Principal Artistic Director - Jenny Mathers
What most motivated you to seek the Artistic Director position with Chime following Marty's decision to step down? I suspect I’ve already gone quite a way towards answering this question. I genuinely love the family feel of the group, and the enthusiasm and skill of the singers. This is by no means an ordinary Community choir, in my opinion. I have always loved teaching school-aged choirs but there is something really special about the more mature SATB choir. The variety of repertoire possible with the group really motivated me to apply. I love the fact that the choir responds to different conducting gestures, and is happy to experiment with sound to create variety across genres.
Will working with Chime be likely to offer any new opportunities for the development of your own musical interests? Marty was a very entrepreneurial leader. I don’t consider this to be my greatest skill, but the committee is very strong and this is one area in which I would particularly like to develop, for the benefit of the choir. There are certainly some pieces that I would love to assist the choir to learn and having a decent block of time each week to rehearse will be wonderful!
It can be a daunting prospect to replace a long-serving artistic leader of an ensemble. In what ways do you anticipate Chime may be different from the choir it is today, come the end of 2020? Actually, my aim is to try to retain many aspects of the choir, which I think are really successful. I love the way the choir ‘performs’, that is, really looks engaged and interested when singing to the audience. I may work towards having fewer contemporary works in the program, but we do want to maintain and even expand our audience base so we will aim for as much variety within and between each concert as possible. The choristers also choose to be in the choir because they enjoy singing the current repertoire. Every conductor is different, and this is just one of the amazing things about what we do. The choir will sound different simply because I am a different ‘build’ to Marty. However, I am lucky that the choir has a knowledge of how I work and I am not too worried about the changeover. I don’t want to lose the excellent core repertoire that Marty has built, but I do aim to sneak great repertoire from many centuries into the programs.
What will be your first priority for Chime as we start the new performance year? Marty was incredibly organised and had each year mapped out in January. My first priority will be to do the same! I am keen to involve the committee in decisions with regard to repertoire and concert programs, as they have institutional knowledge beyond mine. I do hope to share some concerts with other community groups, and we may be in a position to explore some new performance venues. My priority will always be to help to create the most beautiful sound possible. I learnt the phrase ‘no louder than lovely’ a long time ago, and when a choir sings beautifully in tune, there is no need to force the sound. I look forward to continuing to bring my ‘bag of tricks’ to the ensemble, and I admit, I do like to make people laugh. People come to choir rehearsal after a long day, and I like to free up the sound be running a quick, energetic rehearsal with a few light-hearted moments so that the choristers want to come back. Fortunately, the choir is somewhat accustomed to this. I can’t wait to start!