However, last night at choir was a good experience, despite not being able to sight read an unfamiliar anthem at the speed we were taking it (and wanting to smack composers upside the head for taking a beautiful and familiar hymn and making it tricksy and hard to sing, not to mention too HIGH.) We started with a Russian composer (Gretchaninoff or something like--my music's still in the car.) The rest of the time was spent mostly with Robert Shaw/Alice Parker anthemized versions of familiar stuff...and I have a little less affection for those than our choir director does. Personally (and this is very personal, admittedly, and not the opinion of someone with a handful of music degrees) I think there's a place for singing hymns *as they are familiarly known* very beautifully. Same with Christmas carols. They don't need tarting up with twiddly bits, startling key changes, etc., etc. Let them show their original beauty--the reason they were chosen in the first place--by simply polishing the surfaces to a fine gloss.
This is, I suspect, a minority opinion.
Still, it's experience and singing and I'm glad to find I haven't backslid as much as I'd feared, in the month away from choir. Unfortunately, given the state of my throat this morning, I'm probably not going to be any help come Sunday.