Finding a new director may be a daunting task, but it is also an opportunity for a fresh start and a renewed spirit for the members. Here are a few things that may help as you navigate the journey in finding a new director.
- Review your budget with your Board of Directors.
- Include input from your VP of Music and Section Leaders.
- Don't neglect to look within the chorus or to other musical organizations you have close ties with, they can be a valuable resource.
- Allow your membership to contribute in the audition/evaluation process of the applicants. Buy-in starts with their voices being valued on and off the risers.
- Having a growth mindset is valuable. Look for candidates who are open, interested, and willing. Be sure they have a mentor/friend to help them during their transition into the role.
If no one suitable is available from within the chorus, contact the following, probably in this order:
- Other barbershop chapters in the area.
- Ask for names of past directors, past or present assistant directors, section leaders, SWD M&P Director, etc., who might be interested and qualified to direct.
- Area SAI or HI choruses
- Ask for names of past directors and past or current assistant directors, section leaders, etc.
- Area college music departments
- Ask for names of instructors/professors, graduate or upper classmen who might be interested and qualified. Don't restrict the search to choir directors. Voice majors, instrumentalist, and others may be qualified.
- Area Middle/High school chorus directors
- Church choir directors
- High School, middle school, elementary music teachers of all stripes.
When contacting non-barbershoppers, you must be prepared to pay enough to interest someone who's not as familiar with the style. Be respectful of the difference in musical backgrounds or genres, and of the education he or she has worked to obtain. Offer the candidate recordings of good barbershop choruses, resources from BHS International, along with a recent performance of your chorus and any chapter quartets within the chorus.
There are tools available from Harmony Marketplace if you are looking for additional materials:
- Building a Better Chorus - #4024
- Directing a Barbershop Chorus- #4053
- Improving Vocal Techniques through the Warm-up - #4068
- Sound For Ensemble Singers - #4086
Lastly, make sure the interviewing team is honest with the candidate about the chapter goals, mission, vision and values of its members, as well as the culture of the chapter.
Other helpful links:
- Society Chorus Director Job Opening Bulletin Board
- Sample Director Contract
Something of Note:
When Jim Clancy took the position at Dallas Metro, he had no directing experience. Interest and willingness to learn - coupled with innate musical ability - can create a great director.