YouTube Video

I just saw a link to a video of an adult (senior) choir singing hip-hop music.  Here’s the video itself:

Whoever posted this video on YouTube had the following to say about the video:

This was the opening video for our Student Fall Retreat called “You’ve Got Talent.” Everyone is asking what inspired this. Here is goes… 1) We needed a great opening video that caught everyone off guard, and set the the tone for the weekend. 2) With this idea in mind, we thought we could use this video as a great object lesson about media choices (kinda creepy hearing your grandparents sing some of this), and 3) this has been a GREAT transgenerational culture experiment. It has totally bridged a gap with our Senior adults and our students. Hope you enjoy!

I don’t post this video to ridicule the choir, although there are some things that are humorous.  My thoughts have nothing to do with a senior choir singing hip-hop.  Instead, I’m struggling to discuss the challenge of “transference of media” whereas some songs (or overall genres of music) don’t convert to the choral setting very well.  I understand that there can be other reasons to perform a piece of music, but when there are arrangements of songs (perhaps in the genre) that do “transfer well” to choral music, why would you want to perform something that doesn’t?  Choral music isn’t a matter of just “covering” a song.

Bigger questions:

  • Is the original intent of the song captured (or “capture-able”) by a choir?
  • Does the transference of media cause the performance of the choir to be a distraction (improperly humorous or distracting) rather than a legitimate experience?
  • Should a choir be singing the text of this song?
  • Should a choir be singing about the topic of a song?
  • Is there anything about the venue that impacts the performance of a song? In other words: rock concert to choral concert?
  • Does the choral arrangement sound good?
  • Can anyone understand the words?  (Sometimes true of the original song, too)
  • Does the instrumentation of the arrangement match the original work?  If not, does it sound good with the new instrumentation?
  • Can the original work be harmonized in such a way that the original work is not substantially changed?

I’m not against a choir singing pop music–it’s just a matter of finding pop music that “transfers” well.  And again, a choir can sing anything–I really don’t mind–especially in a case like this where the senior choir had other goals in mind.  But in general, I want to find that music that transfers genres effectively.


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