Inspired by the Re-inspired
by Larry Munari, President, Wyoming ACDA
Greetings from the Wyoming Chapter of ACDA! My term as president will be done on July 1, and the President-Elect Zach Vreeman, will be taking over at that time.
I enjoyed serving in this position, and was very pleased to oversee two fall conferences and watch our children’s and middle school directors once again bring to fruition two quality childrens’ choir events.
The 2019 Wyoming Childrens’ Choir is set for June 7 & 8 in Cheyenne, directed by Henry Leck.
Our annual Wyoming ACDA Fall Conference is scheduled for Saturday September 28 at Casper College and we will be relying on in-state resources while focusing on the needs, challenges, and helpful training for teachers in rural schools.
Reflecting back over the two years, I realized how unique it was that during my term as president, my wife Alice and I were able to start a Community Choir in Cody, Wyoming, a town of about 10,000 people. While we did want to start a select choir a few years ago, we did not want to compete for members as there were already two other community groups - one in Cody and one in Powell - already meeting. But in the spring of 2016 both of those directors retired and the choral groups stopped meeting. At that very time we decided to start the “Cody Community Choir”, and it took off like we had not imagined it could. We sometimes joke that all we did was “provide a home for homeless singers!”. We are now in our third season, have about 50 members, and now have generous patrons to keep us operating. Most of the adults singers have full time jobs, love to sing, and are so helpful and appreciative of the opportunity. They tell us often that they were once in school choirs and have come to really appreciate this opportunity they now have.
When we began the community choir, I had planned to depend on my Cody High School choral library, public domain resources, and of course borrowing from area libraries. I planned to limit purchasing in order to make the choir financially accessible to all participating. Much to my surprise, the large number of participants was more that the number of scores in my school library, and even to get started I regularly borrowed in order to prepare about 12 pieces each fall and spring. The Wyoming All-State Choral library has been an excellent resource, and I have been so pleased that my adult singers, many who have not had the exposure to higher level quality literature, are experiencing classics for the very first time that we often assume they have done before.
Our upcoming program, shared with auditioned chamber group, includes Handel's "Awake the Trumpets Lofty Sound", Morley's "April Is In My Mistress Face", Butlers' "Three American Indian Lyrics" Ames' "Let Everything That Has Breath", and Rutter's "Gaelic Blessing" to name a few. These well known pieces to us are first time experiences to most of them. Their willingness, energy, and interest has been very inspiring to my wife and me and we now realize what a fresh opportunity we have created for their lives.
This realization has infused me with more energy for my work with high school students, often remembering that I am potentially laying groundwork for years in the future. I remind myself that while the daily rewards may seem few, the long term impact is certainly taking place as I pour myself into the lives of young people. They may discover only many years later the importance of what I did, and find they magically still have the interest, energy, and musical foundation still in place in order to jump right back in, and even at a higher level than they ever imagined.
Finally, like many of you, now I attend conferences with a dual purpose - both for my classroom needs and the needs of my adult singers. Leading this group with my wife has resulted in a renewal of enthusiasm for us personally, and has reminded me how important it is to “keep on keeping on” in our daily work as teachers of youth, for we, indeed, are establishing a musical foundation and teaching life-long skills that may not be realized and rejuvenated until perhaps years in the future.
Click or tap here to contact Larry Munari
Wyoming ACDA President