We just walked in the door to our house after a five and a half hour drive from Saskatoon, and the annual conference of the Association of Canadian Choral Communities (ACCC) known as Podium. The drive was a little longer than usual as we decided to take a different route involving mostly a two lane highway. We visited the Ribstones near Viking Alberta (another blogger posts about their experience visiting the Ribstones, we had a similar experience, including missing the turnoff due to lack of signage - there is very little else to find online about the historic site, but it was a very interesting, and a somewhat moving experience. I did find this video that someone took of the site). We were also pulled over for speeding - but that (as the narrator of Hammy Hampster would say) ... is another story.
The Podium conference was fantastic - four days, eighteen choirs featured in ten concerts. Great sessions (including a reprise of the Technology for Choirs in the 21st century seminar by ChoralNet's chief blogger Philip Copeland as seen at ACDA in Oklahoma. The session has inspired me to get back on the blogging train again).
The comments from most of the delegates have been that despite the unseasonably cold and wet weather, it was one of the best Podiums in recent memory. I've been to four of the last five Podium conferences (Edmonton, Toronto, Victoria and now Saskatoon), and I have to agree; it was one of the most memorable.
Perhaps, for me, the reason it was the most memorable is that it represented a sort of "coming out" party for me as a professional conductor, and not a student. My chamber choir, Da Camera Singers, joined together with my friend and colleague Tim Shantz and his Chamber Choir, Spiritus from Calgary, to perform at the conference this year. It was enthusiastically received by the delegates, including colleagues who probably still think of me as a young student who left Ottawa some thirteen years ago. I was extremely proud of the choir, and also flattered by the accolades we received.
Our recent CD was also nominated for "outstanding choral CD" at the awards ceremony. Unfortunately, we didn't win, but still the recognition was a great thrill for me, and the choir.
Now that the conference is over, and with only Da Camera's AGM scheduled this weekend, I can start to enjoy the summer holidays. I do vow, however, to be productive this summer. I'm teaching two new courses next year, starting a new men's choir at Concordia University College, and have to plan an anniversary year for Da Camera, who is celebrating their 50th year in 2011-12.
On top of all this, I have to start to think about Podium 2012, which is in my home town of Ottawa, and find a way to make a personal and professional impact on the conference.
My other goal this summer is to break 80. Perhaps completely unrelated, and maybe unreachable, but why live if you don't set goals!