Last night we met with the orchestra for the first time to tackle Mendelssohn's Elijah. I was surprised by several things:
1. Several Principal Symphony players were in attendance including Gwen Hoebig, Yuri Hooker, and Daniel Scholz.
2. My daughter's high school strings instructor was present in the Cello section.
3. The conductor did not appear stressed and last but not least...
The reason I hauled myself out of bed to attend was that since I am only an associate member of the choir I am not sure how secure my physical spot in the front row between N and S really is. I did not want to show up at dress rehearsal on Saturday having lost this spot from which I feel I can do my best singing. Secondly, I wanted to hear last minute markings first hand.
Being sick and void of any nourishment I could not stand for much of the rehearsal and when I did stand I felt I would fall on to the horn section directly below me. Surprisingly, my voice was in okay shape but my timing was somewhat off so I made blunders that I have not made in previous rehearsals. There are now different voices behind me than in our rehearsal venue so I had a whole new perspective on the pieces; not all of it positive. In some ways this semi-professional choir is not all that different from the church choir I sing in. Some sloppy singing still abounds this close to performance, some markings have still been missed which drives our conductor crazy, and basses are still heard to ask, "What page are we on?"
I am thankful I am not in charge of anything for this event. I just show up and sit quietly in my chair while the stage manager, a brave woman, has to arrange all of us in the best possible manner as she tried to solve the problems of altos without chairs, two choristers whose chairs fell through the platform leaving them on the floor, first sopranos sitting with the altos and more. She handled all of this with a smile as I realized she is the right person for the job.
Tomorrow the soloists will be there and they will certainly add more than enough sparkle to the event to help the choir take it up a notch or two. By Sunday's performance we will all peak together to provide a magical few hours. Hopefully, I will feel somewhat better by then.