A COLLABORATIVE PARABLE, CREATED FOR CHORAL DIRECTORS: THE STORY OF TWO VOWELS
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
“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.
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.
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