Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Other Championship Team At University of Louisville: Kent Hatteberg and The Cardinal Singers

I admit it freely.  I love watching Big East basketball, especially my alma mater Louisville Cardinals under Rick Pitino's leadership.

This 2011-2012 season certainly had its ups and downs, but that final run to the Final Four was truly a thrill to behold. Pitino is a teacher's teacher, and it's a joy to watch him work with his young men. Toward the end of the game, even if they are twenty points up or twenty points down with ten seconds to go, Pitino is right there, teaching teaching teaching about what one does in this situation. He never, ever, lets up.

When this year's team found their mojo, they were reading one anothers' minds, and it was if they were making music on the court. It was joyful, almost effortless--dribble/pass/pick-and-roll/pass/pass/pass/give-the-ball-to-Siva--and suddenly there he was, laying the ball into the basket...

So, if you're expecting some angry musician's rant about 'Let's by golly shut down the athletic departments and fire all those pricey coaches', this is not the place to look, ever.

That said--Choirs are nearly so 'sexy' as Division I NCAA major sports teams. They make their music, in the main, standing still, in much smaller halls, before smaller audiences. But the great choral conductors and great coaches have much in common: that relentless, never-let-up, always teaching and mentoring personality that creates great performances and inspiring evenings.

My alma mater has one of those in Kent Hatteberg, and his Cardinal Singers were just rated the. world. Not just the Big East, or the US. The world.

Kent does not get up in the faces of his kids and yell 'What were you thinking?!?' at crucial moments in the process, but he does constantly inspire and teach, and the singing speaks for itself. The few encounters I've had with his students have been inspiring. They would follow him anywhere, anytime.

Take a listen--I think you'll understand why.

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