January 28, 2014: Preparing for the City-Wide Hymn Festival
Each week, the choir members receive notes on Thursday from the previous Tuesday rehearsal. The notes include very specific spots in each composition (e.g. measure 14 and the third beat of the alto part, make sure to put the "T" at the beginning of beat 4). We share the general notes that are the prelude to a much longer memorandum. The rehearsal notes come from David Cherwien, artistic director of the National Lutheran Choir, and then are passed on to the section leaders (soprano, alto, tenor, bass) who add their own marginalia.
This week's notes are about two programs that the choir is preparing: a City-Wide Hymn Festival on February 23, 2014 at Central Lutheran Church in Minneapolis and a tour that will take the choir to Dixon, Illinois on Thursday, February 27 (a concert at the historic Dixon Theater), Friday, Grand Rapids, Michigan (a hymn festival at LaGrange Church) on Friday, February 28 and Winona, Minnesota (a hymn festival at First Lutheran Church) on Saturday, March 1, 2014.
"Oh the weather outside is frightful..." Sounds like a perfect recipe for practicing NLC music! While it was a wonderful rehearsal this week, there is much work to do. Squeezing two programs into one rehearsal, even with a lot of recycled music will take the brain-power we assume and expect from each other. There will need to be some self-initiative here -- what do you know, and what do you not know? Some of the pieces we've pulled out from the past (further than past Fall) most of you might know, but for those who do not, you will have to do some self-learning because we will not spend tons of time on these compositions. That includes pieces like "Thy Truth Within," "Built on a Rock," and "Lord God, You Have Called." All three are pretty much off of my urgent list, so if you're feeling uncertain with them -- it's up to you!
We are also at that point where it's totally NOT OK to slough any individual note, no matter how short, small, or what appears to be insignificant. Every note counts. With pieces like the Bach or the counterpoint in Sateren, singing it very slow helps you zero-in on precision. Pay attention especially to accidentals or their cancellation. Raise your bar of expectation and acceptance!