HAD IT!!!!!!!

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:
For the last seven years I’ve been the conductor of a women’s
community chorus. It’s a no-audition group, but over time has
attracted better and better voices, a self-selection of primarily middle-
aged middle class women who like to sing everything from oldie pop
tunes to international ethnic and spiritual songs. There’s always people
who think they want to sing, but dropout when they realize it’s a lot of
time and work. Ditto always new people who are a pain in the patootie
trying to show why they are so very gifted and special. One of the new
women (with an okay but not great voice) asks me questions about
everything from the arranging to the song history before or after every
song. After a month of her annoyances I am ready to scream high C
for a full hour. How can I get her under control?
HAD IT!!!!!!!

Dear Had It:
You have the empathy of any group organizer, teacher, camp
counselor, or other person who regularly herds cats for fun or work.
There are likely other choral members almost as annoyed as you,
though you have to assume there may be potential allies lurking the
group who enjoy either drama or respite from work. You need a
combination of effective censure, but done in a way that maintains
your authority, but doesn’t make people think you’re a dictatorial

Wait until the next time she’s a clear and obvious pain. After question
three or four, say the following: New Protocol. You can email me
questions after each rehearsal and if the answers are relevant to the
group I’ll let folks know. But from now until the end of the season,
here’s a coupon book for five questions during rehearsals. It’s not
renewable so choose them wisely, Okay ladies, let’s sing. PS You
might Google classroom management techniques to get some extra
pointers. Teachers fight this battle daily.