Thursday, January 27, 2011

Storm a week

Yet another storm. I heard someone refer to it as The Storm A Week, it certainly seems like they're coming that regularly. This one has it all: snow, ice pellets, freezing rain, rain, more snow, high winds. I still have power but who knows how long it will last. Yesterday I did a big shopping, including bags of sand for the ice and weight in the back of the truck, and last night I charged up all batteries and made sure I had enough firewood in. Bird feeders are full, I am good to go.

Last night's Community Chorus practice was great, I am really enjoying this. At one point our director made a funny but disparaging remark about bagpipes, eliciting many hisses and disappointed Ohhhhs. In Nova Scotia? Definitely the wrong crowd for that particular joke. Afterward, a few Altos discussed bringing a piper in to the next practice to surprise her.

I've been invited to the next Alto practice, half an hour before the Chorus practice. The Altos in my church choir are not a strong group but in this choir they are. I am kind of a borderline Soprano-Alto, but I think the social life of an Alto is better, so I'll stick with that. LOL.

Some of the Altos secretly sing along with the Baritones because they are borderline Alto-Baritones, and because our Baritones are not strong. They need all the support they can get. Baritones are usually all men, and men don't come out much for this kind of thing, so the few that do need lots of encouragement to stay. These guys lap it up I think, maybe they fluff their notes deliberately.

I'm one to talk though, staying in tune is not my forte either. I'm hoping practice helps, that's why I am in two choirs.

The director of the Community Chorus is a serious singer and singing teacher, so every practice is also a lesson. I learn a lot and it's fun. She explains how we are supposed to pronounce things differently when singing than when speaking normally ("diction"), what the various cryptic notations in the music sheets mean, how to make timing work to embellish the music, and how to breathe. I think the fact that the choir director is focussed on performing well in music competitions makes her more motivated to get us to do it right. She knows how choirs are scored in competitions, so she knows what things are important to develop. It reflects on her ability to teach and direct when her chorus does well.

The church choirmaster is good too, but she doesn't explain things quite as much so I have to rely on the people around me more. They have been there a long time and understand the music and her direction much better than I. We do the same warm-up exercises, but I wasn't doing them right because I didn't understand them until the director of the other choir explained their purpose and how to do them correctly. In the church choir we are not focussed on competition, so I think having us all understand the techniques of choir singing are not quite as important. Plus, the church choir has the advantage of four university music students with excellent voices who can carry the choir through the tough bits.

They're saying we may have 30 cm of snow today and then rain on top of that so I am debating the best strategic time to go out and shovel the stuff. The rain makes the snow heavy, plus it freezes into an icy crust making things even more difficult. The trick is to shovel before that happens but after the bulk of the snow has fallen. I just don't know when that is.


Wisewebwoman said...

Good luck with the weather Annie, we cancelled our rehearsal (again!) tonight because of what was happening this morning but now (7.30p) it has all fizzled out to nothing. phooey.
Your community choir sounds wonderful, I now have a tenor from my years ago alto and I have performed publicly (my dad's old songs) with it. I feel my voice has had 2 lives, LOL.

Barbara Anne said...

How wonderful that you're part of such a lively choral group! Have you ever read that "He who sings prays twice"?

If your choirmaster is too exacting, you might remind her that Psalms says make a JOYFUL noise - not a good one!

I never knew that altos had a better social life. Interesting!


20th Century Woman said...

I am picturing you singing in the snow storm. I love it!