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.