Choral Potpourri: Choral Ethics in Chicago
Date: February 17, 2016
“……..Bet your bottom dollar you lose the blues in Chicago, Chicago, The town that Billy Sunday couldn't shut down…..,” Fred Fisher, 1922
I am very excited to be attending the ACDA Central Division Conference “,Lift Every Voice," in Chicago next week. And yes, Chicago IS my hometown though I do reside in a suburb. Like many of you, I am looking forward to seeing old friends, hearing wonderful choruses, attending interest sessions and getting repertoire ideas from the reading sessions. I also hope to meet some of you.
In Chicago, I will be taking the occasional *coffee break* and will set up a “Choral Ethics Café” sign when I do. It might be in an actual coffee shop or restaurant in the Palmer House or I’ll bring a cup to a lobby. I will Tweet--@MidwestMotet---and let you know when I’m taking a break and where I am. Please bring your favorite beverage and join me! I’d love to hear your Choral Ethics stories or questions. And rest assured, I will only use your story or question in a future ChoralBlog if you give me permission and ALWAYS change the name and any telling details.
My Choral Ethics project began a few years ago after an unpleasant experience in public with a choral colleague in my community. She was unpleasant to me (and loudly so) for no reason other than she was unhappy about something having nothing to do with me. Her behavior startled and embarrassed me and got me thinking about behavior, our behavior as choral professionals. Why do some of us feel it’s our right to take things out on our choirs? And then our choirs put up with that behavior because they think they should? Why do we make auditions so grueling when we actually want singers to join our ensemble? Why is it fine to chastise a choral colleague in public for no reason? Why do we treat our accompanists like second-class citizens and then expect them to go above and beyond? Why is it accepted to undermine and speak ill of other choral organizations? Why do we criticize other choral groups’ performances often while they are still performing? Why is it okay to leave a hot mess for our successors to clean up? And then poison the program we are leaving? All of these behaviors have been discussed in one or more of my Choral Ethics ChoralBlogs here on ChoralNet. I hope to collect these Choral Ethics stories, their discussions and possible solutions into a book in the near future.
In the meantime, I hope to see you in Chicago next week. I will explain my connection to Billy Sunday if you ask (and no, I am NOT related!) because Chicago is my hometown!