GUEST BLOG: "Conference Reflections: Los Angeles" by Paul Carey
Date: February 16, 2013
CONFERENCE REFLECTIONS: LOS ANGELES by Paul Carey
Dallas is Calling You!
The Dallas ACDA National Conference is coming soon but it's not too late to register and attend. I’m writing to encourage everyone in the choral field to attend the Dallas conference. There will be so much music to hear by so many choirs, all the way from children's groups to international touring professional choirs. There will be a performance of the Britten War Requiem which should be astounding. There are interest sessions on every imaginable topic, led by experts in the field (most of whom are very personable and fun, by the way). There are reading sessions and roundtables, and for those who may want to be on the move in regard to their career, opportunities every day to meet people from around the country and create some positive networking.
Each of us may have a different motivation for attending, but all are served by the wide range of events at a national conference. For the next few Saturdays I am going to give a personal view of amazing things that I experienced at the last four national conferences. These are personal and somewhat anecdotal, which I think can be a good thing. Sometimes the personal story garners more interest than a simple “Go to the conference” directive.
My first national conference was in Los Angeles in 2005. The weather was great and I was able to stay at my brother's house just north of LA. This was already an improvement over things like the weather in Chicago, my hometown. At this conference there was the first performance of a piece of mine on the national ACDA level, and an amazing amount of camaraderie with my fellow composer friends, especially a small group of us who had just recently been picked up by Oxford University Press. I also got to meet Kirke Mechem and many other great people.
There were many great performances and I will share two of them with you; the first was the final Saturday night concert which held the choirs from the University of North Texas under Jerry McCoy, St. Olaf under Anton Armstrong, and LSU under Kenneth Fulton. I happened to wind up with a side balcony seat so that I could easily see the face and hands of each of these masterful conductors as they directed their choirs. Jerry McCoy especially was great fun to watch. All three choirs were amazing and I especially will remember Anton's choir holding hands and swaying as they joyously sang and danced their way through a Bach motet. After the concert I went out onto an outdoor balcony area of the Disney Concert Hall and just let all the sound that I had just heard wash over me again in my head- what a gift from those choirs to all of us in the hall that evening.
The second concert experience I am sharing was from a program by the Finnish female choir Akademiska Damkören Lyran directed by Kari Turunen. At a certain point in the concert these amazing young singers (mostly in their 20s's) started creating subtle bell overtones with their voices - it seemed like an ethereal glockenspiel was embedded into the sound and it was nothing like the very obvious overtone singing we hear today in some pieces like Sarah Hopkins' Past-Life Melodies. To hear amazing international choirs with different ideas about choral sound than we have here in the US is another great reason to attend the upcoming conference.
So please, if you are on the fence about going to Dallas, make the decision to go and get your logistical ducks in a row- it’s not too late to make the plans. And if you are a young director who has never attended, do the same (there is even a special reception this year for younger attendees). I am sure you will have an amazing, highly rewarding experience there!
Next Saturday I will share moments from the great conference in Miami on 2007.
See you in Dallas,