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Choral Potpourri: Are We Having Fun Yet?

         “Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.” Dr. Seuss
I had fun at the ACDA Central Division’s conference last week. I saw old friends and colleagues, met some wonderful people, was introduced to a new technique or two as well as music I can use now and heard some outstanding choirs. I met Tim Sharp…the nicest guy !…in person and chatted with him. I interviewed, formally and informally, nine people for my Choral Ethics project. I will be sharing more Choral Ethics stories in my Choral Potpourri ChoralBlog as March and April and May (and perhaps in June) goes on, but not every week. I need a bit of time to digest and process everything I heard and talked about with people in Chicago, so don’t expect YOUR story to show up too soon. I want to honor your trust in me by being careful what I write about and how I write it. I will change as many details as makes sense to keep the gist of the Choral Ethics problem but not reveal your identity. It was a fun time in Chicago, and fruitful, but it’s back to reality for me here in the Midwest.
I am sure the organizers of the ACDA Central Division’s Conference (and all the Division Conferences organizers) had fun but they must have worked and worked so hard to make their conference a success. All of us who attended had fun and looked forward to this conference while the organizers toiled away, deciding oh so many details. I am so grateful for all of your hard work…thank you! Conference organizers are sure to be gearing up for next year’s National Conference while the folks for the Division Conferences begin to plan their events for two years from now. It’s never ending, isn’t it?
I’ve been thinking about the concept of *fun* and choral conducting since last fall when I attended a dinner for a local performing arts organization. My spouse and I were seated at a table with three other couples for this formal dinner. He is a member of the board of directors of this particular organization, as were three of the others at our table. One of the spouses, who doesn’t know me, asked me what I do. When I told her, “I am a choral conductor,” she said that “oh, that must be so much fun.” While I thought about how to answer her, I had to agree, it IS fun being a choral conductor. I finally replied by saying, “yes it IS fun”…but I did not continue with my further thoughts of “yes, it is fun but also a LOT of work.”
I could hear you gasp a bit when I related the “oh, that must be so much fun” comment. I didn’t speak aloud the second part of my thoughts only because my Hubby was pinching my leg under the table so I wouldn’t! People only see the fun part, the concert part, the performing part, the happy part of being a choral professional. They don’t see the hard work in rehearsals. They don’t see the collating of music and folders and ordering music in time so it will be ready when rehearsals begin. They don’t see the phone calls and emails about singers and accompanists and venues. They don’t see the stress of trying to make deadlines or having rehearsals canceled because of the weather and hoping you won’t need that rehearsal. They only see the finished product, with our choirs wearing the same shade of black (after arguing about new concert dresses for two years) and the programs with the insightful program notes with no one’s name being inadvertently left off. They don’t realize being a choral conductor is a lot like any other job, with all sorts of steps leading up to a finished product. We do have fun, in the end, and that’s what makes all the hard work worth it.
I did have fun in Chicago and appreciate all the hard work that went into this conference so I COULD have fun. Thank you, ACDA Central!
on March 2, 2016 6:51pm
A friend was a high school choral director in Atlanta. I once asked him what was the most difficult duty in his work.
Hoping for some musical enlightenment, I heard a drawling answer, "THE ROBES!!!"
Ed Palmer
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