November 27th, 2007


"Mark this measure pianississississimo.... *in blood*"

Yep, it's just another rehearsal with the orchestra in Stanford Memorial Church. It's a cavernous space, wide open, and all stone and tile, so the echoes are tremendous (there's a multi-second delay for the sound to return from the back). Which makes it a wonderful place to sing, and also a terrible place to sing. On top of that, the orchestra is in front of us, and the chorus stands some distance behind. So we get drowned out, every single time. And the conductor has to tell the orchestra to back off, every single time. You'd think that the regulars in the orchestra would have figured that out by now, but no.

Concert week is a marathon. Final rehearsal with piano on Monday, two full dress rehearsals during the week, followed by two performances. Most of them right after work, too, so that means heading straight from the office to my car, usually without enough time for dinner in between. Everything involves lots and lots of standing, too, and this time was particularly bad because the chorus sings pretty much the entire time -- no long solo or orchestra sessions. Which is great during a concert, because you're always involved (I have a love-hate relationship with the Carmina Burana for this reason; there's a 20-minute stretch in the middle during which the women don't sing a single note) and you don't have time to notice how tired you are. But during dress rehearsal it's a problem, because it means you never get a chance to sit down. Standing for two hours straight is hard. Especially when you're holding up a heavy score the whole time. I actually find concerts harder on my back than on my feet, these days.

But for all my complaining, it's so worth it. Especially when it comes together as easily as it did tonight, scores marked in blood notwithstanding. Most everything clicked the first or second time through, the soprano soloist is excellent, and we were out in record time. If the concert goes half this well, I'll be satisfied.
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