Saturday, March 26, 2011

LIVES IN TUNE: "You've changed the way I'll look at music forever"

The conductors were in the audience for a change.

We premiered Lives in Tune: The Legacy of the Indianapolis Children's Choir. What started out about a year and a half ago as a note I had jotted during the first 25th anniversary committee meeting had a screening tonight in the Basile Theater at the Indiana History Center.

I have a tendency to editorialize my own meeting notes. Next to "Documentary" I had written "not likely".

Glad I proved myself wrong. This was a job worth doing, but had we done it well? You get tunnel vision at times with a long project. I liked it, but would others?

Many in the audience were ICC alumni and family - they were somewhat pre-disposed to seeing the positive in the movie. Even my friends were a bit biased simply because they knew me.

However, there was a gentleman who showed up and had no bias at all. He simply had read about it in the paper today. It was his comments that meant the most. He said, "I simply never knew singing could do that. You've changed the way I'll look at music forever."

Forever? Now that's a compliment. Especially given the fact that neither myself nor the filmmaker had any musical background to speak of. It's certainly a reminder of how powerful this medium of film can be, and it unique ability to tell a story.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Lesson from Chicago

We had nothing in common except.... Wait: We had nothing in common. I rode a bus today sitting next to a 28-year old black male, moving to Indy for a while to help his wheelchair-bound cousin who had been shot. He asked me, "What are the women in Indy like?" Although I'm rarely at a loss for words, I just didn't even have a clue about that one!

He made me think about the other people on the bus. The older couple, the college girls, the mother and child. None of us would really have any reason to come together, but our common experience of a drive to Indy created an artificial community - if only for a few hours. Our status and careers outside of the bus were irrelevant.

I was in Chicago for the American Choral Directors Association conference. The Indianapolis Children's Choir had a presence at the conference in that our founder and artistic director Henry Leck conducted the National Children's Honor Choir.

After a busy weekend I enjoyed the opportunity to do nothing on the bus but think. I thought about how the singers created their own community for a few days too, and details outside of their common experience were inconsequential.

That's what participating in a choir does best: It allows walls to be broken down by the very nature of studying the music, soaking in the text, and creating a beautiful sound together. These singers in Chicago may never see each other again - but they will remember the work they accomplished, and the lesson that we are more alike than different.

If I had an experience like that with my seat mate, perhaps I would have found that common ground as well.