To sum it up, it was a day filled with lots of singing, only interrupted by two 10 minute breaks and lunch. The song selections were composed of many of my favorite choral pieces, including many from the renowned composer Jim Papoulis. And that was the best part about the day: The Master Class with Jim Papoulis.
Our chorus is used in a master class for who I believe are graduate students for conducting. They each take a turn on the podium to conduct us, and it’s a learning experience for both them and us. Imagine this: a room with a chorus of 90 kids on one side, and a small group of conductors all sitting on the other. Imagine one conductor on the podium, leading us through one of the songs by Jim Papoulis. Now imagine Jim Papoulis himself in the back of the room. Changes things, doesn’t it? The master class not only allowed me to see how conductors are really taught, but also to see how composers interact with the performers to really get across their expression of the music.
As Janet Galvan, the clinician who worked with the conductors, told each of them what they could do better, I myself listened and learned much to improve my own skills of conducting (which are minuscule, believe me). Not only that, but I even got a chance today to go up on the podium myself as an example to show a student’s expression of the music and conduct. Needless to say, it was nerve-wracking to have the composer sitting behind me as I “conducted” his song, but nevertheless it was a once in a lifetime experience.
Off to a great start, CME is!