We’ve got a summer jam-packed with coaching dates in preparation for our debut at the SAI International Quartet Competition later this fall. This got me to thinking and reflecting on how Sweet Adelines is truly a very special “hobbyist” organization because of the huge emphasis that is placed on learning and education. I don’t know of another hobby that offers so many opportunities for personal learning and growth. Here are some examples:
Weekly chorus rehearsals – at Harbor City Music Company, our weekly rehearsals are essentially a group lesson in vocal and performance skills. The training and instruction we receive from our director, Michael Gellert, is top notch! Other SAI choruses have the same experience, largely due to the educational services offered to chorus directors through the SAI organization.
Specialized coaching sessions – whether with the chorus or the quartet, success in SAI is highly correlated to how much you take advantage of the high caliber coaching opportunities that abound. These coaches travel the world to bring intense instruction to your group. Most of these folks are weekend hobbyists themselves, though you’d never guess it from the knowledge they bring and the improvement you experience after meeting with them.
Regional educational events – twice each year, Region 19 hosts educational events geared toward individual, quartets and chorus improvement. Top coaches from around SAI are brought in and Region 19 members are invited to spend the weekend learning and grown. Not just for singing, the education extends to other skills as well. Just yesterday, SAI Region 19 offered a free (did I say free?) day of “Administrative Chapter Training” for SAI members. The topics during this event included workshops on financial planning, section leadership, team building, and other “professional” leadership topics. These events are training opportunities normally reserved for the workplace, but SAI brought them to their members free of charge!
When I joined SAI as a member of HCMC, I had no idea that I would be joining an organization whose focus is so clearly on the education of its membership. That turned out to be a happy surprise – the music and fellowship with other women drew me in, but the educational opportunities have been a large part of why I’m still here and more importantly, why I’m thriving in SAI.
Are you interested in joining this great hobby? Visit the Sweet Adelines International website to find a chapter near you!