Singing School

Are you looking for a good, Christian place to send your child for a week? Maybe you want your son/nephew/boy-down-the-block to work on public speaking skills and/or learn how to lead songs in an acappella setting? Or perhaps your daughter/niece/girl-selling-cookies-at-your-door enjoys singing in choir, or is looking to learn a little bit about it before trying out for a position next school year? If you answered YES to any of these questions, then the Alva School of Music is the place for you!

Though this church camp with homework is literally right around the corner, with sign ins happening at 3 on Sunday, June 7th, there is still time to register your child. Singing School (as we affectionately call it) takes place from Sunday afternoon through Friday, culminating Friday night in choral performance put on by the female, male, and mixed choirs. The College Hill church of Christ in Alva Oklahoma hosts this event every year, even providing the next door “Bible Chair” for recreation times, giving the students a chance to challenge each other’s hand-eye coordination is rousing games of ping-pong and air hockey.

While your student is learning these useful singing and people skills, they will stay in a home provided by one of our fabulous church members, be fed breakfast and supper at their host’s house and lunch at the church building. They will be placed in ‘Huddle Groups”, which are smaller mixed groups of students that are a team for games, put on a skit for the Thursday night Talent Show (always a blast!), and provide moral support for each other as they sing and, for the boys, as they lead devotionals.

Our female choral lessons are taught by Nancy Stansberry, a beautiful soul inside and out (who just so happens to be the wife and mother of a few more super talented musicians…look up Mark Stansberry {author, musician, Oklahoma Board of Regents, etc etc etc} and Matt Stansberry and the Romance Jazz Band…and Joe Stansberry musician as well…they are a talented family!}. Nancy’s husband Mark often comes in to visit throughout the week, as well as performing in the Talent Show with her. They also usually perform a song or two with Chris Johnson and Drew Broussard, our two male choral leaders (they often split the group into upper and lower ages for learning to lead singing). Chris is a counselor, missionary, and musician while Drew is a musician, missionary, and teacher. They all love to help students grow and learn to be their best.

Our 3 teachers are fun, hard working, and loving individuals who help make this week memorable for all involved! Holding it all together are teacher/principal Doug Gunselman, and minister/teacher/author/collegeminister/time keeper Dr. Wilson Jay Tyree (who also performs a diddy or two, usually randomly throughout the week!).

Singing School has provided countless hours of fun and singing for dozens upon dozens of 10-18 year old students and your loved one could be next! SO HURRY! Don’t pass this opportunity up! The first full week of June only comes around once a year! Throw in some ping-pong, an afternoon of water play, and life long friendships and you’ve got the Alva Singing School!


Essays on Christian Worship

Essays on Christian Worship

Written by Dr. Wilson Jay Tyree, minister and professor of Biblical Studies at Northwestern Oklahoma State University (Ride Ranger Ride), this book contains

five short essays, each covering a different area of christian worship: prayer, singing, giving, communion, and preaching.



The rhythm and cadence of every written piece is the same for each person who reads it…right? No matter who they are, no matter where they are from, and no matter what possible differences they might have, every single one of the will read or sing each word in EXACTLY THE SAME PRECISE MANNER…or not. Even if two people from the same household read a poem, they will each put their own spin on it. Everyone has their own interpretations, that is what makes the written word such a powerful thing.

Nations can rise and fall with the flick of a pen and when you combine that power with spoken words in the reading or singing of a piece and the entire feel can be manipulated through inflection. Read a recipe out loud (I recommend my newly published on Yahoo! “How To: Juicy Herbal Chicken” First, read the ingredients as if you are starving and those are the most beautiful words you have ever seen…then read it again as if you hate chicken, can’t stand the thought of even smelling the cilantro, and never want to eat again. Be angry at the words…see how that works?

One of my personal favorite ways to demonstrate this is to read Dr. Seuss, A.A.Milne, and/or other classic authors such as Alfred, Lord Tennyson or Edgar Allen Poe with different tones and emotions.

Try reading Green Eggs and Ham (Dr. Seuss) as if it makes you terribly sad. Read The Raven by E.A. Poe as if it makes you giggle uncontrollably in places.

Sing A.A. Milne’s Tigger’s song like you are Eeyore or drop the drama and quote The Lady of Shallot (Alfred, Lord Tennyson) as if you were merely reading a bit of a gossip column (Oh look dear, The crazy lady in the tower passed away. Huh.)

Do you see the difference a little change in your voice can make?

Sometimes when I’m reading, I hear the words as spoken by a teacher or an actor, their interpretations coloring even my own private readings. For example, I always hear The Lady of Shallot (and usually read it as) Megan Follows in the movie Anne of Green Gables. And I am willing to bet you that the vast majority of people don’t just read through the Gollum lines in any J.R.R. Tolkien book…precious.

As a slight side note, I would like to also mention the actors who portray beloved characters in live action films. When Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark confesses to being Iron Man it is done completely differently than expected, but absolutely perfectly. Here is a man who is a narcissistic play boy that doesn’t care for many people, admitting to himself that he is a hero. Perhaps an entirely flawed and destructive hero, but a hero none-the-less.

When you meet the Ninja Turtles, or when you see yet another James Bond and you almost recognize them…this is an example of the chance every actor is given. With direction, they can change their characters and inject their own spin, their own mannerisms by using the written script as more of a jumping off point.

Case in point—everyone in Harry Potter and Johnny Depp.

p.s. this was supposed to be a video blog and I chickened out…But I would LOVE to hear suggestions or see your own videos of songs or prose that you found to practice this concept with!