Saturday, September 11, 2010

first choir rehearsal!

Well, Thursday was the first choir rehearsal of the school year! It was extremely excited to have 10 people there, and 5 of them were completely new! (I had done no small amount of recruiting over the past couple weeks!)
However, I was reminded that having such a "new choir" poses some interesting challenges.
In addition to having several new members who truly do not read a bit of music (which I shall certainly work hard at fixing, at least to a minimum amount,) I am constantly reminded that my choir can't read my mind.
Not that they could at the end of last year, when we'd all been working together for a while, but I can tell a distinct difference. There are things that I say, phrases I shoot off, assumptions I make about what they know, that...with a half-new choir, they don't yet know how to read between the lines of what I say. Once we work together for a while, there really is a bit of ...mind reading? going on. It's fun. So, I am now reminded of the new challenges I will have this year. Challenges that I am looking forward to, challenges which will invite me to constantly be evaluating what I'm saying and how it comes across.
Overall, I'm quite excited for this upcoming school year, if Thursdays rehearsal was any indication of things to come. I think that I have a lot that I can teach them, if I can just be alert and creative. While it would be *wonderful* to have a semi-professionally trained choir--a choir that I never had to remind about pure vowels, or explain rhythm; a choir that could sightread perfectly! (sigh), it is always an adventure, and a greater challenge--requiring a greater level of skill! to work with such an inexperienced choir. And even more challenging is working with a choir with such varying skill levels, the difficulty being keeping everyone engaged and yet explaining everything in such a way that everyone can understand.
I hope I'm up for the challenge. :-)

organ music

A while back, I was asking my organ teacher for ideas of pieces/composers that are suitable for Mass, especially as preludes. He suggested, among other things, a fellow by the name Dom Benoit, or something like that. At some point I also happened to discover a book by this guy in my choir loft, and I only recently realized that it was the same guy! It's called something like "60 Devotional Pieces on Modal Themes for Mass" or something, and he hints in the introduction that he intended them for the "Elevation" (although he has another book with that in the title,) or something like that. This book is one of those delightful little finds, musty and yellowing pages, written in the 1950s or 60s, that has been sitting in my choir loft for who knows how long. I have found several other books like this, of varying levels of usability, and sometimes I think of showing them to my teacher and asking, "is this guy worth it?" and I even wondered that the first time I discovered this book and decided against it, since I just sort of assumed it was some drivel. They are nice, short, rather easy pieces, and with the reverent character that I am always looking for!