A Music Director's Search

I have been without a choir for almost four years.  I fill in behind the conductor’s stand every once in awhile as a substitute but I miss the weekly rhythm of score prep and practicing pieces for rehearsal, designing a music plan and working with the choir that week for performance.  

I guess I feel I need to put this into words because lately the music I have been making has been far from a satisfactory experience.  I feel like the leadership that I currently sing under is uninspiring and quite frustrating.  Maybe this is coming from a place of bitterness.  I’m just not sure.  But I do know that a change is needed.  I feel that I am being held back and a little voice inside me wonders why I am still putting up with this mess.    

I am struggling with the fact that I am good at what I do and I am dedicated to making myself better every step of the way.  I have a God given talent to interpret music and work with a group of people to make it come to life.  I hold myself to a very high level of excellence but I am still not taken seriously because I don’t have “35 years of experience” or maybe because I am a woman or because I don’t hold tons of music degrees.  I am 28 years old.  How long is it going to take before someone finally gives me a chance to truly succeed?

There is a reason that in 2001 I opened my mail and found a flyer for a church music director position at my home church with an invitation to apply.  I have been called to this from the very beginning.  Every music experience I have had, every conductor I have sung with, every music class I have attended has prepared me for this.  That pastor could see my potential and that interviewing panel took a leap of faith and said yes to a 19 year old, freshman music student.  

I had an amazing time learning and growing as a musician and serving my church.  I was the closest to God that I have ever been bringing music to worship each week.  That chapter of my life ended after five and a half years simply because of life and the changes it brings.  I got married, had my first child and we moved to Kansas City to be closer to my husband’s employment.  I had to say goodbye.  One of the hardest things I have had to do.    

I have had my hopes up a few times since then when job openings would come up in the area and I would apply, each time praying that my application would be considered.  I got really close last year when I applied for the music director position at my new church home.  I was even told that I was the number one pick but that they wanted to widen their search before making a final decision.  I really wish that they hadn’t said anything because now I have to deal with that knowledge wondering why not me?  What made them the better choice?  What’s even more frustrating is that I have continued to stay on and sing knowing what I know.  

As 2010 draws to a close, I am reminded of my goals for the year and what things I would like to accomplish in 2011.  Can I spend another year on this path?  Do I even want to?  Do I need to start looking for another church that will better use me?  It is looking even more like I am going to have to create my own way if I want to really use my musical gifts.  I do have options and they will take a lot of energy on my part to get them going and the success rate is unknown.  I will be embarking on uncharted territory. 

Have you ever felt like you were at a major cross road in your life and were really unsure about your next steps?  How did you handle it?  I would love to hear your stories.    


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