ABCD Convention in Oxford
Date: August 27, 2013
I'm not sure whether this is the right place to post this, but the British equivalent of ACDA, the Association of British Choral Directors (ABCD) have just held their annual convention in Oxford. These events always provide a brilliant opportunity to meet with other practicioners, and to receive fresh insights into the art of choral music - as singers, conductors and/or composers. This year we were privileged to have some distingished visitors from the USA at the convention, including Tim Sharp (Exec Director of ACDA), Jo-Michael Scheibe (President), Gretchen Kuhrmann (Founder of Choralis in Washington, DC) and Mack Wilberg (Mormon Tabernacle Choir). In an open forum they provided a fascinating glimpse into the American choral scene, drawing contrasts and comparisons with how things are in the UK.
It was a very packed programme, with several 'repertoire reading' sessions, where we got through an enormous amount of new music, and included a superb concert in the Sheldonian Theatre, which featured some wonderful choirs (one of them a fine US chamber choir from Nebraska!)
Our national organisation is tiny compared with the ACDA, but it does provide valuable support to its members, and I would urge any choral conductors in the UK who are not currently members to consider joining. As well as the convention, there are various regional events, and increasingly ABCD is offering training and support to those who wish to hone their skills as conductors and choir trainers.
I have joined ACDA also, as an associate member, and am hoping one day to get to a conference or convention in the USA. In the meantime, I'm finding ChoralNet and the ACDA journals very useful and informative regarding what is going on across the pond. As a composer of choral music, it is always a thrill to get something performed in a distant country, and I'm pleased to say I'm forging new links with choirs, conductors (and poets!) through ChoralNet. Long may this continue!
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