The idea of a Choral Academy arose in 2019 from the need to have a quality centre in the region that could develop the issues related to the training of those approaching the choral world in all its aspects: singing, conducting, composing, management, schooling.
In the past, AERCO had initiated training courses at both local and central level, focusing above all on choral literacy, in the individual provinces, on some master courses and on some courses for training school personnel who would then be responsible for starting up choirs in schools. In addition, mention should be made of a number of courses, in cooperation with associated choirs, aimed both at youth choirs and at places of distress. Finally, it is also worth mentioning the presence of a strong interest in Gregorian Chant, thanks to the collaboration with operators specialised in this field; this has led to the attendance of dozens of students at the in-person and online courses organised by AERCO. Finally, it is worth mentioning the birth, thanks to this mature experience, of the Schola Gregoriana Ecce. So much so that a Permanent School of Gregorian Chant should be included within the framework of the Choral Training Academy.
The 2022/2023 academic year is one of consolidation of the experience gained during the previous year, which saw, finally after the pandemic, the holding of all face-to-face classes in this mode. However, the Academy also provides online courses for those subjects for which we deemed it appropriate to use the distance mode. The lesson derived from the lockdown is that one can opt for the mixed mode with educational satisfaction and ease of attendance.
Directing a choir today touches on many aspects that go beyond the mere knowledge of technical rudiments. It is necessary to familiarise oneself with the repertoire and performance practice of the various styles, to have vocal skills, to obviously know music theory (what was once called solfeggio is now called ‘ear-training’), to be able to arrange a melody for one’s choir, to compose perhaps even a small piece, to know how to accompany a choir on the piano or organ, to have skills in the regulations governing the third sector, and the opportunities that social media give us.
With these premises and expectations of results, investing one’s time in one of the one-year or three-year courses offered by the AERCO Academy is undoubtedly an investment that will pay off for the young director, but it is also an excellent choice for the more ‘mature’ director who, perhaps, has never had the opportunity to train fully.
Life (especially that of the artist) is a continuous discovery of knowledge!