Thursday, September 27, 2012

Demanding teachers

I love singing, especially singing in a really good choir. I have the privilege of signing in two choirs, they are both quite different so it's hard to compare them in quality. In one choir (Cantelana, conducted by Glenn Bennett) there are only about 20 voices, but we have a world-class accompanist and a world-class director. In the other choir (EVMCO, conducted by Brandon Stewart) we have 240 voices and an up-and-coming director, but we get to sing and rehearse with a full orchestra. It is very satisfying to sing with each of them, but for very different reasons.

Last night at EVMCO the director was being very specific about the sound he wanted to hear and being a bit testy with his demands and how the choir was responding. He then spoke to us about how we should be enjoying having him be demanding as a conductor as it produced a better end result. I agree with him, but I also have to note that he has NO IDEA what a demanding conductor is really like. Brandon is definitely demanding, but he has a long way to go yet before he'll have any ability to shock me with how demanding he is, or even come close to it.

I have worked with Glenn Bennett for nearly 20 years in various musical undertakings. I have also worked with a large number of very good choirs, conductors and other music teachers, some of them at the very top of their field. I can honestly say that Glenn is as demanding and exacting in his demands as anyone. I won't say he's more exacting or demanding, but certainly he is the equal of the very best I've worked with. I am extremely grateful for that demanding attitude. Through his efforts to push others to their limits he has been a part of some of the most amazing musical experiences of my life.

The full story is too long for this short post, but suffice it to say that it was his demand for excellence that heard a very raw and untrained talent who he later convinced to spend real effort and time developing a raw talent into something more productive and refined. His attention and efforts were successful to some degree and the result All my joy in singing and my love of not just music, but my ability to perform music I owe to him. To list the ways this has blessed my life would be impossible. But I can say this:

I am grateful for passionate teachers who demand the best of me and have helped me fully develop the talents the Lord has given me and provided me with opportunities to serve others through the talents I've developed. 

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