I will admit to being rather amused.
After years of having been reminded time and time again to watch the choir director whilst singing, earlier tonight I was able to see why choir directors the world over are frustrated when their choirs don't seem to follow their direction, or are sluggish in doing so.
I walked in on the tail end of Immaculate Conception's Parish Choir's rehearsal and watched them from the back pew. Out of say around 38 choristers, I could count on one hand the number of singers actually looking at the choir director. The rest had their heads buried in the music. So it didn't surprise me that they didn't follow when he indicated a ritardando, or a crescendo or diminuendo, etc. I couldn't help but smile - I know a choir with their heads buried in their music drives my friend Van Quinn up a wall. I can understand why - being in the position to watch my choristers, I feel like I'm just expending energy ... yeah, exercising my flabby arms, that's it ... when I'm up there, flapping my arms and hoping, just hoping that someone is watching me and will follow what I want them to do. Van used to demand to his Senior Choristers to "watch the Ego-Maniac" and to pay attention only to him, not any other flurry of activity that may have been going on in the sanctuary at the time of rehearsal. Sure, we'd laugh and smile ... and in the meantime, he'd get more and more annoyed if we consistently didn't follow him because we weren't watching him.
Eventually, we'd get the message, and we'd sing whatever anthem we were asked to sing beautifully if not flawlessly.
I'm sure the IC lot will do fine for their Celebration Concert, which will take place on Wednesday, June 25. They are sounding nice (except for the occasional flat tenor and soprano, and the quiet altos), and it is obvious they are comfortable with the pieces they are asked to sing. Now if only they could watch their director more faithfully ...