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Decisions by DCG president Mary Gowing
2016.02.19 22:02:10

Decisions

Last night, a friend of mine, a former professional musician, said "A band is lucky if it can get even 20 friends to come out to a gig of theirs these days". This got me to thinking about the size of the audience of our DeKalb Choral Guild concert to be held on Saturday March 5th at 7:30pm at First Baptist Church in Avondale. As president of this community chorus, the coming concert and its potential audience are frequently on my mind.

 

Will people decide to come to a classical choral concert when a band can't get even friends to come to a gig? And with so many arts and entertainment options in one's own home via TV and internet and with so many across the metro area, how can a local choral organization (or a band) hope to compete? So to help with this question, I have created a rubric to aid with people decision making.

 

[I believe, the DeKalb Choral Guild's March 5th concert Georgia Connections is a great option for any one's evening out because all the questions below can be answered in the affirmative. How many of one's other choices can say that?!]

 

Deciding what to do tonight-a rubric

Is it conveniently located, easy to find and with ample (preferably free) parking?

Is the ticket price a good value for the evening's entertainment?

Will I have enough left over to pay for dinner?

Will I experience something new, something that challenges me, something that speaks to my intellect and emotions and my sense of community?

Will I be supporting people who create art for its own sake?

Will I be supporting the growth of an artist genre?

Can I be myself at the event, without feeling the need to pretend to be someone I am not?

Will there be a reception and opportunity to discuss the concert with others afterwards, including the artists?

Will there be snacks?

 

The "Georgia Connections" concert marks the 4th (biennial) Georgia Young Composers Festival and finale concert. It will showcase 5 student finalists, from high school through graduate school, and their choral compositions; plus the works of other established Georgia choral composers. The finalists will be questioned, judged and awarded prizes at the concert. Atlanta music radio icon John Lemley will emcee. Tickets (available online or at the door) are $5 for adults, student price is "Pay What You Can". A reception will follow the concert. The concert will be held at First Baptist Church of Avondale Estates at 47 Covington Highway Avondale Estates at 7:30pm Saturday March 5th, 2016. Ample free parking is available. For more information go to: www.dekalbchoralguild.org.

 

Hope to see you at our concert. ~Mary Gowing: DeKalb Choral Guild, president



Tags: GYCF | choral | concert | chorus | DeKalb Choral Guild | Avondale | Georgia young Composers Festival | Georgia Connections | emerging GA composers

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Muse Sings by Mary E. Root, Music Director, DeKalb Choral Guild
2015.08.13 15:14:05

Muse Sings

Mary E. Root, Music Director, DeKalb Choral Guild

 

Joining a Chorus is Worth It

 

'Tis the season of community chorus auditions! Each year, as summer wanes, community choruses begin gearing up for rehearsal and performance season. Audition notices go out, and, thus, begins the scramble and competition for good, dedicated singers. I direct an auditioned community chorus, and I find that I do not want to harass and cajole singers to consider our chorus; I want singers to be drawn to our chorus because this is a good chorus that prepares and sings excellent and interesting repertoire and because of our mission to be a compassionate chorus.

Singing in our chorus, the DeKalb Choral Guild, chorus requires significant commitment: repertoire must be studied outside rehearsal; there are membership dues and required performance attire; weekly rehearsal attendance is required; members are often asked to assist with duties beyond singing and with fundraising. And then, there is the audition required of all new prospective singers. Some singers view the audition as a badge, a rite of passage. Singers will often describe the "war wounds" of auditioning. I've blogged about my thoughts on the process of auditioning (see http://www.dekalbchoralguild.org/blog/viewpost/296.html), so I will summarize by saying that I can learn all I need to know about a prospective singer from a well-prepared solo and a conversation. I refer to the DCG audition as "the kinder, gentler, compassionate audition."

To save everyone some time, I am forthright about the music we sing: this is not choral arrangements of pop tunes – we sing serious, relevant choral music that spans from ancient to contemporary. I try to choose music that is accessible to audiences and worthy of their listening. As a chorus we focus on beautiful, deliberate choral sound, and solid vocal technique. We also focus on meaningful interpretation.

I recently rediscovered a quote from musician Brian Eno; I share it with you now for your consideration because I think it speaks so well to what the DeKalb Choral Guild aspires:

"When you sing with a group of people, you learn how to subsume yourself into a group consciousness because a cappella [sic] singing is all about the immersion of the self into the community. That's one of the great feelings — to stop being me for a little while and to become us. That way lies empathy, the great social virtue."

So, if you are reading this, and you are a singer thinking of joining a community chorus in the Atlanta area, I hope you will consider our chorus, the DeKalb Choral Guild. I will be honored to hear you sing and discuss membership with you. To schedule your audition, please leave a message at 678-318-1362. Our audition coordinator will call you back in quick fashion. Come, be a part of our singing community!

 



Tags: DCG | Mary Root | Decatur Chorus | chorus | community chorus | choir | joining a singing group | auditions | DeKalb Choral Guild | Atlanta chorus

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