And lo, other than the professional ringers brought in to pep up the rest of us, many others were worse off than I was. Scoldings were the order of the day. It is one week and two days before we have to sing the hardest Bach bits, and though it's better than last week, it's not enough better. Our director pointed out that we've had sectional rehearsals (not every week but more often than not) for something like six weeks. True, but I missed three weeks when sick. It surprises me that I've caught up with people who were there all through.
But I'm not perfect yet, either. One reason I prefer to sit right in front of our director is that if I'm going to make a blunder, I want to know it immediately, before I fix in concrete what I did wrong. But that's exactly what makes the center front dangerous. You cannot, absolutely cannot, miss a note, an entrance, an intonation, a consonant, without it being noted. Not commented on with your name attached, but "Some altos are rushing that entrance..." which will narrow down to "one alto is still rushing that entrance" if you don't fix it. Tonight, I was doing fairly well until, trying to hang on to a dying breath for the last beat, I lost the vowel and it twisted on me, into a sort of flat, almost nasal, diphthong. He stopped the choir: "ALTOS! That's not how to sing that word!"
"I did it," I muttered.
Yeah, it was that kind of rehearsal. But we ARE better....and we put overtime tonight. All working time, too. He said, at one point, "This isn't fun, I know...you don't know how much fun we could have if you all had all the notes!" But I was having fun, in the same way that a strenuous athletic workout can be fun. Singing with David is multi-tasking--so many things to be aware of simultaneously--reading the music, expressing the music, controlling the whole vocal apparatus, awareness of others in the choir and of course being attentive to him. Like all good conductors, when we're "on" he can direct us with facial expression and very little movement...when we're not, he waves his arms, squinches his face, sways around, even stamps his foot, etc.
This after a day that included a lot of work as well. I was tired when I went and sort of fell out of the car when I got home, after 10 pm. But now I need to put in another hour on the revisions, because my editor and I are having a chat in the morning and another set of revisions came in this afternoon.