Thursday, December 24, 2020



What a disappointment.  Christmas 2020 was to be a high choral point, booked to perform Bach's Christmas Oratorio with Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra players and the vibrant Ms. Brenneman at baton.  Cancelled.  Bah Humbug!

Instead I sang some Christmas Carols in my closet into my iphone microphone and sent them off to my church conductor at First Mennonite, where he tried to mix this and 20 other tracks into a whole for the Christmas eve church candle light service.  When one is doing their performance singing alone in the closet one needs to keep the end result in mind and imagine fellow singers around the city doing likewise, or else it is just too depressing.

This Christmas Eve day, I could not travel to the country to spend the day with my in-laws so I did this:

Brought my blue Baerenreiter score to the treadmill, put on this performance of Bach's Christmas Oratorio and proceeded to walk and sing.   Usually I watch Karajan and his impressive sing- from- memory choirs but this choir from Lucerne was holding the same score I was so they made me feel welcome.  Benefits of this type of performance over traditional one.

1.  Lack of breath control?  "Uh, Maestro, I am on a treadmill don't you know?"

2.  I was able to give the bass soloist support during Grosser Herr, Starker Konig without the conductor kicking me off the stage.  In fact, I am pretty sure he gave a nod of approval.  But it was hard to tell with sweat in my eye.

3.  Can perform the Jauchzet Frolocket whilst looking at the joyous faces of my fellow choristers!  Very fun!  

4.  Notice that the women, demurely have their scores open on their laps during arias while the men have them closed, thumbs in position and bright blue blasting from their laps. Classic.

5. Goes without saying that everyone in attendance loved my renditions of Bereite dich Zion and Schlafe mein Suesser with the support of the Swiss soloist on the screen of course. 

6. Doo-Doo- ed the first violin parts during introductions without consequence, although the guy in First Chair did raise his head and look around for a second, he did not give me the icy stare I would expect from the players here. 

Other musings while walking and singing:

When the flute began to usher the shepherds down their hills I missed seeing WSO's Jan, he of the great hair, rising from his chair,  Instead in Lucerne it was a woman around my age.  

Soprano soloist sang from the back balcony for her little part in Teil II and does not come to stage at all until Teil III  She doesn't sing in Teil 1.  Thanks Bach, for giving the alto soloist all the good part in this piece!  Even on my basement stage, a soprano I am not.

It was an ok way to have a choral performance experience but it was just one notch better than nothing.

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