Dancers may call it being in a state of flow. Guitarists might see colors when they play a solo. The average person probably knows it as “when things click.”
Dr. Cameron LaBarr’s goal for his students in Missouri State University’s choral studies program is that they connect so deeply with a performance that they feel it in their souls. is that they connect so deeply with a performance that it just clicks, that they feel it in their souls.
The question that drives his rehearsals, performances and interactions with students is: What actions can cause those special moments and connections to happen?
The associate professor and director of choral studies has taken his students on performance trips across the country and around the world.
He has authored books, conducted choirs on five recordings, guest conducted and adjudicated choirs internationally and edited more than five dozen pieces of choral music for publication.
Friends from overseas
LaBarr wants his students to do more than simply sing the notes and words printed on paper.
He also exposes his students to other languages and cultures.
“From a research perspective, my travels to South Africa have brought a lot of ideas about African culture and music to what I do, to what I know and what I teach,” he said.
He edits and curates the Cameron LaBarr Choral Series for two music publishers based in the United States. The series features new music from across the world, including South African music.
“Because of the choral series, people around the world are able to know South African choral music more intimately, music which is normally only performed well by South African choirs,” LaBarr said.
“We found a way to notate the music and provide translation and pronunciation guides for the text. That has made the music more accessible to choirs and has helped them understand the cultural context.”