Well, it's been a while since I posted anything here. Well, other than lists of ten things. Which is fun, but not exactly all that substantive. But you know, some
But hey, here's something interesting. For the last four years, I performed with a symphonic chorus called the Cathedral Choral Society. But now I don't . See, the CCS rehearses on Monday nights in Washington, D.C. I live in Leesburg, Va., about 40 miles away. So on Monday nights I would find myself getting home between 11 and 11:30 at night. It finally got to the point where my distaste for the commute was overpowering my love for singing with the group. So I decided not to reaudition for the 2004-05 season.
But I'm still singing. I've joined the Loudoun Chorale, which rehearses here in Leesburg. It's not quite on the same level as the CCS; it's very much an amateur chorus, composed of people who sing just because they love to sing. You don't audition; if you show up and pay your dues, you're in. The CCS, on the other hand, is for all practical intents and purposes a professional chorus. The singers don't get paid, but if, say, the National Symphony asks us to perform Messiah with them, the organization gets paid. And let me tell you, there's a lot of stress involved performing with a group like that, especially when you have no formal vocal training and no experience singing in a symphonic chorus.
There's no such stress with the Loudoun Chorale. Obviously we want to sing well, but there's not the same level of expectation for us as there is for the CCS. And for me at least, the repertoire is not nearly so challenging. Most of the stuff we do is on a par with what you'd expect to hear from a typical collegiate concert choir. Also, we're doing Messiah for our Christmas concert, and I just did that two seasons ago, so I still know it pretty well. So rehearsals have been pretty stress free of late, which is nice. Singing with the CCS was sometimes more like work than anything else, and it's nice to be singing for fun for a change.
Reading over what I've just written, I'm worried that I might give the impression that I didn't like singing with the CSS. But I did. Being a member of the Cathedral Choral Society was an amazing experience. They gave me opportunities I had hever dreamed of: performing at Washington National Cathedral, the Kennedy Center, and Wolf Trap; being on national TV twice (or was it three times?); recording three albums. I got to perform amazing works of art -- Walton's Belshazzar's Feast, Schmitt's Psalm 47, Orff's Carmina Burana, Beethoven's 9th Symphony -- alongside hundreds of talented musicians. And there's no question that I'm a better singer now than I was four years ago when I first joined. I always enjoyed singing with the CCS, and if there had been possible to continue doing so without the eighty-mile round trips, I'd still be doing it.
Speaking of the albums I recorded with the CCS, this past January we recorded music for a Christmas album, which was released earlier this month. I haven't heard it yet myself, but the works featured on the album are really good; a few of them are among my favorite Christmas anthems. (Though it would appear that my favorite favorite didn't make it onto the album. I'm not in favor of that!)
Back to the Loudoun Chorale. My first performance with the LC is approaching fast. Next Saturday, we're presenting two short concerts at the Waterford Fair. We'll be performing one relatively large-scale work, Randall Thompson's Frostiana, a setting of seven poems by Robert Frost, and a fun little shaped-note anthem, Hark, I Hear the Harps Eternal. Should be fun.