1. Last night we sang at Hope Lutheran Church in the Villages, FL! Singing at the Villages has always been a highlight for the Chapel Choir and now it’s a highlight for Philomel as well. After the concert, we went to a dinner reception and ate with Cap Alums and our host families. Both the men and women of Philomel serenaded guests at the dinner and it was really well received. The attached video clip is of our Philomel women serenading a long time fan of the Chapel Choir and alum of Cap, Charlie! Charlie was instrumental in the first visit of the Chapel Choir to the Villages four years ago! Thanks Charlie!

    -John M.

  2. So it’s been a while! We are now in Florida on our way to perform at a high school in Naples, Florida! TAISM in Oman was life-changing and went by quicker than we ever imagined. More on Oman and TAISM later! 

We perform in the Villages later tonight and will stay in amazing home stays! Until then!

- John M.

    So it’s been a while! We are now in Florida on our way to perform at a high school in Naples, Florida! TAISM in Oman was life-changing and went by quicker than we ever imagined. More on Oman and TAISM later!

    We perform in the Villages later tonight and will stay in amazing home stays! Until then!

    - John M.

  3. Around the world and back again!


    The last 48 hours have been quite a whirlwind for all of us in the group, but we are in high spirits and ready to roll on the second leg of our tour. Oman was an incredible trip for all involved. We were really able to change and shape the way that many high school students at the TAISM festival thought about music and what power it can hold for them. Reaffirming that alone was more than enough to make this trip worth being a part of.

    After the festival ended, Philomel had the opportunity to do some more touristy activities, including trips to the Grand Masque, a Souk (a large market selling souvenirs and other goods), as well the Desert Nights Camp, located about 3 hours southeast of the capital city, Muskat (if that gives you reference).



    As fun as the trip was, we had quite a bit of traveling to do to get back to Columbus. After a night back home to do laundry and repack, we met up again at the airport to spread our wings once more and share our music with another part of the world. Today was a relaxing day in Tampa spent lounging and resting for the next few days which do promise to be busy, but I know that we will be ready to shine because it is never hard to get energized when we all have the opportunity to share our music with others who are willing to listen.

    -Brian H.

  4. TAISM Festival of Choirs

    As a member of Capital’s Chapel Choir and Philomel, I have gotten the chance to fly all over the country and world to places such as Arizona, Colorado, Florida, South Africa, and now Oman. With each new trip comes intense preparation, countless hours of rehearsal, and a sense of excitement and wonder for the journey ahead. While the destination may be different and the songs we sing may change, one thing that is consistent throughout each tour is the connections we build with other people through our music. The TAISM Festival of Choirs, the purpose of this trip to Oman, is the most perfect example of this. Over the past two days, we have gotten to meet and sing with well over two hundred high school singers from around the world. The days have, of course, been full of singing and music making, but what stuck out the most to me were the relationships that were formed through music. The festival consisted of twenty different choirs from thirteen different countries, but by the end of the festival, we were all one big happy choir family. As cheesy as that sounds, it is the truth. These students all came to the TAISM choral festival because they love music and singing, but more than that, these students get it. They understand that music is something more than black dots and lines on a page and more than listening to the radio on the ride home from school.

    After one of our mini Philomel performances, a group of students came up to us and told us how much of an inspiration we are to them. They said that we are the dream of what they hope they can be. My day and this trip was made after they said that. Here we are half way across the world singing for and with students whose passion for music is just as strong as ours. How blessed are we! These students, whether they realize it or not, have inspired us just as much, if not more than we inspired them. The level of musicianship these students were able to attain over the course of the festival is almost ridiculous. And beyond that, seeing their faces and their sense of pride and accomplishment after performing a stunning concert was priceless. To think it all happened because a group of kids who are passionate about music grouped together to be a part of something bigger than themselves. Our paths may never cross again, but I know that we have formed a musical connection with each and every student in the choir and that connection will last a lifetime.

    -Amanda R. 

  5. At the social tonight, there was a Velcro wall. Amanda R. challenged it. The Velcro wall won. :)

  6. We’re in Oman?!

    This was it! Our first full day in Oman! Today truly was a blast. Our day began at 7:40 this morning, assisting with registration for the festival. Being in Oman was still surreal to us; We were inside a predominantly English-speaking school and it was warm outside- not that different from America!

    The students and Melanie B. were so happy to have us there! Rehearsals were so much fun with the students. They were drawn to us, and we were there for guidance- matching vowels, matching pitch, and what they seemed to enjoy most of all- our performances for them! Today was a great day. I’m falling asleep as I’m writing, so it’s time for bed!

  7. Forging Connections a World Away: Philomel Travels to Oman

    When Dr. Lynda Hasseler was asked to return to her home state 12 years ago to be guest conductor of the 900-plus-voice South Dakota All-State Choir – the very one that deeply impacted her when she had sung in it as a teenager – she couldn’t help feeling that life had come full circle.

    Little did she know, that weekend in 2001 Hasseler would make a connection that would launch a new trajectory – start a fresh circle that would lead Hasseler and 12 elite Capital University vocalists halfway around the world to forge connections of their own through music – the language all cultures have in common.

    February 21–22, 2013, Philomel, a vocal chamber ensemble of Capital’s Conservatory of Music, travels with Dr. Hasseler to Muscat, the capital city of the Arab world’s oldest independent state – Oman – to participate in The American International School of Muscat’s 10th annual Festival of Choirs. In celebration of the festival’s 10th anniversary, organizers invited an ensemble from the United States to contribute and perform. As section leaders and guest performers, Philomel joins full choral ensembles from 21 American Community and International schools, and academies whose singers represent Abu Dhabi, Amman, Qatar, Bombay, Kuwait, Kenya, India, Jordan, Oman, Tunisia, U.S. and many other cultures around the globe.

    Organized by Melanie Brink, director of the TAISM Festival and host choir, and a resident of Muscat, the annual festival unites students from multiple nations into one mass choir for a shared musical, educational and community-building experience under the direction of a guest conductor. 

    This year that guest conductor is Capital’s Dr. Hasseler. And while she’ll be 7,574 miles from South Dakota, this will mark the second time Hasseler will conduct Brink’s students. The first time was 12 years ago, when Brink, during her first job as a high school choral director, sent her students to sing in the 2001 South Dakota All State Choir, conducted by Dr. Lynda Hasseler.

    Philomel will leave Monday, February 18, for Oman and will spend two days mentoring and rehearsing with students from around the world. The Festival of Choirs is unlike many other gatherings of the sort in that it brings together full choruses to rehearse, perform and learn with and from in a non-competitive environment. Philomel is composed of:

    • Braden Alsnauer, who earned a bachelor’s degree in music last May 
    • Anna Huckaba, a junior majoring in music performance with vocal and music theatre emphases 
    • Brian Hupp, a senior majoring in music education with vocal emphasis 
    • John McClain, a junior majoring in music education with a vocal emphasis 
    • Grace Moore, senior majoring in music education with a vocal emphasis 
    • Zachary Pytel, a sophomore majoring in music education with vocal emphasis 
    • Amanda Rhonemus, a senior majoring in music education with a vocal emphasis 
    • Emily Riggin, a senior majoring in music performance with vocal and music theatre emphases 
    • Alissa Ruth, a junior majoring in music education with vocal emphasis 
    • Darita Seth, a senior majoring in music performance with vocal emphasis 
    • Daniel Wagner, a senior majoring in music performance with vocal emphasis 
    • Dylan Woodring, a sophomore majoring in music education with vocal emphasis

    All activities will be held on TAISM’s campus, which includes the new Bosch Center for the Performing Arts. The 10th Annual TAISM Festival Concert, which also will feature performances by Philomel, will be performed on Friday, February 22, at 10 am Eastern Standard Time (7 pm Oman time). The performance will be streamed live at new.livestream.com/TAISMOman/2013FestivalofChoirs

    Until then, you can experience Oman and the Festival of Choirs along with Philomel by following this blog throughout the trip.

  8. (Not So) Simply Put.

    Listening to: Rodion Shchedrin-The Sealed Angel

    Nope. It’s not true. I’m not back in my dorm room, waiting to enter the “real world” again. It’s just not possible. Just 10 days ago I was eagerly packing for what would become one of the greatest experiences of my life. There really is no exaggeration in that statement; I’ve never been so privileged to be a part of something that can impact every aspect of your life so deeply. It’s always difficult for me to come back after things like this, I always feel so much yearning for just a few minutes in those moments again, but it’s the yearning that pushes you forward to the next time. If you could take the most basic and infinite feelings that we experience, and cast a spell that would allow them to take the form of some tangible event that we could all share, I think the outcome would be the music we have created this past week. It’s astounding how what we do can affect so many people’s lives. At churches, restaurants, planes, city streets and everywhere else, we have given people the opportunity to capture those feelings and keep them in a bottle that has no constraints of time or decay. Each time we have a chance to do that we have a responsibility on ourselves. It’s a weight on our shoulders, but a kind weight, like that of a parent pushing their child forward, towards new and great things. In all the places we traveled to spread our joy, that everlasting symbiotic relationship was there. We sing a song (quite beautifully at that) and receive smiles and tears; someone tells us a story and we laugh and cry…and so goes the circle of joy (or is it choy, tenors?). I can’t even begin to count how many instances of spontaneous connections we all made with our time here, but I can recall a few. Myself, Nathan W. and Danny B. went to an alligator attraction at John’s Pass Boardwalk a few days ago, which was a lot of fun. The man who worked in the store was inquisitive about what group we were with and we told him who we were and why we were there etc. He seemed genuinely interested and asked where we were performing, which we kindly told him. We figured he wouldn’t actually show up, but low and behold he, along with his wife and daughter, were in one of the first rows that night, after apparently rushing from work to see us. After the concert he was visibly in tears, and it was an incredibly awe-inspiring moment. He couldn’t stop raving about us and I couldn’t stop thinking about how this random connection became another leaf on the branch of joy on the unremitting tree of life.

     One of the most remarkable moments on the trip for me was our presence at the Capital Board of Trustees meeting. It was too easy for us to see this event as one of formalities…Hoooooold the phone my point was just proven on this here airplane. We were just asked to sing multiple times on board (to a responsive plane audience for once), and a Capital alumni was actually on the flight, and she came right in the middle of us singin’ bandits so we could do what we do best; how great our joy! Alright, back to it. Like I was saying I think it was pretty easy to pass the Trustee event as a laid back concert, but in the end it was one of the highlights of the trip and put so much faith and confidence in what all of our passions are. It was revering to see the dedication of the board members in their duty to serve the Cap family, something we are reminded of all the time, which is one of the reasons why I love Capital so much. It seems they work quite selflessly to provide all of the opportunities we have to take choir trips like this, be given incredible scholarships and get the best education we can. It was pretty apparent that if they weren’t in it from the heart from the beginning, they were certainly moved by the end. An emotional moment for me was when one of the Chapel Choir alumni sitting right in front of me was mouthing the words to “Come to the Water”, and it was just a beautiful moment. As I later learned, he was the tour manager (as a student!) of the choir’s East Asia trip many years ago, and he recently went through life-threatening surgery and listened to the choir as means of recovery (thanks Dr. Hasseler for that tid bit). Well it certainly worked. I can’t think of a better cure than music. It can get rid of the worst headache, heartache, sniffle, flu or anything really. This ancient remedy can be used by anyone, so long as they have the heart, soul and drive to do so (*hint hint*, we all have that, even if it’s hard to see).

    You know I could really go on forever about how much this trip meant to me, how much Chapel Choir means to me, and how much music itself means to me…but I know I don’t need to, not for anyone’s benefit at least. I know for a fact we all learned, gained, experienced and shared something invaluable among ourselves. Whatever that may have been, just take a moment to reflect on it and how it came to be. How will it shape you in this next week? Month? Year? You’d be surprised at how far something can stick with you, if you let it at least. I’ve spent a good portion of my life thinking. As simple as that may seem it’s something I’ve always found solace in. Ruminative, pensive, introspective…whatever you may call it I’ll always attest to the importance of it. Obviously I think with myself, being an introvert, it may be more particular to my own stability. But no matter what kind of person you are, that inner dialogue is what can heal the deepest wounds, and cultivate the greatest thoughts. And what of music? Is it not true that music can also heal the deepest wounds and cultivate the greatest thoughts? Is music not just the outward expression of our own inner dialogue, weaving in and out of the collective unconsciousness that is the performer, the listener, the walls, the birds, the trees, and the earth? It’s times like the ones I’ve experienced in the past few days that makes me realize it’s all one in the same. The particular question or the correct answer really doesn’t matter, so long as they exist. Never forget simplicity.

    I would be remiss if I ended my spiel without shedding light on the obvious thank yous that we all share. I truly think I would not be the same person at all, emotionally, musically, mentally, and spiritually if I had not taken that strange leap of fate and auditioned for the choir’s here at Capital, coincidentally becoming part of the Chapel Choir family. One of the most touching things about it is the fact I’ll always be welcomed to sing with my family once again, whether it’s five years from now, or five decades from now. Either way I know I’ll still be just as fervent and humbled to do so, as I am now. So now I regrettably let my thoughts wanders from this remarkable week to the ones ahead of me, but I am reminded that this time will always be with me. One of the most important things in my life is the ability to have as many experiences as I can, and use whatever power I can to share them as well.

    If you just:

    share the love, share the pain,

    share the joy, share the strain,

    the heart will find a way to see

    that what’s left is you and me.

    As I started, so shall I end with a quote by Rilke;

    “But only someone who is ready for the everything, who excludes nothing, not even the most enigmatical, will live the relation to another as something alive and will himself draw exhaustively from his own existence.”

    -Zakk J.

  9. Unlikely Encounters

    Quotes: “I wonder if anyone else has an ear so tuned and sharpened as I have, to detect the music, not of the spheres, but of earth, subtleties of major and minor chord that the wind strikes upon the tree branches. Have you ever heard the earth breathe? “-Kate Chopin

    Some people are born with a vital and responsive energy. It not only enables them to keep abreast of the times; it qualifies them to furnish in their own personality a good bit of the motive power to the mad pace.”-Kate Chopin

    Selflessness is a term that I quite honestly have my doubts in sometimes. How can it come to be that someone is just generous, loving and accepting without asking for anything in return? Nowadays it’s quite honestly hard to discern whether someone is kind and generous out of pure altruism, or for a feeding of his or her own personal satisfaction. I do find solace in the fact that we all see glimpses of selflessness in our lives. Be it small or large, a RAK (random act of kindness) is something that can cure anyone of the Monday blues or the Wednesday scrooge. I think it’s safe to say we have all seen selflessness, and hopefully exhibited it ourselves, as members of the Chapel Choir. There is no finer example of this than my first home stay Tuesday night in Naples. A local pastor by the name of Rosemary happened to be our host, and right from the start I had good vibes with her. Oh, and one of the few things I let people know about me (gotta keep the mystery going) is that I have a strong connection with the “energy” of things, particularly places and people. I can’t exactly explain it, not without digressing into the slimy mess that is my brain, but feel free to ask me sometime. Anyways, to preface this night, it was myself, Danny B. and Nathan W. To take us three in, no easy challenge if I may say so, was something worthy of praise already, so I knew this one was a cool cookie. As soon as she found out Danny was a piano player, she offered to take us to her church and let him practice and play for a while, which we graciously accepted. The church was beautiful, with a brand new organ, which she let us play. Pipe organ is one of my favorite instruments and I’ve always wanted a chance to play a big one, so that opportunity alone was worth its weight. After fully accommodating to our needs at her house, she offered to do all of our laundry and gave us refreshments.

    What was most stunning about it was her natural sense to nurture and take care of others regardless of her own needs. Along with her magnanimous attitude came her booming and vibrant personality, which was knowledgeable, inquisitive, funny and inspiring. Hearing about how she had just that day bought hundreds of dollars of essentials for a desperate family was one that would make anyone stop in their tracks and think hard about how much we take for granted. She’s the kind of person that sees someone in trouble and doesn’t do the typical waiting game to see if anyone else steps in, but takes matters in her own hands and gets everyone involved and excited to help at the same time. We all had an extreme awe and wonder towards her, often giving each other looks that screamed, “is this real life??”, or “how can someone just be so genuine?” It’s rare, that’s for sure. Conversing, relishing the natural beauty around us, and enjoying one another’s company is something that really can’t be replicated. I’m grateful for that experience, as I’m sure we all are. It was the perfect send off for another great concert. As surprising as it may seem, our time here in Florida is coming to its end sooner than we may think, and I hope that, above all, we can each have a story like this one to tell to our friends, family and ourselves time and time again.

    It was a good day.

    -Zakk J.

  10. Another great concert tonight! Like last night’s concert, it was packed! So many people were there! They had to bring extra chairs into the sanctuary! The good and bad about last night’s and tonight’s concert: the good- I had goosebumps all over the place the whole concert! These concerts have been so musical and expressive! The bad- goosebumps and sunburn do not mix! Ouch! :) Definitely worth it though!

- John M.

    Another great concert tonight! Like last night’s concert, it was packed! So many people were there! They had to bring extra chairs into the sanctuary! The good and bad about last night’s and tonight’s concert: the good- I had goosebumps all over the place the whole concert! These concerts have been so musical and expressive! The bad- goosebumps and sunburn do not mix! Ouch! :) Definitely worth it though!

    - John M.