Why do you do it?

Jules Addison - Choirmaster Conducting the GWH Choir

I’m not a great fan of parties or social gatherings. The idea of standing around in a room full of people I’ve never met, eating food I don’t want and drinking wine which isn’t even fit to line the drains, fills me with dread.  But from time to time even I get invited out, so I always figure I should make the best of it.  I’m sure you know the routine.  You’re stood there busy ignoring people and then you get approached. At this point, there is a requirement to converse…

On such occasions the conversation is usually started by ‘And how do you know such and such?’, which before long moves on to, ‘So what do you do?’.  Usually, certainly at the social occasions I get invited to, the majority of people I come across have some dull, dreary job in admin, customer service, IT support or something equally dismal.  Don’t misunderstand me – Im sure there must be plenty of people who enjoy those jobs. I am not intending to be rude, it’s simply the people I have come across never seem to paint a very good picture of their profession.  I always ask people what they like about their work and usually the answer comes back, ‘well it pays the bills I suppose’.  I’ve never understood this – what’s the point of doing something just because it ‘pays the bills’?

So then I get a turn at this question.  Unfortunately there isn’t really a simple answer to what I do, or one which covers all the aspects of my business life. So nowadays, I tend to say “I’m a Choirmaster”.  Mostly this amuses me because it is quite probably the one answer that no one is expecting.   It’s not really well paid to be honest either. Probably, if I looked into it, running choirs doesn’t actually pay the bills. Luckily I have other things in place which do.  I suppose I could equally reply that ‘I’m a Company Director’ or I could say ‘I’m a professional musician, or a music producer or a sound engineer or a Church Organist’. Or indeed any number of other things!

So why do I just say ‘I’m a Choirmaster?’. Can I even justify this illustrious title?  I suppose partly, I say this because it’s something different. It’s also the part of my work that I enjoy most.  Who cares whether it pays the bills or counts as a ‘proper job’ in other peoples eyes?  If nothing else, over the course of the year I can say that I have brought together hundreds of people to sing and hopefully given enjoyment not only to my choir members but to the audiences they perform to.  In addition, all of my choirs have raised quite a few pence for charities, one way or another.

So in a nutshell that’s why I do it.  Theres a time and place to ‘earn money’ to pay the bills. But there should also be scope to do something you enjoy. If as a result of that you can help others too, that’s an added bonus.

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Jules Addison is Musical Director for The BlueBellesThe Pewsey BellesCirencester Male Voice Choir, The GWH Trust Choir and Transeamus Chamber Choir