When Ken Wilmore (assistant to the director) stood up for our pre-concert pep talk, he said, “It’s been a crazy day for me. LeAnna left me a note that said don’t forget your suit. She should have also included ‘don’t forget your dress shoes’ in that note, but here I am,” as he lifted his leg to reveal birkenstocks that he was wearing with his suit. Associate conductor Larry Smith was also rocking the non traditional footwear. Because of his recent troubles with swollen feet, he had bought some black slippers on Friday to wear while conducting. It’s ok, guys, many of us girls don’t wear shoes for the concerts, anyway. We just take them off and leave them under the table while we play.
Then Jon Rowberry, who is the assistant to the President of the Tabernacle Choir, stood and said, “When I hear the pieces now, and think back to what they sounded like in your rehearsals, it’s nothing short of miraculous. The audience doesn’t know that, but we know it.” Thanks, Jon. But he’s right. Bell pieces take a LONG time to perfect. There’s a lot of time spent in not just learning the music, but in figuring out if it’s even possible to play all those notes with two hands. When it’s NOT possible, we have to do some creative arranging, switching, sharing, and praying. For this concert, some of us have to run to a different spot in the middle of the song, play six measures, then run back. Fun, right? And we have been rehearsing for this concert for about 3 1/2 months. It always makes us laugh when people ask, “So, are you getting started rehearsing for your Christmas concert yet?” Um, yeah. But then, I think most people don’t realize that we play harder stuff than just what we do for the MoTab Christmas Concerts (and no, we haven’t started rehearsing for THAT one yet. My guess is we’ll start on that next week.)
“You probably think I’ve been trying to kill you off with these hard song choices for this concert,” LeAnna said, “there have been many bad words said about me, I’m sure, but say you’re sorry and I’ll forgive you.” Maybe not bad words about YOU, LeAnna, but there have been some grumblings about certain songs that will remain nameless (but we all know which song that is…reminds me of ants marching two by two…).
Concert week is definitely hard, but rewarding. We finally get to hear our pieces with the addition of the orchestra members, and we get to sit down while the instrumentalists play their interlude numbers. Sitting down is good. With a broadcast on Sunday, rehearsal Tuesday and Wednesday nights, and concerts on Friday and Saturday nights, it takes a toll.
The concerts were amazing, and it was great to get to do both a Friday and Saturday concert. We hate it when people are turned away, and the house was filled both nights. Hooray! Our hard work paid off, things came together at the last minute, and the sound was magical. It sounded like the fan favorites were Ding, Dong, Merrily on High, Tempest, and Adeste Fideles. Up on the Housetop is also fun, and hopefully that one will end up on the Choir’s YouTube channel someday soon.
We did something new this year and played a song from memory away from the tables, scattered about the tabernacle stage. Some were in the choir seats, some out on the edge of the stage. It was visually much more interesting to see the whole group away from the tables, not looking at our music, and hopefully smiling. I liked that song, but it seemed to get longer and longer every time we played it.
My personal favorites were:
–Adeste Fideles, which is a fancy name for O Come All ye Faithful. It’s showy and big, especially with the brass and organ. But, it’s not that hard to play.
-My other favorite was Tempest, which actually IS hard to play. But, I’m in a kind of easy spot for that one, so it’s not that stressful for me (because it’s all about me, right?), and once you get the hang of the crazy rhythms, it’s really fun to play.
Saturday night there were camera guys there to film Up on the Housetop. They say it will go on the Choir’s Youtube channel, but I’m less than hopeful. In the spring we spent a whole rehearsal with those guys filming our Flight of the Bumblebee, and we haven’t seen it online yet, but I’ll be sure to let you know when I find out it’s up there. I would LOVE to see that. It rattles us when there’s a camera guy right in front of our faces, though. Hopefully we didn’t totally lose it.
This week we will be enjoying No extra rehearsals, a little breather before the big Choir concert next month.