Sunday, December 30, 2007

Christmas: whew, it’s over (or, at least, “started”)...

It was a rough ride, but the general opinion seems to be that Christmas was a musical success in my parish.

First, the general positives:
1. The adult choir did well with their music overall. They’ve sounded better, even much better, but what they did at midnight Mass was generally good.

2. The kids’ musical, Shephard “The Birds of Bethlehem”, went very well. Though I have misgivings about doing it in the church again, hopefully this can be the start of a great tradition with our young singers. More and more, the little buggers grow on me...

Specific choral comments:
1) Dawson “Mary Had a Baby”
Maybe it’s because it was midnight, a very unusual time for the choir to sing. Maybe it’s because two of our older singers appear to have learned this song in a minor key. Maybe it’s just not as easy of a piece as, dash-naggit, it sure does look. But this was not a good piece for me to give our parish’s choir this year. We got through it, but it was probably the worst the choir has sounded all year, with a few very, very out-of-tune moments (cf. the above comment about two members’ having learned this in a minor key!). Thankfully, only a couple days earlier they sang the Anerio “Ave maris stella” quite well.

2) Biery “O Holy Night”
Lock-and-load. Once we learned the 2nd part of the verse and the refrain, this one came together well.

3) my “Personent hodie”
The men could have sounded “tougher” in the beginning, but otherwise, this one came off very well - which is reassuring since it’s mostly unison. :)

4) Proulx “Gloria for Christmastime”
Last-in, first-out, I guess: a few of the corrections we made to this one at the last choir rehearsal were “forgotten” in the heat of battle. Nonetheless, it came off well.

5) Halsey “Verbum caro”
This piece was a humbling experience for me, as it showed me a few conducting details that I need to tidy up. There were a few flubs while singing it, but I do believe they were my fault.

I did videotape both the musical and the midnight Mass. It’s humbling to watch myself conduct - even after how many years of conducting and three music degrees, I still see problems with my conducting that I fear would annoy me were I singing for myself. Hopefully I’m just being my own worst critic! :)

Anyway, we now finish up Christmas season with:
Epiphany: Pearson “Falan-Tidings (Out of the Orient Crystal Skies”
Baptism of the Lord: Shephard “Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day”

...and, for Ordinary Time:
Barnard “If God is Building When We Build” (a replay from the fall)
Charles Wood Jubilate in A-flat (awesome gem from CPDL!)
Friedell “Draw Us In the Spirit’s Tether”

Lenten choral plans are almost finished - will post soon.


At Sunday, December 30, 2007 10:18:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i've followed your blogs and know that this was your first christmas at your new job, it's sounds like you did a great job and you just might be your own worst critic as you put it. I love Mary had a baby and I don't feel it's that hard either why was it so difficult for your choir did you have cantors doing any the parts? Were all your choir members, cantors, at midnight mass? that sometimes has alot to do with it? I know at our church some of our best cantors did not attend the mass...we have cantors that may not be the best note readers but they put alot of spirit in their singing and we were missing that at midnight mass i hope your lenten season is wonderful

At Monday, December 31, 2007 6:47:00 PM, Blogger Mara Joy said...

Cantor, you sound SO organized! (almost ready to post plans for Lent...) I am sooo jealous...


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