The choir conductor, that character, a symbol of our leisure, a guide of our steps, and… so weird… Always…
Theoretically, it is easy to define what a choir director is: the person who helps you to perform a choral score. However, if we start breaking down all the small tasks they have to do before getting to the point of gently moving their hands in front of their choir, there is a long list ahead.
One of their most important tasks is the choice of the repertoire. Here they must display and mix all their musical knowledge: know a big deal of works of different styles, decide what kind of concert they would like to (or must or can) do, adapt to the level and taste of their choir members and also be prepared so that sooner or later someone tells them that they went wrong.
They often become those police negotiators who appear in the movies, trying to make deals in risk situations. Faced with a concert with an obligation, where there is a piece to be sung mandatorily, with no tenors, where the sopranos do not get along well… He tries to bring out the best by giving the appearance of confidence, even if it is not always real.
Some other times they are as parents, caring for their children not to fight, indulging each one their whim, noticing that the tenor in the second row on the right does not know his part, even if they should not tell him. Or having a tough time because a particular alto does not like being in the second row or that we have to sing that beautiful piece we always performed with the previous director.
Undoubtedly, the conductor, as anyone who manages a team, is responsible for building the group’s cohesion and consistency, taking into account the importance of working the empathy and body and verbal language that they must use with each group and each member. It can be an area where choir conductors may lack specific training. Learning what to do for the proper management of relationships is something that comes over time (and a lot of patience). However, when this goal is achieved and you work to improve the quality of the relationships within the group of singers, at that very moment, the music quality starts to grow as well.
Within this cocktail, they must defend a score. The score is the communication link between the conductor, their choir and their audience, which stares at the back of his head.