by Allan J. Andrews, Retired Members Liaison
Ever since I took the position of the R & R Liaison to Retired Members on the WA-ACDA State Board, I have been searching high and low for an actual retired choral director. People seem quite confused when I tell them that I am retired. They immediately respond, “But you direct a church choir and three Swedish choruses! What do you mean retired?” I explain to them that yes, I am retired from the classroom after 34 years of public school and college teaching, but that I still like to keep my hand in the in the proverbial choral pot. I realized that although I could retire from taking attendance, attending committee meetings, faculty meetings, and holding conferences, I would never be able to retire from being a musician.
Thus began my search. I looked in Arizona where I found a friend whom I thought had retired, but I found him conducting a community college choral ensemble as an adjunct and directing a church choir. I looked in New Mexico and found another “retired” friend who had retired in one state and moved to New Mexico and took another full-time position. Traveling to Vermont, I found a former high school choral director from San Antonio who moved to New England and now serves as an accompanist for a local school music program. In Texas, I found a large number of retired members who are now working as paid consultants for multiple school districts mentoring young choral conductors. Where was this elusive retired member?
Crossing over into Oklahoma, I found a former OK ACDA president who now teaches a very large voice studio. In Oregon, I found a retired high school director who serves as the trainer for the OR ACDA adjudication list. Returning home to Seattle, I found another retired teacher who spends almost every day out in the field working with choirs and doing clinics and workshops for them.
Have you found your place in the “retired” arena yet? If not, I would encourage you to give back to the profession that has given us so much joy and fulfillment over the years. There are young conductors who would love to have our support and help. Church choirs and community choirs need leaders who are full of experience. Volunteer or seek a position as an accompanist; after all, remember how hard it often was to find an adequate accompanist! We can still make an important difference in our profession, just as we did while we were actively working full-time. I would encourage you to find a gap and fill it. I would be happy to help you get started if you will contact me. I would also love to meet other retired directors from my newly adopted state. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s get acquainted!