Choral Caffeine: Differences are Okay
Date: November 20, 2013
What incredible diversity of sounds we can create with different combinations of human voices. Whether the ensemble is mixed or single-gender, there are delightful opportunities for musical exploration.
Sometimes, though, a choral director might be a bit hesitant about leading a single-gender ensemble if they are not from that side of the species. Such concerns, while understandable, should by no means exclude a conductor from leading a choral ensemble. A little help, however, might be in order.
In her article, "Men’s and Women’s Choirs: How Different Are They?” (Georgia Sings Vol. 9, No.2), Amy Hughley, provides detailed information along with a bit of guidance and encouragement:
Aside from gender and vocal range, there are important emotional and developmental differences. It is our duty as directors to overcome the idiosyncratic challenges that single-gender choirs pose and create beautiful choral music.
Directing single gender choirs is a rewarding experience, and knowledge of their similarities and differences can aid choral directors. While both men’s and women’s choirs can and should reflect determination, dedication, pride, and unity, these character traits manifest themselves in different ways. Awareness of these differences and designing rehearsals which acknowledge them can have positive, even profound, effects on our singers, both in single-gender ensembles and mixed choirs.
(For additional articles on a dazzling array of choral topics, visit ChorTeach.)