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Magic Choral Trick #199 Fruitless Grousing

When we complain about something – anything – I guess the main question we need to ask ourselves is if the complaint was heard by someone who has the power, authority or expertise to do something about it.

Perhaps we were only looking for sympathy or a hug, or to form a stronger misery bond. Rather like complaining about the weather.

In Canada, if someone were to tell us that we were no longer allowed to complain about the weather, conversations would dry up all across the country. However, that’s not going to happen, because here it is one of the things that binds us together with complete strangers. It does create a definite camaraderie. We’re Canadians – we have tough weather, which we all feel gives us a common bond of toughness.

Person A: “Cold enough for ya?”

Person B: “Yep – and it’s supposed to be like this all week!”

Person A: “Hardly wait for spring”

And then in the spring it goes like this:

Person A: “Wet enough for ya?”

Person B: “Yep – and it’s supposed to be like this all week!” or “Great weather for ducks!”

Person A: “Hardly wait for summer”

However, the kind of secretive complaining or grousing that can happen in choirs does not bind the group together. It does not promote a joyful camaraderie. It can act like a slow poison that gradually taints the experience of the choir for everyone.

It is wonderful when a group has a mechanism in place for complaints – a mechanism that’s known to everyone. But failing that, take your complaint – privately – directly to the person with the power to fix it. (The privately part is important!) This approach will always work much better than having multiple gripe sessions with other choir members who don’t call the shots on this particular issue.

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