Advice in finding a new music director?
Date: February 24, 2014
I'm a member of PhilHarmonia, a fairly young choir in Philadelphia. We've got great singers, and had a great first-half of a first season, but we lost our music director. (He lives in DC, and decided, to no one's surprise, that the weekly commutes were absurd.) So we're looking for a new music director, and don't really know how to go about it. Any advice you might have about how to find someone would be greatly appreciated.
Some possibly relevant thoughts, off the top of my head:
-- We're young, and still figuring out who we are as a choir, so a new director would have an opportunity to shape us somewhat.
-- We're by and large good singers for whom singing isn't the big thing in our lives, so we need a director who can be a good teacher, and who can calibrate how much to push us musically and how much not to.
-- We can currently offer a tiny stipend; we hope as time goes on to make the stipend progressively less tiny.
-- Currently our membership is mostly upper-middle class white folks in their thirties; the composers represented in our first concert were all white men. We're very much looking for a music director who has ideas about how to raise our diversity quotient all around.
Our current plan is to write a posting for the position here and wherever else we can think of; interview applicants and have them run a rehearsal (or half rehearsal); and have finalists come back for a second go-round. Is that an appropriate process? Should we give applicants pieces we're working on to rehearse us in? Should we have them try to teach us something new? We're hoping to start this process ASAP and have it completed by mid-April - is that a reasonable timeline?
Again, any input would be greatly appreciated.
If you're curious, here's our website: http://philharmoniasings.com