Tomorrow I’m heading to my first national ACDA Conference.
Wait…a choir director conference? How did I get here?
A little background. I went to a show choir heavy high school where classical was “the stuff we learn a week before festival.” I spent my college career with Gold Company at Western Michigan University, singing the most challenging vocal jazz literature, but continuing to look down my nose at choral music. A jazzer through and through. It truly wasn’t until I fell in love with an unparalleled choral geek that I really started to give choral music a second chance!
So I’ve spent the last decade playing catch up. Learning choral lit at conferences, getting my conducting chops together in rehearsals, starting to understand tone and technique by listening to our extensive choral music collection. And most importantly, learning to be a choir director by watching my brilliant wife.
I still love vocal jazz*…I happen to be having my ACDA National Conference premiere this Friday during jazz night at the Swissotel! But now my musical heart has opened wide to encompass all realms of singing. And I look back and wonder, how many great vocal experiences did I miss out on because of the prejudices I learned at 15? Thank goodness for second chances!
So tomorrow I attend my first national ACDA Conference. I’m looking forward to hearing a lot of wonderful music and getting a lot of new ideas to take back, but most of all, I’m excited to see lots of old friends AND meet all the choral people I should have met a long time ago. I’m finally part of this family, and want to know as many relatives as I can!
* A future article here will discuss the two histories of vocal jazz, and how each relates to choral music.