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Notes from the Tenor Section

The tenors' section leader, Bob Quast, distributed a note to all of the tenors on the eve of the performance of Bach's Mass in b minor (March 21, 2013) to encourage them to open their eyes and ears and their hearts. A soft-spoken leader, Bob packs a punch whenever he has something to say. These words moved us to tears because his "favorite moments" were not about the tenor part but about everyone else. Generous, gracious, great: these are the words that describe the members of our National Lutheran Choir.

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Gentlemen,

Sometimes I think we get so caught up in the process and preparation for a concert. The rehearsals, the sectionals and the time we spend at home with our music, causes us to lose sight of how great this work is and how great this opportunity is we have in front of us. It is not until we are able to put the struggles behind us and listen, that we will fully understand this masterpiece. Hopefully, we are past that point and can enjoy singing tomorrow. I am so looking forward to this. It is going to be over before we know it.

Here are a few of my favorite moments when we are not singing:

  1. The first violin part in the Laudamus te is so intricate and incredibly beautiful and our concert master’s artistry is on display during this aria.
  2. Bach and bass arias for me go hand in hand. I love the Quoniam tu solus santus. Our bass soloist is amazing and Bach couldn’t have written a more stately line for the French horn. If you look at the first 2 measures, it is a “Perfect Motif.” Bach was able to write that line for all the low instruments and at no point does it sound muddy.
  3. The opening violins in Et in unum Dominum: Helmuth Rilling says “this is the Son coming from the Father. They are the same but different.” And he uses 2 violins and 2 voices to show this complex spiritual idea.
  4. But for me, the dance of Et in Spiritum sanctum gets me every time. I can feel the Holy Spirit through the playful lilt of the oboe duet. This is one of those arias I love to sing.   Even with the low F#.