Last month, the Atlanta Boy Choir (ABC) asked for the resignation of its artistic director, David White. I’d heard White and the choir perform just a couple of times over the past eight years, and wasn’t especially impressed with the results — not a poor performance, by any measure, but below the national standards set by other Atlanta groups such as the Spivey Hall Children’s Choir. (I think it was Robert Shaw who, with a fundamentalist’s zeal, proclaimed, There are no bad choirs, just bad choirmasters.)
Without taking sides in the ABC dispute, arts leaders around town concur with Underwood, to a point.
The boy choir’s public bickering “is corruptive to all sides, and to the community,” says Atlanta Opera board chairman Gregory Johnson, who’s credited with engineering a leadership transition at the opera and calming disputes that may have come out of that change. “The board’s primary obligation is to support the artistic mission — and fund-raising is key — hand-in-hand with artistic direction that’s financially responsible.”