Friday, August 28, 2009

Tenth Rehearsal

Accompanist Joan was back with us and we focused on the Interpolations in the Magnificat. We made great progress on both the text and the notes. We then went back to the beginning. It felt good to hear the piece gradually coming together. It is so wonderful when you feel like you’re actually making music. There were some moments like that as we practiced the SSA trio, Sucepit Israel (He has helped his servant, Israel).

Tenor Charlie was back with us and reported that his slow-growing tumor will be monitored only, at this time. Evidently the risks of surgery are great and could affect the good ear too. At least we know he’s going to the best possible place for treatment. He said it feels strange to sing, but he’s game to do it. We are thankful.

We spent the last part of the rehearsal on a Norwegian carol, I am so Glad. We hope to sing the first verse in Norwegian, but we haven't attempted it yet.

We won't have rehearsal next week. Director Ernest is having a colonoscopy the next day. Believe me, he would rather be singing!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Ninth Rehearsal

Our ninth rehearsal seemed like our second or third as we started. Accompanist Joan couldn't be there so we had a wonderful substitute, Jolene. We started where we left off last rehearsal, with the last two movements. We worked hard on them last time and felt good when the rehearsal ended. This time, we were back at square one, as if it was all new again (difficult music is like that). We worked though it again, and we all broke into applause when we finally nailed it! Now, we'll see how we do next week...

We again worked on the German interpolations, we needed more work on those too.

Soprano Cherry passed around photos of her daughters (8 mos and 3). They were a smash hit. Ernest invited everyone to a showing of "Sing Birds," a Sean Owens film about the efforts of Cahuilla people to keep this music alive.

Tenor Charlie wasn't there, and we found out that he has a tumor (benign) in his left ear. He is on his way to the House Institute this week. That's the best place he could go. I've heard about them ever since I was a student at USC. I don't think there's a better place to treat him. We'll all be praying for him and cheering him on.

Singing in a chorus is about more than music, its about teamwork with fellow singers, almost like a team sport. We all have our distinct voices, but when they come together and actually make music (the director is rather like a coach), it feels like scoring a touchdown (football season soon)! We also come to care about our "teammates."

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Eighth Rehearsal

Tenor Charlie was back with us, and we were all so happy to see him! He cannot hear in his left ear, but he wanted to try singing. He has missed it. He’s a bit behind because he’s missed several rehearsals, but he made great progress and we hope he’ll keep at it.

We rehearsed in the COOL room, the Fellowship Hall. Everyone liked it. We think this room is better in lots of ways, more comfortable and we can hear each other better.

We worked on the Magnificat, starting near the end again. The last section is particularly difficult and more like an instrumental work than a vocal one. Each part is different, and the rhythms are tricky for each. We tried each part separately, then put them together, two at a time. When we put it all together, the sopranos reached the end first. Not a good thing. We were all madly counting, tried again, and we finally all ended at the same time. This was our victory for the night.

We started at the beginning again, and it was wonderful to sing the first chorus, we now actually know it!

Singing this work is so inspiring and uplifting. Bass Tony reports that after rehearsals he sometimes has trouble getting to sleep. We’ve had that experience too. Talking with Soprano Judy after the rehearsal, we remarked about how universal this music is. There is a Bach Society in Japan that may be working on the Magnificat too. They have made recordings that are absolutely wonderful!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Seventh Rehearsal

Our new keys let us into the church, but a few seconds later, the alarm went off. We found out they had changed the alarms that afternoon and the old codes weren't viable any more. The alarm company called Deacon Bob who came and turned off the alarm and gave Ernest his new secret code to arm and disarm the alarm. We then turned the AC on in the sanctuary, but 2 hours later it still wasn't very cool. We decided to try having our rehearsal in the fellowship hall. It was cool, good light, tables to put our music on, we could hear each other well, and everyone liked it a lot.

We worked on the Magnificat, started near the end and, for the first time, sang through to the end. Now we've actually gone through the entire work, always an important milestone. Now none of it will be "new" anymore, we'll just work to make it better. Tenor Charlie has been missing because he developed a sudden hearing problem in one ear. We miss his voice and his wonderful sense of humor and hope he will be back with us soon.