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Dear Kay,

Krista Tippett’s conversation with Alice Parker will make you want to sing along, even if you don’t know the words. This is one of the most memorable conversations I’ve heard in a long time.

At ninety years old, Alice Parker is speaking from a deep well of understanding, a lifetime of singing and thinking about why singing is such a transcendental, unifying, moving form of communication.

She believes that any group can sing together. It doesn’t matter, much, whether anybody has training.

Her arrangements of folk songs, hymns, and traditional songs are performed across the globe. Here’s a collection of performances of music arranged by Alice Parker. You might as well hit Play All and let all these groups, polished or not, float into your home on this quiet day.




Fresco by Giotto, Scenes from the Nativity, Arena Chapel in Padua.


  • Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah. Thank you for the gift of the beautiful music and memories that have come along with it. I’m listening to Sweet Chariot just now. When I lived in Australia, I was in a choir and that was one of the songs we had performed. It was a community choir and we sang our hearts out at every practice and performance. Our favorite song to sing was this one….. Enjoy!

  • I was just listening to a podcast yesterday where three hard-boiled, cynical stand-up comedians all agreed that the only thing that truly turns their minds off and relaxes them is singing. Looks like I need to crank the music up and play some “apartment karaoke!”

  • Wednesday night at Lincoln Center I heard Alice Parker’s name for the first time (and her arrangement of Masters of this House, sung by the New York Choral Society).

    • There are no coincidences!

  • I am sitting in my kitchen, with a smile on my face – that I am reading about knitting, and the piece is headed with a “snippet” of Giotto’s Scrovegni Chapel. It makes this art historian’s heart smile on this gray, rainy, gloomy day in New Jersey.

    Happy Holidays to All!

    • Oh, joy to you, Gail! Giotto is my favorite of favorites, all the humanity and love in his faces. Wish I could put the whole chapel here.

  • Wishing you both a holiday filled with love and spirit. And thank you for the lovely sanctuary and inspiration you provide here at MDK.


  • What napagal.clare said. Thank you both and happy holidays!

  • What a delight to find this today. Our kid’s choir teacher/director who we just lost a few weeks ago was a student of Parker and we’ve all been lucky in her arrangements and compositions. Merry Happy to all of you. With thanks for this space. ❤

  • I stumbled into an Alice Parker choral work/recital in San Francisco a few years ago. It was totally unplanned and wonderful. What a neat lady.

  • I’m just now catching up to postings and I love this. Thank you Ann. I sing with an auditioned choir thay commissioned a choral piece by Alice Parker. Everything she said is so true and I can’t wait to get back to rehearsals next week from our break after our holiday concert. Happy New Year!

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