Walter Bitner

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Monthly Archives: July 2016

Personent Hodie


Part of a series of articles on
Preparing a School Winter Solstice Performance

Personent Hodie is a medieval Christmas carol. The form in which it comes down to us was first published in Piæ Cantiones, a collection of medieval Latin songs that were sung at the cathedral school in Turku (Finland). It was compiled by Jaakko Suomalainen, a Finnish clergyman, and published in 1582. The carol’s melody is very similar to a hymn found in a German manuscript from 1360, and it is assumed that Personent Hodie dates from the mid-14th century.


Christmas in July


Preparing a Winter Solstice Celebration For Your Students

For many people, the idea of Christmas in July is something of a spoof or a stunt – stores have sales or bars have happy hour specials, that sort of thing. When I took a brief hiatus from teaching in the late 1990s and ran the CD store at Barnes & Noble in Clearwater, on July mornings before the store opened I would sometimes play The Klezmonauts’ Oy to the World! – a raucous high-energy collection of Klezmer versions of traditional Christmas carols – to begin the day with good humor and fun.

But for many music teachers, summer time is the season to plan curriculum for the school year to come, and for years, Christmas in July to me meant: the beginning of half of each year spent planning, preparing, and executing the fall semester. In several schools I taught at, this inevitably culminated in a grand holiday performance that included all my students, usually held in the beginning of December and inevitably including anywhere from a fair amount to a veritable cornucopia of holiday-themed music and other forms of celebration.


The Lute Society of America Summer Seminar West, 1996

masterclass with Paul O'Dette, Lute Society of America Summer Seminar West, Vancouver Early Music Festival 1996

masterclass with Paul O’Dette, Lute Society of America Summer Seminar West, Vancouver Early Music Festival 1996

The Lute Appendix iv

In the summer of 1996, I attended The Lute Society of America‘s Summer Seminar West in Vancouver, BC. The event took place from July 29 – August 2, 1996 at the Vancouver Early Music Festival held at The University of British Columbia.

Earlier this month the LSA held the 2016 summer seminar at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, and as my FaceBook feed was briefly inundated with photos and videos that attendees posted on the LSA FaceBook Group, I found myself reminiscing about my experience in Vancouver twenty years ago. It was one of the most memorable weeks of my life.


Saying Goodbye To 12 South Dharma Center


the zendo (meditation hall) at 12 South Dharma Center, Nashville

the zendo (meditation hall) at 12 South Dharma Center, Nashville



After 8 years, Nashville’s unique and only ecumenical Buddhist center is closing its doors.

This weekend the three local Buddhist meditation groups who share 12 South Dharma Center are moving out of the second floor suite of rooms on hip & trendy 12 South Avenue they have occupied since June 2008. Nashville will no longer have a dedicated space where those interested in Buddhism and meditation can choose from several groups to sit with or experienced practitioners to receive instruction from 6 days a week.

It’s been great while it lasted.