The George Bragg Library
. . . from the "Director's Diary"
At Summer's End (September 1972)
We have just experienced the Summer Olympics of the XX Olympiad with its myriad contestants from the nations of the world. It is one of my favorite things, the Olympics, just why has never really been important to me because I receive such pleasure from the entire encounter.
However, this year it was somehow different. The television coverage seemed to point its interviews to the reasons for the participants' involvement and to find out their means of accomplishing their goals. As I sat before the television set for those few precious hours out of the more than sixty hours of ABC's network coverage, it became evident to me that the joy which I found in the Olympics was in the universal struggle for Excellence, that fleeting paragon of perfection, for which that small minority of Humanity is willing to live and work, unrelentingly.
I suppose, had it come at another time or in another year - it might have been different, but coming as it did just after we had returned from Europe, my mind ran a parallel between what the Staff of The Texas Boys Choir and the coaches of the Olympic teams are trying to do - to cause a person to dig within himself to find that spark of understanding which will grow sufficiently to light the path to Excellence and hence to greatness and immortality.
Whereas, a choirboy's practice each year is approximately 300 hours, the choirboys who were privileged to represent the United States at the Festival Paul Claudel in Brangues, France put in about 270 hours of vocal rehearsal alone, as well as more than 100 hours in French. Time alone does not guarantee success nor make a winner. It is however the first and primary ingredient for any concerted effort toward Excellence.
The substance of gaining success is the daily discipline of repeated effort, the willingness to abide by a regimen of diet, work, and involvement which raises the
human psyche to a total environment of participation, thereby paving the path to success with desire, purpose, understanding, and ultimate accomplishment.
The choirboys who went to Europe were excellent! They were superb examples of American youth! I was proud of them and their success everywhere we went, from the Festival of Bergen and the beautiful cathedrals of England, their singing for his Holiness Pope Paul VI, to representing their nation in France.
I was also proud of our staff that could achieve this level of teaching. I was proud of the parents who could lend themselves to such an effort - and most grateful to those who believed in us enough to send us on such a great and wonderful assignment in quest of Excellence.
There is no difference between the athlete who rededicates himself each day by practicing his art, and the Texas Choirboy who daily rededicates himself to his art.
Besides coming home a champion, the touring choirboy brings home a patina of confidence, an assurance of purpose, and most of all, a spark of understanding which will grow sufficiently to light the path to greatness and the beautiful things of Life to come through Excellence.
The forthcoming American tours are going to be terribly exciting, for we will build upward from where we are now to what, I hope, will be a new height and a new horizon for all.
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