Beginning As We Mean to Go On
“The world is so full of a number of things, I ’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.” Robert Louis Stevenson
I am excited this Fall to be writing regularly for the ChoralBlog. I’ve thought quite a bit about what to call my contributions and think I’ve hit upon the perfect title, “Choral Potpourri.” Potpourri’s second definition, after the dried herbs, flowers and other good-smelly-stuff definition is a collection of different things often having a common thread. I’ve blogged other places on a myriad of choral and arts related subjects and believe I’ll keep to that strategy here. My contributions will have the common thread of being related to our choral profession, whether directly or indirectly.
I have many, many interests in the Choral World; from repertoire to my Choral Ethics Project, to mentoring choirs of special populations and different kinds of collaborations with other arts organizations. In addition to my current choral work, I am working with an organization whose purpose is to preserve local dance history. There will probably be a column or two about how doing something like this could apply to the choral community. As well, I am interested in “off the beaten track” pre-concert lectures and fund raising strategies of all kinds and will share a few ideas and hope you’ll share some of yours too. In my community, I am participating in the formal collaboration between arts and business groups, working with our local small business association and twelve other arts organizations to form an arts/business alliance to benefit us all. I guarantee I’ll be sharing that journey. Arts advocacy is more important than ever for all arts organizations if we mean to survive.
Today and in the coming weeks, I’d like to share a few things I’ve done this summer. Beginning in October, I’ll have a continuation of my Choral Ethics Project series. I hope to have a few interviews with some prominent and not so prominent Choral Folk before December. All in all, it should be a very exciting fall!
This summer, I was finally able to get myself back on track. After a hellish two years, I feel ready to begin rehearsals, the school year and all the events that mean fall has arrived. Instead of panicking and worrying about forgetting something this year, I am calm, calm, calm for a change and ready to begin. It is all because, instead of taking our usual vacation, my spouse and I decided to get our house in order this summer. Literally. It was a rather drastic step for us but it was necessary. After several years of not having time to organize for fall, for many reasons not just vacation related, it was either do this or be disorganized and scrambling for another year.
He and I are busy, involved people; in our own careers, in our community and our family. Every summer we rush to go on vacation for ten days and come home to the mess made during the year left to be “straighten up” before the fall begins. We then have only a few days to get things ready before we both have to go back to work; he, to his medical practice, me to choir practice. We decided this year would be different. While it is not the same as actually going somewhere, we took the strategy of working on our projects during the days, going out to dinner (I was promised I wouldn’t have to cook) and perhaps watching a movie or doing something together after. We saw the national touring company of “Pippen,” went to a few concerts and to a botanic garden and enjoyed and relaxed with each other. He accomplished a lot, as did I with this “stay-cation” thing.
During the summer, I’ve filed all my choir music, gone to a conference and organized my office and rehearsal spaces so it is better for me as well as my choir. I have repertoire chosen for the next eighteen months and our concert venue is settled (no surprises!) for our upcoming concert season. Concert ads are designed and already turned in where they are supposed to be. My voice students, tweaked around my teaching schedule this summer, should fit with the rest of my life. My own voice teacher has scheduled her yearly recital and my aria is chosen and memorized. I have various writing projects queued up for the fall and am ahead—for now—with what is supposed to be turned in, when. Now if I can only keep this up!