Chad Garrels

Chad Garrels

As I sat down to write this article, I had to wonder how I could give any insight “From the field” on the topic of inspiration. So many of the ACDA members who will read this have been my mentors and friends and have taught me and showed me how they inspire their choirs and find inspiration themselves. Although this article may not inspire in the way they have, I’m happy to share my thoughts on inspiration in the choral setting.

First of all, isn’t it amazing that what we do inspires so many? The art of choral music has the power to move audiences, performers, and us as the conductors. Inspiration can come just from the repertoire we choose. It can come from a theme that we center our performance around as we look closely at the texts of compositions, and the harmonies and melodic lines. Our choirs inspire with their voices, their love of music, and when they come together as individuals to form one singing unit.

Don’t we inspire all the time? We are always trying to inspire our singers, audiences, employers/supervisors, and our peers. One lesson I learned in the past year is that sometimes we try too hard to inspire rather than just inspire by being who we are. Toward the end of the school year last year I felt like I couldn’t squeeze out much more energy to make it to graduation. At one point I turned to our amazing accompanist and asked, “Is it just me, or am I doing all the work here?” Her very blunt answer was, “Yes, you are.” This year I’m trying to lead by example and let my knowledge, experience, and natural ability be the inspiration instead of coming up with daily inspirations for my singers and fretting all the time that I’m not inspiring enough.

My hope for all of you as we embark on this new season is that you are, and remain inspired. Inspiration for me comes from being a member of ACDA-MN. Through this organization we have the ability to attend Dialogue, the State Conference, and Region and National Conventions. I’m so glad for the opportunities to network, be mentored, mentor, and share experiences with amazing choral directors. Inspiration for me also comes from those I work with everyday. I still love what I get to do each day, and it’s mostly because of the singers and colleagues that surround me.

My question for you is this:

What are you going to do to be inspired throughout this choral season?


If we are inspired, I think it’s easier to inspire others.