Friday, October 30, 2020

The Day is Almost Here!

This is such a strange time in our personal and political lives. Of all the issues I thought we might have in the past four years, a pandemic was not one of those. It was one of those things, when mentioned, I sort of always passed off, saying, "Oh, we don't need to worry about that. We'll be fine." I wasn't even entirely sure what it meant, and the "meaning" was something I could not envision. I never dreaded a pandemic. These situations have always been remedied. Well, that's just how short-sighted I was in understanding how global effects of disease might "come home to roost." We're still "stuck in the yuck." And, yes...I'm tired of it, too.

As far as politics might go, I don't think I've ever seen such paranoia, fear, mistrust, corruption, uncertainty, anger, frustration, unkind and scary behavior, etc. The effect of all of this on friendships has been an interesting phenomenon. People have seen their social media "Friends List" shorten by half, and in the quest for tolerance, we find that we have very little tolerance for differing political views. We have heard our friends provide such labels and "un-American," and worse. short, I'm ready for "it" to be over and done with. Lots of "it"s. This period in history has been exhausting.

So...we will soon get to exercise our personal indictment on "how things are going." That is our privilege as an organized democracy, and I must say, I am totally delighted to know that so many are participating in the process. It is heartening beyond words. That has been the best part to see the length to which regular people like me will say through their actions, "I'm important. I'm a member of this democracy. My opinion counts. If you want to see me in action, watch me stand for TWELVE HOURS in this line to tell the whole world EXACTLY how I feel about things going on in government! You cannot silence me, though you may try. You cannot intimidate me, because some of my family members gave their lives to give me this privilege. will NOT prevent me from voting!"

That's who we are, folks! We are STRONG, and we will not be bullied into believing that we do not matter. We are seeing "attitude" from so many, simply by standing in line. THAT is the most effective form of silent protest. 

I am proud of this country. The numbers of people voting are amazing. Not all of the people standing in the lines will vote for the candidate I support, but please remember, the joy of this process is in the right to stand. That right was secured many years ago. I am grateful beyond words, and no matter what might happen, I have seen a marvelous demonstration of caring from the American people. I have not heard the dialogue of 2016. I have heard support of values that have been in hearts for decades. We are Americans. This is what we do.

I am an American...and these days...I'm a proud American.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Velvet Shoes - Text by Elinor Wylie


The popular poem Velvet Shoes by Elinor Wylie inspires yet another creative choral setting describing a quiet winter's walk through the snow. With "velvet" steps, we are surrounded by the white lace of snow on trees, shrubs, and other gifts of nature.

This setting is available for 3-Part MixedSSASAB2-Part, and Unison. Imitation and easy harmonies are used, emphasizing "We will walk through the white snow." 

•Solo versions of this composition (with accompaniment) are complimentary with purchase (High, Medium, Low). 

•Complimentary Rehearsal Preparation Sheets also come with purchase. 

•As always, purchase the Octavo file of your choice (PDF), then make as many copies as you choose for your choir.

In the following video, Earlene Rentz discusses her setting of "Velvet Shoes," with insight into its performance:

Velvet Shoes - Insights

Visit Earlene Rentz Online Publications to see the latest choral octavos published for your choir: SchoolSacredHoliday

Hang in there during these tough COVID days! I'm cheering you on!!

Monday, October 5, 2020

EROP Chorals for Veterans Day


Choral directors, thank you so much for all you are doing in your classrooms and churches these days. You are doing an amazing job with online and in-classroom teaching and online worship services. You have blessed millions with your creative approach to an undesirable situation. Hang in there, and know that I'm your biggest fan!! Life just keeps getting crazier and crazier. There are so many conflicting reports about every situation these days, but I think we can all agree that throughout history, human sacrifice for freedom has been valiant, appreciated, necessary at times, and is a constant reminder that our country should learn from history. It is always a good thing to "remember," and somehow, in loss it comforts us to know that others remember our losses. We cannot change history, but to know that others have not forgotten "the sacrifice" is a wonderful thing.

Earlene Rentz Online Publications has a variety of patriotic publications to call to remembrance the difficulties of war and the hardships of those who are left as a result of war's toll on families. Take a look at the various titles and voicings you might find accessible for your groups. 

The Willow: This SSA setting for voices and piano incorporates the wonderful lyrics of Pamela Stewart, and a willow tree is the "narrator" in the song. A young boy plays beneath a willow tree as a child, and as he grows into an adolescent, young adult, and adult, he cherishes the willow tree as a symbol of love and comfort. The willow tree feels love for the boy as well, and a friendship unknown to the boy is expressed in this setting. The young man falls in love, marries, goes to war, dies in battle, and the willow tree remains to grieve with the young widow. This video might assist you in preparing this octavo for performance. 

"The Willow" Insights

In Flanders Fields: The wonderful poem by John McCrae has been set for voices, piano, and optional French Horn. It is a miracle these words made it into history, as McCrae had discarded this poem to the trash. One of his fellow comrades retrieved it, and we thank that person, else our society could have forgotten the sacrifice of World War I young men who were serving in the Flanders region. I think your students will enjoy these settings: SATBTTBBSAB3-Part MixedUnison. Check out the following video, as it might provide some ideas for your rehearsal.

"In Flanders Fields" Insights

When Johnny Comes Marching Home: The familiar American folk song is arranged for voices and piano, using lots of countermelodies and obligato material. The independent countermelodies will be easier for students than homophonic material, as they create harmonies in their independent presentations. Check out these recordings and Previews: SATB3-Part MixedSABSSATTB 

Son of Liberty: The text of Lynwood Cash recalls military events from Washington Crossing the Delaware through the Afghanistan War. The style is robust, with many expressive elements included for moments of reflection. TTBBTTBTB

"Son of Liberty" Insights

The Rising of the Moon: A call for unity! This piece is actually from the Irish Rebellion of 1798, but is a great way to encourage your men to sing out! We can "fix" the sound if we can hear them. There is lots of unison and the harmonies are consistent per verse. Check it out! TTBBTTBTB

The Rising of the Moon - Insights always with purchases from Earlene Rentz Online Publications, you purchase a PDF file, and make as many copies as you choose for your choir. 

A complimentary Rehearsal Preparation Sheet for teaching the music easily is included with each purchase.