Whether this is your first year singing with the Windward Choral Society or you’ve been around for all nine, we’re all at that magical crossroads that appears after a few rehearsals. Now that we’ve sung everything a little and some things a few times there are two thoughts that climb up the back of the spine like that the feeling you get when you see a bug that gives you the willies.
- No WAY are we going to be able to get <insert your scary song title here> figured out by December! And…
- Is this the year that Susie finally lost her mind?
And the answers of course would be:
- Yes we are. And…
- No it’s not.
(Okay, Susie actually is a little nuts but that’s what conductors are, takes one to know one. Consider it a musical oxymoron: stabilized insanity. Yeah, I made that up, trademark it.)
“All you need is the plan, the road map, and the courage to press on to your destination.” – Earl Nightingale
You see, the Blogmeister has it on good authority that every moment of every rehearsal is planned out to have us all come crashing together successfully when it’s time to sing on risers in front of other humans. Have you noticed how she gets all excited when we’re “two minutes ahead of schedule”? There really is one and we really are. Next Tuesday watch while she guides us through her truly entertaining warm-ups; she’s got those mapped out, too. Every exercise down to the second. Watch her look down at her notes.
(I wonder what her shorthand is for some of the more bizarre ones? Maybe a little cartoon of a motorboat or a Zippy’s logo…?)
“Always have a plan, and believe in it. Nothing happens by accident.” – Chuck Knox
It seems that she has the shell of a plan and then solidifies it once she gets a “feel” for this semester’s group. A few weeks in, the final version of the plan always has nuggets of fairly simple and rewarding moments that buoy the singers up as well as one or two pieces that she would say “stretch” us to be better (which at this point in the rehearsal schedule translates into “scares the bejeezus out of the chorus”). Fear not, she hasn’t missed yet and, just like the A-Team, the plan ALWAYS comes together, even if Susie is the only one who knows that in October.
“With a definite, step-by-step plan – ah, what a difference it makes! You cannot fail, because each step carries you along to the next, like a track.” – Scott Reed
So smile even if you’re scared, sing when you’re supposed to and be quiet when you’re supposed to. Study your scores and spend time with the rehearsal tracks on Chorus Connection, that’ll help a LOT. Talk to some of the grizzled vets about some of the pieces in the past that we were absolutely convinced were going to be a train wreck and became the highlights of our concerts. If you know it’ll be great, the process of making it great is really fun.
There’s one quote that really nails it. I guess if you spend 50 years or so as a conductor you figure it out:
“To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time.” – Leonard Bernstein
See you Tuesday!