When I walked into the choir room at St. Andrew’s Cathedral this morning, and someone asked me how I was doing (presumably because I am supposedly “retired,”) I answered, “Scrambling . . . Not scrambled, like eggs, or my brain, but scrambling.”
That’s because it was only Thursday afternoon that I received all the choral and congregational music for today’s two morning services, and out of the TWENTY PIECES OF MUSIC I played this morning, there were FIVE pieces that were completely unfamiliar to me, and in my opinion, three of them were unsightreadable, due to their fast tempos, registration changes and complexity. I only had two days to practice, so I was scrambling.
John Renke, the Cathedral musician, gave me two additional memory levels for registration on the Aeolian-Skinner organ. His music (which I borrowed) has all the organ stop changes written in the music for Level 92, but since I already had my favorite stop combinations on Level 63, I didn’t want to jump back and forth between Level 92 and 63, so the first order of business at my Friday practice session was to duplicate all of John’s combinations from Level 92 to Level 64. Suffice to say that it made things a heck of a lot easier this morning, and I am so proud of myself for not getting confused by getting the levels mixed up.
I am happy to report that everything in the two services went like clockwork, except during the 10:30 a.m. offertory anthem (which the choir sang unaccompanied–all I had to do was give them the starting pitch), I started looking around for the Sunday bulletin. And then I started to panic. Oh no, where did I put it? I could not find it ANYWHERE, and those of you who go to liturgical churches, know that the bulletin is your road map. . .it’s the menu, the agenda for what comes next in the service–and I couldn’t find it anywhere! I looked through my whole stack of music, my playbook, and it was nowhere to be found. Even when I turned in all the choral music after the service, I simply did not have it. I guess it’s a miracle that either I guessed correctly or I’ve been playing liturgical services for nearly 40 years that everything went fine for the remainder of the service. What a relief!
I wanted to let you know that the first official rehearsal with the Lutheran Church of Honolulu Choir and the Hawai’i Vocal Arts Ensemble took place yesterday afternoon in preparation for Carl Crosier’s memorial concert on November 1st and things are well underway for an extremely fine musical outcome. Last Saturday the two choirs performed the first movement of the Frank Ferko Missa O Magne Pater for an event by the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) and since there was only time for a ten minute rehearsal beforehand, everybody clapped when Tim Carney exclaimed the performance was a miracle!
You see, when Scott Fikse and Tim Carney met with me in August, they decided it would be easier to rehearse the piece with the LCH choir singing the part of Choir I and HVAE singing Choir II even though the the two choirs rehearse separately. Ordinarily when you have a massed choir event such as this, you would divide each choir in half and mix everyone up, so you don’t have one choir sounding vastly differently from each other. But after a few attempts, the entire choir was sounding wonderful.
The Duruflé Requiem is already sounding exquisite and ravishing. As Tim Carney, director of HVAE said, “We ought to put these two choirs together more frequently!” I came to the rehearsal as an observer, and can heartily concur that the sound and tone of the two choirs together is out of this world! I was already getting a lot of “chicken skin” moments when I heard them rehearse the Duruflé. And I couldn’t help but get a catch in my throat when I thought we were doing all this for dear Carl, who surely must be smiling on us.
There must have been a miscommunication about the accompanist for yesterday’s rehearsal, however, because no one showed up. Guess who stepped in to give pitches and play parts for the Ferko Missa O Magne Pater?
You guessed it–Moi!
Mark your calendars now for a concert not to be missed–Sunday, November 1st, at 7:00 pm, at the Lutheran Church of Honolulu, 1730 Punahou Street. Admission free.