Change management

Mark leading a small group in last week's farewell ode!

Last night we, the Orpheus Choir, had our first rehearsal with Mark, our stand-in (until a new one is appointed) music director. Mark has been working with us as assistant MD for about a year, and we all love him.

Things have been a bit unsettling since our music director Michael announced he was leaving us to move closer to his family in Australia. We were all devastated, I don’t use that word lightly. Michael has been our MD for over six years and during that time has truly cemented a big warm place in all our hearts. We farewelled him last week. I wrote a blog about it, published it, and then put it back in the drafts folder. The inner voice – you know that one that makes us doubt – told me it was too personal.

Last night, feeling a bit sad about Michael (and his wife’s) absence, I dragged myself off to rehearsal. We were due to start learning and relearning music for our Cole Porter concert. Nothing like Cole Porter to lift a flagging spirit!

My mood lifted as Mark began taking us through his warm-up.

What a brilliant change manager … the rehearsal was fantastic, full of smiles and laughter. The songs he’d chosen to rehearse were ones most of us knew from a previous concert. The first one was fast-paced and uplifting, filling my whole body with rhythm and joy. It made sparkle and feel alive in every bone.

Malaise gone.

The second choice was a medley of pure schmaltz. Ingenious!

“Night and day, you are the one, only you beneath the moon or under the sun. Whether near to me or far, its no matter darling where you are, I think of you …”

It wasn’t only in his choice of music, infectious enthusiasm oozed out of his every pore.

Two hours later rehearsal ended and I felt fantastic. Brimming with happiness, I literally danced out of the school hall.

There’s real skill needed for change management – he nailed it!

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