I've been staring at this blank page for several days now because I really don't know where to begin, except to say Thank You to you. You might be experiencing Choral Chameleon for the first time today or you may have been at every single concert since the beginning. Either way, you must know that everything we do is for you. Here's why:
I'm almost thirty two years old. As it happened, my generation of world citizens (which I'd like to say is a strong and determined group of people with deep aspirations and amazing intelligence!) got stuck in the middle of two generations who couldn't be more different from each other than any two generations in the history of humankind.
Our parents, the "baby boomers," are the daughters and sons of war veterans and unimaginable heros who paved the way for major socio-political changes to happen in this country. All the while, they exuded such elbow grease and endured unimaginable hardship to make life better for us. They didn't take the easy way out...ever. In turn, they expect us to exude the same elbow grease and determination in the face of whatever comes.
The generation after us is a completely different story. I see it daily because I'm a teacher. They are living and growing with technology so fast and advanced that we couldn't have even imagined it on Star Trek. The way they work, socialize, and communicate is far different. Their attention spans are often the length of a 140-character tweet. They are, therefore, not often patient enough for old-fashioned elbow grease. They push a button and they have what they want...instantly.
Both sides have their prejudices and passions. They seem to be at such odds with each other. Where does that leave me and my generation? Well, it leaves us right here...in the middle—having to know how to speak both languages, reason with both sides, relieve both of their defenses long enough to get them to listen to us. In order to bridge the gap between the two, we have to earn the trust of both in a concerted way that takes old-fashioned elbow grease and technological know how.
Music is timeless, though. Choral music is "people music." It can't be done without having people physically come together (despite what Mr. Eric Whitacre says!). It also pleads with our human vanity in a certain way. Like other animals, we like to hear ourselves speak. We like to look at ourselves in the mirror. We respond most quickly to what seems just like us—in this case, other human voices singing.
In order to reconcile these two staunchly disparate generations in the concert hall, we must spontaneously change back and forth in front of them. We must demonstrate how each of their plights is not merely generational and not generation-specific. It is, rather, a fundamentally human plight at its core, shared by people across centuries; and we are therefore all connected, whether we truly realize it or not.
We, as musicians in this generation, must be...Chameleons. And we are. But it doesn't matter if you aren't here to listen to it and to open your heart and soul to its messages. What a privilege it is for us to do this work in the world for five years; and then another five, and hopefully five hundred more after that.
Constantly in metamorphosis and loving it,