Don Salz, Chairman - Chapter Support and Leadership Training (CSLT)
The Care and Feeding of your Director
All our Directors are a treasure and critical to the success of a chapter.
One of the benefits of moving around as much as I have the last couple of years has been to sing for four of the top directors on the west coast: Jim Halvorson of Las Vegas, Gabe Caretto of California Delta, Ron Black formerly of Sacramento, and Donny Rose of Bellevue, WA. And their styles are completely different.
I compare Jim to the Dodger’s Tommy Lasorda. He will talk to anyone (a lot), relates well to youth, and is a very funny man. At a recent rehearsal, he said, “Some of you are keeping your head in the same position regardless of where the note is. Others, if you tied a marker to your nose and sang in front of a white board, you could create a Picasso.”
Gabe reminds me of the Seattle Seahawk’s Pete Carroll and his over-the-top enthusiasm and ambition. His International-caliber chorus also puts on the best and most creative chapter shows I have ever been associated with. Gabe is football tough, too. His favorite words of encouragement are, “Don’t suck!”
Like Socrates, who was the student of Plato and the teacher of Aristotle, Ron is a great teacher who never stops learning. His message is fresh, timeless, and limitless. Both the least and the most enlightened students benefit. While the answer to most of his questions is, simply enough, “More air,” his teaching on “leading tones” gives me brain pain reminiscent of Metaphysics class in college.
Donny is gentle and inspirational in the fashion of Ghandi (or Yoda?). He sets high standards and it is the members who challenge themselves to meet them or take themselves off the risers, or out of a show or contest. I love this post prior to the last night of their recent membership drive:
The balance I am striving for myself and expect from all of NWS in this type of night is:
- upbeat, but demanding - kind, but fussy - overtly friendly and accepting - quick pace to meet the needs of the intelligent men - care about those who are lost,but don't teach to only the low - I am in charge of only me, and that's plenty - I will make connections with my music, with my body, with my brothers, and with my director. I need all four to make art. - Donny Rose So what can we do to nurture and nourish our Directors? Board: Provide funds for purchase or creation of learning tracks for all chapter repertoire. Program VP: Maximize rehearsal time by minimizing chapter business announcements. Encourage the Board and Chairmen to maximize use of Email, website, Doodle polls, and weekly handouts. Section Leaders: Be pro-active. Consider sectionals before rehearsal or on off-nights – reinforcing the Director’s vision and instructions. Members: Spend time outside rehearsal learning your music as soon as you get it. Attend all rehearsals possible. Approach each song in rehearsal as a performance.