Christmas Gloria – New Baroque Style Music for Chorus and Chamber Ensemble

Christmas Gloria © 2007 Conrad Askland. Christmas Gloria in the Baroque style for SATB Chorus, SAT Trio Soloists, Flue, Oboe, Bb Clarinet, Trumpet, Horn, Tuba, Harpsichord and Percussion. Composed by Conrad Askland for the 2007 Christmas Eve service at Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church.

►Subscribe to Conrad Askland on YouTube:​

Continue reading “Christmas Gloria – New Baroque Style Music for Chorus and Chamber Ensemble”

Beginning Vocal Lessons

In helping a student with beginning vocal lessons in classic technique I came across some materials online that I think are of value to new vocal students. One of the difficulties with developing vocal technique is that what the student hears in their head is different than what others hear. So with voice study in particular, it’s important to have an outside source guide you in technique and placement. In it’s simplest form, the teacher is helping the student with how a proper placement feels to them, so the student can build muscle memory on basic technique before moving to more complex layers and interpretation.

Continue reading “Beginning Vocal Lessons”

Northwest Boychoir Auditions – May 21, 2011

  • WHAT: Auditions for the Northwest Boychoir
  • WHO: Boys Kindergarten – Third Grades. No previous music training needed
  • WHEN: Saturday, May 21, 2011.
  • WHERE: By appointment at 5031 University Way NE, NB2 at the University Heights Community Center
  • WHAT ELSE: Call 206-524-3234 to make an appointment and learn more about the Northwest Boychoir – or email More info at:

If you’re within driving distance of Seattle, WA and know any boys age kindergarten to third grade with strong music interest then I highly recommend checking out the Northwest Boychoir. I count my years with the Northwest Boychoir (5th-8th grade), and the shows I was cast in as a result of the organization, as the single most worthwhile musical education I ever received.


Taiwanese Boy Lin Yu Chun Sings Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” LIVE


Maybe I’ve been hanging out with too many ladybodys in Macau, but this is pretty damn cool. Lin Yu sings Dolly Parton classic on Taiwanese talent show Super Star Avenue, giving his all for the $1 Million prize. (Parton wrote and first recorded the song, which Whitney Houston later recorded.)

Ambassadors of Harmony – 2009 International Barbershop Chorus Champions


Be sure to watch the whole video. Lots of great stuff in here. Bravo!

The Barbershop Harmony Society is proud to present your 2009 International Barbershop Chorus Champions performing their uptune ‘Seventy-Six Trombones’ by Meredith Wilson and arranged by David Wright. Representing the Central States District, under the Direction of Dr. Jim Henry…..the Ambasssadors of Harmony! (

Inauguration National Anthem Mistake


Oh man, I feel bad for the guy who sang the Star Spangled Banner at the opening of the Obama inauguration and messed up the last entrance on the word “brave”. I thought a couple entrances before that seemed a bit tentative, but then thought no, that was just my imagination – they must practice this a thousand times.

Then at the very end the band stopped silent and he came in with “B” for brave – just his “b” hanging all by it’s little lonesome with so many millions of people watching. Ouch! That’s one that would have me waking up in the middle of the night in a sweat for years.

You can listen to it at 1:24 in this video clip.

UPDATE: Mmmm…..I haven’t seen this posted anywhere else and no comments. Maybe there was no mistake, and it was just an audio bug in the time delay?

The Swingle Singers


Approach to Bach with the Swingle Singers – with original member Ward Swingle. He says if we can listen to Bach in the morning we lead better lives because of it…

I remember hearing the Swingle Singers a LOT as a kid in the early seventies. Great stuff and some of my favorite all time renditions of Bach and Mozart. Vive la mystere.

Continue reading “The Swingle Singers”

Gloria Challenge Part V – The Performance

If you’ve been following along with the “Gloria Challenge” then this page has everything you might be interested in. Full instrument and conductor scores, rehearsal MP3’s, final performance MP3 and links to posts made during the process.

The “Gloria Challenge” was to follow the footsteps of JS Bach to compose and perform a full scale sacred work for SATB Chorus and Chamber Orchestra at a church service, and to do it all within one week. The piece I composed was the “Christmas Gloria” and it was performed at the Christmas Eve service at Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church in Mount Vernon, WA.

Here’s an Mp3 of the Christmas Eve presentation:

I had setup several high end microphones to get a quality recording, but my tapes would not format for the recording. So as a last resort I set a CD recorder on top of the church organ and recorded off it’s internal mics. I’m disappointed we didn’t get a better recording, but it will give you an idea of the piece.

The “Gloria Challenge” came about as I was Googling “JS Bach” a couple weeks ago and read again how he composed so much music for the entire church year, often preparing a full scale piece in a single week. That has always fascinated me, so I thought I’d take a swing at it and see what I could do. It was a great devotional time for me, and a bit tense to get it all together.

Thank you SO MUCH to all the vocalists and musicians who took the challenge and stepped up to the plate.

The process was gruelling to do this in a week. I was pretty sick the evening of our performance and collapsed Christmas Day. If I did this on a regular basis I think it would go much smoother. But I was pleased with the finished product. From talking to chorus members most of them were pleased as well considering the time restraints. The choir got one three hour rehearsal – then a run-through before the performance.

Of course it’s all just a scholastic game if the piece doesn’t inspire the listener and fit appropriately into the service. From feedback I’ve received people were very moved by the piece. There was a thirty second standing ovation at the end of the piece. That’s a little rare for church services, especially a Christmas Eve service. I take it that people were very moved by the text and music.

For me, the piece brought alive the mystery and nobility of Christmas. It also brought some depth to the season for me as I was huddled in seclusion working on the piece instead of watching Christmas specials on tv.

The dedication for the Christmas Gloria is to Ruth Haines and the Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church choir. I really enjoyed the couple years I spent with all of you as music director at MVPres. And thanks to Ruth Haines who always kept me organized even when I didn’t know it.

So yes, I’d say we did it.

Christmas Gloria Musicians:
Trumpet – Cindy Luna
French Horn – Amanda McDaniel
Tuba – Bruce Hanna
Oboe – Rebecca Wright
Flute – Linda Slone
Clarinet – Michelle Hanna
Harpsichord – Ruth Haines
Double Bass – Marilyn Parman
Timpani – Todd Parks

Christmas Gloria Instrument Scores

MP3 Gloria practice tracks for musicians and vocalists:

Luciano Pavarotti Dead at 71


Famed opera tenor Luciano Pavarotti, who appeared on stage with singers as varied as opera star Dame Joan Sutherland, U2’s Bono and Liza Minnelli, died Thursday after suffering from pancreatic cancer.


This is how I remember Pavarotti – Robust, bigger than life and holding his white handkerchief. When I was in high school I got to see him perform live at the Seattle Coliseum at the Seattle Center. It was truly unbelievable. My father played his albums over and over when I was a kid. In our household Pavarotti was a name that was revered with the utmost respect.

I read his biography some twenty years ago. Hopefully the details in my memory are correct – he worked until he was almost 30 as a door to door salesman in Italy while waiting for a break in Opera. His wife’s family thought he was kind of a loser because he didn’t have a real career going. Then he won a role in his late twenties – and his career took off within a few short years after that.

That was a role model for me starting in music – to give it your all and roll the dice, no turning back. Pavarotti was an inspiration for sticking with your dreams, staying true to the fire within that sometimes makes you look…well….a bit odd.

Interesting side note. The young Pavarotti — who played soccer with his town’s junior team — joined the church choir with his father and traveled with him to Wales, where the singing group won first prize at the Llangollen International singing competition.

That experience in Llangollen gave him the passion to pursue singing. I competed with the Northwest Boychoir also at the Llangollen International singing competition – I wish I had a cool story like that. All I remember is they had an awesome simulated wave machine in a pool that we played in. Mmmm…..note to self: come up with cool stories for obituaries….

“For opera to survive today, Riding wrote, it needs not only new music but also “exciting young singers.” Pavarotti was that singer, in the right place and the right time for his generation.”

I don’t know if I can say “we’ll miss you Pavarotti”, because he gave us a gift that still runs strong in the arts. I’m thankful we have great recordings of his voice. There is nothing like it.