Dubuque Chorale

June 6, 2017

Dear Friends:

It is with a true sense of melancholy that I submit my resignation to you, effective July 1, 2018. Of course that ending date is at your discretion, as you are well within your rights to ask me to step down earlier than that time. Nonetheless, my hope is that we can enjoy one final season of music making and fellowship together before I ride off into the sunset.

I would be remiss if I failed to note that I have been considering this decision for many months now. In my opinion, the conductor of any choir where members come and stay for many years has a limited “shelf life.” Schools are different because the students only stay for a limited time. With a group like the Chorale, I think that it is vital to the success and evolution of the ensemble that there be periodic change of the artistic philosophy. I believe that this time is upon us as a group.

Let me be perfectly clear: my decision has NOTHING to do with any disappointment with the Dubuque Chorale, its board, or its direction. As some of you know, I am taking on new responsibilities at UWP this fall, responsibilities that will be taking more of my time than ever before. I also hope to pursue other conducting opportunities, not because DC has become less fulfilling but because I love trying new things.

When I was interviewing for this position (a position that has nurtured and fed me at least as much as I have been able to provide in return), I noted that I consider myself a “builder,” not a “maintainer.” I am extremely proud of the evolution that we have generated together in the past several years. I hope that you will all feel that I have left the ensemble in a better place than when I inherited it—this is not to minimize the great work of Fran and Dennis at all. But I hoped to inject a new sense of urgency and energy into the ensemble, to truly make it a choir that reflected the reenergized growth of the Dubuque community. I believe that we have done that, artistically, organizationally, and financially. My greatest new hope for DC is that it will find a similarly energetic new voice to lead it—a voice that can help the ensemble continue to grow, build, and thrive.

The timing of this decision is not ideal. I had hoped that Jeremy would still be here in the long term—that after his third year with the Chorale, he would be a logical option to follow me. He is a marvelous musician and human being. Indeed, it was my intent to provide this resignation before the annual meeting, but the timing of Jeremy’s job search obviated that. So with your permission, I would like to suggest the following:

  • we meet as a board (perhaps at a board meeting—please refer to my June report) to discuss how you wish to staff the artistic direction moving forward in the long term. In my opinion, I would suggest that my successor be named and settle in before hiring another assistant;
  • that I help the organization save some money in 2017-18 by working the year without an assistant;
  • that the board consider running the search during the 2017-18 school year in hopes that my successor could come on board for some or all of the spring of 2018, thereby providing a high quality level of transition;
  • that I continue to prepare the Canada trip on behalf of the organization, make that trip as the Artistic Director, and then turn over the reins of the choir to my successor; and
  • that the Eagle Point concert in 2018 aim to happen in July so that my successor would be able to start with the ensemble in a relatively pressure-free manner.

Please know that it will be my goal to help provide the most seamless transition possible for the benefit of all involved.

In conclusion, I want to thank you all for entrusting the artistic direction of the Dubuque Chorale to me. It has been an honor and I am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to serve you. I will be forever proud of your many achievements and consider myself truly blessed to have had the opportunity to make music with such wonderful people.

With deep respect and love,
Bob Demaree

Bob’s resignation letter

Tendered to the Chorale Board at their June 2017 meeting.