A few months ago, I decided that my choirs should have more of a presence on Twitter. This was partly brought about by something called ‘Choral Hour’ which occurs every Friday evening at 9pm and involves lots of choirs getting together on Twitter for a bit of a chat!   Now I realise the sceptics amongst you will probably think this is a ridiculous notion and, to be honest, at first so did I.  I’ve never really ‘got’ twitter. For a start what can you say in 140 characters and why would you want to essentially ‘text’ the world anyway.  I’m not entirely sure I fully understand twitter hashtags either – and no, please don’t bother trying to explain. I’m not that interested.  From what I can gather one purpose of hashtags is to label your message, and thus indicate you are part of a conversation.

So, as a result of this I decided it would be far better for all concerned if I delegated the task of choir twitting to one or more of my choir members.  This also means that during #choralhour I can interact with my choirs which I thought would be a good thing to do.  Now, I don’t know if it’s related to choral hour or just a general twitter thing, but just lately there seems to be a new hashtag #choirmasterwit.   At first I thought this was just about me – it’s my only child syndrome being let out again – Me, me, me! However, apparently this is not just about me but in fact refers to the witty (intentional or otherwise) things that Choirmasters say, although the hashtag was first introduced by one of my choir members tweeting about something I had said in rehearsal!.   I admit I have come unstuck in the past for saying things in rehearsal which I thought were entirely innocent but were in fact interpreted as being rude.  Personally I blame the dirty minds of my choir members.  For example I would often encourage the Ladies of The Pewsey Belles to watch at the end of phrases so I could ‘bring them off’.  Apparently once I said I was going to ‘bring them off roughly’ but I decline to make any comment about that.

According to the choir twitter feed, it seems I make a few comments in the rehearsals which qualify for being tagged up as #choirmasterwit, although I think quite a few verge more towards sarcasm as opposed to wit.   A couple of weeks ago for example, I pointed out that only the First Soprano’s swallow…. Again, to me this seemed entirely reasonable (it’s part of a phrase in ‘Lean on me’ where the first sopranos sing “Swallow your pride”, but everyone else should have been singing “doo doo do”.).  Of course, this got picked up by the twit girl who instantly shared this statement with the world. I think on that occasion that hashtag read #yeshereallydidsaythat.  Now, to be fair, I don’t mind – if nothing else it proves people are listening.  Moreover, if it suggests to the world that my choir rehearsals are a fun place to be then I’m quite happy with that.

Someone once said to me that in order to be a good Choirmaster you have to be quite funny.  I think she meant funny ‘haha’ rather than just a bit weird.  I’m not quite sure which category of ‘funny’ I fall into – although I do admit to being slightly odd.  But, if I succeed in making a few people smile whilst also helping them to learn songs, then I will consider my job done well.  #choirmasternowneedsgin

Jules Addison is Musical Director for Blue Notes, The BlueBelles, Cirencester Male Voice Choir, Great Western Harmony and The Pewsey Belles.   Some of these choirs are on twitter!

More information about Choral Hour is on their website at http://choralhour.net

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