ISU Music Professor Re-imagines Morning Edition Theme

June 30, 2016
Mark Grizzard directing the ISU Mens Glee Club at Redbird Arena

Mark Grizzard directing the ISU Men's Glee Club at Redbird Arena

Jerrod Campbell

Two months ago, NPR's Morning Edition challenged listeners to reinvent its theme music. Submissions since have spanned genres, including ambient, dubstep, reggae, waltz, jazz, and blues. Illinois State University School of Music Professor Mark Grizzard recently took up the challenge. 

Grizzard said he's "an NPR addict" who listens to Morning Edition on his commute from his home in Peoria to his teaching position at ISU, and his Doctoral studies at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana.  With choral as his specialty, a choral arrangement of the Morning Edition theme was an obvious choice.

Grizzard and his fiancé Leigh Wiedelman, Director of Choirs at Pekin Community High School, are the only two voices on this arrangement.  He said they each recorded 16 parts, which he produced into the layered version you can hear below. 

"I recorded all the tenor and bass parts, and I asked Leigh to record the soprano and alto parts.  Together, we give it that full choral sound."

Many don't know the Morning Edition theme has lyrics.  Grizzard gave those words an extra heavenly touch to convert them to Latin.

"Latin is a great default for anyone writing choral music because of the clear vowels and the ubiquity of sound that doesn't need a direct understanding by the audience."

Story source: WILL