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Laughter, Goosebumps and Leadership

May 3, 2023

As a choral director, I enter every rehearsal with so many goals.

Of course we need to manage our time well, rehearsing each piece of our repertoire, learning notes, and building vocal technique and ensemble skills as we go.

But I also want our kids to leave our doors feeling a certain way.

Did they feel successful? Were we an escape from something that they were worried about? Did we make their week better?

Did they feel included, like they belong? Did they make a friend? Did they laugh? Did they discover something new?

Naturally, every singer has their own experience. But what I always notice is how these singers make me feel.

This week, during our final rehearsals, each ensemble gave me a different feeling as I left our doors.

Our Choristers made me laugh: we challenged them to practice standing still on the risers, and those 8- and 9-year-olds tried their very best. The effort it took to keep their arms at their sides was truly Herculean, and that struggle was written all over their faces.

The Chorale was stunning. Their three-part harmonies locked in, and the range of their dynamics gave us goosebumps. I have seen many adult choirs struggle to achieve their level of expressiveness, and there are 10-year-olds in this group!

Our MasterSingers made me so proud. They always do. They tackle such challenging music, think so deeply, and aim for perfection (which, you guessed it, isn't real in the world of music). These are traits all of us want in our leaders—my main job is to remind them to appreciate the journey, as lofty as their goals are.

Laughter, goosebumps, and leadership. All in a day's work for BYC. I'm just lucky enough to witness it.

Sam Barge

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