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director difficulties

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  • Mike Nichols
    B, We have certainly heard some helpful information on this: 1) Putin, 2) Share your feelings - with chapter men of similar thoughts, 3) bring in a chapter
    Message 1 of 2 , Dec 30, 2006
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      B,

      We have certainly heard some helpful information on this: 1) Putin, 2)
      "Share your feelings" - with chapter men of similar thoughts, 3) bring in a
      chapter counselor, and 4) start a new chapter.

      *You wrote:* "What do you do when you find yourself in a chorus with a
      popular director who is (in the opinion of many) killing the chapter?"

      *You also wrote*: "*Our front man is* a well known barbershopper in our
      district who is* driving members away* from the chorus. His *conducting
      skills are adequate *though *not stellar*, but it's the way he deals with
      people and *his constant negativity* that are *turning off a lot of people*.
      Especially many of the better singers and long time members in the area."

      *And the you go on to say*: "This chorus has lost several guys in the past
      months, including some of the strongest quartet singers. Unfortunately, many
      of the officers and board members are long time friends of the director."

      So now I need to ask a few questions: 1) Is the director is the "Real"
      problem? And if so, have you discussed this with him personally or is this
      intended to be a "back-hand" attempt to reach out to him? Is he that
      unapproachable? 2) If every thing you say is true about your current BOD and
      their relationship with the director, then why not discuss your feelings
      "frankly" with the BOD? Is it not their job to make sure that the Chapter
      and director are on the same page? and 3) What are your credentials with
      regard to assessing your director's directing technique? Your opinions are
      quite pointed and if you lose him are you lobbying to be the replacement?

      As a director, a society member since 1987, and a guy who really cares about
      his chapter, I would want to know if I were creating a mess that was clearly
      blinded by my ego. But more importantly, if people were undermining me
      behind my back, I would be extremely hurt to find out in such a public
      manner. C'mon B, who's hurting who now?

      The key to this cleaning up this mess is open, honest communication.

      Mike Nichols
      Musical Director,
      Western Hospitality Singers.





      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "Manuel Bixler" <bixsingsbass@...>
      To: < bbshop@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Friday, December 29, 2006 10:13 PM
      Subject: [bbshop] Director Difficulties


      > Hello Harmonetters,
      >
      > I've been wrestling with a problem, and thought maybe someone else has
      > been in a similar situation. Please understand if have to be kind of
      > careful in how I put this question. I'm trying to make the best of a
      > rotten situation.
      >
      > What do you do when you find yourself in a chorus with a popular director
      > who is (in the opinion of many) killing the chapter? Our front man is a
      > well known barbershopper in our district who is driving members away from
      > the chorus. His conducting skills are adequate though not stellar, but
      > it's the way he deals with people and his constant negativity that are
      > turning off a lot of people. Especially many of the better singers and
      > long time members in the area.
      >
      > I can only think of a couple of options, and none of them are really
      > satisfactory. 1. I could just quit. 2. I could leave this chorus drive a
      > considerable distance to participate in another chapter. 3. Get back on
      > the board and try to work on some kind of 'regime change.' 4. Just deal
      > with it.
      >
      > This chorus has lost several guys in the past months, including some of
      > the strongest quartet singers. Unfortunately, many of the officers and
      > board members are long time friends of the director, so option 3 is a
      > problem.
      >
      > Has anyone else experienced similar issues with a director? Feel free to
      > reply to the list or directly if you prefer privacy. I don't want to quit
      > on my chorus, but if this goes on much longer, there won't be anyone left
      > to sing with.
      >
      > B


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    • Manuel Bixler
      Mike, I ve had more than 2 dozen responses to my original Director Difficulties email. Most have been private off line responses. A few were public, but none
      Message 2 of 2 , Jan 2, 2007
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        Mike,

        I've had more than 2 dozen responses to my original 'Director Difficulties' email. Most have been private off line responses. A few were public, but none got me worked up like yours did. I'll respond to your questions in turn:

        Mike: 1) Is the director is the "Real" problem? And if so, have you discussed this with him personally or is this intended to be a "back-hand" attempt to reach out to him? Is he that unapproachable?

        Me: Yes, in my opinion, the director is a (if not the) 'Real' problem. He is not the only problem in the chapter, but a concerned group of us (probably about 20% of active and inactive members) believe the director is the biggest obstacle our chorus is facing right now. And yes, the director is completely unapproachable. His ego prevents him from seeing the harm in anything he is doing, and his power base within the chapter 'leadership' prevents, or punishes, those who speak out in favor of change. Personally, I don't want to 'reach out' to him. I just want to be rid of him, or him of me. Many members I've spoken with agree that he's a destructive personality but we haven't come to a conclusion about the correct move to make. That's why I started this thread/discussion.

        Mike: 2) If every thing you say is true about your current BOD and their relationship with the director, then why not discuss your feelings "frankly" with the BOD? Is it not their job to make sure that the Chapter and director are on the same page?

        Me: As I mentioned, many of those on the board are very closely tied in to the director. They have come down hard on other members who have spoken up. I have had individual discussions with several of those who aren't in the director's pocket, but nobody is willing to speak out for fear of the backlash. I guess you could say that most of the chapter and the director are on the same page. But many of us feel it's the wrong page.

        Mike: 3) What are your credentials with regard to assessing your director's directing technique? Your opinions are quite pointed and if you lose him are you lobbying to be the replacement?

        Me: I'm not going to go into my own musical resume, but suffice it to say that decades of musical experience in choral, instrumental, a cappella, and barbershop, both in front and in the group, went into that assessment. Our director's technical shortcomings could be overlooked if he were a nurturing leader, but unfortunately that's not the case. He's a master manipulator, for what that's worth.

        I definitely don't want to replace this director myself. I just want to sing in a chorus that is always improving and fosters great musical experiences and yes, maybe wins a contest from time to time. I want to sing in a chorus that attracts good singers, instead of driving them away. If that takes starting a new chorus, maybe that's the direction we'll head in.

        Mike: As a director, a society member since 1987, and a guy who really cares about his chapter, I would want to know if I were creating a mess that was clearly blinded by my ego. But more importantly, if people were undermining me behind my back, I would be extremely hurt to find out in such a public manner. C'mon B, who's hurting who now?

        Me: Actually, Mike, I have gone to great lengths to avoid a 'creating a mess.' I've been very careful to make every detail in these posts very general in order to prevent anyone from being hurt. (For instance, have you searched the members only section on the BHS site for a member named Manuel Bixler?) I've had a number of people send me private 'guesses' as to which chapter/chorus I'm talking about, and none of them have been on the money, so I guess at this point nobody's hurting nobody.

        I'm looking for a solution to a very real problem. I'd like to publicly thank those who responded privately with such kindness and understanding. It's good to know that we're not the only chapter that has problems.

        B

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