As we reach the mid-point of 2018, no doubt many of you are very much in the midst of various projects with your choirs. Perhaps you will have enjoyed some artistic highpoints at a recent concert when your choir gave a musically-astute and critically acclaimed performance. You may have together explored some new music which was musically refreshing and professionally rewarding. It could also be that, in amongst the highs, there was room for improvement!
It has often occurred to me that one of the downsides of concerts is that, after the thrill and excitement of a performance, your choir will (hopefully) turnup to the next rehearsal eagerly waiting to dive into new repertoire which the poor exhausted choral director has had to prepare at a time when they are at their busiest! Whatever the case, it is good to stop and reflect on why we do what we do and I hope that this issue of Sing Out helps you do this.
A dear colleague of mine in the USA tells the story of his days teaching choir in what could be best described as a rough part of town. There was not much money either in the school or the neighbourhood but he was part of a thriving school music department which each day offered the students something very special. He prided himself on getting to know his students well and ensured special events in their lives did not go unacknowledged. They even sang quite well! As the end of year concert approached, he noticed a particularly "rough around the edges" boy surreptitiously place a note on his desk. The contents of the note almost brought him to tears. It simply said,
"Dear Mr D, thanks for everything this year. You made the choir my family."
The concept of "choir as family" is one which has been explored in many different ways but it is worth just pausing and realising the positive effects singing in a choir can have on people, young and old. The power of singing together should not be underestimated or forgotten. I am sure many of us can tell similar stories to Mr D.
It is these moments that keep us going, that energise us when we are tired and contemplating a 2-hour rehearsal. Our core business is working with people and making them better for their time with us. Yes, the music is important and the means by which we come together but let us always strive to make each rehearsal, each concert, each choral experience one which makes our choirs our families.
Enjoy reading this edition of Sing Out. I particularly encourage you to put the next ChoralFest in your diaries. It is quickly approaching so plan to be there! I wish you all the very best in your choral endeavours.
ANCA National President