Questions for Candidatestaken from conversation about the Mystic questionnaire

Questions in green are for a first interview to see if there is a good match between candidates skills, experience, and interests and Mystics needs.

Carole Marton 1st interview with Gale and Maggie 4/4/23

The Mystic Chorale Mission

1. What comes to mind when you read the Mystic mission statement and how would you see yourself fulfilling that mission?  Carole was recommended by Nick Page. She has not seen Mystic perform but has worked with Nick in chorale settings and has listened to and enjoyed recordings. She is aligned with Mystic Mission which resonates with projects she had created. She is a lifelong choral singer since childhood and believes in the power and joy of community singing.  

As a conductor, teacher and community leader

2. Briefly summarize your experience in choral conducting, focusing on what specifically has qualified you to be a conductor/music director of the Mystic Chorale? (Please see CV)

30 years experience as a conductor; founding artistic director of Koleinu,  a non-auditioned chorus of about 80 members pre-pandemic, currently 40+.  (founded in 2002). Additional choral conducting experience at Temple chorus and community choruses. She is trained as an opera singer and has a masters degree in choral conducting. 

3. How would you describe your best qualities as a conductor? 

Strong downbeat.” 

Also, as a director, I also emphasize good vocal technique and a type of singing linethat is not always prized in choral rehearsals. This focus is informed by my studies at Indiana University, voice teaching and my long exploration of my own voice, and it insures both vocal health and an alive, engaged sound. Programming quality repertoire is also essential. I love the traditionalcanon, but it has always been more important to me to explore less well-known choral territories and cultures, as well as new music. My deep dives into the rich and remarkably varied worlds of Jewish music and music for womens voices was born of this. I have created many programs of music outside the canon over the years that keep both singers and audiences engaged and entertained.

4. Describe your teaching style and experience leading a non-auditioned choir whose members have varied abilities to read music. 

Koleinu is non-audition and she has 20 years experience with it. She described a recent experience with a member who had difficulty singing and she spoke to him privately to not embarrass him and honoring that his presence was a contribution. She gave him some one on one coaching and also spoke of in a community of non-auditioned singers the strength of the community absorbs the variations of the sound. She also said she can teach most people to find pitch and carry melody.  She teaches each part in rehearsal and sometimes likes to ask the whole choir to sing from the score first -just to see how people do.

I also have extensive experience with and high regard for choruses that are open to all. Inclusivity,regardless of musical or religious experience or affiliation, is a core value of Koleinus; — a value I have continued to foster from a leadership position. It brings a sense of purpose and community that cannot be overstated, and Ive found that, with proper pacing and support, even inexperienced singers can learn complex repertoire.

5. Are you experienced creating practice materials for singers?

Yes, written music, and recording of each part on CDs or YouTube, sectionals & like using section leaders when possible

6. What inspires you and what do you most want to achieve in a leadership role? 
7. What have you done to promote community among singers in the choruses you have led?
8. Can you describe a difficult experience in a choral setting and talk about how you resolved it?

Selecting Music

9. How would you go about selecting music for the Mystic Chorale?  Where do you get your ideas?

Carole is knowledgeable about a range of choral music from many traditions and cultures. She has experience developing repertoires that respond to current events such as racial justice, gun violence, refugees, and human rights. She spoke of engaging with chorus members around music and the historic meaning vs. current reflections on an issue to come to a understanding of what their collective intention is.

10. Do you attend conferences and consortium gatherings and if so, which ones inspire you?
11. Do you arrange music yourself or request an outside person create arrangements? 

Carole can do arrangements but generally relies on outside arrange

Working with Guest Artists and Instrumentalists

      12. Do you have connections with guest artists and instrumentalists in the area? 

With Koleinu and many other ensembles, Ive brought in and worked with many guest soloists and instrumentalists, exploring a truly wide variety of musical styles along the way. Participating in and spearheading community and multicultural events is another important value I bring to my leadership.

12. Would you use contacts already in place through the Mystic Chorale?
13. In your opinion, what is the balance between music quality and community and contracting outside soloists and guest artists within a season?

Working with leadership

14. What is your experience working with a Board of Directors and a Programming Committee?  

Carole works with a Board at Koleinu and she has worked with Temple music committees.

15. Have you worked with a Programming Committee to craft a season?

Diversity and Collaboration

16. What success have you had building age and cultural diversity in your choirs?  
17. Have you collaborated with other singing groups to build relationships and diversity?

Styles of Music

18. What different styles of music interest you and what have you conducted?

Previously answered: Wide variety of music and languages and inclusivity are important as is cultural acknowledgments and respect for traditions

Singers and Soloists

19. Do you favor off-book performances and if so, how do you approach getting off-book?  

Carole has done both depending on the complexity of the music. She said is always ideal to be off-book,

20.  What creative ways have you provided opportunities for and encouraged singers in the groups you have conducted?  For example, have you provided opportunities for small group singing?
21. How have you navigated the challenge of having soloists who are both experienced and inexperienced?

Concerts and Audience Participation

22. What is your experience rehearsing and conducting with a band, writing charts and conducting band/chorale rehearsals for a concert? 

She prefers to work with a rehearsal pianist.  She has worked with bands in concerts. She is currently playing french horn with an ensemble. She can make charts but prefers to use professional musical arrangements. 

23. What experience can you share about engaging the audience to participate in singing during a concert?   Have you taught parts to an audience so that they can sing with the choir? 

Leading audiences in song has been part of the choral concerts she has led as well as congregation and worship services and community events 

26. Can you describe your performing style as a conductor?   


Carole projects a strength of leadership and a confidence in her abilities. She is highly knowledgeable about choral conducting and choral repertoire. She impressed us as a lovely, kind person, engaging, and fun to work with. She views herself as an artistic director, not simply a conductor, and she is interested in bringing her own mark and artistic leadership to the chorale. She is herself a singer with experience in vocal performance. She has professional and personal experience in how to take good care of your vocal instrument with warm ups for body and voice.