I got to substitute four days of jr. high choir in March. I have developed a new admiration for jr. high choir teachers.
I felt like I was performing on stage for 4.5 hours each day. The classes were huge and unlike in band where the students are looking at their instruments or their music, there was nothing between me and the students, no desks, no music stands. I didn’t realize how comforting a protection those simple objects were. Performing onstage doesn’t normally bother me, but that length of time was very draining. The longest performances I’ve participated in were about 1 hour and 45 minutes.
Because of the size of the room it was impossible to keep all the students in my view at the same time. Some of the choirs had over fifty students. I was constantly turning my head back and forth to watch them. I don’t think this a big issue in college, community or even high school choirs, but in junior high, when students aren’t watched they tend to talk.
When they watched me and were singing it was thrilling. I especially enjoyed conducting the women’s chorus, made up of mostly ninth graders.