Westminster Conducting Institute 2012 Update

It’s been over a year since my last post.  In the interim, St George’s has revamped its website, so we are in the process of shifting audio and video clips to our Music Home Page.  More on that later. 

The Westminster Conducting Institute began this afternoon.  Lisa Bogardus and I are both participating in this week-long intensive conducting workshop while Robin Roberson takes a beginning conducting class with James Jordan.  Some highlights:

Lisa gets out of her comfort zone.

Conducting placement auditions took place this afternoon.  Lisa and I had to get up and conduct the Saint-Saens Ave Verum for a 40 voice choir of other conductors.  She did a great job and thought her ordeal was over… until James Jordan decided to do a standing arrangement for the choir based on vocal blend, which meant that we all had to sing the first line of “My Country tis of Thee” BY OURSELVES!!!.  Lisa turned and gave me a look that would have peeled paint off a new Mercedes, but got up there and sounded great, as I knew she would.

Tonight’s lecture by Bruce Chamberlain on score prep and performance practice of the Mozart Kyrie was enlightening and informative.  At the end of the lecture, Bruce encouraged us to get out of our comfort zone.  Lisa commented that she’d already been out twice: conducting and singing solo in front of lots of strangers.

Robin’s class begins tomorrow morning, while Lisa and I dig in to the choral repertoire, meet the faculty for this year and begin to work with our small group conducting classes.  My experience last year at the institute was a transformative one for me that I count as one of my most profound and life changing musical events. This is my third year at the institute, so I got to see a lot of old friends today, with more arriving tomorrow.  I plan to publish a post daily about our journey to better conducting.  In addition, look for more details on St. George’s choral and instrumental groups and new media on our website. It’s good to be back.

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