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- Letters to the Editor -

CHORAL SINGER gets my heartiest recommendation as both an interesting read and a fine teaching tool.  The articles are well researched, and offer excellent advice on technique and musicianship, all presented in an intelligent, adult format.  It adds legitimacy to the work I do in the choral classroom, and is outstanding for assessment purposes.  Bravo CHORAL SINGER! 

Michael Hamill
Director of Music
St. John’s Preparatory School
Danvers, MA

German Vowels
Julia O’Toole wrote to us in response to Jamison Gray’s extensive treatment of German vowels in our March 2004 issue.
"I think this is a great publication... I am sure a lot of directors would love for their members to read this type of material.   If nothing else, it raises awareness of things we often overlook...  The [article] on German pronunciation was very good... but I wonder if for the future there isn't another word that could be substituted for 'tense' relative to the lip and tongue formation.  As voice teachers and singers, we work so hard to eliminate or at least minimize tension in many parts of our bodies.  Perhaps 'contracted' or rounded/raised (lips/tongue) could also work? But the breaking down of the sounds was especially helpful in terms of understanding what one who is not a native German speaker is doing when producing these sounds."
Julia O’Toole is a professional singer living in Norwood, MA.  She may be reached at

Appalachian Speech Revisited
Regarding our story about “antique” speech patterns in Appalachia, linguist Kirk Hazen, offered this point of view.
“The dialects appearing throughout Appalachia are actually attributable to the diversity of settlers to the region.  The language of Appalachia has always been changing, as has every dialect in the United States.  Cultural isolation accounts only for different directions of change.”  In addition, characteristics such as “first-syllable stress, adverb usage, and multiple negation can be found in numerous other Southern dialects.”
Professor Hazen takes issue with anecdotal reports of isolated pockets where antiquated forms of speech persist.  “The myth that Appalachian people are the modern day ‘ancestors’ has been propagated since the late 1800s,” he says.
Kirk Hazen is an Associate Professor in the Department of English at West Virginia University.  

Assorted Reader Comments
Our readers often email us their thoughts and ideas.  The following is an assortment of their gracious comments about Choral Singer.

I picked up a copy… and I am impressed by what I see.  I’m considering using this publication as a text for my high school chorus next year…your publication on a monthly basis would be valuable for all of them, not just me as director… It’s great to have someone other than myself saying the same things every time… Congrats on a fine publication.     

First of all, let me tell you how wonderful I think your new publication is.  My choir… is starting to understand what I’ve been telling them for years!    

I am very interested in receiving all the issues you have… please consider… a contribution, albeit small, to your fine publication.      

I can’t imagine us not taking advantage of your offer.  Our group is a dedicated crew, and I’m sure that Choral Singer will be right up their alley. 

Your publicity package was sent to me at my last church … As I knew I was moving, I took it with me, with the intention of utilizing it at my new church. I’m very impressed with the issue I received in the mail. I only regret that I didn’t know about the Choral Singer before yesterday.

Hello, and oh my!  What took you so long to find me?… Thank you SO much for sending me this September issue.  It is rich with useful info, and the past issues look just as RICH.  Hallelujah! 

I would like to use your publication with my students… I love the sample issue you sent!

I just saw your May issue and was very impressed with the content and layout.  

I have been wanting to tell you how much I’ve enjoyed reading your sample issue…My choir and I will benefit from the insight coming from this subscription.

Please renew my subscription…I thoroughly enjoy your publication. 

I would be glad to write an endorsement.  I am intending to use it with the adult choir here as a way of helping them better understand issues involved in choral singing and being members of a choral team.