ciroccoj: (100 words)
... and then one day someone discovered the collected works of Eminem.
- Daniel, describing the Carmina Burana (Cantiones Profanae)

Other bits from yesterday's choir rehearsal:

  • Soprano 1: (reading translation of the lyrics) Huh. Yielding gratifies me; refusing makes me grieve.
    Soprano 2: Yup. My maidenhood excites me.

  • Director: Sopranos, that was beautiful. The Brahms choir will be bringing in some German speakers, though. So it's going to be important that there be words. Your vowels were wonderful. But you'll want consonants.

  • Soprano: Ouch. Page 41, third system: Soprano Roadkill. (AKA we hit a high C)

  • Director: (summing up the lovely, gentle second song) So this is the 'chanting monks' song--
    (Two of the men immediately bonk their foreheads with their scores, a la Monty Python and the Holy Grail)

(Carl Orff's Carmina Burana, btw, is a cantata based on twenty-four of the poems found in the medieval collection of Carmina Burana. They are in Latin, German, and French, and deal with "the fickleness of fortune and wealth, the ephemeral nature of life, the joy of the return of Spring, and the pleasures and perils of drinking, gluttony, gambling and lust," says Wikipedia. More info here)
ciroccoj: (wonder)
All I can say is I'm already looking forward to next year's Mosaik. And hoping the recording matches what I heard last night. And marvelling at anyone being able to coordinate six choirs, 200 singers aged 5-70+, one guest conductor, and choreography rather more complex than regular European-style "walk on to the stage and stand there." And being able to keep everyone high-energy during and after a long day of rehearsals.

::happy sigh::

Seriously, I can't wait for next year :)

no words

May. 1st, 2010 11:07 pm
ciroccoj: (wonder)
Slept about four (bad) hours last night. Thought I should probably not go to the 9AM-3PM choir workshop and possibly even skip the 7PM concert. Decided to drag myself to it anyway. The workshop/rehearsal ran almost an hour late. Concert was loooong, featuring about a million choirs and Rajaton, a Finnish a capella sextet.

And I have no words for how grateful I am that I went. OMG, this is like the epitome of transcendent choir experiences. For the first time ever, I actually had tears in my eyes during a choral piece.

Will now go to sleep. Anyone waking me up before Monday will be shot on sight.
ciroccoj: (limitations)
  1. Shoes: check

  2. Make-up: check

  3. Munchies for intermission: check

  4. Wallet in case I want to bid in the Silent Auction: check

  5. Music: ...OH CRAP.

Well, I had contemplated leaving my music at home anyway, as the other choirs participating don't use music, and I knew the songs, and it's always a plus when at least one person in a section actually looks at the director... so: made lemonade :D :D :D

The concert was awesome. The kids's choirs were incredibly cute, the songs went really well, the munchies were devoured as though a swarm of locusts had settled upon the table, the Silent Auction made mucho $$$, the Black History Month concert is always my favourite one and this year's was no exception, we have got to sing Witness again, nobody fell off a riser, nobody fainted, there was no earthquake (all of which have happened at previous Black History Month concerts) and our Weekend of Great Busyness is over.

::contented sigh::

On tomorrow's agenda: skating the length of the Rideau Canal. Let's see who makes it :)

ETA: I'm really hoping our version of Witness was a little less... um, white than the one on Youtube. I think it was. I mean, the University of Utah Singers sound great and all, but. Yeah.
ciroccoj: (journey)
  1. Probably should stop skating and going to TKD on the same day. It always ends in tears.

  2. OTOH, it was a pretty good day. Third time on the Canal this year; the ice wasn't as smooth as on Tuesday, but it was nice to be able to see. Tuesday's outing with the Cubs was... dark.

  3. Then again, we did visit the "end" of the Skateway. Have lived in Ottawa since I was eight, and had never once in my whole entire life seen the 7.8K mark - or the 0.0K mark, for that matter. We always just skate around the middle.

  4. Wind today? A little brutal. Awesome to skate with it at our backs, though :D :D :D

  5. TKD red/black belt class? Also brutal. But also awesome. I would love to learn how to do reverse kicks without falling down or ending up kicking myself.

  6. Bring on Old People Veteran Class tomorrow. Damn young whippersnappers can have their Friday night keggers, or whatever it is they do these days; us seniors will do warm-up diligently "unless you're getting tired," and spar "unless you're really wiped."

  7. Found out our pumpkin cookie recipe is extremely low-fat. Wish I hadn't. Now I want to eat more.

  8. Kids went to Aviation Museum to do a workshop. During the workshop I chatted with a mom whose seven-year-old daughter is now a son. Realized I only know/know of three transgendered people in my life, and all have been female-to-male.

    No, the mom doesn't know if her son will always want to be a boy. But she figues he's been pretty clear on it for the last three years, has become pretty adamant about it in the last six months, and if he changes his mind later on in life, at least he'll know that his parents are there for him no matter what.

  9. Cannot imagine how challenging it must be to parent a (possibly) transgender kid, and the self-doubts and second-guessing that must be part of... everything, really. My admiration for this woman knows no bounds.

  10. I really hurt. My feet and ankles and shins, mostly. Also my back. Thighs are a little iffy too.

  11. Will not be doing tournament training this Sunday, as I will be at my choir's Black History Month concert. Which is going to be wicked, despite the fact that one of the songs we're singing is a song I loathed with deep passion when we sang it at the Homeschooling Choir a few years ago, and it brought me the most joy right after we finished singing it in concert, because that meant we wouldn't have to sing it any more.

  12. This! We're going to be doing this! No, we're not singing Africa, nor are we making rain for the Loathed Song. We're going to do it for another song, appropriately named Rain, from Ladysmith Black Mambazo. I can't wait.

  13. The whole concert is going to be awesome. Well worth skipping TKD tournament training :D :D :D

  14. Must not forget to make munchies for the concert. I know! Pumpkin oatmeal cookies!

  15. Will do Family Day next Monday, when the whole world isn't doing it too. I want to skate the entire 7.8k length. Never done it before. Am possibly insane.

  16. Will not be attending TKD that night. Am not that insane.

  17. Yeah, that's about it.
ciroccoj: (failure)
Spent several hours today going through my mom's sewing/embroidery supplies (she died in 2004), getting wheezier and wheezier. Stopped to go to a choir event, and realized I had huge allergic shiners. Marvelous. Sang from the back row. Here's hoping the camera never wandered anywhere near me, which is very likely as we only did two songs, both mostly as backup to soloists.

The soloists were wonderful, btw. And! I got to go into one of the Parliament Buildings, which, I realized as I was walking in, I have never been inside in my entire life, despite being almost forty and living in Ottawa since I was eight.
ciroccoj: (wonder)
Sometimes I'm reminded of just why it is that I'm almost never without a choir to sing in. Normally it's great and fun and everything, but choir has been part of my life since I was about eleven or so, so it's just... there. Cool thing to do, look forward to rehearsal night and concerts, then go on with the rest of the week.

Today my choir joined with Musica Viva for our first joint rehearsal before we perform as guests at their Mozart's Vespers/Christmas concert next Monday night. Going from around 40-50 voices to 110? Wow. Doing so with some of the most beautiful music written in the last few centuries?


No words. It's incredible.
ciroccoj: (mischievous)
So, all excited from being able to sing second soprano for a few songs, I promptly go and lose my voice. Spend the next two days hyperdosing on Echinacea and Vitamin C, with some hot lemon, honey, and ginger thrown into the mix. Get my voice back! W000t!!

...aaand we sing a total of one song that even has a second soprano part, and said second soprano part consists of five notes that are different from the first soprano part.


On the other hand, it's a bloody good thing I got my voice back; we just started a Mozart piece. Boy, a first soprano must've kicked over his sandcastle when he was a kid. Think I lost whatever voice I had.
ciroccoj: (wonder)
  • Just came from our penultimate rehearsal before we sing The Messiah this Sunday. OMG, we have improved. Thank GOD, because it was getting a little scary there for a while.

    Some items of interest:

    • We're three choirs, maybe... 150 people? I think? Somewhere up there, anyway. And there are at least two female tenors. I've always thought it would be so cool to be a female tenor. We had one at St. Mary's Cathedral Choir in Kingston, about four or five altos that had been pressed into service at the Kingston Choral Society because we had only two real tenors and three straining basses, and I always thought it would be really neat to sing down there. Sadly, I cannot even get myself transferred down to second soprano, so I think it would take some massive hormone treatments to become a tenor and I really don't want it that much.

    • Continuing the theme of vocal switcheroo, our alto soloist is a guy. Which looks and sounds so completely wrong when you first hear it, until you get used to it. It's kinda funny to come across a male alto in real life when just a few weeks ago I came across male altos on Youtube, singing a different song from The Messiah:

      But Who May Abide The Day of His Coming, alto soloist Matt Alber, and same song, alto soloist Micheal Chance.

      What's funny is at the time I hadn't even been looking to find The Messiah. I'd just followed a link someone posted for Matt Alber's End of the World (very cool song, lovely video except that he looks better with the beard). Clicked another Alber link, found Monarch, also quite lovely. Saw a link to him singing Messiah, clicked, and went AAUGGH WTFF IS THAT??!!

      ...listened a bit longer and realized if I didn't know it was a guy singing, his voice was actually quite lovely. And perhaps finding a guy singing in a high voice weird and wrong and icky was more my problem than it was his? Maybe?

    • The male voice is totally amazing. Tired of hearing alto/falsetto? Here's the lowest basso profundos in the world, singing We Praise Thee with the St Petersburg Chamber Choir. And Vladimir Pasuik & Viktor Wichniakov (I think the same two guys from the previous link) more solo-like.

      Caution: don't play those too loud unless you're sure the closest male elephant in heat is a couple of cities away. Otherwise you may be getting company real soon - big, cranky company, expecting a nubile female somewhat larger than yourself.

    • Another weirdness: sat next to a soprano from one of the other choirs, quite relieved that she really sounded like she knew what she was doing because I was getting mightily tired of sitting next to one of our own sopranos who, um, still doesn't. At one point she introduced herself, and told me she was the mom of one of my choir's altos.

      It's a very small world. Said alto is the sister of a girl I went to high school with. And also the sister of the mother of one of Justin's closest friends when he was in kindergarten. I keep running into the women of this family. Apparently there's a fourth sister I have yet to meet. I'm sure I will run into her some day; probably doing TaeKwon-Do, or soccer, or working at a law firm, or something.

    • At the end of the rehearsal, somebody started to sing happy birthday to our director, whose birthday it was. You know when a crowd of family or friends starts singing Happy Birthday, how everybody ends up in different keys, with a low drone underneath it all from the tone deaf?

      OK, now imagine someone strikes up the song and you get about 150 choir singers to join in. And then an orchestra jumps in too.

      Yeah. Best rendition I've ever heard :D :D :D

  • And on to something that has nothing to do with choir, other than being slightly ironic in that my choir stuff has had to do with The Messiah and what's next decidedly doesn't:

    Joss Whedon accepts his Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award in Cultural Humanism at Harvard University's Memorial Church

    I love this man. And I may have to print out and post this quote:

    The enemy of humanism is not faith. The enemy of humanism is hate, is fear, is ignorance, is the darker part of man, that is in every humanist, every person in the world. That is the thing we have to fight. Faith? Is something we have to embrace. Faith in God means believing absolutely in something with no proof whatsoever. Faith in humanity means believing absolutely in something with a huge amount of proof to the contrary. We are the true believers.

  • As long as I'm linking to one Joss Whedon speech, I may as well link to another: Joss Whedon's Equality Now speech, AKA 101 answers to the press junket question, "Why do you always write these strong women characters?" (his speech starts at 2:00 min)
ciroccoj: (LOTR)
Am hosting a choir sectional this Sunday. Eeep.

I cannot imagine what it must be like to be singing in our choir right now if you don't like the Messiah. Because it's all we're doing, every single rehearsal. I'm in heaven, personally, because I love it and have sung it many many times, but it must be brutal if you're not a fan. And... well, it's also rather rough going, especially for the sopranos. Tonight we screwed up so badly on one song that our director actually skipped right on to the Hallelujah chorus without another word. Oy vey.

It's an odd mix, too. We've got equal numbers of men, altos, and sopranos - which, for those of you who don't know about choirs, is not generally the natural order of things. Normally the soprano section is huge and the men are few. Tonight we also had eight second sopranos and four firsts; again, not the natural order of things at all. We're struggling. I'm trying to sing more loudly than I usually do because I've actually sung most of the songs before and sopranos are not generally well-known for their sightreading ability (actually, we suck at it), but the problem is my voice is teeny-tiny, and gets harsh when I try to give it volume.

Anyway. I really hope the sectional helps. We're still struggling with notes, never mind expression and tone and all that fun stuff. It would be very nice to get on with making the music sound good, rather than just sound technically correct.
ciroccoj: (wonder)

Did a recording session tonight at Brookfield High School. Gosh but it's different from singing for practice or onstage. Everything has to be so. totally. perfect. And there's so much wait time while people bustle and set things up, gah.

Can't wait to hear the recordings, though. We only did four (Sound Over All Waters, Lean On Me and MLK with Brookfield, and Keep Your Lamps on our own) but damn, we did them well :)

It's funny, once in a very sky-blue moon I get nostalgic about high school. It only takes walking into one to whisk that feeling away post-haste ;)
ciroccoj: (wicked)
Apparently, we're on Youtube! Our choir director just posted these news snippets of our Black History Month concert onto Youtube, in case anyone's interested:

  • Rehearsal, on CTV news, 20s. BTW, right before the clip ends you can see me! I'm the one closest to the camera for about a second ;)

  • Concert on CJOH News, 35s. Chris said the song we're singing on the clip was the song we sang worst in the entire concert :D :D

  • News clip on A Channel, 1:08 min. Clip shows mostly our guests, World Voices Choir, singing a South African song (we're singing too, but they're a lot bigger than us so you can't really see us), and Cathy Grant Mahone, one of the guest soloists.
ciroccoj: (limitations)

I love choir.

I'm a bit nervous there lately, though, because my choir kinda lost most of our powerhouse - and, incidentally, most of our experienced - first sopranos, and I'm getting the feeling that it's just me up there right now. Tonight we practiced Will Ye No Come Back Again and Freedom Trilogy, both gorgeous works I adore, and it felt like I was the only soprano descanting up there. Yes, I just made up a verb. Which, OK, I can do the parts, but...

See, I'm (usually) very accurate. My timing and pitch are generally very good. I spend most of my time looking at our director, not the music. All of these qualities are assets in a first soprano, because unfortunately they are distressingly rare. Also, I've been told I have a lovely voice. Truly beautiful, pure and sweet, like a little angel.

A little, tiny angel. Like, a really really little angel, the kind that sits on your shoulder opposite the little devil, so that only you can hear it. That kind of angel.

My contribution to choir has always involved standing next to the powerhouses and softly singing my lovely, accurate, angelic little songs into their ears, so they can belt them out impressively and wow the audience.

When I try singing loudly? It does not work well. I squeak.

So, the final belted-out high-A in Will Ye No, done entirely by me? Ah, yeah, no, not happening. Final blastissimo six bars of high As in the Freedom Trilogy? Big negatory on that one too.

So, yikes. I really hope our newer sopranos pick up the slack. Because otherwise the descants are gonna be silent, or sound like a mouse scratching its claws across a squeaky whiteboard. Ouch.

On the good front of choir-related news, the men are doing their chicken song again and sang it for us at the end of today's rehearsal and they totally rocked. Very nice barbershop-type sound. We just have to hope that they don't make cluck-cluck-b'CAW! sounds on stage again, and that they don't make little hourglass shapes with their hands and give a little whooOOp!! cry as they sing the words, "She was so fine, so buxom!" during the performance ;)
ciroccoj: (Default)
Right, so I had a bit of an issue with misposting a link in an earlier post today, but now I've sorted it out. These are two songs from the Black History Month concerts that happened this month, both by the World Voices Choir from Brookfield High School. The first is Nkosi Sikelel'i Afrika (God Bless Africa), the "pan-African anthem" often sung in South Africa before Apartheid. The second is Follow the Drinking Gourd, an American slave song. Both are from their CD, Ubunti, which they released earlier this month.

Nkosi Sikelel'i Afrika
Lyrics )

Follow the Drinking Gourd
Lyrics )

The Drinking Gourd, in case it's not obvious, is the Big Dipper, which can be used to easily identify the North Star, which points, by a staggering coincidence, straight North ;)
ciroccoj: (Default)
Spiritual concert a fitting celebration of Black History Month
By Fred Sherwin
Orleans Online

Ottawa gospel singer Kathy Grant Mahon brings the 'Hold Fast to Dreams' concert to a close at the Orleans Theatre on Sunday night. The concert was organized by the Harmonia Choir of Ottawa to celebrate Black History Month.

Read more... )

Neato. They liked it. I can't help but notice, though, that what they talk about the most is World Voices Choir, not Harmonia. That's fair; they were, IMHO, the best part of the concert :)
ciroccoj: (wonder)
It's funny, I never miss choir when I don't go, but then every time I go back after an absence I ask myself how I could've stayed away.

Here's a couple songs from our last concert of the year, in May of last year. Neither one sounds as good as they did in person, but they're still pretty good.

Tiny Fish For Japan, by Stan Rogers (SSA version)
Liner Notes: This song is not intended as a slur of any kind on the countries who import food products that our government won't let us eat. It is Stan's sadly ironic way of describing exactly the status of the Inland Fisheries as seen through the eyes of many a fisherman our of a job. There IS a Norfolk Hotel - Stan played there years ago. The village was dying then. Now they have one of the best Summer Theatre houses in Ontario, but that's little consolation to the men with the boats.

Where Patterson Creek's muddy waters run down
Past the penny arcades, by the harbour downtown,
All the old Turtlebacks rust in the rain
Like they never will leave there again.

But leave there they will in the hours before dawn,
Slip out in the darkness without word or song;
For a few more years yet they will work while they can
To catch tiny fish for Japan.

No white fish or trout here, we leave them alone.
The inspectors raise hell if we take any home.
What kind of fisherman can't eat his catch
Or call what he's taken his own?

But the plant works three shifts now. There's plenty of pay.
We ship seventeen tons of this garbage each day.
If we want to eat fish, then we'll open a can,
And catch tiny fish for Japan.

In the Norfolk Hotel over far too much beer,
The old guys remember when the water ran clear.
No poisons with names that we can't understand
And no tiny fish for Japan...

So the days run together. Each one is the same.
And it's good that the smelt have no lovelier name.
It's all just a job now, we'll work while we can,
To catch tiny fish for Japan.
And we'll catch tiny fish for Japan.


Hallelujah, Leonard Cohen

This really doesn't capture the magic of the performance, but you have to imagine a church at the end of a concert, only about 100 people in the audience, and this song just sort of rising out of nowhere. The swell at the end was incredible.

I've heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don't really care for music, do you?
It goes like this,
The fourth, the fifth,
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

You say I took the name in vain
Though I don't even know the name
But if I did, well really, what's it to you?
There's a blaze of light
In every word
It doesn't matter what you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

I did my best, it wasn't much
I couldn't feel, so I tried to touch
I've told the truth, I didn't come to fool you
And even though
It all went wrong
I'll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Our version didn't have this verse, which I think is too bad:
Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you
She tied you
To a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah
ciroccoj: (Default)
Last week's rehearsal: painful. Let's just leave it at that.

Let's not. Let's expand it briefly by saying that our choir director sent out a sort of apology e-mail, which I think was a good thing, and part of me thought it might be a good thing if some of the choir sent out apologies as well.

I did not seriously consider just not showing up for the concert.

Not seriously.

This week's rehearsal: the polar opposite. There were still some snags and things that really, by this point in time, we should have down pat and should not need to work on. But they were the exception, not the rule. Considering the fact that this is our last rehearsal before our final concert, this is a good thing.

Freedom Trilogy is a little ho-hum. We're slightly off, don't have Cassandra belting out the Amazing Grace solo, no drums... meh.

But the Cohen Hallelujah arrangement is... trancendent. Just completely and totally uplifting and glorious. Um. Wow.

Kurt's going to have somebody recording, and I hope that song turns out well. It's never the same, though, in a recording. There isn't the amazing live miracle feeling.


Spent most of Tuesday walking, and most of Wednesday driving. Went to Daniel's chemistry class (ten home schooled kids, at one home schooling mom's house, learning about chemistry. This week's lesson was "smell". The boys made me perfume for Mother's Day. Daniel's was vanilla, cinammon, and thyme, and Justin's was sandalwood, lemon, and cinammon. Both very, very nice.

It's still so odd to go to my mother's house (which I have to, a couple of times a week, to water the plants and bring in the mail and reassure the insurance company that the house is not abandoned). It's... it's just odd.


[ profile] mynuet and [ profile] lherelenfeline, much food for thought has been munched upon in my mind, re your comments on conservativism. Mucho mental munching. Thank you.


Have heard back from three authors on [ profile] thursday100plus re. a website, and I think I'll keep plugging away at the website. I'm sure it'll only be of interest to about 30 people max, but seeing as how about 95% of the work has already been done, I may as well put it up. So far I'm up to January 2004, with February almost done too.

Thursday100Plus: November 2003 to January 2004


Chris' last day as a resident will be June 9. That's 30 days. Between now and then, he has 6 call days. It's a little unreal.
ciroccoj: (Default)
  • Countdown to Chris' final exams: 6 weeks

  • Distance from ideal weight: 16 pounds

  • Distance from realistic ideal weight: 6 pounds

  • Number of times my car turned over this morning: .5

  • Parking money saved by not driving in to school today: $6.50

  • Money spent on taxi: $23.

  • Our concert: 4.5.

So yeah, our Black History Month concert.

It rocked. We rocked. Our guests rocked. The earth literally moved.

That last bit wasn't caused by us, though. There was a small earthquake, 4.5 on the Richter scale with the epicentre in Thurso, Quebec (incidentally, where Guy's family lives) and since we were in Orleans, Ontario, we all heard about three or four rumbling sounds and a bit of vibration, like a few very large cement trucks had just lumbered by. Only found out it was an earthquake during the intermission.

Which is SO cool because I've always wanted to feel an earthquake, and now I have. I'm from Chile, land of many major quakes, but I left when I was very small and so I missed all the big ones. And I've been in about 5 or 6 small earthquakes (a few in Ottawa, and one during a visit to Chile) but never felt a thing. So, neato. Now I know what one feels like.

On to the concert. First, the not-so-good.

Our director had words with us during the rehearsal. Rather sharp words. Rather loud words. Words that utterly offended much of the soprano section (since we were the targets of the biggest and loudest set of words) both because of their content and because they occurred in front of the other two choirs and a few early members of the audience. A few sopranos contemplated just walking out. One of the sopranos had a bit of an anxiety attack. They were not nice words.

In a way, though, I kind of understand. We really, really need to know our music better than we do. The final rehearsal before a concert is supposed to be used for perfecting dynamics and practicing how to get on and off-stage. Not for going over some of the notes.

Still. The severe tongue-lashing in public was not a nice thing to hear.

Next, the good.

Our guests were the Crosstown Youth Choir and the World Voices choir from Brookfield High School. And good lord, they were good. Much, much better than we were. Their African songs sounded so... African. The songs we did with them were totally inspiring. Nkosi Sikelele (African anthem) was gorgeous, even though - or perhaps because - we were actually singing from different arrangements. Which was kind of neat, as the two choirs were intermixed on stage, so we could hear people around us in our same section singing totally different notes.

Our soloist, Cassandra, who has a very nice soprano range but a gorgeous voice in her alto register, totally ruined one of our songs. The song was going very nicely, people were swaying, looking happy, and then she opened her mouth and belted out her first solo bit, and even before she was done, the World Voices choir was bursting into thunderous applause and cheers, and was soon joined by the rest of the audience. Cassandra looked quite startled, as were we, and the applause drowned out our chorus, but it had to be one of the nicest song-ruining moments I've ever experienced. Got a standing ovation after the song was done, too :) :) :)

And the boys were there too. They don't normally come to choir concerts, because it's just really not their thing, but I figured a concert with lots of upbeat music and variety and three different choirs and drums and all that funky stuff might be something they'd like, and Chris reported that they did indeed. Even though Justin fell asleep near the end. 10:00PM is a little late for a six-year old to sit and listen to music, even music accompanied by clapping and drumming and weird little shooting-at-birds movements.

So yeah. Good concert. The kind that make you glad you're in a choir. Minus the scolding at the beginning.
ciroccoj: (Default)
Final rehearsal this week:
  • Choir: (somewhat garbled) Dubula Mgefaka dolo le-o
    Margaret, sotto voce: You know what my husband says this sounds like?
    Sopranos near her: What?
    Margaret: Doo-boo-doo the fuckin' de old la-dy.

  • Pianist, who gave birth six weeks ago and has brought her baby to rehearsal, says something about the baby needing feeding.
    John: (bass who steps in whenever we're missing an accompanist) (mumble mumble) me to feed the baby?
    Tenor: Yeah, all right then, big boy, whip'em out, let's see 'em.

  • I am an atheist, mostly. But I'm not adamant about it; I reserve the right to be dead wrong on this, and if I am, I hope the Deity doesn't hold grudges. And there are some things in life that occasionally make me stop and think and wonder how they could possibly come about without some kind of divine influence.

    Certain kinds of music, for example. Christmas carols and spirituals, mostly. They're so intensely beautiful and emotionally overwhelming. The joy and reverence they engender really doesn't seem like it could possibly be directed at nothing. You can almost sense the presence of a higher power smiling and returning the love and devotion of the singers.

    And babies. It's so cliche to say that babies are little miracles, but it's true. Tiny helpless little beings who have to learn, in a few short years, a range of skills and truths that are nothing short of amazing. And the feelings they engender also seem inspired. Watching adults of all kinds completely melt at the sight of a little creature who, on the surface at least, seems to do nothing but eat, sleep, and emit a range of noxious substances and sounds. It's... anyway.

    So here we were, the last rehearsal before this latest concert, and the pianist's baby was being passed around the choir while we rehearsed. I asked to take her, and at one point, found myself holding her and singing and swaying with the choir as we did our last run-throughs of some of the gospel numbers.

    So there I am. Holding a baby, singing "Sing till the power of the Lord come down/Shout Hallelujah!/Praise His holy name!" at her, while she stared at me and gurgled and waved her little fists.

    And I thought, "God, if you're up there? Brilliant!! Well done!"

  • Whoops, just ran out of time. Will write about the actual concert later.
ciroccoj: (Default)
Haven't written about choir in a long time, not sure why.

So we're fully into rehearsals for our February concert, which will have the theme "Black History Month". Kind of a funny theme for a choir consisting mostly of middle-aged Ontarian Aryans, but you won't hear me complaining. We've got African songs, gospel songs, spirituals, you name it - if it's got a beat, we've got it.

Even we have a beat. Of sorts.

Program, for the curious )

And today we got to practice a few of our songs with a group of drummers, which... um, wow. Songs that had been kind of "Yeah, that's pretty good, nice little beat" abruptly turned into "Holy ****!!" Like, I had an extended atheist-touching-the-face-of-god moment. Mbinguni Kule, which is sweet but a little repetitive on its own, totally grew wings with the drums backing us up.

::happy sigh::

Oh and I dropped my Cheerful Idiot facade at one point in the rehearsal. I think one of the reasons I haven't written much about choir lately is that I'm much less frustrated these days after a rehearsal. I attribute this wholly to a seating rearrangement which has put me a few seats away from my previous neighbour, whom I shall politely call MoaningWhiningJustShutUP! TroubledSoul. TroubledSoul spends the better part of most rehearsals complaining about everything. Her feet hurt, she's too old to stand up, and the music sucks. All of it. All the time. Especially "this type of crap" - crap being defined as anything un-WASP-like. So the whole black-themed set? Not her cuppa. I had fond hopes that she'd drop out, as she's been threatening to ever since she joined, at least until after the February concert. But no. She shows up every week and bitches as if bitching were an Olympic sport.

Anyway, like I said, I'm not next to her any more, which makes choir infinitely more enjoyable. But I still get to hear her when there's a lull. And today, as we paused in between parts of Peter on De Sea, she moaned once more "I hate this crap," and I said, "Yes, we know." Which made a few people turn around - not that I was being rude or loud, I just said it very clearly and I normally don't say much in rehearsal.

TroubledSoul looked at me, really surprised, and said, "You actually like this thing?"

"Yes, I do," I said, and TroubledSoul looked rather insulted for about an hour.

But hey, she didn't complain about the songs. Score!

What was funny was that Peter on De Sea is the only song on our list that I actually don't like.

There was at least one song that she likes in our program. Nigra Sum, by Pablo Casals, the only women-only song we've ever done in this choir, though Kurt normally gives the men a song or two on their own. I guess he figures the women get enough exposure, and he's right. Still, it's neat to be on our own for once, especially for a song as lovely as this one.

It's not terribly Black History-ish, though, other than the title, "I Am Black". The lyrics are in Latin, and from the Song of Songs, and it was written by a (white) Spanish dude, and the melody doesn't say much that's African. But still. Gorgeous song. And we do it well.

November 2012

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