Ruth Morris Gray
In December 2011 I directed my intermediate mixed choir in two of my new Alfred Publications. The set worked really well. We opened with the traditional "Carol of the Bells," then performed "Winter Has Come" and "Rise Up and Follow That Star". (You may see more pieces with flute from me because I have an outstanding flautist at school who also sings alto in my top choir.) "Winter Has Come" was a lovely lyrical contrast to the frantic, "Hark how the bells..."."Rise Up and Follow That Star" made a terrific closer! I had the choir open singing forte and all 60 of them lifted up their hands on each "Rise up!" We grabbed the audience's attention with the first line. I saw several people about jump out of their seats. They loved it!
Programming my opening fall concert is always a challenge because each year I have so many brand new singers. In fall 2010 all my singers performed "Aya Ngena" and that worked wonderfully. Last fall my
A cappella Choir (which does sing accompanied pieces) sang my new Alfred Publication, "Over Hill, Over Dale". I chose this text after seeing a production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" at my school. Because the piece has so many piano interludes, I thought it would be fun to add drama and movement to the performance. I recruited the students who had played Oberon and Puck in the play (and yes, they sing in choir!). They wore capes and ran through, around, and in front of the choir sprinkling fairy dust (sparkling confetti) during the song. "Over Hill, Over Dale" was the hit of the show!
I have had several emails regarding my arrangement of the Zulu folksong, "Aya Ngena" (Alfred Publishing).
Directors and singers have been asking me why the translation of the text is sad but the melody is so joyful. When researching this piece, I did find another translation that I think fits the mood of the piece better than the published translation, though both are accurate translations. Here it is:
Together we are strong
Look at the other, the cowardly, however!
They are afraid of our strength.
While searching online, I found several fabulous recording of my pieces. Here's a few:
"Have You Seen The Baby?," SATB, a cappella (Alfred Publishing) -
From "Singin' Black and White's" Christmas TV Special: SHOUT HALLELUJAH: A New South Gospel Christmas.
D'Walla Simmons-Burke conducts her Winston-Salem State University Choir and the Providence High School Chamber Singers (Terri Setzer, Director).Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wy8bGXeiOUw
"How Like a Winter," SAB and piano (Alfred Publishing) -
MTVA Middle School Honors Choir 2013 under the direction of James Wells
"Aya Ngena," SAB and piano (Alfred Publishing) - Nashua Sings! 2012 - An All-City Choral Music Festival Middle School Chorus.Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=weHClXH3gbA
"Ask Me No More," SSA and piano, (Lawson-Gould) - GMEA All-State 2011 Senior Women's Chorus.This is a beautiful, mature interpretation of my multi-meter setting of Tennyson's poem.