Monday, March 8, 2010

Rotary Music Festival - Thoughts

Hi all! I have no idea who reads this anymore, but after such a long day, I will use this as a means of organizing my thoughts, reflecting back, and looking forward.

The Rotary Music Festival is such an interesting, dynamic, and complicated experience. Organizers, teachers, students, performers, accompanists, adjuticators, and volunteers all come together with a common purpose: to make music. The logistics of an event like this seem huge, even impossible; the preperation seems unmountable at times I'm sure. Teachers and students prepare in advance for days, weeks, months, and even years.

I never participated much in music festivals when I was younger (more about that at a later time perhaps), but I am now participating as a teacher and accompanist. It is only the second day of the festival, and so much has happened. I had a huge day today: accompanying 13 kids, warm-ups, lessons, three choir performances. Lots to ponder. I like lists; they organize. Here are my Rotary Music Festival Day 2 lists:

  • Putting one of my students in the wrong vocal class and almost getting her disqualified. I guess I wasn't paying close enough attention - you live, you learn - won't make that mistake again.
  • Wearing dress shoes all day long. I have the sorest hips in town.
  • Being an ass in Grad school and then having to own up later. The choral adjudicator was my old prof. I wasn't a good student in Grad school.
  • Judging a book by its cover. Always somewhat emberassing when you catch yourself pulling this one...
  • 0 for 2 winning roll-up-the-rims


  • Watching a trio of voice students flabbergast an adjudicator. Kids who don't know their own talent amaze me.
  • Witnessing a student cram, with all her might, all the French diction possible into her head to prepare, forget some of it during performance, but still finishing with a smile and a positive result
  • Making a few extra bucks playing the piano. (but I've had to practice)
  • Changing.
  • Having the Children's Choir mezmorize the adjudicator with energy that bubbles over, and voices that sing uninhibitedly
  • Hearing the adjudicator speak to the parents of the choristers: "Please continue to support your children by keeping them in choir. They are learning, growing, and experiencing a much more valuable form of music than what a finger and an iPod can bring."
  • The Girls' Choir got the highest choral mark of the day with their performances.
  • Trusting in the natural leadership abilities which have lay dormant in each choir when the conductor can't be there to help
  • Getting the Adult Choir out of their comfort zones a bit, working hard, performing at festival, and being succesfull.
  • Having a beer with my old prof and apologizing.
  • Enjoying the overwhelming feeling of pride that all my students bring me.
  • 0 for 2 FREE roll-up-the-rims.

And thats only day two.



  1. Just thought I'd say that I had a blast in Festival! At first, I didn't want to do it thinking it'd be more work...but it wasn't all that much and it was fun and worth it! I had the pleasure of being adjudicated twice by him in the last two days and he's awesome. The McCoy choir went this afternoon and we did awesome. We were the only ones in our class so we won first place. ;) I think we're also going on to provincials but I haven't heard this from the choir director so I'm not too sure about that. I'll let ya know if I remember to tell ya!

  2. Sorry I didn't read this a week ago. I hope your prof made it clear that the meek grad students usually don't amount to much in the long run.

    There is an amazing depth of talent in the adult choir. I'm glad that you made use of some of it for the festival performance warmup. When we began to warm up I thought we were heading for disaster; then we coalesced. By the time you were able to be there, you had a choir that was not only ready to sing, but more confident in its internal strength than ever before.

    Yes, you took us out of our comfort zone, but isn't that how we learn?

  3. You're such a great guy Brad.
    Thanks for sharing these thoughts...we all have those humbling moments come along, and most people wouldn't apologize and be so honest about it as you have here, nicely done.

    Your passion for conducting and for choral music inspires us of every age. :) It's a joy to sing with you, hope you are proud of the work you've done, as you should be!
    And you would have got a kick out of my 4 year old asking me this week if my conductor has any 'moves', so I had to show him a few, and he had to imitate them, it was quite a comical scene, haha.

  4. Go girls Choir!