GUEST BLOG: "Starting Fresh" by Tim Sharp
Date: December 17, 2013
STARTING FRESH by Tim Sharp
Waking up on the first day of a new year always presents a great opportunity and challenge. I love the thought on January 1 of being able to say, “I have worked out every day this year, “ or, “I have eaten right every day this year”, or, “I have made great time choices so far this year”, even if it is only the first day of that new year. Inevitably, I will blow it as the year develops, but for at least one day, on that first day of the year, I can claim “every day so far” I got it right.
I have had a similar experience to the joy of New Year’s Day over the years as I attend the conferences of the American Choral Directors Association. On the first or second day of our conferences, I am able to affirm my possibility of being the best choral director that I am capable of being. As I hear the very best of choral literature, and as I hear beautiful choral tone, and as I experience wonderful blend and balance, I am inspired to remember the very best possibilities of our profession, and I am motivated once again to renew my commitment to the very best of the choral art. And, not unlike the first day of a new year, inevitably I will have to come down from that mountaintop, but on that new conference day, I am reminded of what is possible, and I have a renewed vision for the very best that I can achieve.
In the next two months, we have the opportunity to have that choral “new year’s day” throughout the American Choral Directors Association as we meet professionally in our seven geographical regions. The January issue of the Choral Journal provides a tickler and an overview for these incredible conference opportunities across the United States. Our ACDA artistic teams and leadership have worked to provide inspiration and innovation for us as we move forward into a new year with its new opportunities and challenges. I will be at all seven of our regional conferences this year, and I look forward to seeing many of you at one or more of them.
And to add to the excitement, innovation, and inspiration available to us in these conferences, this year we will find ourselves surrounded by many new ACDA members and a record number of new student members. As a result of our Fall Membership Drive, ACDA experienced a 10 percent growth rate nationally, allowing us to declare ACDA's first-ever membership drive a success. I look forward to greeting many of our new members at our seven divisional conferences in the next two months as these colleagues take advantage of one of the many benefits of ACDA membership.
Our Sing Up! Membership campaign resulted in the addition of 2,000 new members to ACDA, including past members whose membership lapsed three or more years ago. 45 percent of these new members are Active members, and more than half are Student members. Our success in this effort is due to the hard work of our volunteer leadership throughout the country. We look forward to recognizing the states and chapters throughout that took advantage of this first-ever national campaign. Choral music in the United States is stronger as a result of this exciting effort.