It is something that drives all choir directors batty: people saying, ‘Oh, I can’t come next week, because…’ Whatever excuse ends the sentence, the conductor thinks, ‘And why is that more important than my rehearsal?’
A couple of years ago, I did a quick and dirty survey among my students about this. I asked them to write down an event they considered completely unmissable (in the past, in the future, or in their imaginations), and why they felt they couldn’t miss it. About 50 students responded, and their reasons for valuing events showed several common themes. These themes in return give us as directors some clues as to what we can do to put our rehearsals higher up the list of our singers’ priorities.