I have to thank The Choir Girl blogger for giving me the nudge I needed to make the move. I've been reading about how she challenged herself to up-the-ante of her own choir experience, and I was inspired to make the contact and get myself to the audition partly because of seeing how happy she was at being successful. She also gave me a few words of encouragement in response to some comments I made on her blog post.
I arrived at the conductor's home a bit nervous, but had brought along Schubert's An die Musick, which I felt was now in good enough shape to use. I brought it in two keys, but ended up singing it in the higher key.
The song went really well, but during the little vocalizing we did beforehand to test my range, my middle voice was acting a bit funky, and it fell apart a little bit at the seams. The conductor was very knowledgeable about voice and knew what was happening and we were able to discuss the issue intelligently. Sometimes when I'm not warmed up enough, or when I'm nervous, or when I've skipped a few too many days practice, my voice will revert to the old imbalances. It doesn't take long to get it back together again, but I had trouble with it while I was in there. It's natural to feel a little disappointed when that happens, but I realize more and more that I just have to deal with whatever situation is present, and whatever difficulties are there and manage the situation with whatever skill and know-how I've managed to accumulate thus far. So, I wasn't really upset. I just dealt with it.
The sight-reading didn't go as well as I would have liked. The piece was deceptively simple-looking, but there were some tricky intervals. She said that I did "okay" on the sight reading. I'll settle for "okay" for now, but I want to improve that. I would love to sight read something someday and have it be a "wow!" That would mean adding a little more sight-reading practice regularly to my regimen.
I'm excited to start in this new choir. After having the experience with The Westminster Choir Festival this summer, I have been eager to be in a place that can stimulate my growth as a choir singer. I have seen that there is so much more. Singing with an ensemble is a skill, and I have learned that there is so much more to it than I had previously been aware.
Some exciting things about my new choir:
- There will be composers coming to work their own compositions with the choir
- There are in-reach programs that help the singers to improve their musical skills (such as site-singing workshops that I may just avail myself of)
- There are many solo opportunities and there is a specific goal to help singers this way. The director of the choir specifically mentioned this while we were together.
- The programs and music are wide and varied. Many cultures are explored and there is even an exciting Video Game concert.
- There will be professional and higher level singers in the choir and it's always good, like I found out this summer at the festival, to be rubbing elbows (and resonances) with more advanced singers. That's always good for learning and growing.
- The choir attracts "big" voices, and free, healthy singing is encouraged (no need to regularly squeeze my voice into the little choir boy box, except for a special effect or ornamental purposes).
- The conductor is an excellent singer herself and really seems to know about voice. In fact, I spotted my favorite vocal book on her bookshelf behind her as she sat at the piano Discover Your Voice, by Oren Brown.
All in all I feel this is a very good step I'm taking, but of course it is adding to my roster of commitments and in the coming weeks it will be a challenge to balance the new time commitments with the other aspects of my life. I checked the performance schedule and the concerts for the all-women's choir I belong to do not conflict with the new choir. But it will be tough! I am bound and determined to keep feeding my family well. I will have to manage my energy levels carefully and watch for little wasted pockets of time. I will find out in due time if it's all too much, but for now I'm excited to take on the challenge and am expecting it to enhance my life.