Jimmy Howe: "I love good music and great people"
Today’s meeting is with Jimmy Howe, a great fan of choral music and currently choral director at the High School in Boulder, Colorado (USA). Jimmy completed his musical studies at Concordia University in California and later perfected at the University of Colorado in Boulder. He is also director of the Rocky Mountain Chorale, with whom he should have participated in our Festival in the 2020 edition, but we all know how it ended.
Hi, Jimmy, can you tell us how you got into music?
Music has always been part of my life. My father taught music and my mother, in the evening, as a child, sang to make me fall asleep. At the age of seven I started to strum the old Steinway piano inherited from my great-grandmother and since then I have never stopped: still now, in my free time, I play Bach and Beethoven.
WHEN WAS YOUR PASSION FOR CHORAL MUSIC BORN?
My passion was born in high school, when they convinced me to join the production of the musical "Kiss Me Kate" with the music of Cole Porter. I auditioned almost as a joke and when I told it to my parents they said: "We didn’t know you could sing!". I answered: "Neither did I!". I have always appreciated the human aspect of the choir; above all, I have always been attracted by the energy that a group of people can emit when they decide to work together; besides, I love good music and fantastic people, and I must say that over the years the choral activity has offered me both in abundance!
TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOUR MUSICAL TASTES; YOUR FAVORITE AUTHORS?
Outside of my professional sphere I have no limitations of any kind, I listen to any kind of music. If we are talking about classical music, my favorite composer is Beethoven, whom I consider unique in his humanity and in his thematic developments. I also love pop and in this period I really appreciate the vocality of the artist Mika. Among the living composers, my favorite is definitely the American Jake Runestad: I recommend you listen to some of his songs for choir, you will be fascinated!
AN EXTRATERRESTRIAL ARRIVES ON EARTH: HE DOES NOT KNOW OUR MUSIC AND ASKS YOU TO LISTEN TO THREE PIECES. WHICH DO YOU CHOOSE?
Here are my choices: the ninth symphony of Beethoven, "Jubilate Deo" by Dan Forrest, the oratory "Elijah" by Mendelsshon and "Lux Aeterna" by Moren Lauridsen: I know, there are four of them but I could not leave out even one of them!
BACK TO CHORAL MUSIC: WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT INTERNET USE FOR ONLINE REHEARSALS AND CONCERTS?
The Internet has been an extraordinary tool to keep us together in the harshest moments of the pandemic. Having said that, nothing can ever replace the palpable humanity that we all experience when we sing, together and close, in a choir. I think of the South African concept of "Ubuntu", for which the purpose of an individual makes sense only in the context of the community: "I am because we are".
AND FINALLY: WHAT DO YOU THINK THE FUTURE OF CHORAL MUSIC WILL BE?
At this moment I think that the greatest risk is that an epidemic of loneliness is created; people need more than ever to resume socializing! Platforms and social media cannot replace the emotions we feel when we are in physical contact with other people. As author Brené Brown once said, "My brain knows we’re connecting, but my heart doesn’t". Choral music can certainly satisfy this need to meet again, and for this reason I expect, in the coming months, a new Renaissance of choral music!
We all wish that, of course.
Thanks Jimmy, we hope to see you soon in Val Pusteria!