choir so that i was not able to sing with them in ninth grade because of my voice change.

This last year was the year of some pain and tribulation at PCHS. I mentioned earlier that Bro. Nisly was leaving so that meant that we had a new music teacher. We call him Mr. S. He is a great guy and loves to teach but music is not his first love. Science is. Therefore, I am confident that he learned just as much and more than I did. Is that ideal? I should say NOT! Eventually though, I got used to his style and realized that not all teachers are musicians. We had fun together, we learned some new songs, and we even got some great concerts cranked out. All in all, it was a good year, just not quite as educational as it could have been.

Three years ago, David Sharlow, the previous director of Handel’s Messiah, passed on the baton to Neal Allsup who is the director of the music program at Hutchinson Community College. Neal is an excellent conductor who has a very aggressive personality. He’s the type that doesn’t mind shouting and screaming if it gets a point across. He also has a vast amount of knowledge about how to vocalize properly, music as a whole, and it’s history. In other words, he’s an amazing guy! I’ve really enjoyed singing under him even if he is a jerk.

In summary, I’ve sang in KMMC for two years, Messiah for five years, the home-school choir for three, and the school choir since 2nd grade. I love singing, have studied much music, and want to continue pursuing the great world of Choral Music, but how that is going to happen will have to be in another post.

Until next time,


Later: Uhh, Sorry about the unfinished sentences, I don’t know how they got there.?.?.?

Also later: A big thanks goes to Mom and Dad for allowing me to join all these different Choirs and classes and things. It would not have been possible without them.

Also, also later: I was a part of a chorus called Mennonite Community Chorus for about 3? years. I don’t know. Lyle Stutzman and Bro. Nisly were the two directors. I really enjoyed that experience as well.

Also, also, also later: Is a theme coming through? Do I like to sing?


6 Responses to “My Backround in Choral Music”

  1. sheila said

    hi! nice site!! bye!

  2. jewel said

    i really thought this post was funny.
    the spelling strugles tho

  3. Jdeany said

    hey nice to see i’m on ur blogroll, but u need to get a template with a sidebar.

  4. Verda said

    Hey John, this post is very interesting! Did you study under Brandon at FB?

  5. GoSing said

    Yes I did, actually.

  6. sherriekiddo said

    heey John!!! dude, like w2g in getting a blog!! sweeto. interesting post. i’m jealous of all your expertise in music! 😉 anyway, ttyl mon!!

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