September 25, 2012: Getting it
Three weeks before a performance is a balancing point in the preparation for a concert. The future is no longer in the distance but one might still think that there's still time before the choir "gets it." What approach might conductors take at this point in rehearsals? At the National Lutheran Choir, Artistic Director David Cherwien shares notes on Thursday from the previous Tuesday rehearsal. With the 2012 Illinois-Wisconsin tour fast approaching, here are the opening, general paragraphs to his detailed notes.
Three rehearsals left. As I've said, there's never a time when we "relax" in our efforts to be the best. There's really no difference between a rehearsal and a performance with regard to our efforts towards artistic excellence. Any piece of art is always on a continuum to get better. At some point along the way we let the public in on this journey when we're far enough along to not distract their perception by insufficient preparation - but there are always ways to grow no matter how "well" we know a piece, or no matter how many times we've sung it in performance.
At this point, however, we should be past the place on the continuum where we work at "reading." We should be delighting in the discovery of what one doesn't see on the page, what the other parts bring to the ensemble, the piece as a whole, the journey each piece offers, and how we express it together. Is there a piece where you're still "reading?" Here's where we need to stamp out the phrase: "I'll get it" or "We'll get it" as if there is this day of enlightenment somewhere later in the future. If there is a piece like that for you, make today the day you "get it." Tenors, we caught you with the opening of "The Call." Next week I suspect you'll have it. “Two or Three Angels” surprised me with how well you all "got it" - clearly evidence of work at home. Bravo. We are close to not needing that phrase, and in delighting in each work's effect. Let's keep it up!
No sectionals next week. For those new to the roster this year, take a look at "Keep Your Hand on the Plow" for next week. It's not a walk in the park.