My name is Darrel Whidden, and I am a second year graduate student in choral conducting. I have a unique place in the Chamber Singers, and in the New England Conservatory community in general. Over the past year and a half, I have found myself in the very awkward position of standing on the podium in front of many musicians for many hours every week. These are also the people that I sing with as an ensemble member. For many, these are the same students that I consider friends and colleagues. One of the biggest challenges for me at NEC is learning to have peers in this community, while at the same time instilling a confidence in the life and teaching experience that I can offer these very peers while in a rehearsal setting. It is a very delicate balance to stand in front of so many talented singers, and from a position of authority, lead a long (sometimes, tedious!) rehearsal, and then sit down and eat lunch with them as friends. It has been difficult journey of self-exploration, but the progress that these students, my peers and I have made together as musicians has been nothing short of outstanding. I am honored to be a part of the Chamber Singers, and to share in this tour experience with them!