I realize that I have an incomplete understanding of what it feels like to be a ‘member’ of my Tour Choir. Even though I sang in a boy’s choir myself many years ago . . . I am now responsible for one. There is a big difference in being a director and being a member.
Having ambitious and well-defined goals is important, but my job is to focus on the small wins that enable my boys to make a little progress every week . . . always remembering they are boys first and singers second!
One of the most significant and most difficult parts of my job is to strike the delicate balance between being too assertive and not assertive enough.
I strive to be confident to the boys that I am their director . . . but humble enough to realize that I am going to be wrong – often! I must honestly tell you though; it’s not that hard to do in front of the boys. You see, I’ve had a lot of practice at being wrong!
I physically look like a giant to many of my newer, younger boys as I tower over them. I try to remember that I can be a scary, intimidating figure to a small, ten-year-old boy!
One of the best tests of my leadership is not how well the choir sounds . . . but what happens after boys make a mistake in rehearsal!
Yet, in spite of me and yes, perhaps because of me, the boys always sound magnificent in concert. I am always so pleased about that! These boys I have the privilege to work with are so talented!
What I have discovered over the past thirty – seven years is that each boy is a wonderful and precious human being, honored to be in our choir and eager to please . . . fully deserving to be treated with dignity at all times, even and especially during moments of “misbehaving”. As I raise my expectations – they elevate their behavior. When I show respect for them, they show respect for me.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our world operated that way?!
I also remind them to not just sing the notes . . . sing the meaning of the notes.
. . . and that we never really grow up . . . we only learn how to act in public!
Be sure to come and hear the boys in person if you can. You won’t be disappointed!