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Marty Lovick on Forefront: "Good ensembles make coaches look good"


By Marty Lovick, Performance coach


My first session with Forefront was on a blustery January day in 2015 in New Orleans. It was cold outside, but they were firing on all cylinders. At our first meeting, they showed willingness to go further down the path they had created for themselves. Given their penchant for doing “epic” material, this was no mean task; however some core principles were addressed and remain part of their quartet DNA to this day.

  1. Performance starts before the singing does! Forefront learned to bring the context of their songs to the stage, rather than be part way into a song before the afterburners would kick in. The goal became to be “into” the song before it started, then the development could go further.
  2. Mental preparation/focus/commitment all became stronger and clearer. Audiences felt like they knew the quartet because the quartet knew themselves.
  3. Trust in the vision and in each other. The quartet had more fun singing; almost as much as they have off stage (but that’s another story). Vision came first and technique supported it.
  4. Absolute specificity of physical/facial/interpretive storytelling.  Physical activity that needed to be crisp was honed precisely; silence became more powerful as stillness was supported by intent. The dynamic plans accordingly were more far reaching and impactful. Watch, “If You Love Me, Really Love Me” to see the result.

Armed with new awareness and having had many opportunities to perform with these precepts, in 2016 they were champions before the scoring was announced – champions of a model of performance excellence and audience engagement. I was but one of their coaches; however, the experience was life-changing for me, and reaffirms my understanding that “good ensembles make coaches look good.”