Saturday, November 11, 2006

Taking a Week Off

My friend suggested that I cut myself some slack, sleep in a little later, and just be a congregant at Temple Micah today, instead of trying to get there early and sing in the choir. This is the kind of thing I would never have come up with on my own.

But I found myself explaining over and over again why I wasn’t standing up front with the choir. The rabbi, the choir director, and countless members had to be told that I was recovering from being sick this week. It’s not as though I have a solo voice that makes much of a difference in the sound of the choir, but people seemed just a little edgy because I wasn’t fulfilling my customary role. Proving once again what creatures of habit we are.

I was surprised to realize that after 6 years, this was the first time I had been able to listen to and observe the choir. It’s an education that every choir member should have. I noticed the body language, their degree of attentiveness to the director, the amount of enthusiasm they brought to the music. I realized just how exposed the choir is, especially those people in the front row.

I’m sure for the next bar mitzvah I will be up there again in my usual place, but it was such a nice change to be a participant, with the ability to sing or just to listen from time to time. The music was every bit as impressive, with Teddy singing tenor (since there were none) and playing the tambourine with his foot while he did his usual piano magic. It’s just that my window on the musical world of Temple Micah had changed directions. Besides I was in good company in the audience.


Blogger Pauline said...

Isn't it fun (and informative) to switch roles now and then? We think we are only one person but we turn out to be the entire cast and often members of our own audience when we step out of our assigned roles. Neat post.

8:32 AM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

This is exactly how I felt when I went to my choir's concert last spring after being sick and recovering for 4 months. It brought tears to my eyes, especially when they sang, "You Raise Me Up" and dedicated it to me! Like you, I noticed how we look much better when we know the words, get our heads out of our music to look at the director! I saw what shw saw. I got to hear how the voices blend! It was so powerful.

Glad you got the new perspective.

8:57 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Pauline -- Yes, I'm realizing that switching roles in other capacities might benefit me as well. Besides it's probably good to shake up people's expectations from time to time.

MOI -- You must have been so touched. I'll bet you were not the only one with tears in your eyes at the end of that song.

11:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having been on both sides of the fence, so to speak, is Temple Choir different from church choir?

7:12 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

OL -- The Temple choir is much more laid back than the church choir was. At the National Presbyterian Church, I had to audition to sing in the choir and I would probably have been kicked out if I just decided not to sing without letting the director know in advance.

10:20 PM  
Blogger Reya Mellicker said...

You can't believe how much it helped me to sit with you and get some help navigating through the service. Now I understand why i always get lost. It was excellent.

I also always love seeing you up there in the choir, singing your ass off, as it were. People at TM know you and love you. I think that's why you had to explain to everyone why you weren't singing.

9:20 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Reya -- It occurred to me later that the perfect solution is for you to just join the choir. We could sit together every week and you have real music to look at instead of a book that has to be navigated in Hebrew! We know you know the tunes now. It's just those pesky words that you have been so good at creating as necessary. Every time I sing Mi-Pi-El from now on, I will always want to "Give a rock for Israel". That is, after I sing "My tofu."

9:31 AM  

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