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326Re: [KWChoir] Digest Number 153

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  • Maria Daggett
    Mar 8, 2006
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      Oh Lazarus
      You are not only a director of the KWC, you have been
      initiated.......
      Here's Erlan's take on things.
      While I am very strong willed with the basic concepts of the
      choir being a place for people to learn and sing polyphonic
      music of the medieval and renaissance time period, there IS that
      perfectionist in me that wishes that all who participate have
      basic skills and are able to match pitch.

      YES, this comes up just about every year.

      There have been directors in the past who refused to let people
      participate if they did not pass an audition, or read, or match
      pitch. I can not tell a director what to do, but I encourage
      ALL the chosen directors to let all people participate
      regardless of their level.

      1)You can let them sing and hope that it's really too hard for
      them and they don't come back on day 2

      2) Assign section leaders and run sectionals in hopes that the
      situation can be gracefully handled.

      There are very delecate ways to encourage people to sing softer
      and you can direct an entire section... "OK guys, this is
      sounding nice, but I'm getting Waaayy too much from the altos
      especially during this section, so everyone drop it down a bit"
      and then tell the alto section leader that you're lying and to
      tell everyon except the .... uh, problem person.

      You can diplomatically do, what you did, talk to them.
      "Have you had renaissance singing experience?"
      "I can hear you above all the others, and it's very important
      to have a blend."

      You can set an age limit, you mentioned the "father". I ask that
      any one under 18 have a parent sit in with them until I know
      that they are mature enough to participate. Usually I get a
      group of high school singers who are really excited to perform.

      I think that most of the directors can handle delicate
      situations and what you had was an unusual one. It doesn't help
      a person to sing with a group if they really can't match pitch.


      Just last year at Pennsic, we had a few, uh, mono-notes. only
      sing one pitch. I smile at them and use my hand to indicate
      that they need to come down in volume.

      It's a trouble situation and having assistants will definately
      help.

      Ysolt also had an idea about trying to use the person in a
      different fashion, perhaps more in production, or helping in
      other ways.

      It also sounds like you had a bad attitude person to begin with.


      Mostly, the people who can't really sing, but really want to
      have the experience, know that they don't have the skill, and
      are OK with that. I think it's important for the education of
      all and to let them participate, but when you have attitude
      problems, it's really ok to say that you expect certain behavior
      and if they can't respect the choir, then they dont' belong
      there.


      The second year I directed the choir I did a performance called
      "Christmas in August" The music was some of the most beautiful
      music for the holiday season and I also had a sing a long
      towards the end. I had a gentleman come dressed as a 17th
      century Santa come to the concert and pass out starlite candies.

      OK, the point is. I was holding the last note of the concert,
      and right before I cut off, a particular bad attitude Bass threw
      his music down on the stage and walked off, JUST as I cut off
      the note. As the audience clapped, he walked, no STOMPED off.
      This was a person who was a Doctoral candidate in early music
      and he hated me so much, he hated the way I did things and I
      bent over backwards to try and accomidate this ONE person. But
      now I've really learned that, this is OUR vacation and we're all
      in it for fun and experience. Everyonce in a while, we're going
      to get bad attitudes and people who aren't going to be happy
      with whatever you do!

      Hope that it doesn't happen again.
      And learn from it.

      :)

      Erlan
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