Christine Bass, choral conductor, clinician, and educator, shares with Ryan how to approach your choral rehearsal based on her 30+ years of public school experience.
Christine Bass is the Choral Director for the Temple University Women’s Chorus and teaches Choral Music Education at Boyer College of Music, Temple University. Prior to Temple, Christine taught at Cherry Hill West high school in for 22 years where her program grew from 60 singers to over 320 students in seven choirs. Her choirs have performed at the 1999, 2003 and 2005 ACDA National Conventions, MENC and ACDA All Eastern Conventions, with Alan Gilbert, Julius Rudel, Rossen Milanov, Philadelphia’s Singing City Chorus and the Newark Boy’s Choir. Her men’s a cappella group, Men of Note, won three consecutive National Championships for Best of High School A Cappella.
Christine Bass earned her bachelors and masters degrees from Westminster Choir College, studied conducting under R.Simpson, H. Brown, A. Megill and J. Flummerfelt and was a member of the Westminster Choir. She received their Alumni Merit Award and Alumni Ambassador Award. Christine was New Jersey MENC Master Music Teacher and received the Governor’s Award in Arts Education. Christine has conducted numerous All State and Honors Choirs and had the honor of conducting the 2009 ACDA All National High School Honors Choir. She is a guest conductor, adjudicator and clinician presenting workshops across the country on her two educational DVDs; Vocal Transformation, and Where The Boys Are published by Hal Leonard. For more info visit: christinebass.com.
The moment you knew you’d dedicate your life to music
Christine wanted to SERVE people with music. The more she got the chance to share, the more she felt as though that was the right thing for her to do.
One specific moment was when she was in high school and attending First Presbyterian in Flint, Michigan, she got the chance to warm up the senior girls choir. As she did it, she realized this was something she really liked.
Worst musical moment
When she was at Cherry Hill West, Christine had a problem because she had a small auditorium. Her program grew, and the space did not! After trucking her kids for 6 years, the district finally had to BUILD her an 1100 seat auditorium!
“Every obstacle becomes an opportunity!”
The proudest musical moment
Christine’s Cherry Hill Singers have performed at the National ACDA Conventions several times. In 1999, Anton Armstrong came and encouraged her kids, as his choir was also on that evening’s program.
As a process-oriented person, it’s more important to Christine to honor the journey.
Having taught in public school for many year, Christine is Boyer College’s “real world” professor.
- Always prepared for rehearsal
- “Front-load” technique into rehearsal by anticipating problems
- Approach the choral score as a singer, not a conductor
- Model the sounds for the singers
- Constantly listening to vocal production
- Understanding the learning styles of the choir
Most excited about right now
An online video course called “Front-Loading Your Repertoire” with a release in late summer or fall 2015
Advice for your younger self
“You must self-assess!”
What makes a great conductor?
Being open to others’ opinions and accepting to your failures and shortcomings.