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Suggestion for a New Forum: "Director/Composer Dialogues"

Am trying to convince the ChoralNet powers-that-be that a New Forum called something like " Director/Composer Dialogues" would be welcome and useful for the entire ACDA/ChoralNet community.  Here is a copy of my post of 6/12/12 in reponse to a query by Philip Copeland in the recent "Finding Our Way" blog on the home page:
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Offer (and announce) a new ChoralNet Forum called something like "Director/Composer Conversations" -- where we could ask questions of each other and provide helpful information and opportunities. For example, I would like to be able to access such a Forum where I could ask, for example, if directors (at least in the U.S.) might prefer "plain English" terms in scores rather than Italian/German/other terms, such as "very lively" rather than "vivace," or "sweetly" rather than "dolce." Other composers have asked questions (in various Forums) about the usefulness of YouTube videos of their music when directors are searching for new works, what specific kinds of new music directors are looking for, how to develop a working relationship with a choir in one's own locale, how to best price a piece of music if it is self-published, and so on. An experienced ASCAP composer could explain how ASCAP works, and why it is so important for composers to simply be informed when one of their pieces is performed.
Directors may wish to send out a broad appeal to composers to create music that would better fit their needs, such as more SAB pieces (the need for more SAB literature was mentioned in a forum some time ago). Some directors might like to design a kind of e-composer-in-residence program, where a general call could go out to composers, offering the chance to compose something special for a choir in return not for money, but for a guaranteed recorded performance--with the recording provided to the composer for marketing purposes--if the final product meets the director's standards. Interested composers could respond, and one or more could be chosen to participate--no matter where they live. Why should composers (especially new ones) only be able to try to work closely with local choirs, and why should choirs only be able to try to work closely with local composers? In addition, directors may wish to provide information to composers on issues such as things to avoid or focus on when composing for "changing" voices or "older" voices, what kind of budgets they have for new music, ways in which they prefer self-published composers inform them of new music availability, etc.
All of these issues and many more would be much better placed (and much more widely accessed, I think) in a Forum developed specifically for such back-and-forth communications between choir directors and composers; the current way of trying to converse with each other, by attempting to find a "good-fit" Forum for one's posts, is awkward and scattered, as well as hit-or-miss in terms of user awareness of such posts, although the existing Forums work just fine for other needs. A specific Forum for this specific purpose, to encourage choir directors and composers to talk with each other, would be very valuable, I think. It would, however, be important to communicate that this would NOT be a place for self-promotion, and all such posts would be disallowed.
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Do you agree that such a new Forum would be helpful and useful?  Please add your thoughtsThanks--and here's to better communications and understanding between choir directors and composers everywhere.
Replies (5): Threaded | Chronological
on June 13, 2012 10:39am
This post just appeared in the "Choral Discussions" Forum, and is an excellent example of the kind of post that would fit perfectly in a new "Director/Composer Conversations" Forum:
Applauded by an audience of 1
on June 13, 2012 10:48am
I think this could be very useful.  None of the current forums seems to address this.
Joe Gregorio
Applauded by an audience of 2
on June 13, 2012 12:23pm
Hi Julia:  Good suggestions. I agree that such a Forum would be very helpful.
Tom Council
Applauded by an audience of 1
on June 13, 2012 3:31pm
I really do like you, Julia, but I fail to see why we would need a specific forum for composers and conductors.  If you, as a composer, need to ask if "sweet" or "dolce" would be better,  just ask.  If I, as a conductor, need to ask composers general questions, I do.  Choral Discussions fit many of these requests and many of our ChoralNetters already subscribe to that forum and would be sure to see it. As a ChoralNet Moderator, I will share this with you--we try to edit any posting into a better category--one we think  might fit it better.  So if you have any doubts about where to post your questions, just do it and we'll sort it out for you later if we have to.
Often times, if a conductor needs a suggestions of certain types of pieces---ex. Winter Solstice theme for SATB and children's choir--we just ask.  And many, many, many of you composers suggest your pieces.  And there's nothing wrong with that.
I am not sure what you need more--most of us on the "other side" are just trying to program concerts for our specific groups. As far as dialog is concerned, what do you want....I am really not sure.
I would also add the three of you who have already commented here are COMPOSERS.
Marie Grass Amenta
on June 14, 2012 3:45pm
We composers are odd and finickety creatures, to be sure, especially in worrying about what choral directors would like from us.   But we are relatively harmless - I think.  And we do try our best to please.  Really.  Indeed I have no doubt that it was in this spirit that Julia wrote.
So I would like to join with the other respondents and add my voice to Julia's suggestion.  ChoralNet is an excellent site.  But I too feel there is a disconnect between choral directors and composers that could be bridged by what has been proposed.  I would hold that the suggestion is worthy of full consideration to explore how the the potential of such a forum could be realised to the benefit of conductors and composers alike.
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