by Rey Lambatin, Choir Director
I love and am passionate about being involved in the choir, be it to sing or direct, and I’m proud to say I’m a choir geek. And I think it’s safe to say that most, if not all, choir directors are choir geeks. I would even go as far as some choir singers are choir geeks. And, if comic geeks have Comic Con, computer gamers have Gaming Con, California Choral Directors Association have its own conference, and it happened on March 14th to 16th this year here in San Jose. It’s a convention for California choir geeks, directors and singers, where we gather and connect, share and learn new music and techniques that’ll help us and our choirs achieve the level of musicality we aspire for our purposes or ministries. Choir directors from schools, churches, and different communities from all over California gathered together for 3 days and immersed ourselves in everything that’s choir related.
We had Reading Sessions where we sang through a number of music and had a feel of how different songs go, and determine if it’s a music that we could use in our own choirs. We sang arrangements for vocal jazz groups, school and community show choirs, and advanced SATB and TTBB groups. There were also different Interest Sessions like “Teaching to Millennials and Generation Z,” “The Sound is the Vowel,” and the one I found most helpful and informative, “Between the Beats: Are You Showing What You Want?” led by Dr. Jonathan Babcock, a professor and clinician from Texas State University School of Music. In this session, Dr. Babcock discussed about different factors that go beyond the movements of the arms that help us conductors be more effective in conveying what we want our choirs to do while singing - the way we stand and move our bodies, facial expressions, even the slight movement of eyebrows and where our eyes look. These information helped me be more aware of what I do while conducting, and I actually wished the session was longer. When we were not learning, we were treated to outstanding performances by different choirs in the acoustically wonderful Cathedral Basilica of Saint Joseph. Groups that especially stood out for me were the College of the Canyons Chamber Singers, iSing Silicon Valley Girls Choir, and CSU Long Beach University Choir. I regrettably had to miss the performance of the award-winning Fog City Singers because of choir rehearsal, but I’ve seen one of their concerts before and they were amazing.
All in all, it was a fun and very informative first CCDA Conference for me, and I’m looking forward to next year when once again, the choir geeks unite.
Christ the Good Shepherd
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