Sunday, 29 January 2006

Big Brother Gig - The Aftermath

Background to this post:
Big Brother, Rula Lenska and Me
Big Brother, Rula Lenska and Me - Update 1
Big Brother and Other Madness

I promised this post earlier this week but I have had so much to blog about in the past few days that I thought I would save it for a quiter time.

I was expected to be lynched at Monday's rehearsal after the week-end's events (see links above). As usual with the Chorus, the tempest had retreated as quickly as it had come and hit. I even had the guy who sent the first salvo come and basically apologise for being so irate about it all.

After almost a year as an elected officer of the Chorus, I am started to get used to being critised more or less out of the blue and mostly by people who are not otherwise involved and giving of their time and energies. My skin has thickened and bit and I am learning not to take things too personally. I have to say, however, that I was rather surprised by the reactions in the particulare case, which seemed surprisingly irrational, biased and visceral, coming from people I had fathomed as quite reasonable and measured. Their were even allegations of corruption when, if those people really knew me, they would know I don't do politics (I couldn't even if I wanted to, I think).

The whole furore was about the use of the Small Group, which several people in the Chorus seem to feel threatened by. While I recognise that we should be careful not to let the Group take too much importance, I think the problem is that people see the relation between the Chorus and the Small Group as "us against them". My point of view is that we are all in it for the same reasons and with the same aims. The Small Group is part of the Chorus as much the rest. All this was, I think, compounded by that fact that several people found that the Small Group had been used too much during our Christmas show and were stealing the limelights from the Chorus.

Of course their is also the question that no-one really wants to raise for fear of an even bigger clash; that of quality and quality control. The members of the Small Group, while not necessarily better, are certainly more rehearsed. Also as they have been auditioned (something members of the Chorus do not otherwise go through), the musical team know what they are dealing with. Let's face it, not everyone in the Chorus is a potential opera soloist and this is fine. Most of the time. There are however circumstances where the Chorus needs to show its best profile. I think the Big Brother gig was one of them. Since I have been in the Chorus, we have had some incredible opportunities to perform in places where professional singers might not achieve in a lifetime. I think that the Small Group could be a tool to create even greater opportunities for the Chorus; opening doors which might otherwise remained closed.

In retrospect, in light of the controversy and the argument I have already exposed in the provious post, I thing we should have asked the Small Group to do that gig from the start, even if, yes it would have been nice to let the main group have a go. The Small Group has been brought together as a rapid response team (and a fundraising tool) after all.

But once again the use of the Small Group should be carefully monitored. We are about to launch a review of how the group functions. This should be interested.

Going back on to the present reaction, once again, I notice that it is the people standing outside who are the most virulent in there criticism; people who are not in possession of all the information. Has that simply got to do with giving in to knee-jerk reactions (made all the more easy by the use of emails) or is that a commend on a lack of perspective from the people who are involved?

I tend to think it is the former as shown by the fact that only a couple of people actually complained and that I received several (private) messages of support. I might just be flattering myself there, though.

In any case, that particular storm is gone; I am blocking the windows and securing the roof tile for the next (as ever unexpected) unslaught.

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