Tuesday, October 08, 2002

Coaching with Kathleen Kelley (no seriously that is her name)

For my first real coaching, I think it went very well! I sang Beth's Death Aria from the new and wonderful opera Little Women (for those of you who I subjected to a lecture on the merits of this opera already, I'll spare you a repeat). I was very worried, because I forgot to get the coordinator the music ahead of time, and this accompaniment is not easy...but I showed up, and she looked at the music and said, "Little Women! Oh wonderful! I love that opera!" It was so much fun! We made it all the way through the aria (odd for a coaching), and she had so many suggestions! I'm the only person here that even knows the show, so no one could tell me what to do with it! Oh so cool -- told me to change my characterization in a few places -- and it WORKED! For most of the vocal stuff it was things that my voice teacher has told me over and over -- but did I do them? no. Now I will. Anyway! It was great -- my voice stayed with me (after all that hell yesterday I didn't have much of one this morning) and I learned a lot. It was a great way to get my feet wet in the field of master classes and coachings. Next time maybe I'll have one in front of an audience!

My time in Hell

So we had the dumbest choir concert last night! May I just stress ho dumb it was. It was all hymns and church anthems for some symposium. Now, I must say, I like hymns. I love the message, and the content, and the melodies. But did they make us sing the good ones? No they did not. They made us sing the dumb, homophonic ones. And the one good one we sang was an arrangement (aka -- we took away the melody, changed the harmony, and shamelessly conformed the whole thing to our own melody that has nothing to do with the original song). I hate those. There was a high point -- we got to learn an African summons by rote (I love doing that -- even if I am a good presbyterian and can't clap and sing at the same time). Then we had to sing choir anthems. Not the good, moving, stirring, passionate ones. Of course not. We sang the cheesy, overemotional, sappy "Marching to Zion" ones (more on that later). Anyway, the music was all easily sight read-able. Were we allowed to sight read? NO. We had to rehearse it. During choir (fine). Then we had to meet at 5 to rehearse it some more. The concert didn't start until 7:30. Then did we get to sit -- NO because we're doing the whole darn show standing up. So, instead of just telling us that we'd be standing up the whole time.....we PRACTICED standing the whole time. And every time we stopped, some idiot choir police had to open their big trap and say "Um....there are some (key word -- some = everyone but me) sopranos on measure 34 that are singing an F, and it should be an F# . I could have killed them. The rest of the choir would have helped at that point. And after a two hour rehearsal, they gave us snacks (the least they could do I'm sure)...and the cheese crackers weren't the peanut butter kind. (That really isn't that bad in and of itself, but it capped off the misery). The concert itself was agonizingly long. Every tempo was slow to begin with (Randall Thompson's alleluia alone took 15 minutes). Then having the whole "congregation" joining in slowed the tempo even more. And in the end, we weren't "Marching to Zion" -- we were trudging, plodding, limping to Zion. Anyway --that heavens that is over. And do we get a day off from choir after a 5 hour night last night? no........