Since I met Tats at a time when I was focusing on things other than music, she's only ever seen me in a leadership capacity when it comes to public endeavors. From facilitating book talks on staff at school, to spearheading successfully funded research projects, to leading workshops for teachers around the province, I do tend to often find myself in singular roles.
My musical endeavors stand in stark contrast.
With few exceptions, the choirs I have sung with and the bands I have played in over the years have found me firmly rooted in the team. Although I worked hard to learn and perform the vibes solo from Spryo Gyra's Morning Dance for a Jazz Band in high school, and was often featured solo xylophonist, those experiences were overshadowed by the carefully counted 8-bar cymbal roll I crescendoed and decrescendoed from the back of the Orchestra during Pie Jesu, or the proud timpani parts I contributed during my high school concert band's rendition of Beethoven's Egmont Overture.
The small thrill I felt during the rare occasions I was persuaded to sing solo pales in comparison to the joy that swelled my heart while lending my alto voice to the chorus of my a-cappella quintet on One Fine Day in university, or blending into a large and magnificent choir during a performance of Orff's Carmina Burana at Hart House one summer.
Performing as part of a team has allowed me to reflect on leadership, too: As I consider the various conductors I've worked under, I am reminded of what's important in a leader -- vision, preparation & organization, a good ear, empathy, high standards... Being a team player makes me a better leader, and helps me to appreciate the teams I do lead.
So, when our choir began rehearsing Haydn's Paukenmesse in January, which we'll finally perform tomorrow afternoon, I was quite content to leave the many solos featured in that piece to others, and instead add my voice to the chorus of the alto section.
A good leader, in my opinion, appreciates the value of teamwork, and is not afraid to put her money where her mouth is.
Come see my teamwork and my choir sing for FREE on Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. at Hart House! :)