We have nearly made it through a tremendously difficult year, and we all need to raise a glass at the end of this year to celebrate the challenges we have had to leap over along its path. The ANCA community has grown stronger across the nation as we have reached out to each other to navigate through changes and to find ways of singing together in our "new normal." In recent history, I don't think there has been a time when the value of connecting through song and the many benefits to everyone's wellbeing that participates in singing together, has been more essential to our everyday life and has been so missed. Let's hope that there are some opportunities for us to participate in, or at least hear, some live singing over the coming months. We look forward to hearing about those performances.
The results are in from our National Survey which closed at the end of September. Thank you to those who took the time to complete the survey. We had 377 completed responses which provided the excellent informative data. The responses seem to reflect the proportion of members from each State/Territory Chapter. You will be able to read more detail from the survey within this Sing Out but of particular interest were the questions that referred to "what are the most important current ANCA activities." The majority answered the most important was ANCA's advocacy on behalf of the choral music sector (61%). Due to the year that we have experienced, it is understandable that this would rate high on everyone's list. National Council is taking this on board to prepare the way forward, looking at how ANCA can advocate for our choral music sector on an ongoing basis. Not surprisingly rating under advocacy in importance are the ANCA communications (56%), AON insurance (48%) and then workshops and training opportunities (45%).
Another interesting highlight from the National Survey was the professional development areas that are the most value to our members. 53% mentioned vocal health and development as the most valuable events, followed by motivating and inspiring choirs, rehearsal strategies, copyright law, warm-up routines and repertoire selection. Another interesting statistic that came from the survey was that 50% of those who completed the survey would prefer to read their Sing Out Magazine in a digital format. We realize there are differing opinions across our membership for digital versus hardcopy of the magazine but I would have to say that this year, as we have distanced and not been able to gather together, each issue of our Sing Out magazine has been uploaded as a FlipBook for anyone to read. We felt it important to make our magazine accessible to all who were interested and uploading a digital format made it easier for choristers of our member choirs to access.
In recent months we have also put a call out to choir directors, administrators, choristers and the wider community to join the ANCA mailing list. We realize that sometimes the very informative ANCA e-newsletters are sent to the conductor or administrator of choral organizations, but don't get handed down the line. If you would like to receive this information directly, go to the ANCA website and sign up.
Each year the ANCA National Council always attempts to have a face-to-face Strategy meeting day. In the years when Choralfest takes place, we are able to take the time to talk through overarching issues for the organization and plan for the future. With the pandemic this year we were only able to do this via Zoom. I would like to thank all of the State Chapter presidents, Caroline from TAS, and others that attended our day for their time and energy. It is clearly evident that all of your State Presidents want to provide the most value for your membership and are dedicated to providing opportunities to further enable our choral communities to sing.
We look forward to bringing you details of how ANCA is going to celebrate its 30-year anniversary starting with the Research Conference in Sydney in April 2021.
Over the break please be kind to yourselves. Take time away from your devices to enjoy the music and look after those around you.
Dr. Debra Shearer-Dirié
ANCA National President