“Doubt is the brother of shame.” Erik Erikson
Like many of you, I am in the midst of trying to choose repertoire for a concert that may—or may not—happen. Usually by now, I have chosen most of my fall music and am gathering scores and octavos together and any language resources or other material to help my choir. Our summer retreat is traditionally the weekend after July 4th, and I coordinate with our retreat hostess—one of my singers with a lovely home and garden—and the RSVPs are coming in by now.
I am still at the “looking at music” aspect of my concert program process but this has been a real struggle for me. I am just not able to get invested in music that will probably not be performed this year and that’s why it’s been so hard I think. Still, I am trying to put together a concert program of some sort, in the event we are able to do something. I would rather have a program already put together, as thoughtfully as possible, than something thrown together at the last minute. As well, I am trying to consciously choose more music by composers of color. It’s a trying time, that’s for sure!
I am not the only one struggling, it appears, trying to get ready for rehearsals and concerts in the event we are able to have a somewhat normal fall season. But some of you are unlucky enough to have friends, relatives and colleagues who think they know what you SHOULD be doing. I knew it wouldn’t take long before another wave of Pandemic Shaming would start, and it has begun.
Many of you have asked if I think what you’re doing is right. You’ve begun to doubt yourselves, your motives and your agendas for trying to comply with your state’s mandates, our professional societies suggestions and research and your own basic common sense. Many states are rolling back restrictions but not, unfortunately, for singing, rehearsals and concerts. It’s tough to argue or explain (often over and over and OVER again) to friends and family why you can’t go back to normal when others can. You’re frustrated and tired and upset; for having to constantly repeat yourself and mourning for our very profession.
The doubt eats away at you; is there something you SHOULD be doing you’re not? Your singers want to get back to singing but don’t want to do it virtually; if that’s the case, don’t doubt yourself for NOT making arrangements. You’ve been having Zoom rehearsals for months and they have been okay but not great; don’t doubt yourself for trying. Read the research, listen to webinars, and make decisions for your choir and situation to the best of your ability. No one knows what they are doing; we are all playing this by ear. Anyone who tells you they DO KNOW what they are doing must be over 100 years old; only those who have been through a Pandemic could understand!
Folks who criticize others at this time are not your friends. THEY are the ones doubting themselves and need to make others feel bad so they can feel a little better. Don’t listen, and don’t doubt yourself. Do what you can to get to the other side and then, be at peace, knowing you did everything you could.
Until next week, be well and 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!