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American Choral Directors Association

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The mission of the American Choral Directors Association is to inspire excellence in choral music through education, performance, composition, and advocacy.




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SHARP NOTES

A COLLABORATIVE PARABLE, CREATED FOR CHORAL DIRECTORS: THE STORY OF TWO VOWELS
Once upon a time there were two vowels, the “i” vowel, and the “e” vowel, that decided they should collaborate. They both had long-established and important reputations on their own, but in a more demanding and competitive world, they realized they needed to work together to create something sorely needed, and to create something they were unable to do on their own.

Their shared desire was toward achieving the word “quiet,” which ultimately meant they had to work together as strong, but equal partners. They knew this condition if “quiet” were to come about in an increasingly noisy and congested world. To achieve this, they had to tap some unseen and heretofore unknown, but complementary, thread of collaborative creativity related to an overlapping thread in their mission.


At this point in the story, it is important to insert the fact that neither “i” nor “e” knew how they were going to achieve their desired outcome. Many vowel personality types would struggle and even fail to collaborate unless they knew the outcome. But, emergence is one of the primary realities of collaboration — the answers and solutions surface from the effort of working together. If the vowels knew the solution to their quest, both could have, and would have, attempted to address solutions on their own years earlier.


In order to collaborate, the two vowels had to agree on a thread of overlap within their own mission and philosophy. Although not compromising who they were, they had to fi nd an area of shared mission. Their individual strengths would have to be complementary. They realized there would be tension as they attempted to work together. They agreed that in such a collaborative effort, the new creation would emerge from their effort. They realized they might not be able to achieve their goal using their resources alone.

“i” was a very well-known vowel. It was the favorite vowel of most, because it could be heard regularly in conversations as people would evoke the “I” in self-reference. In addition, “I’s” importance was further affirmed, as of late, as everyone seemed to be carrying a mobile or reading device that had an “i” in front of its name (ipad, iphone, etc.). “i” was simply everywhere.

“e” had a similar level of notoriety and strength. On a popular television game show where vowels were purchased to form words, “e’ was always the first to be selected. “e’ also enjoyed being at the very top of the chart as used by professionals.

However, even with their strengths and importance firmly established, they knew the definition of collaboration is “to work together to create something new,” and the mission of working together toward “quiet” was worth their effort.

So, “i” and “e” began to collaborate. They came together and took note of their emergent ideas. After a while, they noticed that when working together, they shared a sound that only occurred when they were together. This sound was not audible when they were separate from each other, and, it was not visible. After testing their discovery, they found that this hidden sound provided the bridge to bring them together to form the “quiet” they hoped to create.

This invisible discovery was the “y” sound that existed between the two. There it was — qui(y)et. This sound — which is sometimes a vowel and not really a consonant — was the creation of their collaborative effort. Their effort brought them to a creation that was sorely needed, and one that would not have been possible had they not determined to collaborate.

Now, a word from the storyteller: I invite you to use the results of their creative collaboration to ponder your own. Creative collaboration is a key strategy for moving a mission forward. Be on the lookout for upcoming collaborations among ACDA and the National Association of Teachers of Singing, the American Guild of Organists, our travel industry partners, the Barbershop Harmony Society, and more.
Bravo!   2 Bravo From the desk of Tim Sharp   4/11/2013