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My choir is revising our bylaws and an issue has arisen within the Bylaws Committee.
Does a 35-voice choir--whose Board is comprised of members in good standing (paid up!)--need an elected Member-at-Large as a "voice" of the choir if the appointed Section Leaders are tasked with advising the Artistic Director and/or Board of issues within their sections?
If your choir has both positions, what are the duties of the M@L?
Is having a M@L  (tasked with being the membership's representative on the Board) adding a "back door" or "barrier" for the membership to their Board?
Lark  Underwood
(Yep, I'm the M@L for my choir AND the Chair of the Bylaws Committee...!)
Replies (4): Threaded | Chronological
on August 25, 2013 12:44pm
Here's the job description we have for at large board members. We currently have two at large members on our board.
Job Description: Board Member at Large Job Description
Creation Authority: Standard Bylaws
Elected: Yes
Term: 1-year, renewable
Desired background/capability:
  • Organizational skills: Thorough knowledge of the organization's mission and vision
  • Experience in governance, and willing to focus on strategic management of programs regarding vision, and operational planning and establishment of annual, measurable performance targets
  • People skills: Desired, as applies to membership communication
  • Previous office(s): Not required
  • Other: Desire and willingness to be a member advocate. Interest in holding future office through committee appointments, such as program committee or chorus manager (vice president of music and performance), membership committee (vice president membership), etc.
  • Other: Computer/keyboard literacy/Internet/Email Communications
  • Reflect the membership’s needs and desires to the board
  • Be fully knowledgeable of the organization's goals and objectives, to be able to intercede with the membership and board, as appropriate
Directly communicates with the musical director, Board and members.
Hope this helps.
on August 25, 2013 1:02pm
Thank you, Todd!
How does this position differ in your organization from Section Leaders' duties?
on August 25, 2013 1:16pm
The board position is a governance/administrative role. The section leader is a role focused on the music program.
Job Description: Section Leader
Appointed by: Director of Music
Term: 1-year, renewable
Section leaders are the heart, soul and sweat of the music team. Without them, no chorus can really expect steady, consistent musical growth. They do much of the detail work -- the hands-on instruction with the chorus members.
They are non-commissioned officers in the trenches with the troops. For this reason, they must be as carefully selected as any member of the music team. They are the direct link between the individual on the risers and the music leadership of the chorus. The right man in this job can make the music director look like a genius and the wrong man can make the whole team's effort one of frustration and failure.
Desired Qualifications and Duties:
Qualifications of section leaders
  • Sight-singing skill. The section leader should have good sight-reading ability or be able to learn music quickly and accurately. Since one of his major tasks is to teach a part, he must be willing to learn his part well ahead of the rest of the chorus.
  • Accuracy in singing. The section leader should have a good sense of pitch discrimination and be able to sing his part alone or within the quartet context. Good vocal quality is also desirable.
  • Positive, helpful personality. The section leader, as with every member of the music team, should keep his teaching both constructive and positive. The men in his section need to know that he really wants to help.
  • Good communication skills. Because the section leader is a link between the chorus member and the musical leadership, he must be able to communicate clearly and effectively.
  • Respect of his section. The men in his section should appreciate his singing ability and respect him as a person.
  • Regular attendance. The section leader has a number of duties to perform during each rehearsal and, therefore, must be very reliable in his participation. Irregular attendance and tardiness can cause major problems in rehearsal scheduling and execution.
Duties of section leaders
The section leader is called upon to accomplish a large number of tasks in any musically active chorus. Because of this, it is sometimes wise to split the duties between two men; one covering administrative assignments and the other musical areas of responsibility. This method would, of course, depend on the size of the chorus and section. Smaller choruses may combine all duties under one energetic man in each section.
Administrative functions
  • Assist guests and new members. Provide friendly support to the visitor and new member. Introduce him to the music leadership and other members of the chorus, especially in his particular section. The section leader should also be prepared to answer questions about the chorus.
  • He should be an extension of the chorus development vice president and the chorus program for the indoctrination of new members.
  • Monitor attendance. Keep a roll sheet and inform the chorus development vice president when men in the section are irregular in their attendance. Roll might also be kept for performances.
  • Keep the section informed. In this area, the section leader may handle the sign-up sheet in his section for performance, competition and other chorus activities. He should be a source of information concerning uniform, makeup, location of performances, etc. He may also be called upon to notify members if any last-minute changes have occurred pertinent to performances and chorus activities.
Musical functions
Section rehearsals; this is a major area of responsibility and includes the following duties:
  • Teach notes and words to new songs. This may be done as a member of the teaching quartet or during a section rehearsal. Check accuracy of notes and words on material used in the repertoire. This includes quality control items such as pitch discrimination, correct words and word sounds, rhythmic accuracy and good vocal quality.
  • Demonstrate the correct target vowel formation and sound for his particular section.
  • Teach and monitor proper vocal techniques during section rehearsal, as part of a vocal instruction program or as part of a full chorus rehearsal.
  • Insure that all performing chorus members in his section maintain an adequate level of performance, as determined by the music team. This may be done through audition, a taping program or personal observation. He should also offer help to chorus members having difficulty.
  • Attend all music team meetings and planning sessions. Section leaders should contribute input, particularly in the area of what their section needs for maximum musical growth, and ways to accomplish it.
  • Assist guests and new members. Section leaders may aid in voice placement evaluation, auditions, "early-bird" repertoire sessions and any other means the chorus may have to integrate the new man into the performing chorus.
  • Communicate musical and personal problems of members in his section to the director, assistant director, vice president for music and performance or other appropriate leaders.
  • Communicate the musical goals and aims of the music team to the members of his section.
  • Work with the other section leaders and music team members to apply uniformity in teaching methods.
  • Assist in any craft instruction or program for the chorus meeting.
  • Sharpen your saw by taking advantage of opportunities to advance your skills as a section leader.
Directly communicates with the music team and members
Make sense?
on August 26, 2013 12:34pm
Yes, it does makes sense.
This will be very helpful in revising our Bylaws.
Thank you for taking the time to help!
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