Choir on Tap
Author: Jeffery Wall, Artistic Director & Conductor
I’m a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu brown belt. If you’re unfamiliar, it’s a grappling/wrestling martial art that specializes in fighting from the ground with finishing submissions like blood chokes, joint locks, etc. Our training usually occurs in gyms or jiu-jitsu academies. A local academy @balancedbodiesbjj, led by Black Belt, Thomas Williams (and an affiliate of @tritonfightcenter where I train) was hosting a seminar event. The seminar consisted of multiple guest black belts showing techniques and the attendees would drill the techniques. The unique thing about this particular seminar was that it was held in a local craft brewery and they called it “Chokes & Barley”. Mats were placed in the brew room and afterward, everyone enjoyed camaraderie, libations from the tap room, and local fare from a food truck. It got me thinking and rekindled an idea I had abandoned a few years ago. I had never thought of marrying these two things and it was a successful event that checked all the boxes of why I love training jiu-jitsu: the intensive, cerebral, physically and mentally demanding art of jiu-jitsu with the social aspect – the brother and sisterhood – the human connection of enjoying one another’s company over a shared beverage and/or meal.
One thing you should know about me is that I get bored easily with the same thing year in, year out – “squirrel!” I need some sort of new project or innovation going on in my life about every 3 years to scratch that itch and keep things interesting. Vox Solaris came about in that way, though I hate to describe it as an “itch.” It was a communal need, but I needed it maybe more than anyone else. I direct my university choirs and act as chair of our Department of Music. Those duties were keeping me plenty busy and I love working with my students, but something was missing. I was missing the camaraderie of making music just because I wanted to, not because I had to connected with a university course. Vox Solaris was born and we’ve been going strong, making new friends, and making great music since June 2017. We’re not quite at 3 years, but close enough…let’s change things up a bit.
I am also guilty of this dissatisfaction with pattern in my “day job” at the university. For several years, I ran an annual concert that I called, “Music in the Rough.” I love the idea of taking traditional choral music and placing it in non-traditional spaces. The first year, the University Singers performed in the service bay garage of a local Ford dealership. The next year, we performed in a vacant area of a shopping mall, next to a closed down Sear’s department store. The final year, we performed in a community center recreation gym. These concerts were well attended and a lot of fun. After 3 of them, I abandoned the idea and started pursuing other things for my university groups like trips, tours, and conference performances. After this recent bjj seminar and the rekindling of this idea, I think it’s time to spin it and try it with Vox Solaris.
I love the unknown and want to try new and risky things. I have this fascination with where I think classical music is going (choral music included in that). I’m sorry, but I don’t think it is the concert hall, though that still has its place. I think classical musicians have to stop being so stuffy, expecting audiences to come to them. I am all about going and finding our audience. I hope the audience we have built will come along for the journey, but I also hope we can “tap” a new audience base and introduce the choral art to a whole different crop of people by bringing the music to them. With all of that said and with the blessing of the Vox Solaris Chamber Choir Society and Board, I am happy to announce our Summer 2019 concert venue will be: @welltownbrewing 114 W. Archer St., Tulsa in the @bradyartsdistrict - Their brew space will be the perfectly unusual place for a traditional choir concert on June 28th at 7:30 p.m. Come join us for some music and have a beer with us afterwards. All ages are welcome to the concert. We’re also looking for sponsors. If you’d like to discuss a monetary sponsorship or have some goods/services that might be of use in-kind, contact me at info(at)voxsolaris.net – I’d be glad to chat with you about it. We would use your branding on all of our media in reciprocation.
P.S. – I have to say a quick thank you to @stpatsba for hosting us these past 3 concerts in BA. Broken Arrow will always be our headquarters and if they’ll have us, I’m sure we’ll be back to St. Patrick’s. Thanks Revs. Shelby Scott & Spencer Brown, choir director & organist, Nick Wilson, their Parish Administrator, Suzanne Shepherd, and all the staff and parishioners for all the hospitality and warmth.
Conductor, Co-Founders, Singers, and other stakeholders as guests.