|Rehearsal: the Orchestra Meets the Choir
||[Dec. 6th, 2009|11:06 pm]
We were all there on time--I was there early, because it was foggy and I didn't know how long it would take--so I helped Jen lay out sheets of paper on chairs--I did the "program" sheets and she did the name placement sheets, color-coded by section. Between yesterday and today (Sat. and Sun. this is) I got moved from the left side of the alto section, row three, to the right side (next to tenors) in row four, the top row. I rather enjoyed the seatmates I had yesterday, but my new (and permanent for this performance) seat is right where I was last year, with a direct sight-line to David, our director...right in the middle. I have the same tenor beside me as last year, too. Since I haven't been next to tenors in any of the rehearsals, it did take a bit of adjustment (for one thing, I can't hear the other altos except the one on my right--not my best intake ear--so I can't tell how loud I'm singing in comparison.)
Rehearsal started on the stroke of 7:30; this is the Austin Symphony, or a subsection of it (since Messiah doesn't require the whole modern-size orchestra) and as always I was impressed with the way that David improves any ensemble--voices or instruments--through a rehearsal. I'm now better at hearing the furry or fuzzy places and anticipating what he's going to say and do to get them cleaned up. The choir this year is smaller than last year's, but "cleaner" for the most part, although we're lacking a couple of splendid basses. David says we actually make more sound, and more correct articulation, because we're singing better.
It is, however, exhausting...and I'm definitely having some problems with breath and stamina. Not that I want to quit anytime soon. Tomorrow's the dress rehearsal and Tuesday's the performance--both longer than we were singing tonight. But when I think back to the first time I sang Messiah, in 1978 in South Texas...the first time I'd auditioned for a choir...this is both easier and harder. I know more about the music, more about singing, more about what it's possible to do with the music if you do more than sing the right notes at the right time. Back then, I had endless breath and the long "tiddly bits", once I learned the notes, were no problem. I could sing measures of them. Now...not. OTOH, I can now sing them more cleanly (but dropping out to take breaths here and there) and I can put accents on them where David wants. And trills (well, not on the tiddly bits, of course, but where there's a little dwell time.) Some people say they get bored with Messiah...I don't see how anyone could, with a good director. It's never the same twice (David won't let it be--he changes his marks. In fact, he came up with something yesterday, from what he heard another choir do the day before....not having us do quite the same thing, but sort of.)
Very tired tonight. Wishing various things didn't hurt. But looking forward to more music. Singing with an orchestra--YES. Singing in a choir that can make final consonants snap like whips--YES. Singing with a director who insists on us doing that right and yet makes it fun--YES.