Gospel Choir Confilct
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December 6, 2012 at 7:40 am #16434
I am the band director at a small school and and our choir teacher has run in to a conflict. I am looking for some view points from experienced choral teachers. We have new administartors this year and they have allowed a gospel choir to form, they meet after school. The choral teacher here was approached about the gospel choir performing on the concert to which he replied no and after a short discussion thought the matter was settled. Well he has another meeting today with the principal and it is again about the gospel choir performing. We have a small choir progrm that has had to deal with some scheduling issues etc.. and the thought of a gospel choir singing with no curriculum or restrictions and doing all fun music is really going to recruit from the academic class and hurt the program. Does anyone have any thoughts or suggessttions on this situation? Do you think it will hurt the choral program or is he being protective? What would be some sound reasons for allowing them to perform and not allowing them to perform? Thanks for the time and I look forward to your input.\
BillDecember 7, 2012 at 2:48 pm #16456
Who is directing the Gospel Choir. Are they a certified music teacher? In my experience, anytime you make a group other than your large most advanced choir, “the” group, you are in trouble or are about to be. If your choral director is not in charge of the group, they should be able to program whoever they want on the concert. What is the administrations rationale for allowing the group to exist? Are there opportunities for that group to perform in other settings? Is the administration supporting the rest of your music program? Sorry, but I have more questions than answers at this point.
Becky Jarman, retired Choral Director, Davis High SchoolDecember 26, 2012 at 4:11 pm #17304
I certainly agree with the choir director about not having a group perform that is not a formal part of the school curriculum. It can be very undermining to a program and to the music curriculum. Those types of things tend to draw students away from the choral program. As Becky Jarman wondered the administration should be in full support of the choral teacher and the choral program. I notice you wrote this at the early part of December and hope the situation has been resolved. If the choral teacher wants to add a gospel element to an existing choir for one or two pieces that could then be part of the curriculum and music education and could be a way to teach another style of music. But to have an only gospel choir that someone else is heading up will not build the choral program or add to the curriculum.
NAfME, Choral Education Council ChairDecember 26, 2012 at 9:09 pm #17306
Thank you for the responses. I fear there will be more issues in the spring. So to answer some of your questions. The advisor (director) of the gospel choir is not a certified music teacher. The administration seems more supportive of the gospel choir than the curricular choirs. The vice-principal wanted the gospel choir started and has been at every gospel choir rehearsal. The certified chorus teacher has not been observed once. I have not heard a rational yet for the gospel choir, only that when the choir teacher questioned the rational it was turned around and asked why he was being so possessive of the program, and then asked why students who give of their time for the school, (gospel choir students) should not be able to perform. I was not in on the meeting but would like to be from now on and will probably push for it. The choir director is pretty frustrated and will most likely leave for another position or to work on his masters at the end of the year. I think the underlying question is how do you get administrators to understand or at least value the curricular program. The gospel group was programmed at the very end of the concert so many people who did not want to listen were able to leave, but it is frustrating that the value of a curricular choir program does not seem to be understood by the new administration simply because it was not as entertaining.
BillJanuary 6, 2013 at 12:47 pm #18030
If the administration wants a gospel choir for some reason, it must not in any way diminish the school’s curricular offerings. After all, school choirs are expected to be taught by professionals who organize an entire semester or year around educational standards. Surely the administrator would not allow an after-school sci-fi book club to supplant a normal standards-based literature class!
Anna Hamre, DMA
Member, NAfME Choral Education Council
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