Associate Professor of Music Thomas Lloyd Appointed to Leadership of New Mentoring Project in Ghana
Associate Professor of Music Thomas Lloyd has been appointed by the International Federation for Choral Music (IFCM) in Belgium to a three-member panel of international choral conductors to develop a new mentorship program for conductors in Ghana as part of IFCM's new Conductors without Borders initiative.
Founded in 1982 to foster the growth of choral music worldwide, IFCM officially inaugurated the Conductors without Borders program last summer at its eighth international symposium in Copenhagen. (See Lloyd's published commentary on the symposium at http://www.acdaeast.org/newsletter.html.) The purpose of the new program is to offer training and ongoing mentoring relationships to young conductors in regions where access to professional training is inaccessible.
Inspired by the success of a similar program created in Latin America by IFCM vice president Maria Guinand (whom Lloyd first met during shared concerts in Venezuela with the bi-college Chamber Singers in 1998), the new program seeks to branch out into underserved areas of Africa and Asia where choirs have emerged as important parts of the social and artistic life of their communities. However, the program guidelines specifically caution that it should be taken into consideration how the local history is responsible for the development of the local standards of music. (e.g.: positive or negative influences by Christian mission and/or colonization). Conductors without Borders mentors and trainers always have to be aware of the historical developments that led to a certain musical tradition in the various regions. In cooperation with local partners a main focus should be given on new local composers and on the literature of neighboring regions and music traditions.
In developing the mentoring program in Ghana, Lloyd will team with Edusei Derkyi, Honorary Secretary of the Winneba Youth Choir in Ghana and a co-founder of IFCM's African Children Sing program. The committee will be completed by Bernhard Putz of Austria, a choral musician who has led vocal workshops throughout Africa. Their work will begin with an assessment of the needs of choral directors in Ghana, plans for regional workshops led by established conductors, and follow-up through mentoring relationships maintained primarily via Internet, using not only email, but video technologies such as Skype and Jaxtr that are now more widely used for such purposes in developing countries.
Lloyd's appointment grows out of his interactions with Ghanaian conductors during a cultural exchange tour he led to Ghana in January 2007 with the bi-co Chamber Singers, eight Africana Studies students, and four other bi-co faculty and staff members. The students shared concerts with five different Ghanaian choirs in Accra, Kumasi, and Cape Coast, as well as participating in lectures and discussions with students at the University of Ghana, Legon on the history of Ghana and in particular the Atlantic slave trade. Lloyd has maintained contact with two of the Ghanaian conductors since that time.
A composition Lloyd wrote specifically for the tour, combining an African-American Spiritual with a Ghanaian traditional song, will be published by Alliance Music Publishers in Texas early next year, with all royalties being contributed to the National Folklore Board of Ghana for the development and preservation of indigenous Ghanaian culture. The Chamber Singers' performance of this composition is on their new CD. For details on the bi-college trip to Ghana, visit http://www.haverford.edu/musc/choral/csingers/cshome.html.