Monday, November 21, 2011

Tembandumba Performance in Halstead, Kansas!

Hi! Tembandumba was one of the most exciting songs that we have ever sung. All we can say is when you sing a tough song like this don’t hold back your amazing voice. Let it shine!

Tessa, Shaina, and Ashlee

Tembandumba was a really exciting and unique song. It was incredibly fun to sing because it was a challenge. I would definitely focus on learning the rhythms first, and then tackle the words. Just have lots of fun with it! It has so many opportunities to make each different part stand out. Soloists, on the long talking solos make sure to add different touches to it like with highs and lows so that way it stands out. Have fun!


Playing the bongos was really fun but make sure that you are on the beat.


I am new to Halstead this year, and moving schools is always hard, but even more so as a senior. I really loved my choir at my old school and was super bummed to leave it. When Mr. Chronister informed our choir the first week of school that we were asked to sing Tembandumda, I was excited. It was frustrating at times, but after all the hard work I ended up enjoying performing the song a lot. Our choir is a lot smaller than my old school’s choir, but everyone really worked hard and got into it, which helped a lot. Pronunciation of vowels is very important! So just be positive while learning it and give it your best and it will all turn out great.


From the Choral Director, Ron Chronister

Wow! What an experience to learn, teach, and perform a regional premier piece!!

Being asked to be a Radio Radiance© choir and give a regional premier of Tembandumba by Paquito D’Rivera has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my music education career. I cannot think of a single piece of music that I have programmed in 35 years of teaching that has challenged me and helped me grow as a teacher and conductor more than this one. I cannot think of a single piece that has challenged my choir more, taught us more about singing, given us as much opportunity to ‘own’ the piece, or focused us on a goal quicker than this one.

First, the honor of being asked to be a Radio Radiance© choir by the Francisco Nũńez and the staff of the Young People’s Chorus of New York City™ was mind blowing. That was soon followed with the realization of the magnitude of the task that we were being asked to do. Fear quickly followed. That lasted until I had the opportunity to begin to study the score. Fear was replaced with wonder as I began to find the creativity, musicality, and uniqueness in the music. Planning rehearsals was a great challenge. New techniques. Unusual harmonies. Challenging rhythms. The old strategies and comfortable ways of teaching were probably not going to work. I needed to be creative myself. I needed to find better ways, more effective methods, and more engaging approaches to bring this music to life.

The kids were very excited about the honor of being asked to do this. They approached the rehearsals with eagerness and determination. They sensed the importance of their task. They respected the quality of the literature. They seemed more committed to working through the hard sections (and there are a lot of them) than in some traditional Western European literature that we have done. They quickly found the places they that liked and sang them with gusto! Rehearsals were intense, but kids left humming and with positive attitudes.

The performance was eagerly anticipated by our community, the singers, and me. With the additional newspaper and radio coverage that the honor brought us there was an almost full auditorium for the concert. We programmed this number last. After explaining a little of the background we sang. . . . . . . . . . . It was a HUGE hit!! The kids were really pleased with themselves, the audience kept clapping, the Superintendent was the first person to get to me to shake my hand in congratulation, and parent after parent stopped me to tell me “I love it!” “I’ve never heard anything like this!” “How did you get those kids to do something so hard?”

We have been invited to make a presentation about the honor, process, and product at the next Board of Education meeting and to send a copy of the concert and premier of Tembandumba to the local public radio station to be broadcast. We have given a presentation of this piece to students in our high school and the kids do not want to put it away. They know that we can make it even better and they want to perform this piece for adjudication at our spring festivals.

I whole-heartedly encourage any teacher/director that wants to expand, do something of the highest quality, offer their students an opportunity they may never encounter again, or work on the ‘cutting edge’ to consider doing a Transient Glory composition. If you are asked to be a Radio Radiance© choir say YES! This is a peak experience. One that I will never forget or regret having had!

Ron Chronister, Choral Director
Halstead High School
Halstead, KS

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