326Re: [KWChoir] Digest Number 153
- Mar 8, 2006Oh Lazarus
You are not only a director of the KWC, you have been
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
Ysolt also had an idea about trying to use the person in a
different fashion, perhaps more in production, or helping in
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
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.
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