Thursday, May 20, 2010

It is official

It is official - I have resigned my position at UAB and will become a member of the Samford Music Faculty.

Things I want you to know:
  • Directing the choirs at UAB was my greatest joy during my tenure at the university.  I will always value the nine wonderful years of music making and laughter we shared together.
  • The relationships that I have with UAB students and faculty are important to me and I hope that they will continue. 
Why I chose to leave  . . . . There was nothing negative about my position at UAB that caused me to look for another job.  You will want to know why I made the decision, so I wanted to share some of the reasons.

Samford appealed to me because:
  • The Samford faculty, like the UAB faculty, is outstanding.  There are four full-time voice teachers and one part-time. 
  • Samford is an arts-centered university.  Presidents and provosts, along with scholarships and program budgets, support the choir and believe in its importance.
  • International travel is funded in part by the university and encouraged every two years in the official description of the choir.
  • UAB's urban campus was never a long-term career choice for me - the facilities and non-urban nature of the Samford campus is appealing.
  • There are three separate outstanding performing spaces for choirs:  Brock Hall, Hodges Chapel, and Reid Chapel.  Two of those spaces have organs, allowing for exploration of the rich choral-organ literature.
  • String faculty and string students allow for exploration of other types of choral literature.
  • There is a tradition at Samford that I greatly admire - alumni frequently attend the concerts of the choir.
  • My family and I are very happy in Birmingham for many reasons and Samford looks like a place I can spend the rest of my career.  After a certain amount of time, my children will be able to attend Samford and other similar institutions tuition free - a gift that is worth about $250,000 from what I know about current tuition costs.
I don't know if you want to know all that, but we have always shared honestly with each other and I want to honor that practice by communicating openly about my thinking.

I'm at O'Henry's nearly every morning - come see me if you want to talk.

philip l. copeland
former director of choral activities,
the university of alabama at birmingham


Ashleigh Nkashama said...

believe me when i say you will be missed more than words can express

Shane said...

Best of luck, but know that we're gunning for you guys. ;)

Mallorie said...

Happy for you!
But..... :(

Staci said...

Dr. C! I'm so excited for you. Samford is an awesome school. I had a lot of friends who went there. I won't be able to come visit you and the choir anymore! That's sad. :(

Chris Reid said...

I'm not gonna lie. That sucks. I was looking forward to another two years under your direction in the UAB Concert Choir.

I wish you luck Dr. Copeland in all of your future endeavors. And, like Shane said, we will be gunning for you :D

Heather Martin said...

Congratulations, Philip! I hate to see you leave UAB, but having graduated from Furman, I can understand the attraction of Samford.

John M-S said...

I wish you great success, thanks for waiting until Sadie graduated. Any chance those final recordings from Bluff Park (esp. Black Sheep) can be posted on the blog? John M-S

ewaroach said...

Its like when Johnny Damon left the Red Sox to go play for the Yankees

Anonymous said...

They'd better appreciate you. We know what we're losing...-Nancy

Anonymous said...

I wish I could be happy for you, but I can't.

Philip L. Copeland said...

Well at least sign your name, anonymous.

reese. ryan said...

I wouldn't be Ryan if I didn't say exactly how I feel, without sugar coating things, right?

this isn't sunshine and rainbows for me right now.
& I keep trying to convince myself that I'm alright and that I have processed the news well,
but I haven't...and I won't for a little while...maybe not even until the school year starts and I can see the progress and work that we make.

But right now, 3months out,
sitting down wondering and making assumptions of what will or won't happen SUCKS! it really does...

i'm hurt and i'm sick...

i keep trying to look at the brighter side of things and yada yada...but we lost you, a big player on our team,
ha, and I see it as our secret weapon is now being used against us...

now, i'm no dummy,
all that has been offered to you is more than grand and you are more than deserving of it...

but I guess I'm okay with being selfish right now, because I know how this is directly affecting me and my friends and our music dept.

yes, I thank you for all the AMAZING things you've done for me and everyone else.

but I am beyond upset,
it's on another plane of monstrous ...???
ha, there isn't even a word to describe it.

I can see the bright road ahead for you and for Samford, and it sucks that WE won't be apart of that,

I love you sooooooooo friggin much and I know that you will be around and in touch...

but I am mad and I do resent you as of now...

these feelings will pass,
but right now...egh

Thank you for being an advocate of choral excellence and showing me what it takes to be apart of a great's time for us to take the reigns and hold on to the gift that you have given us...

ok, ugh, I guess I'll say it...

(mumbles more)

but don't think I'm not mad..
because i am! VERY VERY VERY MAD...

ask tomorrow....

but i love you more than that,


MadBon said...

Congratulations, Dr. Copeland.

Sure, I'm upset that you're leaving us, but I understand you're reasons. I agree with a lot of what Ryan says, although perhaps with not so much anger.

You are an incredible director and I've been blessed to have been able to learn and grow as a musician and as a person under your direction these past three years. Perhaps I'm selfish in wishing to have been able to finish my college career with you.

I think the hardest part is you are like a father-figure to a lot of us. One we get mad at plenty, but one we respect and love and trust. Perhaps a lot of the hard feelings are a sense of betrayal, but I can see how it was best for you.

And it's not like you've left where we can't ever see you again. You've just gone to Samford, which may rub some people the wrong way.

The words aren't coming as easily as I'd wished. I can't quite form them to say exactly what I'm wanting to convey, but that seems to happen to me a lot.

Congratulations on your new position, good luck with your new path, and just know we'll miss you a great deal. You meant a lot to us.


Philip L. Copeland said...

That is a sweet note, Madi. Thanks very much.

Anonymous said...

I'm very disappointed.


Clayton Rector said...

Dr. Copeland,

Congratulations. What a great and worthy blessing you and your family have just received! Your work and influence have always gone beyond UAB and will do the same at Samford. Thank you for the memories at UAB, the laughs in France, the life-applicable choir rehearsals, and the misguided quotes. Most of all, thank you for introducing me to the ever-changing language of our spirits, music. God bless you and your family.

Give me a holler sometime...


Philip L. Copeland said...

Thanks for your comment on the blog, Sami. Nice touch with the Irish blessing reference - made me sad.

As someone who also loves you very much, I want you to know that:

* I understand your hurt/betrayed feelings
* I would have felt the same way if Dr. Jordan had left me during my college years
* I know that going to Samford makes it sting a little more

I could not have predicted this when I arrived at UAB nine years ago or when you joined the choir. I've found that God often surprises me with the unexpected and the wonderful - the UAB Choir, triplets, and the Samford position. I never know what will happen next, but I am always thankful for the gift.

Philip L. Copeland said...


Thanks also for your comment. We have certainly shared much together - mostly happy times, great music, and many funny laughs. Coffee sometime?

Anonymous said...

What happens to all of the recordings?