So You want to Host an ICA ClarinetFest®… by Diane Barger

Barger pictureDr. Diane Barger, Hixson-Lied Professor of Clarinet at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, presented a well-constructed and engaging lecture entitled So You Want to Host an ICA ClarinetFest®… on Thursday morning. Her lecture was divided into a series of topics: Site Search Proposal, Conceptual Foundations for ClarinetFest®, Artistic Director Duties, Artistic Budget, Best Practice and Tips for Hosting a ClarinetFest®, A Year in the Life of a ClarinetFest® Director, and Q&A.

She opened the lecture with a description of what must be included in the Site Search Proposal for the I.C.A. Board of Directors. This is a many-layered project intended to provide support for both your potential abilities as an Artistic Director and the readiness of your institution and city to host the event. She detailed what should be included and noted that it took her roughly 20 hours to prepare her Site Search Proposal.

Next she discussed the possibility of including an overarching theme within the festival. For example, this year the theme is The Clarinetist as Entrepreneur and many of the events are intended to illuminate the various roles a clarinetist can take in this endeavor. Barger also mentioned that it is not a requirement for a ClarinetFest® to have an overall theme.

Much of her lecture highlighted the importance of the Artistic Director to be extremely organized and to anticipate problems and solutions before they occur. One simple example of this came in her discussion of the conference schedule. She noted that certain events (such as the Board of Directors recital) typically take place at the same time each year. So, she suggested starting with that template and then filling in the blanks to create your overall schedule. She also noted that in recent years, the I.C.A. Board of Directors and previous ClarinetFest® Artistic Directors have created a 65-page ClarinetFest® Artistic Director Handbook. She noted that she looked to this book frequently when preparing for ClarinetFest® 2012.

Barger highlighted the importance of answering emails promptly and keeping an organized record of every email received and sent. Also, she noted the importance of finding balance in one’s life while doing this huge amount of work. Diane Barger’s lecture was thorough, filled with excellent information, and presented with good humor.

–Notes by Timothy Phillips
Timothy Phillips serves as Associate Professor of Clarinet at the John M. Long School of Music at Troy University in Troy, Alabama, and manages Clarinet Corner, weekly program on Troy University Public Radio.

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