Songs of the Season Concert

December 2015 concert poster-page-001Join Dr. John Leavitt’s Jubilee Singers in their Christmas concert “Songs of the Season,” featuring John’s arrangements of “The Coventry Carol,” the French carol “People, Look East,” and “The Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy” as well as favorites like Kirby Shaw’s “Calypso Carol” and his gospel setting of  “Go Tell It on the Mountain.” This will be a fun and inspirational concert.

The ensemble has been preparing for this performance since after their premiere concert in October.  “Songs of the Season” will use the traditional “Lessons and Carols” format which combines the Christmas narrative with Anthems and Carols.  In additional to the carols above, the ensemble will sing an ancient chant, an American Shape note hymn, and an aria from Handel’s “Messiah.”  There will even be an opportunity for participants to join the choir in a carol medley with Dr. Leavitt playing the beautiful Martin Ott Pipe Organ in the Atonement Lutheran Church Sanctuary.

The concert will be held at Atonement Lutheran Church, 9948 Metcalf Ave, Overland Park, KS on Sunday, December 13 at 3:30 pm.  Tickets are $5 and will be available at the door. Come enjoy the wonderful songs of the season with the Jubilee Singers!


 

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Trinity UMC Denver, Colorado to perform “What Child is This.”

FullSizeRenderOn October 9-10, 2015,  John was in Denver, Colorado, working with the Trinity United Methodist Church Choir and Judith Mitchell, their director.  John and the Trinity Choir have made music together several times over the years both in Denver but also in New York’s Carnegie Hall and Washington DC’s Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.  Judith invited John to serve as clinician for Trinity’s Choir Retreat that weekend.  The Trinity Choir will be offering John’s Christmas Cantata, “What Child is This” for their special music in December.  John spent Friday evening and most of Saturday working the choir on the music.  It was fast paced and intense but great fun!  The choir rose to the challenge and sang great!  Thanks to all the members of the Trinity Choir who helped make the weekend memorable.  Special thanks to Judith, Kathy, Caroline, Harold, Jan, and Diane.

During one of the choir breaks, Judith Mitchell read the following excerpt written by a former choir president about John’s cantata.  Thanks to John Smith for his permission to reproduce it here.  That excerpt follows.

Excerpt from John Smith’s “A Note from the Pres…” from the Chancel Choir Board News dated February 2003…

The Leavitt cantata reconciles a lot of worlds.  It mixes dance styles with carols, Latin with English, scripture with poetry, medieval with modern, and all kinds of unexpected shifts of meter, dynamics, harmony, and emotion. Even the centerpiece, “What Child is This?” combines a secular tune with a sacred text, to which the composer has added a Celtic counter-melody with the mystic influence of open chords sung on pure vowels.  Nevertheless, that centerpiece provides the critical organizing principle for the whole cantata, by focusing on the simple reverence of the nativity.

All this makes the Leavitt cantata a work for our age. Our society values freedom of expression, which means that we constantly receive a bewildering variety of messages and freedom of choice, which means that each one of us must choose how to respond to all of those options. Finding an organizing principle for life in the midst of such chaos is a daunting task. Singing in the choir, and especially that last few months of writing and speaking to the choir as your president, has given me lots of opportunities to concentrate on how I organize my own life and what I organize it around. I am an amateur musician, even more so an amateur at philosophy and theology, but an amateur, defined literally from its Latin root is simply one who loves whatever he or she is doing.

JUBILEE SINGERS PREMIERE CONCERT!

October 2015 concert poster-page-001John has started a new vocal ensemble: The JUBILEE SINGERS.  This energetic and exciting new group will give their premier concert this month, Sunday, October 25, 2015, 3:30 pm at Atonement Lutheran Church 9948 Metcalf Avenue in Overland Park, KS.

The Concert is entitled, “Songs of the Spirit” and will feature both sacred and secular music.  Traditional American Music, John Leavitt’s “Festival Mass,”  and Keith Hampton’s “Praise His Holy Name” will be featured on the concert as well as Broadway show tunes and lighter fare.

The concert is free and open to the public.  Please join the new JUBILEE SINGERS for this inspirational concert!

It’s Here: Our Music Store is Open!

FullSizeRenderJohn Leavitt Music just launched our new store.  John’s albums along with selected choral and keyboard music will be available.  A new feature of the store will be making music that has gone out of print available again through reproduction licenses.

Check back frequently as new items will be added regularly.  If you would like to be informed of new products in the store, sign up for our newsletter directly to the right on this page.

If you are looking for a great Christmas gift, check out John’s beautiful orchestra album, “On Christmas Night.”  This amazing collection is available on compact disc.  It is also available as a piano book folio so that you can play these wonderful arrangements yourself.

John’s classic setting of “This Little Light of Mine” is available again for SATB choir as a licensed reproducible.

If you’re looking for a new Christmas Cantata for your choir, check out “Joy to the World.”  This sparkling cantata is filled with delightful carols and Christmas songs.  A special bundle is available for choral directors that includes a beautifully recorded compact disc with full orchestra and choir with a copy of the choral book.

Music Soundtracks

Are you looking for a music soundtrack for your special video project?

Perhaps it could be something simple such as a lovely piano track or it might be something more epic with orchestra. John Leavitt Music has many professionally recorded orchestra or solo piano tracks. The catalog would include arrangements of many folk songs, original pieces, sacred songs, as well as holiday favorites. Use the “Contact” tab to contact John to inquire about a license to use his music for your video project. Click below to see and hear a sample of John’s music on this beautiful video of the grandeur of nature.

Upcoming Choral Performance Opportunity

Leavitt Carnegie HallBe part of the encore: A Christmas Holiday Spectacular, Thanksgiving 2020 with Dr. John Leavitt, composer, conductor, arranger.

Be a part of the New York Holiday Festival Choir for this exciting event.  With successful events in 2016 & 2018 we’re doing it again next year.

Dr. Leavitt will be conducting a thrilling program of his best holiday music in New York. The venue will be in the famous Carnegie Hall.

Mixed choirs are being invited to participate in this once in a lifetime event. The Festival choir will be performing Dr. Leavitt’s newest Christmas Cantata, “A Midnight Clear.”

IMG_8622John says “The concert will have an inspirational Christmas theme, with a whole set of some encore ‘Leavitt favorites.'”

Thanksgiving time in NYC is one of the best times to visit this great city. An electronic brochure will be available to interested groups soon. The cost of the package will include air, hotel, tourism, concert development, publicity, and overall music experience. Those who have sung with John before in Carnegie Hall or The Kennedy Center knows that the rehearsal experiences are a highlight. Recently choristers who sing with the Northbrook Community Choir and just finished a Festival Choir event with John in the recent “Chicago Sings” Festival said “The rehearsals alone with John were worth the price of the Festival.”

Sean Berg with Sechrist Travel will be providing the package for participants interested in joining. Sean has produced concerts in New York, Washington DC, and Chicago for John for nearly 20 years. John says “Sean is a choral musician himself and is sensitive to making these opportunities a great experience for all of his clients.

New Music

Choir in Wichita1Check out John’s newest music in print with Hal Leonard!   New publications for 2015 are now listed under the VIRTUAL READING SESSIONS tab in the menu. There are many new publications for choir in a variety of voicings (Sacred, Secular, and Christmas) as well as string orchestra.

New for Christmas this year is John’s CAROL SING! This short medley was written for the University of Colorado’s Holiday Music Festival in 2014. This exciting medley  incorporates three carols, “Deck the Hall,” “Joy to the World,” and “Angel’s We Have Heard on High.” Dr. Greg Gentry, Director of Choral Activities at the University of Colorado told John he wanted a medley that was accessible, and quickly prepared, but with enough challenge to keep his singers interested. He also wanted a full orchestration to take advantage of CU’s fine collegiate orchestra. Dr. Gentry said the orchestration has to be in orchestra friendly keys again because of the quick prep time. Lastly, Greg told John that he wanted the medley to be able to have the audience sing along on familiar carols. The end result, a smashing success called CAROL SING! Dr. Gentry indicated that this will be their opening piece on their holiday concert for many years to come.

To discover the recording and score, CLICK HERE! 

 

Meet the Composer/Conductor/Pianist/Teacher!

Leavitt KennedyCenter12Host John for an exciting “Meet the Composer/Conductor Event,” a Piano Concert, or a Clinic/Workshop.

Dr. Leavitt has directed countless Festivals for Communities, Schools, and Churches with all ages, Church Music Workshops, Hymn Festivals, and Piano and Organ Dedication Recitals.

If you would like to discuss hosting me for your event, please describe the date(s), location, nature of the event, and who it’s for. Use the “Contact” tab and I’ll respond to your email promptly.

No matter what you need, John Leavitt is it!   He is a superb composer, conductor and workshop leader, keeping both choir members and workshop participants on the edge of their seats with his exceptional musicianship and entertaining style (amidst rigorous performance expectations and most informative sessions), and his well-crafted anthems and larger works envelope choir and listener in grand and glorious moments of bliss.   Whether leading  college choirs, community singers, or church directors and their choristers, he is magnificent!

Dr. Sandra Billy, Director

The Center for Sacred Music

Virginia Wesleyan College
www.vwc.edu/csm

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John Leavitt’s rehearsals are so inspiring because they exemplify what he is best at – creating beautiful music by being inclusive of and responsive to every singer.  In addition to his excellent conducting skills and thorough knowledge of his musical vision, he has the rare gift to make each individual feel as though they are the only one there in the room by modeling genuine respect and care for each singer.  The atmosphere seems relaxed, there is always a reminder to the choirs that they can keep striving to a higher level of excellence, but always with that special added “Leavitt touch”.

Sue Young, Conductor Emeritus
Northbrook Community Choir
Northbrook, Illinois

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John Leavitt has visited our church numerous times to work with our choirs.  The energy and expertise that he brings to his music making has had a lasting impact on our music ministry.  He has a joyful approach to singing that brings out the best in everyone!

Denise Makinson, Director
Worship Ministries
Southwood Lutheran Church
Lincoln, NE

CHRISTMAS TIDINGS now available for piano

10 Traditional Carols are expertly arranged by John, appropriate for church services, recitals, or personal enjoyment. Includes: Coventry Carol • Deck the Hall • He Is Born, the Holy Child • The Holly and the Ivy • O Christmas Tree • O Holy Night • Sing We Now of Christmas • Still, Still, Still • Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day • While by My Sheep.

To see sample pages and soundbites, CLICK HERE.

ORDER Christmas Tidings, Piano Music Book Folio: $10.99

Commission John to Write New Music!

If you’re interested in commissioning a new piece of music, I’d be happy to talk with you about it. It could be a choral anthem or larger choral work, a song cycle, piano or organ arrangements, a work for orchestra, or other ensemble.
Let me know what your desired time frame is, voicing (choral), ensemble type (instrumental), or solo work, difficulty level, style, and dedication. We can discuss text if it is a choral/vocal work. When we’ve come to a mutual understanding, we’ll sign a letter of agreement spelling out the details of the commission which usually requires a down payment to begin the work. Use the “Contact” tab to contact me and I’ll respond to your email promptly.

Recent and upcoming commissions include:

  • Carol Sing! Medley of familiar carols for chorus and full orchestra for the 2014 Holiday Concert at the University of Colorado.  Premiered December 2014.
  • A Christmas Work for Brass Choir and Percussion for the 2015 Holiday Concert at the University of Colorado. Premier: December 2015.
  • A Christmas Work for Choir and Full Orchestra for the 2016 New York Festival Holiday Concert for premier in Carnegie Hall and sponsored by Sechrist Travel. Premier: Thanksgiving 2016.
  • A Choral Anthem in honor of Jean Romig, Director of Music, Trinity Lutheran Church, Leavenworth, KS for her service to the church upon her retirement. Premiere: August 2015.
  • Sim Shalom, a choral work for the 75th Anniversary of the Celebration Singers (Community Choir) of New Jersey. Premiere: March 2014.