There's a Place for Us...
Pick almost any evening of the week, and there is most likely a choir rehearsing somewhere in Dallas. As a city with robust choir programs from high school through professional levels, we have had to consider what place we are intending to fill with Verdigris. What do we as a choir have that offers something of unique value to the Dallas arts community?
Sam has spent significant amounts of time talking to Dallas musicians about where and how they could envision another choral group joining this city's existing music scene. Amid the mixed responses, we have slowly developed a sense of the place that Verdigris could take and the opportunities open for us.
Some lunch and coffee dates with various contacts left Sam questioning his place in the music world here. We’ve met people who believe that the Dallas choral scene is saturated, and as a result that the funding and donor base is already tied up. We’ve heard people say that the idea behind the group (multi-dimensional, narrative programming) is cute but won’t last. Some say that other organizations have already gathered all the choral fans into their fold, and there’s no attention left for anyone else. There have been previous attempts to start professional choirs that have failed and left singers and donors distrustful of new upstarts on the scene.
But amidst the naysaying, we have consistently watched several positive themes develop. Dallas is in need of organizations willing to actively and consistently do outreach. There is space for a group looking to create thoughtful, coherent programming that goes beyond the expected. Some colleagues have pointed out a lack of risk taking in existing ensembles and have expressed the desire to see a choir willing to collaborate and step outside it’s comfort zone.
As we build connections with people further embedded in the Dallas choral world, we see past the blanket disparagements to a deeper need for innovation, willingness to collaborate, and active enrichment of our community. We’ve got those things! In fact they are core to our mission. We are grateful to have honest colleagues offering caution and encouragement in due measure.
We are gaining an ever more concrete picture of our role in this growing city. There is art yet to be made here, and we look forward to creating new experiences for our audiences.