Sunday, March 07, 2010

From Memory

I almost missed today’s choir fest.  It was just one more thing in a very busy weekend.  I had been to exactly one rehearsal.  After all is said and done, it was such a learning experience (in a good way).

At our rehearsal on Thursday night, our choir director said several of the choirs had already pulled out, saying the snow had interfered with their practice schedule.  He pleaded with people to say yes to showing up today so we could actually sing our piece.  My husband and I reluctantly agreed to spend the afternoon in Rockville, singing Jewish music with 4 other choirs.

The idea was to sing several pieces with the other choirs and then let each choir do a piece on its own.  Our piece happened to be L’Dor Va Dor (From Generation to Generation) by Charles Osborne, a piece I knew fairly well. 

But then our director informed us we would be singing our piece from memory.  I’ve always known that choirs sing 100% better when they can watch their director and not have their heads buried in the music.  Yikes!  All I could think of was what would happen if I came in at the wrong time, or sang the wrong words, or just forgot altogether.

We sang the piece at yesterday’s bat mitzvah service and did a reasonably good job.  There was only one entrance that we totally blew.  But instead of a choir of 20 people, we had only 11 today, not even 3 on every part.

We had a brief but productive rehearsal.  As we got up to sing when it was our turn, we reluctantly left our notebooks behind.  We sang with all our hearts (in Hebrew) “From generation to generation, we will make known Your greatness.”  Standing in a horseshoe shape, we could hear each other, we could see our director.  The piece came alive as it never had before.  It was so much better than any other piece, because everyone else still had their heads buried in the music.

After we sat down, I whispered to our director, “Please don’t ever let me try to wimp out again.  That was so much fun!”

We all agreed how different it felt to sing without music, how it made us feel like we were singing as one voice.

Our director was so excited that he actually called us at home as we were stirring our dinner risotto.  He wanted to thank us for coming and to talk about how we could keep up this momentum.

This was just one more reminder that we should never underestimate our ability to do things that seem so daunting.  It’s a real rush to succeed!


Blogger Cyndy said...

Yes it is! Congratulations on your performance - will a piano piece performed from memory be next?

11:50 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Cyndy -- I think I have a better ear for singing than I do for piano. I am still terrified at the idea of playing anything by memory on the piano. But after today, I will never say never!

12:06 AM  
Blogger Pauline said...

Wish I'd been there to hear it!

6:46 AM  
Blogger Russell said...

Good for you! And good for those who were fortunate to hear you!

How does the expression go? To push beyond your comfort zone. Is that it?

Sounds to me like you expanded your comfort zone and that is good!

Take care.

7:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love this! Congratulations! Ditto Pauline; wish I'd been there.

And I can s-o-o relate about the benefits of performing w/o sheet music or charts, both when I perform as a "front person" myself and as I watch/listen to the choruses I accompany deal with the same question.


9:44 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

It "sounds" like a great experience!

9:01 PM  

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