Sunday, April 13, 2008

Weight Off My Shoulders

About two months ago I was asked by our Stake Music Director if I would accept the assignment to have our ward choir participate in an Interdenominational Choir Festival. Of course I accepted, because that's what you do in this church when you're given an assignment. We had our Easter program to get ready, but as none of those songs would have really been appropriate for the Festival, so they were of no use.

We had to perform two songs by ourselves and prepare three more to do combined with the other choirs. The combined songs were HARD and freaked my whole choir out when we tried to sight-read them. I continued to reassure them and tell them that they would be surprised at how quickly they came together when we were there with the other singers. They didn't believe me, but I was proven correct in the end.

There were a few songs that were so clearly protestant, that a lot of my singers were weirded out by them. My singers just haven't been exposed to anything other than LDS-Sacrament-meeting-appropriate music. They've never sung upbeat spirituals with percussion. They were out of their comfort zone, but they still had a good time.

I was totally stressed about it because my singers haven't been very diligent or consistent in their rehearsal attendance. On top of that I was told about how the other choirs all have professional directors and professional accompanists, etc. etc. I was expecting them to be fantastic, and I wanted to be too.

We rehearsed two hours last Thursday night and two hours this afternoon. Then we had a 90 minute rehearsal combined right before the performance tonight. (That doesn't include the two hours I spent singing on Saturday with another choir.) So I have been a little burnt out and worried. I have been looking forward all weekend to Monday (can you believe it) because that would mean that this Choir Festival would finally be over!

Well, I was all prepared to hang my head in shame, because as many of you know, I am a music snob and perfectionist and am always dissatisfied with my performance. However, as soon as I heard the first choir sing I knew we had it in the bag. The first choir was terrible. The second choir was only moderately terrible, but picked a couple of really nice songs. Then we sang, and if I do say so myself, we were good. Pretty darn good. Not quite fabulous, but nearly. The first song was a little shaky, but the second was BEAUTIFUL. We did an arrangement of "Come Thou Fount" that I sung years ago with Aimee & Erin Palmer entitled "Blessings". It is a gorgeous arrangement, and I have had every ward choir I've directed since perform it.

I truly felt that angels came down and sang with us; our performance was consecrated by the Lord and the Spirit was there and we did so well. I was so proud of my singers. Hopefully they enjoyed themselves and haven't completely burned out. Now I get an emotional break and it feels good!

1 comment:

Aimee said...

How satisfying and wonderful, Maren! And what a great choice of music, too, I must say. That truly is an amazing arrangement of "Come Thou Fount." Wouldn't it be fun to sing that together again someday? :)