Sunday, April 13, 2008

The (Nearly) Voiceless Wonder, Part II

So much for hoping the laryngitis will pass quickly. My raspy voice is still with me, but at least it is more voice than I've had lately.

Unfortunately, given what I have to do on Sundays, I could not keep completely silent. (Sorry, Van.)

The first chatty activity was conducting choir rehearsal at St. Joseph's. I received lots of sympathy looks from my choristers. One of them, a young flautist who is a soon-to-be graduated from Duke University student, gave me a look, and asked, "Still?"

Yup. At least I had enough voice that I didn't have to resort to my ridiculous pantomiming and hand-waving that I was forced to do last Sunday. So that went relatively well, and we sang our share of Good Shepherd hymns and songs. (Music list to be posted shortly ...)

The second chatty activity was one I did not expect to have done. I agreed to sing with the Chamber Choir at Immaculate Conception Church. We're preparing for an Eastertide Evensong for 24 April at 7.30 pm. (Note to those of you in the Triangle area - come to IC for this Evensong.) As it turned out - the choir director had to play for the 1.00 pm Spanish Mass, so he was hoping one of us would conduct the choir rehearsal. As my voice is not completely back yet, I intended to attend rehearsal anyway, just to observe and look on with the music, "singing" this in my mind and figuring out how everything fits together.

I ended up conducting the choir rehearsal, going over three pieces and two hymns. This lot picked up the hymns pretty quickly (not bad for a Catholic choir, I must say), but they need to work on listening to each other and not allowing their pitches to fall as flat as a pancake. It was a challenge for me though - first of all, I was handicapped enough not having my voice at my disposal. One of the snarks in the bass section was mildly teasing me for my raspy voice, by rasping right back at me. I just made a face at him. Secondly, we're working on a Brasilian Alleluia by Jean Berger, and I admitted to the group immediately - I can't read Open Score that readily. (Yet one more skill set I need to add to my arsenal.) So we all muddled through this piece. It's not easy. The accidentals alone would be enough to scare even the most experienced singers.

Unfortunately, this task involved a lot of talking on my part. My voice was decidedly strained by the time choir rehearsal was done. At that point, I would have preferred to drag myself to my bed and nap for the rest of the afternoon. However, I still had another service to play in the afternoon, so after relieving the throat with hot tea, I dragged myself off to Duke for an afternoon with the Episcopal Campus Ministry.

At this point, sleep would be a most welcome thing, along with the hopes that my voice will come back to what it was before. (I certainly don't want to suffer permanent voice damage a la Rachael Ray once the laryngitis passes ...)

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