This afternoon, we were able to celebrate our Fall 2018 graduates together at our Graduation Reception! We are so thankful for and proud of these outstanding students and people, and all that they have and will accomplish 👏💚💛 See you at Commencement!
A Baylor Christmas has been delighting audiences since 1959. Whether sitting in the audience or watching the hour-long concert on TV, A Baylor Christmas has become a favorite program for many and a #Christmas tradition for most.
However, there is a lot of preparation that goes on prior to opening night, including rehearsals, stage preparation, and television production meetings that start in August.
“We have five vocal groups performing—Men’s Choir, Women’s Choir, Bella Voce, A Cappella Choir, and Concert Choir — and each group rehearses about ten to twelve hours each, so that’s approximately sixty hours of rehearsal time. And if you break it down to man hours, it’s approximately four thousand hours, which is inclusive of singers and orchestra,” said Dr. Lynne Gackle, Director of Choral Activities and the Ensemble Division.
Given the number of hours students spend rehearsing, there is downtime between each group’s rehearsal on stage, and that’s when students take advantage of the free time. They study for finals, work on papers, and form new friendships, but one thing that stands out for Dr. Brian Schmidt, Associate Professor of Choral Music, is when he scans the concert hall and sees students from other ensembles sitting back to watch other students rehearse.
“I’m inspired when students go out into the audience and just listen,” said Schmidt. “As a conductor, I get to hear the whole performance all the time, but it’s great when the singers enjoy it from the other side. They are always on stage and don’t get to take in all the music.”
With A Baylor Christmas being televised, the professional bar is set high. Baylor University partners with a local television station to record and produce a one-hour show that airs on stations in fifteen states during the Christmas holidays. Schmidt said the technical aspects can be tricky and getting the candlelight processional and the flow of the program takes the most time and preparation.
“Setting the mood with the environment takes the longest,” said Schmidt. “Testing out ideas and looking through music to make sure musical character is cohesive with the television production can be tricky because everyone is stepping up their game.”
Most of the vocal ensembles are accompanied by the award-winning Baylor Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Stephen Heyde, Director of Orchestral Activities. He said students are always excited to share the music and to play for the sold-out audiences.
“I think our students have a feeling of pride for the School of Music and a Christian appreciation of the event, and this is a part of their personal commitment to worship,” said Heyde.
The concert has grown in popularity and size since the first choir concert nearly sixty years ago, and it was renamed A Baylor Christmas in 2015. #baylormusic#merrychristmas#choir
Dr. Monique Ingalls, Assistant Professor of Music, was recently featured in an article by a UK publication, “Church Times,” entitled “Where next for contemporary worship music?” In it, Dr. Ingalls is cited throughout an engaging discussion regarding the evolution of worship music, and consideration of “contemporary” worship music in today’s modern congregations. Check out the article below! #baylormusic
Baylor Connections, a weekly radio program/podcast that introduces the people behind Baylor’s teaching, research and distinct role in higher education, recently interviewed our own Dr. Randall Bradley, the Ben H. Williams Professor of Music and director of the Center for Christian Music Studies (Baylor Church Music) in the Baylor School of Music. In the interview, Dr. Bradley "examines Christian music from a variety of angles and shares more about the program’s tradition of excellence in classrooms and houses of worship across the nation." Listen to the podcast at the link below!
All new students to Baylor University receive a New2BU survey that is designed to help assess how they are transitioning to life in college. A whopping eighty-eight percent of all new students filled out the survey, and on the question where students were asked to indicate “Yes, at least one faculty or staff member has taken an interest in my success,” the School of Music was, far and away, the highest ranked college or school at Baylor University. Ninety-five percent of our music students responded “Yes,” with an average survey “Yes” response of only seventy percent.
“Our faculty and staff are central to the support of students from even before their first day of class, including guidance during June orientation, extra help with theory, or drawing out a student’s best work in rehearsal or lessons,” said Dr. Randall Umstead, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs. “It comes as no surprise that the School of Music is setting the Baylor standard for student support.”
Congratulations to Stephen Spink, senior trumpet performance major, for winning the recent audition at Lackland Air Force Base for a position in the U.S Air Force regional bands! Stephen will graduate in May and will head to basic training later in the summer after a tour with Medicine Man (http://www.wearemedicineman.com/), and the Baylor Jazz Ensemble’s trip to Peru. Sic ‘em, Stephen! #baylormusic
Looking for some Christmas cheer? 🎄 Baylor University Chamber Singers will perform their annual Christmas concert tonight and tomorrow at 7:30 PM in Armstrong Browning Library & Museum! Both performances are eligible for recital credit. For information on general admission tickets, please call 254-710-3571. #baylormusic
CURRENT STUDENTS: Events have been added to the calendar that will count for recital attendance credit. The Christmas Carillon Recital will take place Sunday, December 2 at 5:00 outside of Pat Neff Tower. A card swipe monitor will be located on the Draper porch near and facing Pat Neff. Please remember that you must swipe in and out of the concert to receive credit.
The Waco Symphony Orchestra presents The Nutcracker on Sunday, December 9 at 2:00 pmin Waco Hall. This is an outside event which requires you to submit the ticket stub and program to McKenna Lalani in Roxy Grove 113 on Monday, December 10 by 5:00 pm. Per the syllabus, a maximum of two outside events is allowed for credit.