Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Choral Frustrations

This season my chorus has a very challenging mix of music to perform. Unfortunately, my chorus requires no audition to join so we have a vast array of talents in the group. The ages range as well. I'm in the younger end. There are several very cool retirees in the soprano section. I have a buddy who likes books and cracks up at the silly struggling points in the music. I gotta say, it's a bit eerie that I consistently screw up a section where we sing "the holy ghost".

As someone who has sung her whole life and has taught music, I believe if you don't know how to read music, you better have an amazing voice or have developed your own method of singing in choruses. I have known dozens of amazing singers who can't read a single note and have no idea the difference between an eighth note and whole note so I'm not completely biased. But if you're an adult and decided to join a chorus on a whim with absolutely no music experience, you have to understand that everyone else around you has to carry your voice. Carry or mask.

There is a particular woman in my chorus who seems to think that she's not alone struggling with the music so when she asks a question it takes on the tone of a martyr who is standing up for the little guy. She asks SO MANY questions and bogs down rehearsals with ridiculous iterations of certain "difficult" sections of the music. C'mon, she has trouble singing down a scale! She doesn't bug me just because she's struggling. Hell, I'm not perfect this season either. She bugs me because she automatically dislikes difficult pieces and whines about them.

Last night after suffering through her struggles of jumping an octave (and forcing the entire soprano section to "struggle" with her), I wasn't too happy. When she complained to a group of us that a piece was pretty but it was ridiculously difficult, I replied with a verbal bitch slap, "Well, that will make it better once we get it." But that's my life philosophy. There is no joy in accomplishing easy tasks. Give me overwhelming challenges and I'm a happy camper (because I always accomplish what I set out to do).

I know I'm a snob when it comes to music and that's why I'm very happy with the challenging pieces we're doing this season. I'll grin and bear the sappy musical numbers we're doing as well. Being a soprano and singing choral arrangements of musical numbers is the most boring thing ever because we have the melody all the time. If I'm lucky, us second sopranos get to have a split harmony for a couple measures. Of course I am aware that my annoyance with the martyr of the soprano section could be connected to the fact that she won a solo I auditioned for last year. My solace was that the director told me that my voice was too big and rich for the solo (which means that she was looking for thin and weak voices - ha!)

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