the nitty-gritty details
First United Methodist Church
112 E College St
Broken Arrow OK 74012
Our July 1st venue
So, back to my initial point…How did I get myself into this? How did I get us into this? I am really feeling that panicked sentiment now, less than a month before our inaugural concert as a newly formed professional-level chamber choir. There are a lot of “what ifs?” At first, my interest in co-founding this choir was to serve the singers. I wanted to make great music with people that were hungry to make great music. But, that’s not enough. It won’t sustain us. Sure, we could get together for a few rehearsals and sing great music, but then what? I’m not sure even the singers would find lasting pleasure in that. No, it needs to culminate in performance. We need an audience. No, wait…First, we need to actually have a CHOIR!
The call went out to all of our friends via social media and email, complete with a commitment understanding and a Google Form registration. Music educators, music industry professionals, former students, current students, and just anyone with singing and music reading chops were sent the call and we had a pretty decent response. There were those ready and willing to sing. Many wanted to, but had conflicts – desiring to possibly commit for a subsequent performance. We landed with 21 solid singers. The commitment is basically to learn the music on your own, be ready, rehearse together for 2 days prior to performance, and perform. That’s it. Right?
Okay, here we go. Repertoire selection; music purchase; part assignments; rehearsal notes; postage & packaging for music mailing; what do we even call the group? Secure a pianist; part learning files; venue; marketing/PR; printing; meals for rehearsals; water; paper plates; flatware; coffee; website; social media presence; alrighty! We need a budget! – Underwriting. Promo photos; secure a fiddler for Norwegian piece; printed programs; program notes; postcards; mailing lists; email invitations; personal invitations…These things scratch the surface of preparations. The most important thing was missing. The “what” was there, but the “why” hadn’t been quite nailed down yet. The “why” was right there in front of us the whole time. It was embedded in the passions of most of our singers.
Most of our committed singers are firstly committed music educators. Our primary MISSION is to educate and inspire young musicians. This can take on many forms of educational outreach, but it’s at the heart of our membership. This new professional level chamber choir must exist as a natural extension of our innate passion to pass along music education to young artists. as exemplars. That is the long game. As a secondary result, we get to gather, rehearse and perform great music for our community. That fact alone helps bring our community together and fosters growth of the performing arts in the greater northeastern Oklahoma region. We truly believe that beauty lies in the human voice and the communal act of singing connects us deeply in the soul of both singer and listener alike. Why should YOU care? Consider these words below from Karl Paulnack as he addressed incoming music major freshmen to the Boston Conservatory of Music. He was previously speaking about music being present in the Nazi concentration camps and how music was immediately present following 9/11 in NYC. How, when life is devoid of everything else, does music and art arise? Because it is a part of our humanity. I hope to see you at our concert on July 1st.
conductor & co-founder
“If there is a future wave of wellness on this planet, of harmony, of peace, of an end to war, of mutual understanding, of equality, of fairness, I don't expect it will come from a government, a military force or a corporation. I no longer even expect it to come from the religions of the world, which together seem to have brought us as much war as they have peace. If there is a future of peace for humankind, if there is to be an understanding of how these invisible, internal things should fit together, I expect it will come from the artists, because that's what we do. As in the concentration camp and the evening of 9/11, the artists are the ones who might be able to help us with our internal, invisible lives."
- Karl Paulnack