In Part One and Part Two of this series, I outlined for you what might be termed the philosophical reasons for belonging to our association. These are concisely summed up in the AMCA's Philosophy, Goals and Objectives statement (Ref. AMCA Information Booklet):|
The Constitution of the International AMCA clearly outlines the basis for our organization, it recognizes; "the power of music to entertain and instruct - a vital source of expression and inspiration to the soul of man."
The AMCA was established "... to help extend male chorus singing among the men of North America and thereby promote fellowship, good will and cooperation. Through our activities we work to enhance the enjoyment and the culture of our people, and to develop our music art form.
On joining our association you become an important participant in advancing these worthwhile aims and objectives. It is my belief that each of us reap untold personal rewards in striving to do so.
- To maintain and extend male chorus singing in our culture.
- To create good will through music.
- To use the enthusiasm of singing to interest more men in male chorus activity.
- To bring people of varied vocations, locations and interests together to perform, experience and enjoy the unique, rich sound of male chorus music.
- To help organize new choruses.
- To encourage students of music through our scholarship fund program.
- To improve the quality of male chorus repertoire and standard of performance and thus enhance audience enjoyment.
- To bring before the public music on a unique scale possible only through massed chorus singing utilizing hundreds of voices."
The main focus of this column is on the more specific benefits that membership in the AMCA has to offer its members. There follows a dozen good reasons for your consideration.
Benefit #1 - Big Sings
The opportunities to participate in both District and International Big Sings has been a subject of both previous columns and need not be expanded on here. It is however, perhaps the main motivation for choruses joining the AMCA. The next International Big Sing is planned for April 2003 in Lansing, Michigan and as a member chorus you have the opportunity to participate fully in this huge event.
Benefit #2 - Workshops
Usually, but not always in conjunction with a Big Sing, the workshops or "break-out sessions" are sponsored by either the District Board of Directors or the host chorus of a Sing. Each district plans and runs its workshops to fit the needs of their district members. Some districts hold a weekend "retreat" and introduce new music, vocal and conducting workshops at that time. For others it may be a one day event. The International practice is to hold a minimum two-day International Big Sing every five years that includes workshops and voluntary choral adjudication.
Benefit #3 - Non - Profit Status (U.S. choruses only)
The AMCA is incorporated as a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization and as a member chorus you have the opportunity to apply to the IRS for non-profit status through our group exemption. You can achieve this status AT NO COST TO YOU and unless your gross receipts for any given year *exceed $25,000.00, the AMCA annually files the necessary papers in your behalf that keeps your status intact. This allows you to receive contributions to your chorus that are tax deductible. (*Choruses with receipts in excess of this amount must file for themselves in that year.)
Benefit #4 - New Music
Through its recently established "Music Contest", Chaired by Harry Learoyd of Ontario, Canada, the AMCA encourages the writing of new music for male voice choirs. The winning compositions for 1998 and 1999 have been printed and are available from your music supplier. They are (a) "There's A Wideness in God's Mercy" by Rhonda Steffey Woodward distributed by Music Plus Corp. and (b) "Holy Peace" by David M. Bruhn available from Leslie Music Supply Inc. - both can be obtained through your local publishing house. Several compositions have been entered in the year 2000 contest and he winner(s) will be announced this fall.
Benefit #5 - Common Repertoire
The AMCA maintains a repertoire of TTBB arrangements which it recommends to member choruses as representative of music enjoyed by audience and singer alike.
This Common Repertoire is reviewed annually by a committee headed by a member director. Our current Chair is Donald Crouch, a professional music reviewer, teacher and director of the Milwaukee Male Chorus in Wisconsin. The Chair annually canvasses all member chorus directors asking for the selection of songs to be dropped and added to the list, thus ensuring "grass roots" input and numbers which have been found to be highly entertaining. The Committee then publishes the International Common Repertoire as a resource for member choruses and for use in all International Big Sings.
Benefit #6 - Music Reviews
The association also appoints a Music Reviewer who surveys new arrangements and reviews and reports on them in The Chorister newsletter and on the AMCA web site. . This is another way member directors, repertoire committees and singers are kept informed of what's new in male chorus literature. Our current reviewer is Donald Crouch, who in addition to his other credits is official reviewer for the Wisconsin State Music Association. In that capacity he has broadened his contacts with publishers and is receiving excellent cooperation from them in obtaining new music for reviewing purposes. As a member, you are able to benefit from Don's contacts and excellent reviews to keep current on what's available.
Benefit #7 - AMCA Web Site
This is a most excellent resource and source of much useful information for anyone interested in the male chorus. The creative genius behind the web site is David Thomas, a former conductor of the South St. Paul Male Chorus in Minnesota, and a diverse musician involved in many aspects of music as well as a long-time supporter of the male chorus. Visit the site at and you will be impressed with not only the quality and quantity of the material there, but you will notice that it is all current and up-to-date. David provides his talents and service in the interest of promoting and supporting the AMCA's aims and objectives referred to earlier. Of particular benefit is David's offer to assist any member chorus with his knowledge and expertise in setting up their own web site and this is AT NO COST TO YOU as a member of the AMCA!
Benefit #8 - Music for Male Chorus
This useful publication, originally compiled by member Stanley Carlson in 1985 has been placed on the web site and is currently being considered for revision by the author, dependent on its usefulness to members as gauged by the usage it receives. It is a wonderful source book of the male chorus music available and the original printing sold out across Canada and the United States very quickly and its now yours to access AT NO COST TO YOU as a member.
Benefit #9 - Music On Loan
Some of our member choruses have offered selections from their music libraries to brother choruses on a loan arrangement to be mutually agreed upon. Loaner music is available AT NO COST TO YOU other than mailing costs. A listing of the music in our on-loan bank has been compiled by member, Joe Greytak of Cleveland, Ohio and can be accessed through your District Executive and/or Joe. This borrowing arrangement has the potential to enlarge your repertoire without adding dollars to your music budget. It also is helpful if you are looking for an original copy of an out-of-print piece in order to make a duplication arrangement with the copyright holder. In addition, beginning choruses will find this loan arrangement particularly helpful.
Benefit #10 - The Chorister Newsletter
Members receive a copy of the association newsletter, The Chorister which is published nine times each year by editor, Dan Plunkett of Ontario, Canada contains articles of specific interest to male chorus singers and will keep you current on the activities of our six districts and 1350 members. And you, as a member, are invited to highlight your chorus and its activities in this, YOUR newsletter. It is available both electronically on the web site and by regular mail delivery to your home. COST IS INCLUDED IN YOUR MEMBERSHIP DUES.
Benefit #11 - Legal Counsel
The association has the pro bono services of legal counsel and AMCA member, Paul M. Hassett, Jr. of the firm Brown & Kelly, Attorneys at Law in Buffalo, New York.
Paul is available to consult and advise on matters legal through the AMCA Executive Secretary AT NO COST TO YOU.
Benefit #12 - Scholarship Program
The Scholarship Fund is financed by donations collected at Big Sing rehearsals, outright gifts, grants and bequests, and is managed by a committee of trustees approved by the Executive Committee. Each year the scholarship evaluation team reviews applications and awards scholarships to students pursuing training and education in music. The current Chair is Tom Rayner a member of the Queensmen of Toronto and a retired educator. As a member chorus, you may sponsor a candidate for consideration by the committee. The current level of scholarship awards totals $3000.00 annually.
These benefits are financed by membership dues, free will contributions and the voluntary work undertaken by a few dedicated members within their particular areas of expertise..