Dear KUMC Friends,
If you were at rehearsal Wednesday evening, you’ve certainly ascertained that I wasn’t there. I’m in Little Rock, Arkansas at the Southwest Division of the American Choral Director’s Regional Convention. I saw a post online that one high school student called, “ChoralCon,” which I thought was great. For those who don’t know, it’s a play on ComicCon, a huge comic convention where folks often come dressed as their favorite comic book hero. This student told their director that they should “go as Eric Whitacre,” the famous composer/conductor. That’s most-certainly a choir-nerd joke if I’ve ever heard one!
Why attend such a convention? It’s somewhat about friendships. I’ll be able to connect up with some friends that I haven’t seen for a while as well as meet new ones. In fact, on my drive up to Little Rock, it happened that there was a choral concert at my undergraduate alma mater, Henderson State University. I was able to visit with the new director and then spend some time yesterday hearing about the wonderful music at HSU. Even more interesting was that I met the son of a former classmate. He was singing in the concert and she wasn’t able to attend due to work. I stood in for her.
Next, it’s about immersion. A convention such as this is a time for listening to wonderful ensembles, visiting classes to learn new techniques for choirs, and to find out about music others are programming with their ensembles. I also get to be a singer — in this case with Director Emeritus for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Dr. Craig Jessop. I think it’s important for us director folks to step back on occasion and become singer folks — to remember what it’s like to be on the other side of the podium to improve the things that we do with you.
Maybe most importantly, it’s about rest and some self-care. We’ve done a lot of hard work at KUMC in a months since I arrived. And, we have more to do. In the short time at SWACDA, I’ve taken a bit of extra sleep and spent some time in personal reflection. Hard to believe that I have to drive 7+ hours to do that but it’s good to put a bit of space between me and Houston proper. Part of the reason that I’m able to do this is that I serve a church, work with a staff, and know an SPR team that sees the importance of health and recovery for those staff that serve in the church.
Finally, as I sit in my hotel room, I reflect on Exodus 18:17-27. Jethro comes to Moses and tells him that he should invest in capable people to assist him so that he doesn’t continue to exhaust himself. I feel that we’ve done that. Our church has invested in a capable and wonderful team team of musicians, enabling me to be here. Thank you Barbara, Meredith, Stuart, Gary and Sheila for making ministry happen in my absence. Blessings to my wife as she continues on her school and work path.
I will return to the office on Monday, hopefully more rested and ready for more exciting things happening at KUMC.