If You Can’t Say Something Nice . . .
Date: February 4, 2014
The good folks in ACDA’s Eastern Division lead off the 2014 conference season this week with their gathering in Baltimore. All told, the seven divisional conferences that take place in the next few weeks will provide well over ten thousand choral musicians with unparalleled opportunities for performance, study, growth, and fellowship.
It may seem incomprehensible, but cumulatively the 221 choirs invited to perform will have invested multiple MILLIONS of dollars to travel to the conference just to sing for us. (Our association doesn’t give choirs a single nickel toward their conference performance.) Perhaps even more impressive are the untold hours of preparation that they will have devoted to the process.
With that in mind, one might think that every single colleague in attendance would show a little respect for the performers and celebrate their accomplishment. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
During a concert in the beautiful Meyerson Symphony Hall at last spring’s conference in Dallas, two people sitting behind this writer nattered negatively and continually during the performance. “When MY choir sang this piece we did it better.” “Her sopranos are so shrill.” “Oh my gawd, look at her shoes.” It was, in a word, maddening.
We’re supposed to be professionals, we’re sitting at the big kid’s table. Let’s all try to act accordingly when we are on the other side of the podium at our professional conference. Or as my dear ol’ Dad said, “if you can’t say something nice . . . .”