The UCLA Madrigal Singers - Don Weiss

That Donn Weiss was a well known, highly respected and beloved member of the UCLA community was confirmed by the capacity audience of UCLA faculty, staff and students who packed Royce Hall for his farewell concert at the time of his retirement in June 1993, and again for the memorial celebration of his life upon his death in August 1998. Full houses in Royce Hall were a regular part of Donn’s musical presence on campus as he conducted the UCLA Choral Union with orchestra in a wide cross-section of the great choral masterworks. He will be long remembered for the popular holiday concerts which he presented each December for 25 years, featuring the various campus choral groups with the Royce Hall organ and instruments.

Following brief teaching appointments at Kansas State Teachers College in Emporia and Washington University in St. Louis, Donn moved in 1959 to Los Angeles where he pursued further graduate study at USC and was soon appointed to the UCLA music faculty. Taking over directorship of the select vocal chamber ensemble, Donn shaped the group into the UCLA Madrigal Singers, which remained the premier choral organization on campus throughout his tenure. Under his direction the Madrigal Singers toured widely in the United States as well as Australia and Russia. They produced several recordings and performed on television and motion picture sound tracks. Their annual caroling in Murphy Hall and their Twelfth Night concert in the Powell Library Rotunda were cherished campus traditions that expired with Donn’s retirement.

Donn also founded the UCLA Men’s Glee Club, which had the distinction of singing at a state dinner in the White House at the invitation of President Nixon. The Glee Club also recorded and toured widely, including a highly acclaimed tour of Japan. Among their many invitational performances as campus ambassadors, Donn was especially proud of their appearance under his direction at the first Super Bowl football game played at the Rose Bowl. Community service was an important role of both the UCLA Madrigal Singers and the Men’s Glee Club. Donn further expressed his community service and his love of great sacred music by serving as a church music director with long tenures at both the Brentwood and Westwood Presbyterian churches.

Beyond his principal creative activity as a conductor, Donn was also a gifted choral and instrumental arranger. He produced numerous arrangements for his choral ensembles, many of which were published by Lawson-Gould Music Publishers of New York. Those closest to him were also treated occasionally at social gatherings to his rich baritone voice and professional skill as a popular vocalist.


Choral Music Of 20th Century Americans

Wedding Cantata (Daniel Pinkham):
- Rise Up, My Love
- Many Waters
- Awake! O North Wind
- Epilogue: Set Me As A Seal
A Slumber Did My Spirit Seal (Paul Chihara)
The Amphisbaena (Halsey Stevens)
Like as the Culver on the Bared Bough (Halsey Stevens)
Mumblin' Word (Spiritual, arr. Donn Weiss)
Best of Rooms - Randall Thompson
These Are the Days When the Birds Come Back (Williametta Spencer)
Reincarnations (Samuel Barber):
- Mary Hynes
- Anthony O'Daly
- The Coolin
Barbara Allen (Anglo-American Ballas, arr. Donn Weiss)
Let It Be Forgotten (Kirk Mechem)
Spring (Kirk Mechem)
Selections from Dickinson (Roger Bourland)
- Lonesome Winds
- The Earth Has Many Keys
The Pasture (Randall Thompson)
Nothing Gold Can Stay (Charles Benesh)
Lie Lightly Gentle Earth (Paul Chihara)
The Promise of Living (Aaron Copland)
Stomp Your Foot (Aaron Copland)

The 23 mixed voices of the UCLA Madrigal Singers was directed by Donn Weiss for 25 years. In addition to regular tours throughout the Western US and Canada, the group has traveled to Australia and Hawaii, and provided vocal music for Hollywood films like "Tron." "Choral Music" is a varied collection of 23 works by 20th century American composers. Some favorites are the 4 movements of Daniel Pinkham's "Wedding Cantata," Halsey Stevens' "The Amphisbaena," the Weiss-arranged spiritual "Mumblin' Word," Williametta Spenser's moody "These Are the Days When Birds Come Back," Samuel Barber's 3-part "Reincarnations," the Anglo-American Ballad "Barbara Allen," "Spring," by Kirk Mechem, two "Selections from Dickinson Madrigals" by Roger Bourland, and two by Aaron Copland, "The Promise of Living" and "Stomp Your Foot." These are some rarely-heard, lovely, eclectic pieces by American composers, sung by a talented mixed-voice student ensemble. Some light accompaniment. Extensive liner notes with all the lyrics..
7177 CD $15.98

Hark, How The Bells

Angels We Have Heard on High
Deck the Hall
Christ Child Carol
A Boy Was Born
Baloo Lammy
Flemish Carol
A Spotless Rose
Joy to the World
In the Bleak Midwinter
Carol of the Birds
Come, Love We God
Still, Still, Still
Bring a Torch, Jeannette, Isabella
Carol of the Bells
De Tierra Lejana Venimos
O Holy Night
Love Came Down at Christmas
Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence
A Christmas
Estampie Natalis
Stille Nacht

The UCLA Madrigal Singers, the 22 member mixed-voice premiere chamber choir led by director/arranger Donn Weiss, brings us this "best-of" holiday album, which represents nearly 25 years of audience favorites, the best-loved Christmas songs heard at Royce Hall and at their traditional Twelfth Night concerts. We of course enjoy standards like "Angels We Have Heard on High," "Deck the Hall," "O Holy Night" and "Stille Nacht," but we particularly like more obscure music like Catherine Bennett's "Christ Child Carol," Benjamin Britten's "Christ Child Carol," the Scottish Carol "Balloo Lammy," Herbert Howells' "A Spotless Rose," the Spanish "Carol of the Birds," Daniel Pinkham's "Come Love We God," the Austrian carol "Still, Still, Still," and the Puerto Rican folksong "De Tierra Legana Venimos." The full, rich sound of the Singers makes "Bells" ring out as a very special and varied Christmas collection. Occasional light accompaniment.

Listen to "A Boy Was Born" in Real Audio.

6774 CD $9.98

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