Ladies and Gentlemen,
I have auditioned for and been accepted to sing in a beautiful, professional choir. I haven't sung in a real choir since St. David's in Austin, TX (and that was six years ago), so I was a bit nervous approaching my audition this morning.
The choirmaster has held his job at the cathedral for 33 years, outlasting at least five Reverends, so this, along with his anglo-terse email style (he used the words "presume" and "shall"), had me wondering what to expect. I've been listening to the ad-hoc summer version of the choir for three weeks now, and they are goooood. I wanted in.
I tried not to stress myself out about the audition. On the phone, the choirmaster grilled me about my experience (luck would have it that he went to school with my choirmaster from college), and he asked me to prepare a solo or a hymn. Since I haven't unpacked my sheet music yet, I planned to sing Ye Olde Standby "Ye Watchers and Ye Holy Ones." Every time I rehearsed it at the piano at home, Jillson came running from the far corners of the house to whine: "Mommy why are you singing that? Why are you singing like that? Please stop singing that way." Great.
Anyway, after the postlude this morning, I waited nervously for the choirmaster, and I met three people--to include the choirmaster's wife--who each said "You must be the auditionee!" Pressure was on.
As it turns out, I was never asked to sing "Ye Watchers." The choirmaster had me sing arpeggios to see how high I could go, then had me sightsing the melody to an obscure hymn, after which he had me sightsing the alto line to the same hymn up an octave. I made a few mistakes, both in timing and in notes, but he was nice about it. He said "we both made the same mistake there, doing it how we wanted it to sound instead of how it was written, but it's good that we made the same mistake." How refreshing! A snooty choirmaster with a sense of humor who can also offer positive reinforcement?! He said "jolly good" a lot. I have to admit I liked the immediate feedback and the chance to show that I could instantly adapt to and apply his suggestions. Half volume? Got it. Open the vowel? Done. Support? Sing pianissimo? Let the top note rip? Done, done, and done.
I have to tell you that during the audition I felt some parts of me--my confidence, and the pure joy I feel from doing something I love to do--peek their heads out from around the corner as if to say "ah, is it safe for us to come out now?" Yes, my friends, yes it is.
My first rehearsal is on Thursday evening, which will start with a baby shower for another choir member, followed by 2 hours of singing. The choirmaster informed me that this was an "optional" rehearsal, which, in his parlance, means that the section leaders don't get paid for it. Interesting...
I've been assigned and shown folder/cubby #17. I'll take it.
Stay tuned for further escapades. As many of you know, it is impossible to sing in a choir (members aged 23 to 80), especially one with a strong soprano section, without escapades ensuing. I'll meet the gang at the baby shower (to include the expectant parents) and we'll go from there.
Aw, yeah, baby, The Gutsy Mom is in the house.