Fighting for Territory
Date: February 3, 2012
(This question was inspired by my recent conversations around my town as well as a comment here on ChoralNet about fighting for grant money with other community arts organizations--prophetic!)
I have had some interesting conversations in my community of late, as I begin auditions for my next concert cycle. I was wondering how you handle this in your situations and maybe I'm just not seeing it clearly.
I conduct a chamber choir, which I founded. We started out as a 'community group' and now were are more 'semi-professional'. All that means is many of my singers have degrees in music or had a very good audition and can sing more difficult music than the typical community ensemble or make their living in music but are not paid for singing in my group. One reason this is a chamber choir is I didn't want to be in competition with the very fine, larger groups in the area. In fact, as I was preparing to begin my chamber choir, I took the two conductors (at the time, one group has a new conductor) of those large choruses out for coffee and for lunch (separately) to tell them what I was doing so they would know and notbe blind-sided. I tried to have my rehearsals and concerts not conflict with theirs (though my rehearsal night had to change and does conflict with one now) and I always make sure if we share one of their singers, we work around what they need for the other group, though the same cannot always be said about them. In short, I try to be a good neighbor and since we sing a totally different repertoire, have assured those groups we are just trying to enhance our community's arts scene, not steal from anyone.
I was told this week, one of the groups believes we are applying for grant money that should be theirs. We have not had any grant money, though it would be nice, because we have a very small budget right now. We have had to fight for any recognition and now we are finally getting it, others seem to be upset and threatened by our very existance.
Rather than continue whining--I could-- I am wondering if any of you have had a similar experince--'dueling choruses' if you will--and how you handled it.
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