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In its visiting scholars series WB O.E. presents a visit with a musician visiting scholars program of the Cleveland public schools was developed under the direction of Superintendent Paul Briggs and was designed to bring teachers and students into direct personal contact with outstanding scholars. We bring you now visit with a musician or discussion with Clayton Craig Biggio director of the Cleveland Orchestra chorus. His predecessor with the Cleveland Orchestra Robert Shaw has described Mr. Kraybill as a superb choral craftsman unsurpassed in my opinion in the United States. Clayton credo has taught music in high schools worked with the choruses of many outstanding Eastern symphony orchestras and has been a professor of music at the University of Kansas. Under his leadership this university developed one of the most impressive choral programs in the country with freshman sophomore junior and senior choruses and a university chorus numbering 450 students.
Today Mr. Craig Beale discusses the problems and opportunities involved in working as a musician. He is interviewed by Cecilia Evans Mr. Kraybill Where did you start your musical training. Why I'd rather answer the question as to when did I start my musical training. Where of course is in your home. It was in Kansas mound Ridge Kansas and when was about. When I was in the third grade formal musical training that is I started taking piano lessons and at that time. And my father and mother asked me if I would like to take piano lessons and I of course said yes and they explained that I couldn't ride the trike as often. I said well act alright and so they went out and bought a piano an upright piano and I started taking music lessons that I didn't like it anymore. I thought I'd should be able to ride the trike and have music but I couldn't. My brother was riding the trike more than I was. But. Actually the
musical training started then I was able to sing before then and my brother and I did sing around duets I think it where they were unison duets and he followed along very well. And mother would beat it into me and by the time she got it into my head he already knew it. So that was that was a Kraybill brothers duo. When your mother was a musician. I suppose one would say so yes although she wouldn't say so. She had had some organisms on the reed organ when she was a young girl. And they went about that far she could also play the guitar. I think she could play in the key of G C D and F and the reason she could play in those keys was that my father also played the fiddle. The old Arkansas traveler type fiddle and he could only play in the Keys of G C D and F anything else was beyond him and the repertoire was rather limited so mother learned the chords 1 4 5 1 in a few variations and with that was a great concert and they made it to where oh yeah.
It's the pattern we often see of musical interest in ability in the home so that the person who comes from it does have a special flair and interest and is likely to develop it more likely. There are very few people I think that actually develop a musical interest or ability that haven't been in some way or other inspired or beat into it as the case may be that's a little rough but lead into it by their mother or father or some other member of the family that was ideal or at least gave them the inspiration for it. It's I guess that's true of many artistic fields. Mr. Craig if you were talking with a young person who wanted to go into some form of Broken Music as a career What advice would you give him. Think twice. Well it isn't particularly lucrative and there aren't very many that are able to make a living at it for instance. To be a soloist with the Metropolitan Opera which everybody seems to want to do. Panicle
Yes the so-called pinnacle or any opera company for that matter. There are very few people that really make the very top. This was true when when radio was on and it's still true with television maybe even more so true it with television now or with the movies every beautiful girl wants to be the movie star. And how many movie stars have we really the same thing with the voices. How many great tenors or baritone or basses or Sopranos or Altos do we have now that can really say would be extremely successful and at the top of their field to be anything less than that probably would mean lack of income and thereby insurance salesman on the side or something of the sort in order to make a living. And there are lots of those. I mean it would be a very difficult life. There would be no security probably very little comfort. There's very little security in it. As a matter of fact I should imagine if a person went into a bank and wanted to take a loan on. Against the next week's paycheck the guy would be
the banker would naturally ask him what his business is and if he said I'm a singer professionally self employed which is usually the case. They'd think twice about giving him the loan I'm sure. Well unfortunately in our society art and artists are always a little bit suspect that's why. Well then perhaps someone who has talent may have to compromise and work at this as an avocation and have a not have a vocation which they earn their living. Music and music is a fantastic avocation. It really is great for a hobby or for something to to enjoy to make a living at it is a very difficult proposition and nobody should go into it half heartedly. And should be ready to jump at a moment's notice into something else and many do we have to be realistic about it. Well in line with this I've heard you speak rather slightingly of the attitude of professional singers as compared with that of animators. What is your feeling on that. Well that probably is a little rough. But I stated rather.
Straightforward but actually when you hear an amateur choir sing. A good amateur choir such as the Cleveland Orchestra chorus and then you hear a good professional choir sing such as let's say the Cammarata singers in New York clap and conduct. To me there is no comparison there is a spirit and Libanus abounds. A real buzz in an amateur group that simply doesn't happen with a professional group the professional group may be cleaner. They may do all the notes a little better. They may have ranges and qualities in their voices that are as much better than the amateur group but they lack a certain something which at which an amateur will have and it it it it translates itself to the audience immediately. At least to my ears it does. If you listen to a recording that is done by a professional course it's very good. If you listen to a recording done by an amateur chorus of like standing it has a certain quality which is indefinable. I
think indefinable at any rate which cause which I'd like to call amateur as the only one that I know of amateur course that I would say ranks with the professional courses in almost every respect I know of none I know of no respect and it does not match our profession of course is the Cleveland Orchestra chorus. I think that the fact that Mr Shaw was their director is the big difference with the any other director it wouldn't be this good. I would hope that this is now I'll prove it to be untrue. But if this continues with me having my own if yes but still annoy Mr Shaw engendered a spirit even with a professional chorus that that is that other professional choir directors just don't get. He also has that special spark true. You talk a great deal with Robert Shaw Chorale and with other groups. Could you tell us about some of your most interesting experience. How long do you have. How interesting no periods is not just
our fantastic any time. While I love to travel let's put it that way and I've had a fantastic luck of being with Robert and and able to travel with him from time to time. The experiences in the Soviet Union are unforgettable. Could you tell us about perhaps one of the most outstanding experiences in the Soviet Union. Well there are two that come to mind. One is the experience of standing on stage singing the Bach B Minor Mass in a so-called godless country and having the ovations just literally raise the ceiling. The stomping and the clapping goes on for a half an hour to 45 minutes after we have left the stage. They simply refused to leave the hall. Now some of this is because the organ to the performance was great but a lot of it is because also it was a Bach B Minor Mass. This was one of the things that I think touched us all and surprise us that there would be this kind of a reaction and an acceptance of this kind of music in the Soviet Union. The other thing about it is.
The interesting thing was that the from when we went to one of the conservatory in Leningrad and they found out the students in Leningrad conservatory found out we were coming. Mr. Show and I made these personal appearances together. He is the director and myself as the associate director of the group and we got into the building and there was a mob waiting at the front door. They decided that the room in which they had a slated to be was too small so they got a larger room and we barely got into the room. The students were crowding so badly at the doorway that I thought they were going to be a mass hysteria and a crush. There was a crush but the hysteria never happened. We finally got into the room and there was only standing room. The only people that were sitting with Mr Shaw and the minister of culture is something like this I stood behind me to show that when the chairs were occupied and there was no room for any more. And that they had a bodyguard at the door who simply blocked the door that nobody else could get any and the
crush was so great that he was knocked to his feet at the office feet so that more people could get in. It was an event in other words you have this tremendous response from these youngsters youngsters and I was there's a like you at the concerts where the oestrogen at the at the conservatory with the youngsters. Well it sounds as if music is an important emotional outlet for people. Music is a very very important emotional outlet. All art is the our world is so full of the ugly and the bad and the miserable things like presence is happening in Cleveland and all over the United States. It's nice to have something lovely and only through the beauty of nature or art or of what men can make. Will people remain sane. This is what war is not beauty. This can help men to keep going. That's exactly right one looks for this is like bread and I guess in the former chancellor the University of Kansas used to say it all the time men cannot live by bread alone you must have something else in this. This meant art and music and dance and theater.
That's why Mr. Kraybill I want to ask you this How important is it for a vocalist to study piano and and what about another instrument and what about foreign languages. It's according to how far you want to go with a vocalist but the best vocalists. This is a this is too bad and I seems to me that the people that I have known and as far as vocalists are concerned the great the great voices are probably the most stupid musically the best musicians don't sing as well as the stupid ones. This is funny. I don't know why but given a fine musician and a fine voice somehow or other the one talent that one person has and doesn't know how to handle it most times is greater than those that do know how to handle it. It's a funny funny situation I'm sorry that it happens but it is. It does. Do you think there's a lot of intellectual quality perhaps in the person who has this magnificent voice. And they're not the reason. Well I don't know about an intellectual quality when one would hesitate to say very stupid
but I do know that the greatest voices were not necessarily the greatest musicians and at the present time is the same thing. Well then you have a physical gift which is the voice right not the capacity to carry it to really new way. That's right. As far as to become successful in every other field in music. Instrumental and piano you have to do to train you have to be able to read music and and and learn the instruments. I know some foreign languages. Oh absolutely. Most of the most of the music that we sing for instance is in a foreign language that in English and in English being also American is the smaller part of our musical heritage by a long ways. What would you tell us what will be the role of local music across the Music Center the Cleveland Orchestra's new summer home. Well I'm just being formally formulated now and I'm to have a meeting this afternoon but we expect to have a great thing going with chorus appearing once or twice through the summer and choral Institute for
choral directors. And it could go so far as to in the future have something fun on the high school level. Chorus will be recruited from the surrounding area of a hundred miles or so. And as I said will appear with the Cleveland Orchestra at that at that time each summer. And you have professionals available for the audience that will also serve as a workshop and a stimulus for younger people through a lot of hope something like this develops all over the country. It seems to be this type of thing might increase interest in the live performing arts in the United States. Thank you Mr. CRAIG. It's been good to hear about your experiences and your ideas. You've heard Clayton Craig Beale conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra chorus in visit with the musician the visiting scholar series is produced for the Cleveland Board of Education station WABE are we FM by Charles Segal engineer Dennis basic. Your interview or was Cecilia Evans. This is Lee Franco speaking. This is WB Are we the
Visiting scholars
Clayton Krehbiel
Producing Organization
Cleveland Public Schools
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program features an interview with Clayton Krehbiel, director of the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus.
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This series features interviews with outstanding scholars from various fields.
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Interviewee: Krehbiel, Clayton Henry
Interviewer: Evans, Cecilia
Producing Organization: Cleveland Public Schools
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 68-2-5 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:14:16
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Chicago: “Visiting scholars; Clayton Krehbiel,” 1968-01-04, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed October 23, 2021,
MLA: “Visiting scholars; Clayton Krehbiel.” 1968-01-04. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. October 23, 2021. <>.
APA: Visiting scholars; Clayton Krehbiel. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from