With only four weeks left to apply for the 2017 ICEP of the Americas program, now is most certainly the time to consider how this incredible ACDA initiative could impact you and the communities you serve.
Since taking over as director of ICEP in 2012, I have always been surprised by the number of people who tell me they were “going to apply” but for various reasons decided it was not the right time. Of course, there are criteria that form the basic foundation of eligibility but beyond this list, more often than not, eligible ACDA members determine it would be better to postpone the application process for another time. I think now is the time to contemplate how this initiative could add real value to your work as a conductor.
It seems to me that a necessary component for continued professional and personal growth lies in our ability to step outside or beyond that which brings us comfort. When we aspire to achieve that new thing, or that greater height, we begin to redefine our concept of balance and our concept of well-being. This new reality essentially shifts the fulcrum in our lives and establishes a new normal. Here are important statements of balance redefined from alumni of the ACDA International Conductors Exchange Program:
Dr. Nicole Lamartine ’14 China: “I would like to thank ACDA and Tim Sharp for committing to the ICEP. My experience at China Conservatory with Wu Lingfen was the beginning of a lasting relationship and collaboration on our beloved life’s journey through choral music. I am grateful to have been selected for this momentous program, as it has become the bridge to many future collaborations and avenues of sharing.”
Dr. Joshua Habermann ’15 Sweden: “I am very excited to deepen my understanding of Swedish music, and look forward to the opportunity to make personal cultural contacts, develop a broader understanding of the world, and continue to refine foreign language skills. I also see a future opportunity for cultural exchange with the Dallas Symphony Chorus, a large community-based choir of 185 singers that regularly tours internationally. It is my hope and expectation that the contacts made from this exchange will have tangible downstream results, including more frequent and more informed performances of each country’s choral heritage, as well as the possibility of joint concerts between Swedish and American choruses.”
Dr. Cameron LaBarr ’14 China: “The International Conductors Exchange Program is profoundly serving our global society, bridging cultures and ideals with choral music as the catalyst. It is my hope that this important program (ICEP) is here to stay, for it will surely have a significant and sustainable future for years to come.”
Fred Sjöberg ’15 Swedish ICEP Coordinator: “Maybe I am extra delighted over this exchange since I was one of the lucky conductors who took part in the first ACDA conductors exchange program between the US and Sweden more than twenty years ago. I still remember how excited I was, as a young conductor, to be part of this prestigious event. I had no idea what to expect, who would I meet, what I would learn about the US choral tradition, and what I would learn about US choral repertoire. I am so happy to say that my experiences exceeded my hopes and dreams. I was placed in the ACDA Southern Division, so Florida became my home away from home. I met the most wonderful conductor friends during my residency.”
Dr. Catherine Sailer ’14 China: “I have made a friend for life in Wang Jin, my exchange counterpart, who shares my passion for great choral music. Though the experience was a rich exchange of musical and cultural ideas and experiences, it didn’t seem foreign when we were making music together. That’s the beauty of our art form.”
Vincent Oakes ’12 Cuba: “Thank you ICEP 2012 for opening doors and creating fantastic opportunities!”
Dr. Jeremy Jones ’14 China: “The gracious and generous hospitality extended to me was simply overwhelming; the shared meals, cordial conversations, rehearsals, and sight-seeing shaped my unforgettable experience of traveling to China. It was an honor to have been selected to participate and represent ACDA in the ICEP with the China Chorus Association, and I treasure the memories and friendships made on this amazing journey. The international and cross-cultural collaboration in the art of music-making with these new friends reminds me once again of the importance of including the arts in the total educational experience. Building bridges to world peace may be much easier and long-lasting if approached through the arts, and especially through our inclusive art of choral music.”
Emily Williams Burch ’15 Sweden: “The opportunity to go overseas as well as represent the USA and ACDA was intriguing, combined with the opportunity to make new friends and colleagues and learn new techniques. I’m most excited about making new friends and I want to share with our new friends the American choral traditions in all aspects highlighting the wide diversity of musical offerings and styles in American culture.”
Dr. David Puderbaugh ’15 Sweden: “Our intensified connections to the rest of the world also afford new opportunities for collaboration and exchange of ideas, and the arts are an ideal forum for better understanding. A culture’s artistic output is a window to the very heart of that society: its history and aspirations, its unique perspective on what it means to be human. Choral music, perhaps more than any other art form, is a reflection of a given society. It uses language and it is communal. If it takes a village to raise a child, it also takes one to form a choir, and that choir is not only exposed to and reflects the music of the culture’s traditions, but is imbued with the life experiences of each of its members. A choir is a microcosm of the society in which it operates.”