I was in Boston today and last night for a planning meeting for the 2016 ACDA Eastern Division conference.
In my closed-minded, narrow-visioned, ego centrism, I assumed that the other members of the leadership team would be all about conserving dead, white, male composers; I expected they would all idolize the sound of the Mormon Tabernacle choir.
Well, that’s somewhat hyperbolic. But at some level I didn’t expect them to be so enthusiastic about diversity, changing the picture from the (let’s face it) nearly uniform masculine caucasianness of ACDA conferences.
Let me confess here that my academic training was dominated by white men who worshiped other white men; and this situation has biased me against academia. I imagine the “ivory tower” as a childishly obvious metaphor for a white man, who is the only person I’ve ever found to be given real power in the heights of educated circles.
I have never before experienced a crowd of talented, passionate, educated musicians who also value minority perspectives with such sincerity and commitment. And they are in a position to create positive change. These are some seriously good people.
Good. People. Who are also conductors.
I had forgotten they were a Thing. I don’t talk to many conductors about Issues, you know? I use this blog as an overflow valve for my own frustrations and hopes, but most of you lovely people just work passionately in silence… and I had forgotten there were so many of you. It’s really lovely to be reminded. Lovely. Comforting. Humbling in the best, most gratifying way.
When I see a need for change, my first instinct is to barge in with a baseball bat and smash things until change happens. (I’m sometimes a bit of a jerk, you see.) I know in my brain that meaningful change requires consensus, compromise, and carefully measured gradual steps. But in my heart, I want to smash. And I got to sit at a table with people who have weighed pros and cons of measured steps vs smashing, and we got to talk about them. What a relief to know y’all are out there, considering the wisdom of smashing.