Monday, July 12, 2010

Day 1 2010

Busy first day! After a very long breakfast line (picture about 600 guys here for football camp ahead of about 150 gospel singing people age 8-86!) which culminated in a Hardee's run, the school officially kicked off with devotions and class assignments.

My class this year has 13 students, age range about 15 - 23. Most of them have some basic music theory, so we spent the first morning session reviewing intervals, major scales and shape notes.

Following the 2 hour theory session in the morning, we had our first group singing. What a glorious sound! Just about as close to heaven as you can get! Tom Powell (Dad Speer's eldest grandson) is the conductor and can get amazing sounds out of the 150 voice choir. A lot of the songs we'll be singing this year are Harold Lane classics. Harold sang and arranged for the Speer Family for about 25 years and published the Ben Speer Music songbook for about 15 years. Songs like "The Next Time He Comes," "What Sins Are You Talking About?" and many more.

After lunch (with a much shorter line!) it was back to theory class for some more interval identification, melodic dictation and sight singing (the students are learning what a music theory nerd I am!)

Allison Durham Speer teaches performance training at the school and does a fantastic job getting singers to really communicate the message they're sharing. She's such an encouragement and the perfect fit for that seminar.

More group singing ended the evening after dinner. I was able to sit by Mary Tom Speer Reid and hear her still crank out some great harmonies. About 6 chairs down was Rosa Nell Speer Powell, outsinging the whole alto section. Amazing! Group Singing is one of my favorite parts of singing school.

Performance opportunities will begin in a few minutes. This gives students the opportunity to perform for others and also will allow them to be considered for auditions for the closing program.

We miss many of our friends who cannot be with us this year: Allison Lynn (former staff member) has returned to Canada, Brandon Andrews, Becca Matlock, Jordan James and so many others. Perhaps we miss Tinker Hinson the most of all. He was the most humble, servant-hearted individual here at the school and kept us in tears from laughing so hard. He unexpectedly passed away earlier this year on his farm. He's got a front row seat for group singing this year!

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