2012 Leadership and Service Award

  March 25, 2012

Bruce Browne awarded the Leadership, Excellence in and Devotion to the Choral Arts Award; March 17, 2012


My dear Colleagues and Friends:

Because I was so completely blindsided by the award from you last weekend, I was left with little to say except an awkward joke and paltry thanks. So I’d like to add these heartfelt greetings to you all. browne1

I am so proud to be in the company of those who have been nominated to this wonderful award. It made my day, my weekend, and my year!  “Humbled” is not the word: I felt two feet tall!

Beyond that, I have to recognize the others who came before me in my own choral career, without whom I could have accomplished very little.

We live in a kleptocracy.  The arts is one place where one may – after a fashion – freelybrowne2 “borrow” ideas from colleagues and master conductors with whom they’ve worked. My artistic perspective would be very narrow if I had not learned from the likes of  Rod Eichenberger, Helmut Rilling, Robert Shaw, Andrew Parrot, Eric Ericson, Frieder Bernius, James DePreist, Arthur Newman, and James Schwartz.

No, you don’t know either of the last two names.  But Mr. Schwartz, my high school choir director, gave a nervous ninny of a fifteen year old some ideas about Lukas Foss, Aaron Copland, and Jacobus Gallus, among many others.  So those of us who are teaching high school and middle school, in my opinion, are the heroes of baton passing in the arts. Arthur Newman showed me how to sing. I’ve never stopped using his ideas in working with singers in any choir.

And Rod Eichenberger, choral godfather to many of us who grew up in this part of the country in the ‘70s and ‘80s; he keeps on giving through his workshops on the Oregon coast which many of you have attended, and I’ve profited immensely from his mentorship.

As you all know, we as mentors and teachers also learn from our students, as it works both ways. I am continually reinvigorated by my former and current students in schools and churches around the country.

As for all of you, if I’ve been a rehearsal or concert with you, I’ve stolen an idea or two, for which I do NOT apologize, but thank you for your contribution. Any evidence to the contrary, I’ll keep learning from all of you. Sincere thanks!