Monday, February 07, 2005

14 20 3 6

The weekend has come and gone, as has my voice. By the time that I arrived home last night, I was thoroughly exhausted, and as I fell into bed I had a three part harmony going on in my head (the tenors just got lost somewhere...): basses: there is a ba-alm--in Gilea-ad, there is a ba-alm--in Gilea-ad; Sops: Make me who-ole, heal my so-ole; altos: my sooole, will heeeeal, I feeeel it.... What good times.
We started out at the crack of dawn on Saturday morning: ok, so it was already 8:30am, but when you get to sleep at 2:30 the night before, it might as well be the crack of dawn. Anyhow, the choirs of McMaster, Guelph, Brock and Redeemer gathered in the Auditorium (where it seemed as if they had the air conditioning turned on) for a mass rehearsal of The Coronation Anthem No.2: The King Shall Rejoice. I must say, I was skeptical as we were singing. There was always one part that was frightfully behind the others, and despite the fact that there were over two hundred choristers, the sound fell hung dead in the air. It soon occurred to me that both of those unfortunate events were due to none other than the glorious acoustics of the Auditorium, and I relaxed.
From 11-3, we all participated in three workshops and lunch. Our first workshop presenter was Howard Dyck, of CBC Radio Two Choral Concert fame. He gave a fascinating 45 min lecture on Bach's B Minor Mass. I could have sat through another two sessions with him. The main topic that his lecture was concerned with was Bach's references to the numerical alphabet within the Mass. The numerical alphabet assigns each of the letters a particular numerical value, such as A=1, B=2 and so on, except that I and J have the same vaue as do U and V. For example, the numerical values of the letters of "CREDO" add up to 43. Within the Credo movement, the word Credo is repeated 43 times between the two soprano parts, the altos, tenors and basses. It gets much more exciting than that, but this post would go on for quite some time if I were to repeat the whole lecture.
For the second workshop, our group went back to the frigid Aud, where each choir (except for Redeemer) got to teach the other three choirs a selection of what they would be singing on Sunday. We had a chance to sing "O Fortuna" from Carmina Borana with the Guelph choir, which sent shivers down my spine. What a powerful piece.
The final workshop for our group was a gospel music lesson, directed by Karen Burke of the Toronto Mass Choir. After 45 min with Karen, we, a gaggle of white university students, were almost able to pull off several gospel pieces! The afore referenced "Balm of Gilead" was one of the three songs that she had us swaying to by the end. She's good, but she wasn't good enough to help me out with the coordination: singing, swaying, clapping and doing actions were a little more than this dutch girl could handle.
After a mass rehearsal at the church in Westdale, we all went our separate ways to dress for the banquet. As Brian and Joel were DJing for the evening, the three of us not only arrived on time (gasp) but quite early, in order for the boys to set up all the sound equipment. The meal was quite delicious, the dessert of Crepes, ice cream, whipped cream and strawberries being my favourite course, and the company at our table was quite nice. Two ladies from Guelph and a first year from Mac were especially charming and fun to chatter with. The dance was much fun: good music, good friends, good--well, fun dancing.
The concert the next day brought excellent music. It's not everyday that a person gets to sing at a concert where they also have the privilege of hearing three other choirs perform. I love choral music concerts, but I just had a blast at this particular one because the music was so varied from one choir to the next that there really was little chance to become bored or even unfocused. I was particularly impressed with Brock's choir- their director has them whipped into shape that our choir could only dream of right now. The mass choir singing of the Coronation Anthem went over very well, much much better than in the Aud, and there was a very decent turn out for audience.
Overall, I'm very pleased with the weekend. More so now that I have gotten eleven hours of sleep straight last night. What a difference that makes. But now: Once more unto the choir room! Tour is this weekend, and we shall not be going to Sarnia as afore mentioned, but rather Strathroy, Chatham, Barrie and Whitby.

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