To learn from Alice is to come under a peculiar kind of enchantment . . . To hear her is to be spellbound by a melodic voice.
— John Wykoff, from the Prelude
The Melodic Voice presents a series of interviews with preeminent composer, conductor, and teacher Alice Parker that offers a fuller and more intimate view of her life and music than ever before.
The conversations Cameron LaBarr and John Wykoff document in these pages perfectly capture the essence of Alice’s core philosophies on melody, arranging, singing, music teaching, conducting, and many other topics.
During the course of the interviews, Alice discusses a wide range of topics: her childhood, her time as a student at Smith College and Juilliard, the death of her husband, her work with Robert Shaw, living in New York City, experiences with teaching, her compositional process, the importance of folk song, advice for students and teachers, and much more.
In the accompanying video component, Alice speaks candidly and directly about many of her most popular and well-loved arrangements, including Hark, I Hear the Harps Eternal, Saints Bound for Heaven, What Shall We Do With a Drunken Sailor?, and John Saw Duh Numbuh, among others.
Too few have had the privilege of attending one of Alice’s workshops or engaging with her in long conversations and round-the-table singing. But the conversational nature of this book gives everyone the chance to engage with her in a deeper way. Musicians and non-musicians alike are sure to be inspired by Alice’s words.
Cameron LaBarr is Director of Choral Studies at Missouri State University. His choirs have performed extensively both at home and abroad, and he has worked as a guest conductor and clinician across the United States, Europe, South Africa, and Asia.
John Wykoff is Associate Professor of Music Theory and Composition at Lee University. As an active composer, he writes for choir, orchestra, and chamber groups, and his music has been performed internationally by leading ensembles.