Guest Post | Ali Darley

I am very excited to write a blog post about my experiences with the Conducting Fellowship so far. First, my name is Ali Darley and I am a 2009 Music Education graduate from Butler University. During my last year at Butler, Dr. Stark invited our choral conducting class to visit and guest conduct a song with the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir. From that moment, I knew I wanted to work with an organization like the Choir. When I was looking at grad schools last year and discovered a conducting fellowship was offered through Butler, in partnership with the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir, I knew I needed to apply. I am thrilled to be serving as the Conducting Fellow for the next two seasons and that I get to work with the Choir on a daily basis.

Last spring I was able to help with returning singer auditions. It was nice to see friends I hadn't seen since the 2010 Indianapolis Symphonic Choir tour to China! Then, at the beginning of this season, I assisted with new singer auditions by greeting new singers, collecting paperwork, and sometimes even calming nerves. Now that the roster has been set, I am in charge of creating the seating chart for our rehearsals and performances. I'm also responsible for setting up the rehearsal space on Tuesday evenings.

Another part of my fellowship is working with a small chamber choir on our community outreach programs. I lead rehearsals on our outreach music and conducted the October performance at the Mary Rigg Community Center. I had a great time talking with the students during our performance and it was fun to introduce them to songs they had not heard before.

The highlight of my fellowship, so far, has been leading the choir in warm ups and on a run through of Lullaby Carol, which will be performed at this years Festival of Carols. When I’m on the podium I’m listening to the dynamics, making sure each part is singing the correct notes and rhythms, expressing what I am feeling through my conducting gesture… my brain is going a mile per minute, but it makes me feel so alive!

This is an experience I would not get to experience if it wasn't for the Conducting Fellowship. As Thanksgiving approaches, I can’t help but be thankful for the wealth of knowledge Dr. Stark, Dr. Davis, Michael, Andrew, Natalie, and David are giving me. From sitting in on board meetings to weekly staff meetings to rehearsals and performances, I know this fellowship is preparing me well for a career in the choral field.

Hope to see you at Festival of Carols!