As promised, this episode of our podcast features a conversation with conductor, teacher, and author Dr. James Jordan–He is basically one of the giants in choral music and education right now, a professor at Westminster Choir College and conductor of the critically acclaimed Westminster Williamson Voices, the editor of GIA’s Evoking Sound choral music series, which we heard a small sampling of in our last podcast episode (so go back and check that out if you missed it!), author of a continually expanding collection of books and resources about music-making and conducting, and just a generally amazing human being. (Check out his author page at GIA to get a look at all the things he’s up to.) He is also conductor of The Same Stream, a fairly new choir of former Westminster singers whose first full length recording has just released, and it’s absolutely gorgeous. I first encountered his work through The Musician’s Soul, a lovely small volume that feels like a musician’s retreat in print form, and it completely changed the way I think about myself as a musician, a conductor, and a human being. (And the books just keep coming–The Musician’s Spirit, The Musician’s Walk, Evoking Sound, The Musician’s Breath, The Conductor as Prism, and now The Moral Acoustic of Sound…and those are just the ones I can see from my desk as I’m typing this; there are plenty more!)
Dr. Jordan obviously approaches his art, and the whole premise that honesty and authenticity and love and trust are crucial components to music making, from the perspective of a choral conductor, which is of course his world. But these ideas go way beyond choral singing and music direction, and I hope musicians of all stripes will find something to take away—because a lot of what Dr. Jordan talks about here in the context of choral singing applies to the work we do in our churches not just with our music ministers but also with our assemblies, to help them find their voices and their place in the shared music-making.
If you find any of this intriguing, you won’t want to miss Dr. Jordan’s conducting workshops at the GIA Fall Institute this October 11-13 at Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago–please see the link to the right for more information. (Seriously, so much great stuff at this institute, I hope to see you there!)
Music heard in today’s podcast:
SingAmen! the Podcast, with Jennifer Kerr Budziak
Sound by Jim Bogdanich
SingAmen! opening music: Promenade, by Bob Moore (from Let Every Instrument Be Tuned for Praise, CD-491, from Liturgical Suite #4, G-4789.. ©GIA Publications, Inc).
SingAmen! closing music: Amen, (from More Sublime Chant, CD-459, The Cathedral Singers, Richard Proulx, conductor. ©GIA Publications, Inc.)