Chorale News and Reflections

I just got off the phone from ordering my chorale outfit; it’s starting to get more and more real to me that I’m actually singing with this phenomenally wonderful group.

Tuesday night we recorded a demo of a new composition entitled “Here Stands in Honored Glory,” by Donald B. Miller. This is a very nice choral piece based on the inscription of the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetary, and it is going to be marketed, I understand, to be performed at funerals and patriotic events for servicemen, veterans, and others; proceeds from the sale of the sheet music and the CD are going to benefit the widows and orphans of those courageous men and women who have given their lives in the war against terrorism. I’m proud to have been part of this project.

Don and his wife were present Tuesday evening for the recording session, a lovely couple, so warm and gracious. I arrived at our rehearsal venue at the same time they did, so we struck up a conversation before I found out why they were there. Don autographed my copy of the score, and I’ll be framing it … probably next week.

The recording was a lot of fun. We were squeezed like sardines in the sanctuary of the church where we rehearse, and I had the great thrill of sitting right beside the tenor section. Tenors were pouring out of the choir pews and sitting on the floor, right by my feet — ah, bliss! And when we sang, I found it was actually easier for me to hit my pitches with the other voice part beside me. hmmm… I’ll have to think on that one a bit.

The really cool thing was, after each take, the sound man, after a moment of silence, could be heard saying “Wow.” We had a small brass ensemble playing with us, you see, and a tympani — and after the first take he actually had to ask the chorale to back off a bit, we were overpowering the brass! Oh, what a good laugh we all had over that. And the First Trumpet stood up and said, “Impossible!” as if he were truly indignant — but of course he was joking with us. It was a lovely experience.

I’ll be posting info about how to order the CD single as soon as it’s available — and I’ll try to figure out how to post a sound file here on the blog, even a short excerpt. Don’t hold your breath, though.

Messiah rehearsals continue apace. The hardest thing for me, so far, is that Al wants to lighten up the melismas a bit by varying the emphasis on certain notes. Ordinarily, 16th notes are counted in a very rigid ONE-ee-And-a-TWO-ee-And-a… But Al wants us … well, to scat the runs! Like a jazz arrangement, almost — YA-da-da-YA-da-da-YA-da… It actually works! The emphasis falls according to the movement of pitch instead of a rigid four-count, and the effect (when we get it right! — you’d be amazed how hard a habit it is to develop, those alternate rhythms!) is to lighten the long runs considerably, making them dance rather than plod.

I’m having a blast! I only wish you could all come and join us!

Okay — This is post #99, I’m going to go now and post my obligatory 100-post party.

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