Did you ever want to sit down with one of the great choral directors over coffee and just chat? It might go something like this. Ryan and Dr. John Yarrington cover a lot of ground in this interview, including avoiding yard work in retirement, politically correct Christmas carols, the importance of doing great works and basic literature, reasons why Texas is a choral powerhouse, Alice Parker, not speaking to Robert Shaw, how Ryan self-identifies as Texan, Bach motets, and choral overreach.
Highlight to Tweet: “Adjunct is Latin for “work your butt off for no money” – John Yarrington
- Dr. Yarrington did not spend his career in academia, even though he has recently retired from Houston Baptist University. Instead, his background is mainly in large churches.
- Ya’ll. Just leave his Christmas carols alone. Don your gay apparel or just get out.
- Working with Alice Parker taught him the importance of text.
- Start with the text, and protect it faithfully.
After 18 years as the head of the Choral Department at Houston Baptist University, Dr. John Yarrington has retired. During these years, a significant change in the choral culture was accomplished with outstanding concerts of varying repertoire, major works with orchestra, outstanding guests including Alice Parker, Morton Lauridsen, Dan Forrest, James Jordan, and Anton Armstrong. Five trips to the Classic Music Festival in Eisenstadt, Austria were accomplished and the HBU Schola Cantorum was the featured choir singing a concert in the Bergkirche, Haydn’s church.
Dr. Yarrington is a published composer and author – his latest book is Have We Had This Conversation, published by Sacred Music Press. He has completed a new book entitled “In Pursuit of Musical Excellence, yet to be published.
Dr. Yarrington was, for 34 years, a full time church musician and continues today as the Chancel Choir Director of the First Presbyterian Church of Houston. At Pulaski Heights UMC in Little Rock, Arkansas, he started the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra Chorus and was, for a season, interim conductor of the orchestra. He also was Artistic Director of the Arkansas Chamber Singers for several seasons – a professional choral group.
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