ARREON HARLEY

You Betta Sang! A Practical and Pedagogical Approach to Gospel and Spirituals

How do I get my choir to sound like that?! Spirituals and gospel are distinctly American art forms. As choral conductors and practitioners, we must offer informed performances of these important genres of American folk music.

This lecture/demonstration session will discuss the pedagogical differences between the gospel and spiritual genres. The presenters will address pedagogical issues often related to these genres and provide guidelines when working with singers to achieve stylistically-correct performance practice with healthy tone production. Much of the discussion and demonstration will aim to supplement and enhance older pedagogical practice with more current practice informed by recent discoveries in voice science.

Furthermore, this session will explore rehearsal techniques that aid in the stylistic performance of these genres and conducting gestures that facilitate and encourage healthy, soul-filled vocal production.

The Cathedral Choir School of Delaware will serve as a demonstration choir to amplify the impact of these techniques. Conference attendees will learn vocal exercises that give them access to a healthily-produced chest voice. Vocal excerpts from both spiritual and gospel pieces will be sung by attendees as the presenters explore best practices in the introduction of repertoire from both these musical traditions.