Dr. Lynn Atkins attends Distinguished Concerts International New York Workshop

During the weekend of January 15 – 17, Collegiate’s Middle and Upper School Choral Director, Dr, Lynn Atkins attended a program for which he was selected to participate.  Below is his account of the time spent in this highly prestigious program. 
Distinguished Concerts International New York
Imagine your reaction to the following situation: You have been given the chance to meet one of the top figures in your field and work together throughout a weekend together. I hope that your response would be thrilling, that you would count down the days, hours, and minutes until the first moment the meeting took place. If this is your reaction, you clearly understand my complete response to my weekend of learning from Dr. Rene Clausen (Conductor of the famed Concordia Choir of Concordia College, MN) through a Concert Production company titled, Distinguished Concerts International. Attendees of the Mentorship Conference auditioned via videotape in order to gain admittance at one of three levels: Auditor, Associate Conductor, and Mentoring Conductor.
DCINY provides not only concert opportunities for choirs of all shapes, ages, and sizes, it also offers mentorship opportunities every January to approximately 15-20 conductors. I had the opportunity, funded by Collegiate School’s Professional Development program to attend as a Mentoring Conductor. The experience allowed me to discuss choral conducting performance, gesture, score study, as well as discuss analysis and historical information about J. S. Bach’s Magnificat, BWV 243 with not only Dr. Clausen, but Jonathan Griffith (DCINY Artistic Director), Jamie Meaders (DCINY Associate Conductor), Jorge Alvia (DCINY Concertmaster) Karl Jenkins (Grammy Award winning composer), Michael Addelson (NY Philharmonic staff conductor).
I was also afforded the opportunity to conduct a choir of my peers (all of whom have extensive experience singing and conducting college, community, and amateur choirs of all levels) in several movements of the Magnificat with piano rehearsal, string quartet, and full orchestra accompaniment In these laboratory situations, the listed conductors shaped my knowledge of conducting and rehearsing a choir. The feedback was tremendous. To hear positive feedback as well as constructive criticism to help strengthen my skills will only allow me to be a more effective conductor and clinician for my students at Collegiate, as well as with the students and adults I work with in the Greater Richmond Area.
I am so thankful for Mike Boyd, Charlie Blair, Amy Blackmer, and everyone who played a hand in my attendance at this mentorship conference. I truly have been changed for the better because of it, and I can only hope that my Collegiate students and collaborative faculty will see the differences in the coming weeks and months ahead.
Lynn G. Atkins, Jr.
Director of Vocal Music