Discovering another art form

Conductor’s Forum supports Equip 25/25

by Tom Hanton

Alexis Dill conducts the Chicago Staff Band during the Conductor’s Forum.

The Central Territory music and creative arts ministries department hosted a Conductor’s Forum at Territorial Headquarters this winter which provided leadership training for brass and vocal leaders and supported the Equip 25/25 initiative. Twenty delegates from the territory participated in this educational and practical experience.

Participants each received 40 minutes on the podium, conducting either the Chicago Staff Band (CSB) or the Central Territorial Staff Songsters (CTSS), while receiving feedback from two of the four expert guest clinicians at the event. These included Philip Harper, prolific composer and conductor of the world renowned, award-winning Cory Band in England; Dr. John Trotter, associate professor of music at Wheaton College and artistic director of the professional ensemble Chicago a cappella; Derek Lance, Eastern territorial music secretary and bandmaster of the New York Staff Band; and Dr. Harold Burgmayer, then Central music and creative arts ministries secretary, CSB bandmaster and CTSS leader.

In addition to four conducting sessions, participants enjoyed workshops and panel discussions with the guests that covered topics like selecting repertoire, leadership issues, rehearsal techniques and also a Laban conducting movement session. Many skills and gifts in rehearsing and conducting were showcased but discovering just the right interpretive movement and gesture is integral to enhancing our music-making—a true art form.

“I am thankful to the music and creative arts ministries department for creating this event for leaders in the territory—young and older—to come together and further develop their skills in conducting, training their ensembles, and long-term planning,” concluded delegate Marc Smith. “Each of us was challenged, yet encouraged, as we received live feedback while working with the CSB/CTSS. We left with a refreshed passion for refining our leadership skills that will improve the experience for the groups we work with. I can’t wait to apply what I learned with our youth band at Norridge, while also continuing to grow and develop as a music leader!”

Dr. Harold Burgmayer leads a choral conducting workshop at the forum.

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