“Sometimes our light goes out but is blown into flame by another human being. Each of us owes deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this light.” Albert Schweitzer
The choral year is winding down with the academic calendar closing, the concert year finishing and church choir year ending with Pentecost or Trinity Sunday. My chamber choir’s concert is this Sunday. I will be thanking a number of people connected with my choir, people you may not think to thank in your situation, but you should. It has been my experience, thanking those people who “make it happen” only has positive results.
So, have you thanked the people you work with for their hard work for you and your program? I do not mean your accompanist or organist, though I hope you thank them ALL THE TIME. And I don’t mean your singers because you should be thanking them regularly. I mean the people who do things for you, your program, your organization or institution who make things run.
When I was in grad school, I was grad assistant to the Director of Choral Activities as well as the Music Ed department chair, the late Dr. Charles Groeling. My darling Dr. G. had a way of getting to the point and breaking it down to the practical so there could be no mistaking what he meant. One of the things he always said was to treat the custodians and bus drivers well because they ran the school. And we know, as choral conductors and music educators, he was right. It is those sorts of people in your life I hope you have an opportunity to thank before everyone leaves on summer vacation. It is the bus drivers, the custodians, the sextons, the secretaries and the volunteers who collate. It is the parents who drive or raise funds. It is the boosters of you, your choir and your mission, those not in the spotlight without whom there would be no spotlight.
I will always be grateful to Dale, the custodian at the elementary school where I directed a chorus for a number of years. He helped with risers but more importantly, he was always at the ready any time a child became sick in rehearsal. In my classroom. And that happened more than you would think! I loved him and he loved me and Our Kids. He couldn’t have been nicer because I thanked him regularly, I think, and included him early on in anything he would be involved in. I didn’t take him for granted because I knew he could make or break the chorus. I got him to be invested in us and our success.
It only makes sense if there are good feelings people are more willing to do things for you and your program. Trouble happens when everyone is pulling in different directions or your *Inner Diva*snark is allowed out in public or people don’t feel appreciated. Writing a note, giving a Starbucks gift card or verbally (and publicly) thanking someone can heal and help. A line or two in a concert program or church bulletin isn’t too much to ask, is it? If you haven’t thanked those people in your life yet, there is still time to do so. Because it is never too late to thank someone!