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Church Choir Head Never Heard 'Unruly Yelping'

May 21, 1988

This letter is in response to the article in the Orange County Calendar on May 16, 1988, written by Bruce Burroughs, entitled "Music Review, Master Chorale Delivers Brahms and Schumann."

I quote the review, "Whether it is the warm, buttery tone elicited by Robert Shaw, the bland porridge blend preferred by the late Fred Waring, or the unruly yelping of a volunteer church choir (author's emphasis) , there is as many different choral sounds as there are choruses and chorus directors."

I take strong exception to the section that derides and ridicules volunteer church choirs. I question which, or if any, church choirs Mr. Burroughs has reviewed. I have yet to read a review in the Calendar section, and I read every choral review that is printed.

My point is not to compare a William Hall performance with the Master Chorale of Orange County to a "volunteer church choir," but to point out that in my experience as the music director of the same church choir for the past 25 years, we do not produce an "unruly yelping" sound.

I consider this comment unresponsible reporting and insulting to church music performers. I am the director of a church choir, which performs a wide repertoire of sacred music that includes Brahms, (as does William Hall), Mendelssohn, Bach, Randall Thompson, John Rutter, John Ness Beck and Handel, to mention but a few.

My bachelor's degree is in choral music from Brigham Young University, and includes postgraduate work at Cal State Fullerton. The point is that the "put-down" that Mr. Burroughs made to church choirs is undeserved by church choirs. My experience has been to direct, sing and listen to a great many church choirs, and I have yet to hear "unruly yelping."



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