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May 18, 2003: The music in my head

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It was a long and musical day for me today, since the instrumental ensemble played in church in the morning and the recorder group held a short but highly effective rehearsal as well. Right now it looks as if we are actually going to start having ‘real’ classes on Sundays – perhaps a few this summer and then more seriously in the fall. The recorder seems deceptively easy to play, but there are nuances of pitch and tone that we all (with very few exceptions) still need to learn. And somehow having a recorder group that actually knows what it is doing, beyond simply providing notes in rhythm and (mostly) in tune seems like a worthy goal.

Tonight’s choral concert went surprisingly better than I think most of us ever expected, especially after the disaster of Thursday night’s rehearsal. By the end of the evening my voice was fading, and I think most of us in the choir were completely exhausted. It doesn’t help that the choir director is inordinately keen on us all wearing robes for this sort of thing – robes that are made of polyester and are therefore equivalent to wearing one’s own personal, portable sauna. We had a quick rehearsal beforehand, walking through the entire thing twice to figure out all the logistics of choir versus recorder group versus everything else. And then the concert started and suddenly a lot of things started falling into place.

Back when I was in synchronized swimming, I remember how consistently we would flub things in practice. There were always sections in the routines where I could never manage to hold my breath quite long enough, or get a formation quite right. But I was never concerned because I knew that come performance time (be it exhibition or competition), somehow it would all work out. When I was involved in the various bands in high school and college, there was always the same sort of understanding – a difficult section flubbed here and there wasn’t so much of a worry because the rush of adrenaline that came with any sort of ‘real’ performance somehow smoothed out edges that practice never could. Tonight, the choral concert felt the same way. By no means were we perfect – but in the past two years with this director we’ve done a lot of improvement, and it really showed.

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