Friday, 14 February 2014
I suppose it was inevitable. I decided last night that it was time to give up my work as a chorus director after 23 years of ups and downs, which had shown (now once to often) how 'primadonna' chorus singers can be if they only think of themselves, rather than considering the group - and in this case continued existence of the group. That is not to say that they don't have the right to do what is best for them, and I understand that in this latest case of resignation, other chorus members had tried to persuade her to stay. But she had several reasons for not doing so, and as usual I was the last to hear about them, though the group had sworn to discuss everything WITH me. This did not happen, and that is one of my reasons for making my decision..
There are questions to be answered, of course, but I can't answer them. Although my latest, and last group, insist that I am part of them, whereas I know and sense that I am not, and swear they support me, falling numbers in membership are a fact of life, and there is little chance of getting substantially more members because the chorus landscape has changed and every second chorus is actually going out of buseness because the singers are old - really old - some over 80! My group is relatively young, so that is not an argument. One argument is that the group sings really well, and though my arrangements are made to measure and sound more complicated than they are, potential singers are put off, anxious that they cannot succeed, so don't even try, to the detriment of my, and indeed every chorus looking for new singers but hitting that problem. In choruses that have existed for 100, or even 200 years, there are traditions that simply cannot be dropped though they are outdated. Most of those choirs also sing outdated arrangements, and do not explore the potential of their singers. This in turn puts the more adventurous off. Even worse is the fact that several have left my chorus because they apparently couldn't cope woth the music. One maintained she didn't like the music, though songs were always in the end voted in or out by the group. Then there were those who found new hobbies, or had to work shifts and could not come regularly, and one who finds so much fulfilment in being a granny that her time is fully occupied with that (she did not say so, of course, I usually have to guess at the really reasons for someone no longer attending - most don't even bother to tell me they are leaving - they just stay away). The granny offered a different reason for leaving, but I took that with a pinch of salt...
It's a hard decision to make, to give up something you love doing. I've had to make that decision several times in my life, and each time have grieved terribly. But there is life after chorus-directing, I hope.
There is a positive side. I can now look for somewhere else to live. I'd like to move to the coast. Maybe I'll do just that!