When I was a young mother, it gave me a lot of joy to see my children learn new things….sitting up, crawling, walking, that first tooth, their first word…..you get the picture. Those days turned into independence for them. It was exciting and melancholy at the same time, but I knew deep down I wouldn’t have it any other way. I wanted to raise strong, independent women, and I wanted them to be better than me, stronger than me, smarter than me, more of a risk~taker than I was.
SoCo Women’s Chorus has just turned 3! We never did have the “terrible twos” thing, and come to think of it, my girls never experienced that, either. Or else I was just in denial because I always thought toddlers got a bum rap by that term. But I digress…..
One of the things I’m seeing is this amazing women’s chorus becoming more independent of me. In the beginning, I did everything (along with Karen James) to get this chorus started: the website (which really is so funny to me when I think on it as I’m SO not a geek by any stretch of the imagination! But I worked on that website until it was pretty decent for an anti-geek such as myself!), building our first Board of Directors, getting a rehearsal venue, I managed the first auditions all by myself (I have SO much help now with that process, it’s hard to remember doing it all alone! Thank you, Chuppie!), making lists, checking them twice, blah, blah, blah…..you get my drift. Nothing gave me greater pleasure (and still gives me pleasure which I embrace with a fervor!) than giving birth to SoCo Women’s Chorus, my 3rd daughter!
However, I have to be blatantly honest with you: I’m not sure I like seeing them not need me so much! <laughing> Oh, I still ‘run the show’ and select the music and rehearse the chorus and make the musical decisions. And I have always SAID I want this to be THEIR chorus and take charge of the jobs that I once did myself. Yet sometimes, I have to ask myself the hard question: Janey, did you really MEAN that? Is it TIME to cut those apron strings a little bit and let them really take some ownership of this chorus? The RIGHT answer is YES! I believe with all my heart that most of the singers embrace my vision for this chorus: to be an artistic force in the world of women’s choral music, to give back to our community in ways that are important to young musicians in the Austin area, to take care of each other and other women who may need our help, and to just enjoy the creation of stunning and delicious music! And it is in the knowing of that fact that I can step back (a little bit) and watch them own their chorus.
I have learned (I’m still learning) to let go. ACK! Many times, I have HATED letting go. They can’t possibly get inside my head to really know…..and yet some of them are brave enough to climb right on into my brain….and they DO know.
This is hard for me to write this. I don’t want to look like a control freak….or vulnerable, like I might be human or something. And yet, here I am. Being controlling and vulnerable and human (or something). Of course, there are some things I will not let go of until I retire from this amazing group of women. The total creative process, musical selection, musical direction, pushing, pushing, pushing for continual improvement in our sound and musicianship, and eventually, a major voice in the selection of my successor (around 2037 or so). That’s my job. More importantly, it’s my passion. And it’s in my blood. SoCo Women’s Chorus is in my blood.
So I will continue to cut the apron strings little by little…..until all I will have to do someday will be to lift my hands, give the downbeat and I will be met with the sound of angels on a perfect day. Similar to the way it is now.
And out of sight from the chorus, I will tuck away those cherished apron strings and hold on to them forever.