19 June 2007

All ye like sheep

The concert I sang in on Friday night went reasonably well, and as expected I got some major spine-chills. The music we sang and the cathedral we sang it in practically guaranteed them. It was a full house, with people even standing in the back, and the response was enthusiastic.

But we had some creative challenges as well, most of them logistics-related. I have never seen greater choral chaos than I did that night while we were lining up in the back of the church. In the green room, the organizers had told us to go out to the church, and line up without talking. You must envision here some hundred-odd people attempting to put themselves in reverse order, and mentally reconfigure the five rows we had been sitting in during the dress rehearsal into the four rows that were in the front of the church on concert night, all while maintaning eight part divisions. We had not practiced entering or exiting, as is de rigeur for choirs in concert situations. It was mayhem, and last-ditch attempts of someone to corral us into correct order resulted in further confusion, and the women marched towards the stage in complete disarray.

When I arrived on stage, I found myself in the front row, which I knew was a problem because of my height. I switched with a short woman, but then found myself in the midst of the second altos, when I sing first. So once again I switched, this time after we had already been seated, causing an entire row of women to jump from their chair to the next one over, musical-chairs style. And this was just me; similar little dramas were happening the whole time.

After the intermission, we marched up again, this time theoretically in order since we had "practiced" once, but somehow an entire row of altos went around to the wrong side, and we all had to sidle past each other on the narrow risers. Verrrry classy.

Oh, and a couple of basses' chairs' back legs slid off the risers when we sat down during the Fauré Requiem, causing some shiny tuxedo shoes to suddenly appear in the air, and also frightening a lot of us. Fortunately, they were fine, but it definitely interrupted the mood, and we also discovered, during the soprano Pie Jesu solo, that the chairs were squeaky as a pile of mice and that some of us are unable to be utterly still so as to prevent said mice from squeaking their version of a duet with the poor soloist.

Alas and alack, I do think our physical blunders must have effected the singing, in part by breaking up the voice parts and resulting in the second altos somehow becoming separated from the flock, musically speaking, during one of the Duruflé pieces. My loyal audience members promise they noticed nothing, and more or less everything else went swimmingly.

After the musical adventures on Friday, M. and I continued to have a great weekend. Post-concert we went to a friend's birthday party, and Saturday we lunched with an Argentinian friend who lives in England and who was here briefly, and then went to another party in the evening with all the Spanish Parliament people, which actually turned out really fun. M. and I danced a couple of salsas, even though we don't actually know how! Sunday afternoon we strolled around with a group of our Catalan friends at the huge outdoor Portuguese festival in our neighborhood, eating grilled sardines and shrimp, empanadas, and lots of yummy egg-cream based desserts, and then Sunday evening we went to a friend's house to watch the three simultaneous soccer games that would determine the winner of the Spanish Liga...although Barça pulled out an amazing game, scoring five goals, Madrid unfortunately also had an amazing game, and thus won the big silver cup. With both Barça and Real Madrid supporters in the room, there were some intense moments. Anyway, that was our weekend!

And coming up this weekend, the choir has another concert, this time in Namur, and with a fun repetoire incorporating jazz, pop, and classical pieces (rehearsing last night, I discovered more intimately than I ever have before just how weird of a song is Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody"). I just hope we can manage to walk on stage without falling over our "little silhouettos."

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