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Association of Choral Directors
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Reflections Choral Connect '21

A total of 118 delegates and presenters attended Choral Connect either in person or online, with a further 554 singers performing in the three evening concerts and 242 non-delegate audience members.

Reflecting on the conference three weeks later, ACD Chair David Squire writes:
“This year’s Choral Connect was a watershed moment for the NZCF Association of Choral Directors – a chance to explore some of the cultures that make up Aotearoa New Zealand. What impressed me most was the grace, generosity and openness of those who shared their cultures, and the enthusiasm of those who were on the receiving end. My sincere thanks go to the artistic team – Karen Grylls, Robert Wiremu and Jono Palmer – for programming a truly inspirational event and giving those conductors who attended an aspirational focus for their upcoming programme selection.”

We’ve received overwhelmingly positive feedback to the conference theme and the hybrid model of delivery. Three of our delegates – two of whom attended online – have kindly agreed to share their experiences…

“Making the whole conference available in a real-time online platform made a huge difference to me being able to attend. I think making music and learning so accessible means people with physical and/or mental health issues can participate. For myself, living with a neurological fatigue disorder, means I didn’t have to plan 2-3 days’ rest either side of the conference. I didn’t have to push through, nor did I have to work out logistics of close accommodation and whether to taxi or walk, or worry about finding resting places. Also, with having anxiety and PTSD, being online meant I didn’t have to manage social interaction and triggers. This is life-changing stuff for how I see me managing in the future as well.” – Ann-Marie Stapp (online delegate)

“Although I was a little disappointed when I realised there wouldn’t be the conducting strands we usually have, in the end the course was far more powerful than usual. The challenge provided by André de Quadros, Dr Royal and Horomona were probably the most powerful for me, and hopefully awakened in everyone an awareness of the reality of colonisation and what we can do in our life and music to modify and break it down. I really hope this will lead to change and not just talk – but even talk is a good start, and you never know where it will lead.” Elizabeth Pilaar (in-person delegate)

“Just thank you, thank you, thank you for making it happen both as a live and online version. I really value the inspiration and challenge Choral Connect always offers to learn more and be better for myself and the choirs I conduct. It was great to feel part of the whanau and I so appreciate all the work that has gone into making this event happen. Ngā mihi nui.” – Hilary Sinclair (online delegate)

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