In both 2020 and 2022, Sarah co-presented a session titled "Help! I have too many talented Sopranos and Altos!". There are many stereotypes that exist about the high school treble choir, mainly that these groups are “second-tier,” or that they consist of “leftover” students who were not good enough to get into the top mixed ensemble. These students deserve to reach their fullest potential, without being treated like a “second-tier” student and musician. This session aims to provide repertoire, rehearsal strategies, and resources, to help ensure that the high school treble choir gets a high quality choral experience, and the same respect and attention from the director and community as their SATB ensemble colleagues. We will discuss how to make a space for our female-identifying singers to feel safe to be, think, feel, and sing in the presence of other women by: Creating a community that fosters positive relationships, programming challenging, appropriate, and meaningful repertoire (Rep that was written for women’s voices, not for a young boychoir, not just “pretty, feminine music,” and not just transcriptions of SATB scores), and empowering our singers, making sure they have a space where they feel proud to share their voice.
As an ensemble that often gets overlooked, we'd love to bring our treble choirs to the forefront for this session. In a world where female voices are too-often dismissed or patronized, and where harmful stereotypes about insecurity, passivity, and competitiveness can be detrimental to the mental and physical health of students, we can be the ones who help change the narrative. We can guide and empower by making sure we have a better understanding of how young, female-identifying students, deal with issues of gender, power, and societal norms, by providing a common musical experience and an environment in which they can feel affirmed, welcomed, and empowered to share their beauty and creativity with each other, and the world.
This presentation was given in three parts: Community, Rehearsals, and Repertoire.
In partial fulfillment of her M.M. in Choral Conducting, Sarah conducted literature review research on music's response to global health crises. The roles and functions music plays in a society have remained similar for thousands of years. Music has always provided a measurable set of parameters used to frame perceptions, emotions, and experiences of a people. A large community of researchers have studied the role of music in ancient through contemporary societies. Their research has been published in books and journals, presented at conferences, and widely discussed. This literature review seeks to narrow that scope by specifically examining the role of music in a society in relation and response to global health crises, from the time of the Black Plague through the current Coronavirus pandemic. Historical research will offer perspective into how music stayed alive in the past, and research of active music educators, performers, and composers will provide the groundwork for how music will move forward today, tomorrow, and for the inevitably difficult years to come.