Parker visits during Vision/Revision week

Tue, 2012-07-24 10:47 -- univcomm
Alice Parker, renowned composer, conductor and teacher, led chapel/convocation in a SING this week to mark Vision/Revision at Anderson University. The theme for Vision/Revision week is “Breaking the Surface,” and allows students to express their faith through art of any medium such as drama, music and literature. Parker introduced her audience to different ways to perceive music, the lyrics and sound by leading them in various hymns and spiritual songs that were both part of American history and international culture (PHOTO: Alice Parker leads AU students during chapel in Park Place Church of God).

A SING is like the old-fashioned singing done in churches over 100 years ago, according to Parker.

Starting with “Brethren, We Have Met To Worship”, a song quite like what pioneers settling across the western part of the U. S. may have sung years ago, Parker described the style of singing this particular song as ‘vining out’ or echoing the phrase back to the leader in a sort of chant. Once she ran through the song, she led the audience in a ‘round’ or dividing them into three groups to start at different intervals, the last group being the only one heard at the end of the song.

“Let’s sing this next song with an attitude of prayer, ridding yourself of the stress and hurry of life,” said Parker. “You are released to think about that which we cannot understand.” Although she professed her own voice was not the greatest, she stressed to the audience that just coming together in song is the greatest form of worship, joking with them that no one else is going to hear if anyone was singing off key.

From a Filipino song entitled, “Still, I search for my God” to a catchy Argentine folk melody, “Canto De Esperanza”, Parker got everyone involved, whether it was singing or making what she called “mouth percussion” or instrumental sounds with one’s mouth to go along with the beat of the music. Laughter and joy seemed to spread through the audience as everyone warmed up to Parker’s eclectic style of teaching music.

Parker is best known for her many years of work with the famous late composer and conductor Robert Shaw, and has published many books on melodic styles, choral improvisation as well as videos on hymnody. She founded Melodious Accord and travels to many churches and colleges introducing this way of singing. She is also the mother of five children and grandmother to ten grandchildren.

Anderson University is a private, four-year, Christian liberal arts institution of approximately 2,400 undergraduate and graduate students. Established in 1917, the church of God, the university offers more than 60 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education and theology.

--Writer Kim Ousley is a student assistant in the AU office of Media and Electronic Communications.