Rounds are simple, fun, and harmonious exercises that can give a choir a wide range of skills that are needed for wonderful singing. A few members of the IC student chapter attended an interest session that focused on different rounds that can be used as warm-ups and performance repertoire for choirs of all ages. Joanne Hammil, a composer and the director of the Greater Boston Intergenerational Chorus, led the session and gave everyone a packet full of different rounds; many of which she wrote herself. The session was spent singing through many of the rounds from the packet, with a brief description from Ms. Hammil about what technical area of choral singing each piece would tackle.
Some of the rounds were very harmonically focused. One round that was written by Ms. Hammil, titled “Move Like Jazz,” lives up to its name and was composed in a jazz style with some difficult and unique chords that pose a challenge to students to use their ears and to sing in tune with the rest of the choir members. Others focused more on a canonic style of polyphony, in which the singer would be tested on their ability to hold their own melody against others in the choir. One of my favorites of the day was “Elves,” also composed by Ms. Hammil. This style of round is called a “catch,” meaning when all parts are singing together, some sort of secret message can be heard. The group had a blast singing together, and even in the short 50-minute session, we improved our musicality. All in all, this session was extremely informative and lots of fun, too! As a music education major, I look forward to using these rounds with my future choir.
-Christine DeNobile, '18
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