Thursday, February 07, 2008

Another ChoralNet Podcast: Interview with Tim Sharp

The Executive Committee of ACDA recently announced the appointment of Dr. Tim Sharp as Executive Director. Dr. Sharp will assume the new role full-time on May 1, 2008.

Download the podcast here.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Sharp on Tuesday, February 5 and asked him about his thoughts as he prepared to assume the office.

Interview questions:

1. What excites you most about becoming the executive director for ACDA?
2. How do you expect to shape ACDA in the coming years? Where do you think we need to move as an organization?
3. What are the immediate issues and projects that will occupy your first months in office?

Dr. Sharp holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the School of Church Music of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY. He is a Clare Hall Life Fellow of Cambridge University, Cambridge, UK, has studied at the Aspen School of Music, the Harvard NEH Medieval Sacred Music Studies program, and received a Rotary Fellowship for study in Belgium. He will return to conduct in Europe (Sweden) in March, and Russia in May of 2008.

My notes from our conversation:

"ACDA is the work of inspiration"
"We are professionals at what we do"
"Choral Journal holds us together in the non-convention months."
"Most exciting part--continue to inspire."

To do that ACDA needs to:

Continue strengthening what we do
Key to membership
Enlarge types of benefits the 21st century might require.

Or structure and infrastructure is incredibly good . . . We go deep into the various areas.
"We touch just about everyone doing choral music."

How he came to be the new Executive Director:
  • Wondered what kind of person would get the job
  • Became clear that some of his skills and experience would play well into the position: publishing, church music, higher education, choral journal experience
First months in the office:
  • Focus on running the office--running the system (accountants, membership, systems and need for smooth running of these systems)
  • Most exciting part will come later . . . Will spend his first weeks focusing on the systems of the organization (accounting, membership, structural details)
  • Will attend the regional conventions
Shaping the organization
  • More technological savvy (work on research and publications committee)
  • Wants to offer members benefits using technology . . . Called this low-hanging fruit
  • First pursuits: upgrading website, offering things online, immediate communication
  • Wants the organization to be transparent in how we get things done: budget, ways of working positions. Wants the Executive Director to be available and understood by the membership.
  • Wants ACDA to be more Significant with the International Choral Music Foundation: going to Belgium meeting, be more connected to International Partners - lots of benefits to ACDA members -
  • Personal Issue: evangelizing ACDA . . . Grow membership
  • Offer services to as many people . . . Broader membership . . . More people engaged in choral music making, especially at the entry level of choral music and also develop an emphasis on men and boys singing.
My thoughts:

Dr. Timothy Sharp takes over the reigns of ACDA as the new Executive Director on May 1 of this year. He has a wonderful vision of who we are . . . an organization that is about the work of inspiration.

He has a solid commitment to what we need to "keep doing" and an exciting vision for "who we need to be"

He has the maturity to realize that his first moments in office need to be focused on the basics--perfecting the systems of accounting, membership, and other structural details.

He has clear and exciting goals for the future:

ACDA will become more technological savvy - I loved his description that this was the "low-hanging fruit" . . . Perhaps the easiest thing to attain quickly.

ACDA will become to become more transparent in how it deals with the inner workings of the organization.

ACDA will become more invested with the rest of the world's choral musicians.

ACDA will grow it's membership, focusing on those at the entry level of singing and on men and boys . . . Something we sorely need at every level of singing.

I'm excited about the future, and I think Tim Sharp is the right man at the right time for our world class organization.

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