National Collegiate Chorus Organization
Date: November 9, 2013
I wrote this sitting in the airport in Charleston, SC, waiting for the first flight on my longish trip home. I was coming home from the National Collegiate Chorus Organization's biennial conference (NCCO, not to be confused with the NCCCO - National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators).
I love this conference. It's only my second time going, but both times I've attended the conference, I've had an incredible time. If you are a college director, I strongly encourage you to attend in Portland, Oregon in 2015.
There are two things that make this conference great, for me. The first is that almost everyone there is a college director. And as a result, we all speak exactly the same language. We have a lot of the same issues, difficulties, and experiences. This is true at ACDA conventions, of course. But, just as it's easy to talk to other music teachers, including band, orchestra, and general music teachers, it's even easier to talk to choir folks. And at NCCO it's even more of a connection for college choir folks. It's just another tribe within a large tribe, I guess, just like Chorus America or Barbershop Harmony Society, or a number of other groups.
The second reason is openness. Interest sessions can be great, reading sessions are fine, but I go to conferences mostly to see other choirs and to talk to other choir directors. I love meeting new folks, seeing old friends and colleagues, and talking about our trials and tribulations. Because NCCO is smaller, much more intimate, and everyone has roughly the same experiences, everyone seems just a little bit more open. Someone suggested that because there are just fewer people, the directors who go to NCCO don't feel pulled in a million different directions. I know at national ACDA it can all be a little overwhelming trying to do everything and connect with everyone. So I've had great talks with all kinds of different folks around the country, and I've grown professionally because of it.
Don't get me wrong...I love the ACDA conferences, too. But they have a different feel to them. I would never stop going to ACDA. They are the heart and soul of what I do. But I am just glad that there is this other experience for the college directors.