Saturday, May 28, 2011

Rehearsing or performing?

Here is a portion of my weekly letter to my granddaughter who lives far away. This week’s offering is not specifically religious, but perhaps reflecting on it will do something for you.

Last week I wrote about the community choir concert that I was blessed to sing with. The concerts on both days, Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon did occur. I think that they were pretty good concerts. The audiences seem to enjoy and appreciate them.

I’ve been trying to figure out since the concerts my level of joy while singing in the concerts. Being there, performing, was very good. Was it “fun?” I don’t think I can refer to it as fun. One good part about singing in the concerts was that I knew that when we began a piece of music that we would not stop singing until the end. That is very unlike rehearsals. Our director is adamant about not allowing us to sing a song incorrectly. (“Practice makes perfect?” Only practicing perfection makes for perfect.) He won’t allow us to go two measures when it is not right. As a result we stop frequently and continually when we are rehearsing. It is rather normal, when our rehearsals are approaching concert time for him to state, “Okay, we are going to sing this one straight through this time” only to be stopped, corrected, and to try it again before we are one-fourth of the way through the piece.

On the other hand, I am much more anxious while singing in a concert. I am more likely to make errors myself during a concert than during rehearsal and I do not like that side of concerts. A very good part of singing in a concert is when we finish a song and the director just freezes his posture for a second or two with a look on his face of pure joy and the audience is spell-bound enough to hesitate to applaud. Then I know that we “did it right” and that is a very good feeling.

The best part of singing in rehearsals is that I get to hear the singers of other parts of the music rehearse their parts. In this last concert there was a piece about the winter winds. The sopranos and altos sang a portion of the piece, singing “Ahhh” in harmonies that together felt like a cold wind swirling around in a winter storm. It was fantastic. I would feel chilled just listening to it. Then, when all parts are singing, and I’m singing, the upper voices’ chilling sounds become part of the whole piece and I can not hear them so distinctly. This is part, along with the lesser anxiety I feel during rehearsals that I enjoy more than the concert itself. The music itself if really enjoyable to me. Rehearsing is good and enjoyable. The performing, for me is less enjoyable, but not bad.

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