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Why ChoralNet is not "taking off"

This is an undocumented, but none-the-less true survey of Oklahoma users, gleaned from the summer convention:
1. ChoralNet's daily message becomes an irritant.  There is too much information and busy teachers tend to delete without reading.
2. The site is too complex, and not at all user friendly.  There are too many menus and side bars, and the categories and arrangments are not intuitive.
3. Facebook is quick, relatively easy, and doesn't require all the "verification."  For instance, this morning I was prevented from replying to James's blog because I was "not authorized."
Electronic communication is NOT a panacea.  Members want information in print and electronically.  They are all very busy, and must receive the information in the simplist possible form.  Continuing both methods is NOT cost effective, but I believe they are both necessary if professional associations are to serve their members.
Charles Chapman
Replies (61): Threaded | Chronological
on September 15, 2011 12:26am
Wow. I'm a bit speechless.  I find Choralnet very user friendly.  I have it on my toolbar and permanently logged in so there is no need to log in everytime. 
I love seeing what has been found in blogs or on youtube and really appreciate the time that someone else has taken to comb through the masses of material to find some treasures to post it here in the daily message.  
Not sure what you mean when you say Choralnet is not "taking off".   It took off eons ago.  I am in Australia and have connected to fellow choral nuts in India, Greece, South America, and UK through Choralnet.   
Guess that's my bit.   
New South Wales, Australia
on September 15, 2011 6:51am
Hi, Jane:  Thanks for the contribution.  "Taking off" is from James's blog, explaining why ChoralNet should be as ubiquitous as Facebook.  It's not with the choral directors I know, most of whom actually use Facebook (which I HATE, yet belong to) to advertise concerts, etc. Your opinion reflects about 50% of all the choral directors I have contacted with a survey (last year) and much discussion (not just Oklahoma, but primarily so).  When I was SW Division Editor I attempted a survey which had only about sixty  replies.  I've been in three board meetings of professional organizations.  The participants always are divided about 50%/50% between those who want print and those who are happy with electronic only.  About six of those who responded had NO computer and/or internet, and these were not just retirees.  After I left the Editors position, SW Division went "paperless;" I believe to detriment of informing our members.  The two summer conventions in Oklahoma since paperless move have fallen short of normal attendance.  Many I question say they didn't know about it.  I'm anxious to see what the turnout for the coming Division Convention in Dallas will be.
I firmly believe not just ACDA, but NAfME (formerly MENC), and NATS, and AGO, (my organizations) are ill-informed by electornic communication only. People's habits don't change overnight, and they are not necessarily "trainable" concerning how they want their information.
on September 16, 2011 6:08am
Your comment about the fall of attendance possibly being connected to going "paperless" reminds me of another recent "paperless" occurance. Now, I'm not against "paperless", but I think there are some things that need to continue to have a "paper" connection. At the last election for local offices, I was asked if I would be willing to run as an area rep. I accepted. Imagine my shock and suprise to learn that I had NOT been chosen as the area rep WHEN I HADN'T EVEN HAD A CHANCE TO VOTE FOR MYSELF.  The notifications about the election and the election itself was ALL ONLINE in connection with ChoralNet. I NEVER SAW ANYTHING ABOUT ANY ELECTION UNTIL AFTER THE ELECTION AND THE RESULTS WERE POSTED. And just to note, I DO read ChoralNet on a regular basis. I am subscribed to the daily email digest. So, I think there is a place for "paperless" but I also think that some issues need to be communicated in different ways or additional way. Strictly "paperless" is not the BEST and ONLY way. It is not always the most reliable.
Debbie Wood
on September 15, 2011 4:29am
Thanks for your comments.  We are always on the search for ways to improve ChoralNet but I do have some solutions/responses for you:
1.  You can stop the delivery of the ChoralNet daily message. (see pic for where you go to do this)
2.  Maybe the site is too complex and we should simplify and combine some of the menu items.  It is an issue we discuss frequently.
3.  Facebook has 2000 employees.  All of the people that run ChoralNet have other primary jobs and most of us contribute to this site on our own time and support it with our own money.  We have a login system for comments to prevent people from spamming your inbox or spamming our forums.  In addition, we have moderators that approve every post.
Your comment about electronic communication seems to reference other points of contention, maybe whether ACDA Newsletters should be print or electronic.  My opinion, as a former newsletter editor for two states, is that they are a waste of time and money.  The great thing about electronic communication, as you demonstrated with this post, is that your complaint can be broadcast to every choral director in the world - I mean - someone from Austrailia commented on your post!  Can you get that from your state newsletter? 
on September 15, 2011 7:15am
Hi, Philip:  Thanks for the information. I'm stuck between being somewhat irritated by daily messages and having an ingrained compulsion to read everything, so probably will not change it.  I'm glad to be able to tell other members that  this is an option, tho'.  Some of my reply is to Jane, from Australia, and I won't repeat it, Consider that part of this reply.  I am not, however, an isolated, uninformed observer of how professional musicians receive and use information from their professional associations.  It is presently about a 50%/50% divide, which electronic only does NOT fill, regardless of the financial implications.
It seems to me a mistake for ChoralNet to in any way feel competition with Facebook. I had to join Facebook to establish a site for the Oklahoma Music Educators Association, but I only reference it once a month.  (The OkMEA site is a BIG bust—maybe my fault.) I don't have time for much Facebook.
I am also webmaster and editor for Okmea, and have been for a long time. I know that electronic–only communication in my state is far below the rosy promises I read in other states or in national messages. OkMEA corresponds (in addition to print and web site) by e-mail with members (about five times a year, and only for important causes) A large percentage of emails are missing or incorrect, only about 400 members even open the email message, less than one-half the membership. The few on-line magazines some NAfME states have begun remain mostly unread, unless they mail cards to everyone, which seems to counter the assertion that everyone is "hooked up."
ChoralNet (and the state associations who use it) is certainly a fine tool for some, but does not yet replace the printed page for about half our members. We live in an information age, and are clamoring to have our messages received by our members, who are overwhelmed by too much information in their busy lives.  We must use every avenue, not just the least expensive.  I don't consider printed material to be in any way a waste of time and money. It is an important method of communication that many  of our members, not just the older ones,  much prefer.  Prefer to the point that they don't read electronic communication.  The printed page, on the other hand, patiently waits on the coffee table, in the briefcase, on the desk,  or the kitchen counter until the convenient moment when the member can look at it.
Professional associations must use every communication method we have, at least for a while. Right now mailing is more expensive, but that is already changing, with fees for web services, for-profit e-mail services, and, someday soon, per-message charges.  The electronic corporations will not leave us in financial heaven for long.
on September 15, 2011 4:53am
I agree with Jane from Australia!  I much prefer ChoralNet's daily announcements to facebook - especially with the categories as revised last year.
It is easy to view the daily message quickly and discard or keep for future reference.
Peggy Dettwiler
Mansfield University
on September 15, 2011 4:57am
To criticism #1: I don't really see how the material could be more clearly or effectively presented. The categories and headlines allow busy subscribers to skim through in seconds, investigate anything that looks interesting and if not delete on the spot. The layout is clear and effective. Considering the huge number of subscribers it represents the Choralnet Daily is a masterpiece of conciseness. As for it's 'Subscriptions' twin, that is easily deleted on arrival.
To criticism #2: Yes, while it's an attractive homepage perhaps some ongoing planning is needed to reduce the visual noise. And the 'search' function only relates to subscriber messages not website navigation. For example, only via a Google search did I discover that there was a Choralnet composer website page and belatedly added my own address. Doing a search on the website had revealled nothing - and I still don't know how to find that page from with Choralnet!
To criticism #3: This is not a useful comparison - unless one had about 10,000 Facebook friends - for I believe there must be at least that many Choralnet subscribers. And the tasks of the two forums are so different - though I concede there is some overlap.
Having been a subscriber to Choralist since 1994 it has been great to see how it has developed and improved even as the number of subscribers has increased dramatically over that time. The fact that the whole organisation is kept running so smoothly by a small number of dedicated volunteers is truly remarkable. Continual review with an eye for opportunities for fine-tuning is always a good idea. However, Choralnet has become an invaluable resource to so many across the globe so I am wary of proposals for wholesale changes to its format, mission or anything else.
Christopher Marshall - composer
on September 15, 2011 5:56am
I find it incredible that anyone seriously interested in choral music would find the bulletins "a daily irritant".  Just turn them off.
It is also possible to get mail only on selected subject of especial interest to particular members.
A good log-in system is a must, and with many browsers it is not a problem to stay logged in.
I could not function without my daily "fix".  About print vs. electronic, it is a No Contest in my book. 
Who could afford postage internationally? (Forgetting for the moment the waste of paper.)
Those contributing the time and efforts required deserve deep gratitude from the rest of our community.
Nariman H. Wadia.
India; can you imagine? INDIA.
on September 15, 2011 6:53am
I LOVE choral net and truly enjoy my daily digest, while I drink my morning tea (don't do coffee!). 
I can skim the subject heads. I only read what looks of interest to me. Also, I filter the daily digest into its own folder in my email program, so that if I don't have time one day to look at it, it doesn't clutter my INBOX.
Thanks to all the folks who work on this site. I understand ALL the work you do to give us our daily nuggets!
Alice Hughes
Santa Cruz
PS BTW, I I don't have to sign in to reply. I just hit reply and type! Perhaps that is because I don't peruse the site, I ONLY look at messages by clicking the link in my Daily Digest.
on September 15, 2011 7:27am
As a composer of new choral music, I need effective ways to get my music in front of enterprising and potentially interested/responsive choral conductors without sending spam to total strangers. The Forums allow me to respond to existing expressions of interest or need in a professional and respectful manner without wasting others' time, and the classifieds allow me to post new works or versions in such a way that only those interested need read them.
The other issues are well addressed by previous posters. (India. Australia. Yes there are choruses outside of America!)
Facebook is just a time-wasting traffic jam to me, I spend almost no time there, always ask people to contact me by direct email instead, constant bombardment with mostly trivial messages of no interest to me. I can't imagine how that could *ever be leveraged to provide the focused threads of interest that ChoralNet has managed to provide with gallant volunteer workers. Even with groups.
Life is short; time is scarce; so much still to be achieved. Anything that saves time without too much sacrifice is valuable to me.
(PS, I have my account set up to remember my password, so LOG IN means 2 clicks and I am at the link I chose. And I use the daily digest and only read what is of interest).
Just my 2 cents' worth.
David Avshalomov
Composer, Singer, Conductor
2402 4th St. No. 5, Santa Monica CA 90405
310-480-9525 cell 310-392-2641 Home/Fax
on September 15, 2011 8:04am
Thanks for the feedback, everyone! A few things:
1. Philip points out you can stop the Daily. That's correct, but you can also control what you subscribe to and how. On almost every title on ChoralNet is a "Subscribe" button, visible if you're logged in. Click this, and it will subscribe you to that particular area on the site--whether it's a single thread, a forum, a community, ChoralBlog, etc. Then, if you go to My ChoralNet > Subscription Email Options, you'll see a whole list of everything you're subscribed to. You can then customize this to your heart's content. Don't want Daily, but want everything in Vocal Jazz, and the controversial post you just made that's generating 10 comments an hour as individual emails; Announcements and ChoralBlog as a daily digest; and an RSS feed of new compositions and conductor want ads? There you go.
2. There's a lot of stuff here, and while Allen and I continuously improve things, we'll likely end up making major changes over the next year or so as we make a huge amount of ACDA content available on the site as well. We're looking for people interested in suggesting and/or beta testing new possibilities for the site. If you're interested, let me know.
3. You can click the "Keep me logged in" checkbox to stay logged in. That said, Jim's post on New on ChoralNet yesterday wasn't intended to be replied to on the post itself. We're actually getting rid of that whole section--you'll hear about site updates on ChoralBlog.
on September 15, 2011 1:11pm
Cudos to ChoralNet from this subscriber.  ChoralNet has really "taken off" as far as I'm concerned.  I can't think of another site I use and enjoy more.  I am assisting the formaiton and growth of a new choral ensemble in Jacksonville, Florida (The Heritage Singers of Jacksonville), and the ideas and lessons learned from the immensely talented and knowledgeable contributors to these page have been invaluable. 
I'm sure ChoralNet will become even more user friendly over time.
On those days I'm too busy to read the daily, I read two the next day.
To the creators and administrators of ChoralNet . . . Cheers to You!
on September 15, 2011 8:13am
I find ChoralNet to be an invaluable resource. The daily digest format is friendly to this user, making it easy to scan for topics of interest.  I particularly love that I can subscribe to a thread and get an email anytime someone responds to that discussion.  I agree that navigating around the website and searching for various topics can be cumbersome or confusing.  If I find something valuable, essp. repertoire lists, I feel I must take note the route I took there, perhaps with breadcrumbs : ) because I might not easily find it again.
ChoralNet has certainly "taken off" in my opinion! It is a  wonderful resource and online community.  I have received great advice from colleagues and am grateful for my daily email! 
on September 15, 2011 8:59am
I LOVE choralnet, and reading the daily e-mail is part of my morning routine.  If I don't get to it, I save it to read later.  Anyone annoyed by it can simply stop them as stated above.  I agree that I don't want any more print materials.  Most print materials go right in the recycle bin.  I even felt like calling JW Pepper and telling them to please stop sending a catalog because I rarely, if ever, crack it open.  
Choralnet is a valuable resource for those who choose to take the time to familiarize themselves with it.  Every time I've posted a question in the forums, I get many, valuable time-tested responses.  How else in the world could this be possible?
While electronic media is continually moving forward and ACDA will need to move with it when possible, it is not necessary to be completely cutting-edge to be useful.  I'm so glad that we as choral directors have this resource!
on September 15, 2011 9:13am
Hello, All,
  Thank you for this interesting 'survey'.  I suspect we are all busy.  It seems to me, however, that some may be becoming less able (or even willing) to prioritize and/or discriminate.  My daily visit to ChoralNet is time I deliberately give to reading, pondering, digesting and, sometimes, responding to those issues I choose.  I appreciate the fact that there are others who read, think and feel, make time (different from having time) to respond to colleagues' questions and/or concerns; then engage in meaningful communication through their written responses. I tend to enjoy reading sentences that are thoughtfully constructed and would be disappointed if ChoralNet's standard began to resemble facebook's.  All in all I am grateful for this forum in its commitment to those of us who have always had to verify who we are; understood that there really is no such thing as a quick fix; read, comprehend, think critically and then respond to issues that are often complex in nature; understand what is relevant to our needs while ignoring what is of no interest to us or just plainly none of our business.  I remember that I have promised, from the time of my rising until the time I retire each day - to greet each day with a sense of gratitude and wonder, to do my best, treat those those meet with respect and remember that, in the overall scheme of things, I am too blessed to complain.  The daily challenge is to be content with what was my best.  Blessings, Louise Rose
on September 15, 2011 4:01pm
I do not know what the definition of "not taking off" is in this context.  What would ChoralNet look like if it were (in the opinions of some) "taking off?"  What does that mean? 
Finding ChoralNet and being able to interact intelligently and meaningfully with others here has been the best web-based experience that I have had in a very, very, very long time.  As a new, but not young, composer with a great deal still to learn both from fellow composers and choir directors, I have been astonished and gratified by the truly helpful and considerate replies to my often naive questions, the thoughtful back-and-forth discussions in various forums, and the overall high level of discourse found here that is so sadly missing almost everywhere else.  I appreciate the opportunity to respond to conductors' requests for repertoire suggestions with information about works of my own.  I am grateful for being able to read posts in forums that I do not belong to, in order to simply learn.  I have made friends both in my own state and around the world who I will probably never meet but who enrich my life immeasurably. 
So, add my name to the very long list of those who say THANK YOU to all the people behind the scenes that make this great resource possible.
on September 16, 2011 3:20am
I find ChoralNet an invaluable resource in my work as an independent musician.  I've gotten leads on composers, learned from others' problems (and solutions), been inspired with my own concert planning, and felt more connected to the world of ensemble vocal music than I have in years.
The daily update is well-organized and takes about 1 minute to scan.  Some days I click through to lots of things; other days, I don't.  Even then, I have a feel for what's out there.
Thank you so very much.
on September 16, 2011 4:52am
My daily routine involves a 5:30-6:30am walk with my fancy phone in hand to wander through emails (so far I have not walked off a cliff or into an on coming car). My choralnet email regularly provides me unexpected but needed resources and usually something I can forward on to a colleague. I rarely look at choralnet on a real computer so I may not understand some of Dr. Chapman's frustrations. I do miss my printed state and divisional publications. I liked having them waiting around for perusal. My reading of the electronic versions are FAR less than than printed.

I'm getting ready to "submit".... I have not yet logged in (on?)

on September 18, 2011 5:48am
I agree...I read my state ACDA publication much more frequently in print before it went digital. Now, it has become completely extinct. ("The Troubadour" in New Jersey.) I miss it! I used to read the print version from cover to cover.
on September 16, 2011 5:01am
I'll join the chorus (sorry for the corny pun, but it's early, and pre-coffee!) in singing the praises (sorry again) of ChoralNet!  
For several years now, I've enjoyed reading it on a daily basis, and have found it to be very helpful regarding a huge variety of topics.
I've recommended this wonderful (and global) daily resource to several other choral people I know, including both conductors and choristers.  
And, on several occasions, I've sent video links to various musicians (including my choristers), as well as family and friends.
On the other hand, I have a Facebook account, and rarely use it.  
Keep up the great work!
Jenny Crober, 
Artistic Director,
The East York Choir, 
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
on September 16, 2011 5:23am
As a retired choral educator, Choralnet remains my connection with the "outside world", as it were.  I cannot begin to tell you what I've learned from this site -- but I'll try: how to locate lost choral treasures; how to know what fellow teachers/composers/performers are thinking; how to  view new choral music written by our own members/subscribers; the choral news from around the world & our own back yards; I can have a dialog with choral musicians from around the world; suggestions in pronunciation, performance practice, choral conducting...and ideas/opinions on my own favorite, vocal jazz. And this is just the beginning!  Choralnet is wonderful, and easy to use.  I've recommended it to so many people. It is part of my daily...yes, daily routine.  It goes with my morning coffee...and tastes almost as good -- to the last drop!  So thankful for it.
on September 16, 2011 7:38am
I could not be more comprehensive than Thomas about what I appreciate about ChoralNet. We conductors are so busy that to have such broad range of information and ideas dropped into my computer every morning while I am sipping tea is an immense time-saver in terms of research. I enjoy the long discussions and the idea exchanges out in the choral world. My several choirs of all ages have greatly benefited from it.
Like Jenny above, I have a Facebook account and rarely use it. I don't have time for the fluff it attracts. And I certainly don't need another magazine that lays around making me feel guilty for not getting around to reading it.
Keep up the great work!
Karen Schuessler Singers
Wesley-Knox United Church
London, Ontario, Canada
on September 16, 2011 3:30pm
I would totally agree that I go to the site daily!  It has been such a great resource for me on so many topics.  It helps to learn from those who have been in the trenches for years....while I was renewed this year as I read the excitement in so many new teachers notes and comments.  I love the fact that so many are willing to share openly their great ideas.  I LOVE this network.
Colleen Schloemer
on September 16, 2011 5:48am
 I've no suggestions, find the site stimulating, useful & sometimes challenging in finding a specific topic.
I thank you all.
on September 16, 2011 6:05am
I've perhaps overlooked a previous response in my haste to get breakfast and off to work, but I'd like to add a couple of notes regarding the original post.
First, the repertoire discussion forum is not a neatly organized database browse, but it does contain input from many and varied sources.  Well-placed questions of the "Any comments on...." or "Looking for...." flavor draw many helpful thoughts.
Second, there is a group on Choralnet working to build a Composer's MarketPlace where composers can submit works for sale.  The interface is much as you describe, with review (partial or complete) copies, audio files, tags, etc.  A VERY preliminary test version can be seen on the "Composers MarketPlace Planning Group" community under "Alpha version".  Of course, Palestrina wont' be submitting any new work, but it will hopefully be a great source for new music.
on September 16, 2011 7:18am
Another "me too" post.
I find the daily digests incredibly helpful--like many others, I am able to skim them to see what's happened in the past day and whether it's something I'm interested in clicking over to, and compared to the other junk that seems to fill my mailboxes it's a very concise and helpful item.
The only thing I can think of that might be better would be an option for a weekly digest for those who don't want the daily one, but otherwise I don't see how this site could be improved upon.
My two cents.
on September 16, 2011 10:17am
I would have been unaware of this entire discussion had someone not sent a message to me directly.  I'm current in Cuba with limited online access and have not read all of this, but I do have this to say:  The whole discussion, while good critical analysis, is based on a mis-quote.  I never wrote "ChoralNet" was not taking off.  I wrote that "ChoralNet Communities" were not talking off.
on September 16, 2011 11:28am
Please explain or clarify what you mean (when you can), since it seems to me (perhaps wrongly or naively) that the bedrock of ChoralNet IS the communities.  Or did you mean that just some of the communities are not "taking off"?  And what is your definition of "taking off"?  We may all may be talking past each other here...
on September 16, 2011 5:14pm
Jim wasn't speaking of communities in the broad sense; he was talking about ChoralNet Communities, which can be found under the purple tab on the ChoralNet home page. They're more specialized groups that ChoralNet users can start and moderate on their own--kind of like Facebook groups, but living on ChoralNet rather than another site. If you click on the tab, you'll see Communities that are state-based, genre-based and even more specific.
on September 17, 2011 8:39am
Yup, I know--sorry I didn't capitalize Communities to be more clear.  I've been a happy member of a handful for a few months now, and just from poking around in my own and in others I don't "belong" to, it seems like some Communities are very active and others aren't.  Some Communities have many members, others very few.  Some have lots of interesting threads going almost all the time, others almost none.  I suppose that's what people mean when they say they (some) aren't taking off. 
Maybe many of the folks who participated in this thread could think about and offer some ideas to help boost participation in Communities so that they would, indeed, "take off."  One idea I might throw out is that I've found that I can't reply to a post in a Community that I do not belong to, that I am not a member of.  This doesn't happen very often, but when I would like to add my two bits, I then have to take the time to go back and "join" that Community, if only temporarily, before I can say anything there (many people might not even know they could "join" a Community temporarily to be able to say something there--but it's still a pain).  I wonder if that requirement could be somehow modified?  We could still get new posts via email for the Communities we belong to (I love that feature), but be allowed to post a message pretty much anywhere we would like to, without having to jump through yet another hoop.  Whaddayathink?  This might increase participation in interesting ways.
on September 17, 2011 10:46am
Frank:  The only problem with that--and with the mindset behind it--is that I never GO to the home page. I only click in to join the various discussion threads (like this one), which works just fine, but doesn't put anyone in touch with anything that only exists on the home page.  So for those of us who use the website that way, we have no idea about the proliferation of Communities.  And the home page has really gotten so cluttered that looking there is kind of useless anyhow.  (Sorry to say so to the designers, but it's an unfortunate fact.)

on September 17, 2011 2:18pm
Whereas I practically always start from the Home Page, and mostly ignore the daily update email...
All of which goes to say that, as we all know, you can't satisfy everyone all the time!
on September 16, 2011 7:07pm
As a composer and conductor, I find ChoralNet a breath of fresh air. No readers' questions go unanswered, and I have been struck by the generosity of the responses, both in terms of time and thought taken and the information proffered. What a great way to start the day- along with exercise, orange juice or coffee and maybe a prayer! Dr. Phil’s creatively chosen bogs are always interesting, and the topics raised by a plethora of readers certainly inform and inspire. My thanks to all those who work so hard on the site, and to those who read it, for one can not help but become a better informed musician as a result, and that helps the whole community. Like so many of the best things in life ChoralNet is free, and like so many of the best things it is easy to take it for granted.
Thanks so much for sticking your neck out and getting so many of us to think and talk about the site, Charles. Yes, there is always room for improvement- perhaps someone could start a new thread with specific suggestions. I’m sure we are all being listened to!
Hey - maybe I'll do it!
on September 19, 2011 6:59am
Thanks Donald for your words of wisdom!  Agree with the generosity of information as well as the responsiveness of subscribers.  I find the objective of fB rather selfish, vs ChoralNet's service-oriented objective.  We are the group, and don't need to worry about privacy settings and shared email addresses.  I'd also like to thank those who do the heavy lifting behind the scenes, and for the long archives, as I had thyroid surgery about a month ago and knew that I'd find something for me on this site. 
on September 20, 2011 7:14am
One of my improvement suggestions was an onboard spell-check. BUT- this does not always work to advantage. Mine seems to have changed "Dr. Phil’s creatively chosen blogs" to "Dr. Phil’s creatively chosen bogs" My apologies. It still need human-check. Can't trust technology alone to do the job!
on September 17, 2011 5:44am
I have found choralnet to be quite easy to navigate and I am not particularly savvy on a computer.  I love the daily choralnet e mail I receive and if I don't have a chance to look at everything, I just pick and choose quickly ( and occasionally skip it all together ).  I have also received invaluable help from other users, including:
Borrowed music for one of my chorales
Great repertoire suggestions for concerts
A specially composed piece for one of my choirs
Personally, I find Facebook to be much more complex and "irritating" with lots of useless information. 
Getting verified on Choral Net is simple and allows one direct communication with other users.  I am really surprised by your negative feedback from Oklahoma users.
Well, "to each his own", I suppose but I am a big fan of Choral Net just the way it is.
on September 17, 2011 8:03am
I wanted to respond about two things that you mention in your second post Charles. 1st about going paperless for Oklahoma and lower attendance at convention. I personally cannot afford to pay for more than one convention trip a year. The past several years the regional and national conventions have been in driving range and I have had students in honor choirs. Our state convention unfortunately dies not offer as much "growth" for me as these larger conventions do. Going paperless has not been a factor in choosing a convention at all! Economics -getting the most for your money is the biggest factor! Second- I am a new choralnet user and love getting the daily emails! I can see what is going on around the world with what interests me! If I don't want to read something I just don't. If I don't have time that day I just look at it another day. I wasn't aware of the communities available but now I am and will be looking at those to see what applies to me! Thank you for all if your hard work on behalf of Oklahoma and choral directors everywhere. It is very appreciated! Some day very soon our percentages will change and most users will be natives and not immigrant computer users!! (learned that at a convention class on technology!!!). Thanks for everything!!
on September 17, 2011 3:44pm
Way to use that Digital Native and Digital Immigrant language, JoAnn!
on September 17, 2011 10:23am
Compared to the website I am forced to navigate for my graduate studies, Choralnet is a breeze! I enjoy this daily post to my email so much, it is my second intented destination after school mail. While I'm not a choral director, I am a singer and have been in choruses since I was probably 7 years old, and I like being able to share what the many great conductors I've sung under have taught me, as well as what my prof's from university have also imparted(was once a music hist/lit maj. conducting still required).
I cannot tell you how many times the website has provide the answer or the link to the answer for a question I had. I've found fantastic repetorie ideas, and so much else that have I think enhanced the groups I belong to. You have created an incredible resource for the choral music community that is so simple to navigate, compared with others I have visited over the years. I also share Catherine's surprise with the negative feedback you have recieved from Oaklahoma users. I fail to understand the comments about logging in and such, as I am always logged in. I wish that they would consider how little existed online prtor to ChoralNet that was not directly connected to a publishers website. These sites were often very limited in their scope and didn't always provide the easiest of access to users. ChoralNet is very, incredibly user-friendly. I am sorry that Oaklahoma is unhappy but unless they make up the majority of the ChoralNet's users, they are in the minority. Either way they need to deal with the issues.
Your verification process is quite simple, and last time I looked very painless. The only reason to anyone might complain would be if your posting was rejected, which has happened to me several times. It usually comes about if you are duplicating information or are making commentary inappropriate to the forum. I would hate to see this move totally to a Facebook only site. Facebook can be fun but it can be very irritating and often confusing as all hell, even on a good day. There is a nasty habit at Facebook of them deciding if you are active in a cite often enough, removing it said cite if they determine I'm not visiting often enough for them.
ChoralNet is a great site and with a little bit of tweaking would be fine but nothing major.
PS Donald I love your arrangements for choir:)
on September 18, 2011 6:00am
In my experience, this site has been enormously useful and I do read the daily digests, though not every post, and have been involved in several discussions.  I have gotten repertoire assistance, given choir music and robes to groups for whom tey would be valuable, made new friends, and learned so much about choral music and related topics.  I find this site to be populated with extremely knowledgeable and thoughtful musicans, and maybe that is not an enormous population of people, though I find there to be an impressive number of such people on this list (meaning that everyone on the list that I have seen falls into this category for me).
I'm not having any dificulty with navigating, really, and it is nice to have such a wonderful resource!  Thaks to all of you who keep it going!
Nan Beth Walton
on September 18, 2011 2:02pm
For me, ChoralNet is NOT an irritant, nor is there too much information in the daily postings.  The site is very user-friendly. Ever heard of "going green?"   Don't know about you, Charles, but the college at which I teach is "going green."  Not a problem for me.  I've subscribed to ChoralNet for three years or so, and the daily postings are interesting and curious.  I arise early, start the coffee, and read the postings and ads that interest me with my first cup of joe.... far more interesting than reading the local newspaper!  
 ChoralNet is a valuable choral music education tool, in terms of providing timely information to a wide number of choral music teachers and conductors. 
So, tomorrow morning, I'll sip my strong black coffee and enjoy reading ChoralNet! 
Anyone have a Dunkin Donut? The local place is closed for remodeling. Now THAT's an irritant!
Carl Smith
on September 19, 2011 7:31am
Don't you dare take away my ChoralNet. Next to my morning devotionals, I look forward to my daily dose of ChoralNet which keeps me connected as a professional choral musician. There is much to be said for having a forum which keeps us all grounded as choral directors, composers and teachers. I appreciate knowing (on a daily basis) that I am not alone in my struggles, or that I can be affirmed in my successes. The choral tradition in many churches is being tossed by the wayside in favor of "contemporary" music which does not come close to offering the musicianship, fellowship and personal growth that participation in the choral experience offers. Without ChoralNet and the ACDA, I would be floundering as a "disappearing breed."
KEEP ChoralNet, keep up the good work, and KEEP IT COMING!
Wayne F. Miller
Director of Music and Worship Arts
Good Shepherd UMC
Cypress, TX
on September 19, 2011 8:11am
I enjoy opening it each morning when I come in to the office.  I use it as a resource to help with questions that we may be dealing with... I love the Choral Caffeine, and it also affords me opportunities to help others.  Thanks Choral Net..... I've recommended it to my other colleagues in the Church Music field. 
on September 19, 2011 8:26am
For what it's worth...
I was previously an active ChoralNet reader and fell away for several years. I turned off the emails. I was overloaded with the volume of information.
A few years ago, I updated my profile/account and subscribed to the daily digest email. Since that time, I have religiously scanned the digest messages for topics of interest to me. I think the quality of posts and comments have remained high, but the variety of topics has increased. I simply would ignore this amount of information if it were in print. However, it is more likely that no organization would choose to publish those volumes.
I think my renewed activity with ChoralNet is because it is "taking off," proving to be a viable medium of professional communication.
Perhaps a "connect with facebook" system for authentication might be considered. I don't know of a logical, succint way for facebook groups/pages to approximate the wealth of information and forum discussions organized by topic or, much less, improve on the verification/moderation of ChoralNet posts.
I am grateful for ChoralNet online and certainly open to ideas for improvement.
on September 19, 2011 9:23am
I agree with most - Choralnet's great in many ways!  Thanks, Developers! 
However, Adam - though there are imagined advantages - I would not like to see Choralnet connected with Facebook.  I use both, but FB has too many hackers, and too often sends "options" that are very difficult to get rid of.
CN  is professional; FB is social.  I use both for announcements, but generally folks in other cities don't need to know about a change in my local rehearsal schedule.  ;)
on September 19, 2011 3:16pm

I have been a member of ChoralNet since 1995 or there abouts. It has evolved from strictly emails to web based, has become more "shiny" but its purpose has remained the same-to inform and connect the world wide choral community.

ChoralNet has evolved, but so have I. I read a Choral Journal article in 1994/1995 that spoke of ChoralList and ChoralTalk and I liked the idea. I was in graduate school at the time and immediately joined. I was going back to school after putting my husband through medical school and with young sons, wanted to keep current with my profession and this seemed an almost painless way. Other than a short time when I changed email addresses in 1997, I've been a member ever since.

ChoralNet has seen me through all sorts of jobs and situations. For a while, I was the only member in my community (the southern suburbs of Chicago) and now there are many of us. I keep recommending ChoralNet to my local colleagues and many have told me they didn't want all those emails-I tell them to get the daily digest. We reach out to one another, not just here, and it's really great!

I have made friends, helped people, asked questions and learned so, so much by being a member of ChoralNet. I see a familiar name as a poster and I look forward-or not!-to what that person is going to say. Where else can we women conductors talk about concert wear--I know it bores many of the male ChoralNet Users to tears-and then read about a concert in Australia or help a new church choir director? Most of us want to help others as well as ask for help for ourselves.

My family has grown older and my youngest son-a pianist and new choral director-is also a member, so we are a two generation ChoralNet family. I laugh, cry or am provoked to think as I read the ChoralBlog with my morning coffee or I stop in between students as I am today.

The Choral Net Communities are a newish feature-special interest communities within the whole of ChoralNet. I am an editor/owner of two-The Chamber Choir/Vocal Ensemble (in real life, I conduct a semi-professional chamber choir) and Friends of Joyful Noise (a group of directors and music educators and family members who direct or have an interest in working with singers with disabilities and challenges of all sorts)-and it is great to be able to connect with others in even more specialized areas. There are surely communities for your own special interests as well-composers, women's or men's choruses or your own ACDA chapters.

In short, ChoralNet took off a long, long time ago, but it IS evolving. And it isn't going anywhere!


on September 20, 2011 10:39am
Three cheers for ChoralNet!  I also think it's useful and efficient in its current form, and really fosters a supportive, lively community. 
The only thing I often wish for is a "Like" button.  Often I don't have the time to respond to a post, or have anything new to add to the discussion, but still want to send a message of "Right on!" "I agree!" or "Excellent point!"  I think we'd be surprised by how many people are reading and enjoying each post, and -- for those who skim a lot of material on this site daily -- it would help us find the most helpful responses immediately.
on September 20, 2011 10:53am
One thing to keep in mind as we read the kudos for ChoralNet, is that we're only, by definition, hearing from people for whom reading the daily postings works.  So if you want to find out what keeps people from using Choralnet, you need to search further afield (and listen to reports such as the OP's).  For ChoralNet Communities, from the posters here you can find out what might be keeping some of us posters from participating, which may be a good place to start: recruiting to communities from your warm prospects.
__Sharon Pedersen
Brunswick, Maine
on September 20, 2011 11:27am
But Sharon, If there are people with objections or problems with ChoralNet they do not seem to have posted their objections or complaints. There can only be change enacted if there is participation. I disagree that ChoralNet should be searching out other communities who have problems with their format or content, if they have a conection to the site than they also have the ability to register suggestions and complaints. Somehow I believe that those who have problems with the site have no difficulty voicing those concerns. 
ChoralNet has provided more than enough ways for users to minimize or maximize their connection to the site, allowing users to determine the level of involvement. I'm not sure what more they can do. I agree with several posters to not become facebook oriented. While it is a huge social media site it is also a continuous target for malicious hackers. 
on September 22, 2011 7:24am
Marilyn, I agree that ChoralNet has many and useful ways to customize one's level of interaction with it.
But if the question is "Why don't people use ChoralNet," you can't find that out directly from the people who do use ChoralNet.  You have to have some way of accessing users who don't use ChoralNet to answer that question, whether by hypothesizing, by talking to them, by taking reports from ChoralNet users about people they know who don't use ChoralNet (which we've had some of on this thread), etc.
Here, where the question more properly is "Why don't people use Choralnet Communities," there is a pool of ChoralNet users who don't (yet) use the Communities.  For finding out from these people why they don't use the Communities, this discussion is a good venue.  We've heard at least one significant reason: because people don't know the Communities exist, typically because they enter ChoralNet through the emailed discussion links rather than the front page.  But if you wanted to find out about non-ChoralNet users and why they don't use Communities, well, then you're back to the previous paragraph.
on September 20, 2011 12:00pm
Jim's ChoralBlog post was speaking about ChoralNet Communities from conversations we Communities Editors/Owners were having in our own forum.  Many suggestions were made and one of my suggestions was taken--to feature one ChoralNet Community every so often in the regular ChoralBlog.  So far, Allen Simon has featured two Communities--the Composers Community and Friends of Joyful Noise, one of the Communities I am editor of.  I still think that is a way of generating interest to these very specific groups within the larger group.  There is a Community for almost everyone's particular interests I would imagine.  Do you participate in any of the Communities?  If not, why not?  And, if there doesn't seem to be any for your own particular field of interest, you can start your own.  It is very simple to do and every one will encourage you.
Several days ago, I made a vow to, if it is appropriate, mentioning ChoralNet Communities in every post in the general forums I respond to.  Today--including this one--I have done it three times. Seems to me this is a way of informing people as well.

on September 20, 2011 12:19pm
I was not aware until this discussion started that there was such a thing as Choralnet Communities! As a long-time ChoralNet user, I subscribe to the forums via e-mail, and very rarely visit the actual website.
on September 20, 2011 4:33pm
Once you join a Community on the website, you can subscribe to that Community and the posts to the Community forum will be sent to you.  One visit to the website to pick and chose the ones most suited to your needs or interests should be all that's required.
on September 22, 2011 10:07am
I notice that the new "Choral Buzz" (which seems to have generated something like 140 messages that appeared in my in-box between this afternoon and tonight) claims,
"ChoralBuzz will come to you daily with small bits of inspiration, some education, a little news, listening-directed concert performances, administrative ideas, and anything else we can cook up to help you." I wonder why there's no mention, in that mini-manifesto, of music. Come to think of it, I read precious little about music on ChoralNet at all; I wonder if that's a symptom of the profession at large -- much thought and talk about "inspiration," "education," "news," administration, singing, classroom management et al., which, dare I say it, allows people to pretend they're involved in music without ever considering, say, a phrase, or a harmonic progression.
Jerome Hoberman
Music Director/Conductor, The Hong Kong Bach Choir & Orchestra
on September 22, 2011 3:01pm
Jerome -
I found your response very intriguing.  I have had a different experience because I have posted several queries about repretoire within the past year.  On the flip side I wonder why there aren't more avenues for discussion about non-musical aspects for the profession other than ChoralNet.  I think the musical aspects are the easiest part of the profession.  Most of my job consists of nonmusical tasks!  I can read more about music history.  I can attend a conducting workshop during the summer.  However, if I don't have a well run rehearsal (including classroom management) and don't have an organized program, I won't really get to the music.  IMHO, building relationships with ensembles and creating community is absolutely foundational.  At various points in the year, I may get tired of reading about G.F. Handel, J.S. Bach, or other composers, although after several months, my interest usually resumes.  On the other hand, I never get tired about learning how to deal with people, providing humor in the rehearsal, or finding that quote or story that will inspire one of my choirs.  That is not to say that I ignore the technical side of repertoire - I do not!
on September 22, 2011 3:29pm
Hi Jerome,
The best course I took in graduate school was called, "Choir Management."  It had nothing to do with conducting or repertoire but had to do with everything else we do as choral conductors.  It was the BEST course I ever took and THE most practical.
The music is the easy part--everything else is not as cut and dried. Handel is Handel but dealing with a Pesky Pastor who announces they know nothing about music and proceeds to tell you how to choose music/handle the singers/and nags you about why the music you choose during Lent isn't lively enough etc. etc. --others have been there and it's helpful to know you aren't alone.
I love ChoralNet because it a group of people who understand THOSE issues and don't think it's wrong to worry about them.
on September 24, 2011 8:04pm
I like this web-site just as it is. I see it evolving and recreating itself as needed. As someone who has come into the choral side of music later on in career, I have found it to be invaluable. Facebook? Not so much! So thank you to all of the folks who keep Choralnet running!
on September 24, 2011 10:28pm
I think ChoralNet is a great resource. It has certainly contributed positively to my teaching and chorus direction.
My personal hope for ChoralNet's improvement: The Resources/Repertoire listings are nice...but very outdated. So many repertoire questions have been asked/answered through forum posts, but have never been linked into the Resources/Repertoire/Concert Themes, etc. lists. I know that this is probably due to limited staff. Hopefully, these resource listings will continue to grow!
on September 25, 2011 3:33pm
Hi Ryan,
I am wondering what you mean about "being outdated"?  You know, you can just go to the ChoralNet Website, click on the "Search" tab, type in what you are searching for--repertoire, vocal health, etc.--and all threads pertaining to what you've typed in will come up, not just those in the resources/repertoire listings. Knowing about this tool will help in your search, even if it's not yet included in the Resources/Repertoire listings.
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