There were almost too many highlights. The really big three for me were Bill Biffle's Directing class, Bob Mucha's Sound Management class and the general directors sessions with Rashleigh and Lyne, (I've already responded about the conversation on the bus with Tom Condon.)
I was a pig at the trough of knowledge - and I'm suffering now with indigestion from information (and ice-cream) overload. I fear it will all slip away before I can get it properly organized and incorporated into behaviors that will benefit the chorus. (Future directors be warned! There's a subtle sadism at work at Directors College - providing such lofty goals before you can even properly control your spastic left hand). The important thing, of course, is that I really did come away with the tools necessary to make major progress as a director. The single most important lesson was the importance of a positive, supportive style of directing rehearsals, and the clear picture in my mind of Greg Lyne in action. What a fantistic role model. I may never become a decent director, but at least I can try to be a nice guy while I work on it. If I don't get impatient with the chorus, maybe they won't get impatient with me.
Here's something you might find interesting -- Toward the end of the week I asked two of my classmates, both experienced professional choral directors but new to barbershop, for their reactions to HC/DC and barbershopping in general. One said "I still have real problems with my own chorus, but what I have learned is that this is really an impressive organization to be part of." The other told me that barbershop took ensemble singing to a higher level than he'd known was possible - that the courses in Directors College were at a higher level and better taught than in his Master's program. (Since barbershop is almost the only musical training I've had, that made me feel real good!) I'd really like to hear from other music educators who were there.
One final point. Some harmonet threads are a bit like talk radio - those most motivated to contribute views often have strong views towards one side or the other. Some of the KIBBER discussions have been like that, and it worried me a bit. But the HC/DC experience really convinced me that SPEBSQSA has a good handle on the KIBBER question. There's a super balance of preserving and perfecting pure barbershop while at the same embracing all that we wish to do along with it in pursuit of quality entertainment packages that are fun to perform.
Well, I could go on for a long, long time - but you get the idea. I just want to say thanks for all the work the HC/DC staff and all those other district and Society officers, coaches, and judges have done to make this hobby possible. Whatever the debate may be between KIBers and progressives, there's simply nothing to compare to the musical experience made possible through SPEBSQSA. It's one hell of an organization.
NY Times article
Chicago Tribune article
Notes and Suggestions from Charla
Coaching Ideas by Don Gray
Three Rules, Twice
Tuning and pitch
More About Pitch
How I Found Barbershop
Rus Enters Ahsow
OOPS Len gets Flamed
A Post Response
How to Choose a Song
Preview of the valentine page