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College interns conducting in concert

Fellow Community Youth Choir Conductors:
If you have college interns help out with your program, have you considered having them conduct in conert? Whether you decided for or against the idea, would you mind answering these quick questions?
  1. Is your program affiliated with a university or college?
  2. What is the age range of the chorus?
  3. Why did you decide for/against involving them in a concert role?
  4. If you decided in favor, what was the scope of their "podium" experience? (Did they teach the piece, shape it's direction, or adapt the conductor's vision?)
Thank you in advance!
on August 14, 2013 8:08am
Cincinnati Children's Choir is in residence at Univ of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music (CCM).  We do have undergraduate interns and work with grad students as well.  We have a multi-tiered program that starts in grade 1 and goes through high school.  Seven resident choirs (on the UC campus) and 10 satellite choirs (outreach programs into the community).  One of our satellite choirs is at Miami University (Ohio) and we have undergraduate interns there as well.  Our undergraduate interns at CCM do it for credit.  To start the year, the conductor of the ensemble they are assigned and the intern sit down and outline the goals for the internship.  Those always include basic administrative experience, education leadership, and work into conducting experience.  They do conduct in concert and they do prepare their piece but also may conduct repertoire we are working on, lead warm ups and lead sight-singing/musicianship activities.  The conductor of the ensemble works with them on teaching style, rehearsal pacing, conducting technique, expectations of choral tone to work within the CCC program and much more.  We feel, if we are willing to mentor these young conductors, it is imperative that they get to experience conducting in concert and preparing repertoire but it is all under the careful guidance and mentoring of the artistic director.
Quite honestly, it is incredibly rewarding.  We have hired several of them over the years.  Two are currently staff with CCC.  Others are working with children's choir programs around the country.  Some have gone into careers in arts administration rather than education but their experience with CCC was an important part of preparing them for that career path as well.
on August 14, 2013 8:31am
The Lawrence Academy of Music Girl Choir program is a division of the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music in Wisconsin.  We, too, utilize undergraduate interns (no graduate program here).  We have done this at every level (seven choirs, grades 3-12) and found it to be a wonderful opportunity to mentor and support emerging music educators.  During the first semester, the intern observes the conductor but may run supervised sectional rehearsals, warm-ups, and complete managerial duties to develop rapport with the singers.  During the second semester, the intern prepares, rehearses, and conducts one piece on the final performance with regular oral and written feedback from the ensemble's primary conductor - it resembles the student teaching experience in the public school setting.  (Repertoire selection is done in conjunction with the artistic director.)  No college credit is awarded for this placement, but a stipend is provided by the girl choir program.
All placements must be recommended by university music ed faculty and approved by the artistic director of the girl choir program.  Every intern we have mentored is currently teaching children; we have hired two to join us within our own program.  Generally speaking, these are university students who have been involved with the girl choirs in some way - practicum observations, managerial duties, etc - prior to placement.
Since working with youth choirs requires a different pacing than teaching in the school setting (among other differences), I highly encourage you to mentor these motivated college students.  It provides them with a rich, well-rounded experience!
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