“The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.” Robert Frost
I became a regular ChoralNet Blogger in the fall of 2015. The year before, I had been asked to contribute an occasional guest blog for ChoralNet, the first time a week after my mother’s death. In fact, I was asked to write guest blogs two days after her funeral. That first one was tough to write, but then I realized, this was something Mom would have wanted me to do, so I plowed through and did it. In all, I contributed about 10-15 guest blogs about something I called “Choral Ethics.” It was at that point I began my “Choral Ethics Project.”
Why was I initially asked to guest blog? Because I had responded to a number of ChoralNet posts about snark, about “choral directors behaving badly,” about stupid, silly behaviors, about nastiness and backstabbing and I said what I believed. At the time, NO ONE responded the way I did, the way YOUR OWN MOTHER (or mentor) would have responded, and I became impatient because it seemed so simple. My responses weren’t especially insightful or complicated; don’t be a jerk, you don’t have to put up with others who behave like jerks, make nice, give people credit when they deserve it and always say “thank you.” And I tried to affirm the feelings of those who wondered if they were making too much over something (most often, they weren’t) or would try to suggest ways to make it better. The person in charge of blogs at the time thought my views would make a good guest blog, then asked me to become a regular blogger. The rest is history.
When I did become a regular blogger, I chose “Choral Potpourri” as the title of my blog because I didn’t want to be locked into only writing about Choral Ethics, though most of my blogs DO seem to be about it. When I am asked what my blog is really about, I explain I’m the “Miss Manners” (maybe “Dear Abby”) of the Choral World. I answer ChoralNetters queries (you can always email me with your issues: ). I blog about organization (NOT organizations), I blog about inspiration, I blog about all sorts of choral life situations and I try to be true to myself and my own background. It is that background that has been most helpful in writing this blog.
Both of my parents were in the performing arts. My late Mom was an opera singer, and my Dad (very much alive and with it at 93) was a ballet dancer and was the vaudeville partner of Bob Fosse (yep, THAT Bob Fosse). Dad taught tap, ballet and character ballet and was a master teacher, founding a dance teacher’s organization which had him touring around the country most summers. Mom always said, “the music (or dance) is the easy part, it’s everything else that’s hard.” In fact, listening to Mom and Dad talk about their organization and helping out with office work as a teenager gave me a certain perspective–just exchange the artistic genre, it’s all the same. Performing artists (singers, dancers, actors) are people, like everyone else, despite their talent and sometimes, they need to be reminded of it.
I am a ChoralNet blogger because I believe my perspective of our profession is unique and I have something to contribute no one else can. The other regular ChoralNet Bloggers ALSO have unique perspectives and bring ideas and experiences to our Choral Feast which enrich us all and am a regular reader of their blogs. I enjoy Amanda Bumgarner’s reviews of ACDA Publications with the occasional “From Our Readers” post. Mona Wis, with The Conductor as Yogi, brings a view I had never thought about before and am glad she blogs for ChoralNet. I conduct a mixed group at this point in my career, but I’ve been thrilled to learn about new treble repertoire from Shelbie Wahl-Fouts. I learn something new every week from Chris Munce’s Choralosophy—and I follow him on Twitter, too.
Do you have a unique perspective on our Choral Art? Would you like to contribute a blog for ChoralNet, either occasionally or regularly? If you are interested in being a ChoralNet Blogger, even for a short period of time, contact Sundra Flansburg () with your interest. ChoralNet is a wonderful place to blog, and I feel honored to be able to do so every week!
Until next week, be well and be safe!
I am taking my Choral Ethics Blogs to my chamber choir’s Facebook page for the foreseeable future. Please join me there this morning! https://www.facebook.com/themidwestmotetsociety/