Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Salt Lake Vocal Artists to perform at national ACDA conference

Salt Lake Vocal Artists

A former Mormon Tabernacle Choir member described the Salt Lake Vocal Artists performance as "enthusiastic" and "professional grade."

Under the baton of Dr. Brady Allred, the A Cappella choir will perform February 23, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. at the First Baptist Church, 777 South 1300 East, Salt Lake City. The performance, called "The Singing Heart," will also include Ko Matsushita and the Metropolitan Chorus of Tokyo.

Later that week the two choirs will perform at the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) national conference in Salt Lake City. The ACDA conference program will include a half dozen songs by the Salt Lake Vocal Artists, including three that were commissioned for the choir.

I Cannot Dance, composed by Canadian Larry Nickel, includes a solo by Jennifer Williamson.

I cannot dance O' Lord,
Unless You lead me
If You want me to leap joyfully,
Let me see You dance and sing

The choir uses Singing Bowls from Crystal Tones in their performance of Eriks Esenvalds' Stars. The bowls add magic to a beautiful performance of Esenvalds' music and lyrics adapted from a poem by Sara Teasdale (1920). Latvian Ešenvalds is one of the most sought-after choral composers working today.

Alone in the night 
On a dark hill 
With pines around me 
Spicy and still,

Another piece, beautifully performed by the choir, is Alleluia by American composer Jake Runestad. An online description of the music says: "Through history, the singing of 'alleluia' has served as an outward celebration as well as an introspective prayer of praise,... The work begins with a rhythmic declaration of joy and builds intensity through metric changes, tonal shifts, glissandi, and hand clapping. This lively exultation soon gives way to a reverent meditation with soaring melodic lines and lush harmonies. The dancing rhythms from the beginning return with a gradual build in intensity as one’s praises rise to the sky. Click to hear the choir's performance of Alleluia.

Organized under the direction of Dr. Brady Allred in 2010, the Salt Lake Vocal Artists has become the first professional-level touring and recording choir within the Salt Lake Choral Artists organization. This mixed-voice choral ensemble varies in size depending on the project from 16 to 40 auditioned singers and performs a diverse repertoire ranging from the Renaissance to the 21st Century.

In its premiere season, the SL Vocal Artists were honored with an invitation to participate in the 42nd Tolosa Choral Contest in October 2010. After a successful concert tour of the Basque region of Spain, the SLVA competed against renowned choirs from all over the world and were awarded First Prize in all four categories they entered, as well as the special Audience Prize.

To conclude only its second season, the SL Vocal Artists were one of only 25 choirs and the only American choir to perform at the World Choral Symposium in Argentina following a two week concert tour of the country in July and August. They also traveled by invitation to Italy in September to compete in the Arezzo International Choral Competition where they won 5 first prizes, and as a featured choir for the Concordia Vocis music festival in Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy.

In addition to debuting at the national ACDA conference in February, the choir will travel in June 2015 to Aachen, Germany as the featured international choir for the Chor Biennale and to The Netherlands for additional concerts with the choirs of Dion Ritten.

Prior to resigning in October 2010, Dr. Allred served as the Director of Choral Studies at the University of Utah, where he conducted the award-winning University of Utah Singers and the A Cappella Choir. Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/SLVocalArtists

Brady Allred and Stefan Kaltenbock

Boosting Kid’s Self-Esteem through Yoga!

by Teresa Anne Power
February is International Self-Esteem Month, and one way to enhance the self-worth of children is through the practice of yoga. Yoga can not only help build a child's esteem and motivation but also their over-all health and well-being.

The National Association for Self-Esteem (NASE) defines self-esteem as "the experience of being capable of meeting life's challenges and being worthy of happiness."  Self-esteem is not about looks or clothing but instead what you think about yourself internally.

Children today are faced with challenges not only from our fast-paced technological society but also from peer pressure, bullying, competition, and demands from school and extra-curricular activities. How children view themselves personally can have a huge impact on their confidence, and in turn how they handle situations such as the above where their self-esteem is tested.

We need to develop in our youth a healthy self-esteem characterized by
  • Tolerance
  • Respect for others
  • Integrity
  • Responsibility for their own actions
  • Self-motivation and
  • Feeling worthy of happiness
Children who have healthy self-esteem trust their own being to be life affirming, constructive, and responsible. Yoga can build self-worth by promoting a positive outlook, reducing anxiety, and focusing the mind to bring clarity and perspective.   
One great posture for kids to try is the Flamingo Pose. This yoga posture helps with focus and concentration, while at the same time building confidence and self-esteem in children as they learn to balance on one leg.

When a child has the foundation of healthy self-esteem, he or she can be better prepared to face the trials and challenges of life with a sense of capability to overcome and work through them.

Teresa Anne Power, avid yoga practitioner for over 30 years, is a leading authority on children's yoga, and the best-selling author of The ABCs of Yoga for Kids. Also available in Spanish, and soon in French and Italian, her book has won multiple awards including, but not limited to, The Mom's Choice Award, Family Choice Award, Living Now Book Award, Moonbeam Children's Book Award, and National Best Books Award. Since, Power has recently released The ABCs of Yoga for Kids 2015 Calendar, and a new interactive yoga DVD, Yoga Adventures with Down Dog.

Power has appeared on both local and national television, and has had articles published in USA Today Magazine, Yogi Times, Violet magazine, and The Palisadian-Post. She currently writes articles about children's health and fitness on Examiner.com.

For the past 10 years, Power has taught young children yoga in schools, yoga studios, and local organizations, helping thousands of kids develop a healthy attitude towards their body. Power has also spoken at numerous libraries, schools, yogastudio, and school conferences. In addition, she volunteers her yoga expertise, and works with Children's Bureau, Pathways, Connections with Children and the Neighborhood Youth Association.  Additionally, Power is a keynote speaker and teaches children's yoga training workshops. A graduate of University of Southern California, she earned her J.D. from Pepperdine University School of Law and has a California Real Estate Broker's License. In 2002, she completed a yoga training program with Indigo Yoga.

She resides in Pacific Palisades, California.

The ABCs of Yoga for Kids is available for purchase at AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Chopra Center, and many other bookstores and yoga studios.

Opinion: Tennessee Medicaid Expansion’s Bad Priorities

Medicaid Expansion's Bad for State Taxpayers
By Sean Parnell
Sean Parnell
Sean Parnell
Gov. Bill Haslam proposes to expand Tennessee's Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act. The governor's heart may be in the right place, and he may have persuaded himself that it's better to accept federal funding for the expansion than leave it on the table, but Tennessee's legislators and citizens shouldn't make the same mistake.

On its face, expansion might appear to be a no-brainer. The federal government will pay for all of the expansion cost for the first few years, and 90 percent afterwards. The expansion would undoubtedly help reduce the number of people who are considered uninsured, which is probably a good thing.

But once you get past the pro-expansion talking points, things look far less rosy. In fact, getting on the expansion bandwagon is almost certain to end up in disaster.

Consider the high level of federal funds involved. The federal government normally covers about 65 percent of what Tennessee pays for its Medicaid program. Getting 90 percent covered for people made newly eligible under an expansion is obviously a better deal than that.

That 90 percent share, however, is not carved in stone. In fact, in past budgets both the Republican Congress and President Obama himself have suggested the federal government's share under the expansion should be reduced.

When that happens (and the federal budget deficits that loom in the next couple of years pretty much guarantee it's a matter of when, not if), Tennessee will have to make some pretty terrible choices. The same is true of the 10 percent or more Tennessee will definitely have to come up with once the federal match drops; that money has to come from somewhere.

What kind of choices will Tennessee have to make to fund its share of the expansion, whatever percentage it ends up being? Raising taxes to cover the shortfall is one obvious option. Perhaps the state will impose an income tax – fightin' words for many Tennesseans.

Another option would be to reduce funding for other items in the state budget. Education would be the obvious place to take from, given K–12 and higher education spending currently consume just under half of Tennessee's general funds.

Another option would be to reduce state funding for those currently on Medicaid, primarily poor, single mothers and their children, plus the elderly, and instead protect spending for the expansion population, primarily able-bodied childless men, more than one-third of whom have criminal backgrounds.

This rather cruel choice would make great sense in financial terms, because the way the federal match works, cutting poor women, children, and the elderly loses less funding for the state than cutting childless, able-bodied males. For every $100 the state spends on its traditional Medicaid population, it receives $186 in federal funds, whereas for every $100 it spends on the expansion population, it receives $900. That's a huge incentive for the state to cut funding for low-income mothers, children, and old people.

And although lowering the number of uninsured may seem a good thing, it does little to provide more access to care. Medicaid badly underpays doctors and hospitals, causing many of them to refuse to accept more than a small number of patients covered under the program.

Gov. Haslam should focus his energies on getting real reform for his state's Medicaid program, starting with pushing for block grants that give him and the legislature the flexibility they need to craft solutions that work in Tennessee instead of satisfying the whims of politicians and bureaucrats in Washington, DC.

Sean Parnell (sparnell@heartland.org) is managing editor of Health Care News.