Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Cathedral in Parts

The Episcopal Cathedral of San Diego has an intimidating choir. But even the experts need a vacation, so for the month of July, they have an all-volunteer choir that consists of whoever shows up an hour before Mass. BP sings with a Roman Catholic folk choir which is her primary connection to the RC church. She's pretty serious about music and sings multi-part pieces well. Me, I did some casual choral singing for fun about 20 years ago. And i took classical piano as a child so I read music. So when BP suggested that we go for summer choir today, I thought it sounded interesting. Before I thought better of it, that is.

I think we both had second thoughts this morning (an "oh my, what are we getting into?") but each of us went for the other. And BP agreed to sing alto with me rather than her more usual tenor. So that's how it happened that at 9.30 we were sitting in the choir room of the Cathedral with some other newcomers. Fortunately there were some regular choir members with lots of experience who were also there, although it was a near thing because there were no sopranos until 9.50!

I had forgotten how much work it is to sing parts; keeping track of the timing, not to mention the notes of your part, without getting distracted by the other sections; reading a piece of music you've never seen before, while trying simultaneously to read the words AND watch the conductor. We managed to learn the basics of chant for the psalm, and the a cappella anthem, and then were outfitted in borrowed vestments for the processional (yes, that's me in the photo). This being the Cathedral, the processional is a big crowd. And then, did I mention that there were several other hymns in parts that we didn't practice ahead of time? I'm way out of practice sightsinging....fortunately we had two more experienced altos in the section we could follow. Phew!

The funniest thing was at the beginning of Mass when the Dean looked over casually to the choir and then did a classic double take when we saw us. He knows our faces, because we've been around for a while now, but I don't think he knows our names or our story. In any case, he had a big grin for us at the end of the service.

We met lots of nice new people in the choir so we may go back this month for another go at this somewhat terrifying experience. But I don't think I aspire to regular participation beyond the summer -- too much work!

Here I thought that I was going to GC to for my online friends, whom I've never met. Turns out I'll know people there already, and we'll be seeing a bunch of our new San Diego friends too. Funny!

23 comments:

Ann said...

IT in vestments? yikes -- it's the end of world - rapture any moment.

Ginny said...

Good for you! The worst is over, you're an experienced chorister after the first processional and the first "Oops, we didn't go over this in rehearsal" experience.

I've sung in more than a few "potluck choirs" and they can be a great way to break the ice and make new friends.

The vestments suit you, too. :D

James said...

You can protest until the cows come home, but, my dear friend and sister IT, you ARE one of us. :) :) :) :)

You've made my day by your post. I wish I could send you the smile I'm wearing.

E-mail me the picture so I can make it my wallpaper for the week!

JCF said...

Heh-heh: wot James said.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Hip, hip hooray! Or Praise the Lord! Or something. I never thought I'd see the day.

I'm looking forward to meeting you.

IT said...

James, dear, you are funny! I'll send you a picture of the two of us together, once one of our new friends sends it to me from his phone. My only sadness about Anaheim is that you and I won't meet there....but we will.

Glad to provide the rest of you with some amusement! :-)

IT said...

James, send me an email with your new address and I'll send you a pic back!

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

I love this having sung in different choirs (also the Concert Hall) for some years. At church it's very hands on and never enough rehearsals... But it works - always.

TheraP said...

One step at a time.... Life is so full of surprises!

Peace be with you. :)

James said...

I think that at the Integrity Eucharist, Fr. Jake should baptize you, IT. I'll make sure we have some holy water handy. Hey, +Robinson could baptize you! Now THAT would be something to blog about.

Okay, it's settled. You're gettin' baptized.

James said...

PS Mimi can be your god mother. :)

Grandmère Mimi said...

James, I'd be honored to be IT's godmother, except that I believe that she's already baptized.

IT said...

And also confirmed, Mimi. Quite legal in all respects, in fact. I was even educated through the 8th grade by nuns. (BP was fortunate to escape the parochial school experience so I tease her that I am more Catholic than she....!)

Just this pesky little faith problem in the way.

Grandmère Mimi said...

There you go. Just a simple matter of reception into the church - whenever you're ready, of course. ;o)

crolo said...

Just this pesky little faith problem in the way.

Oh faith, schmaith. If you're doing the labora for the Cathedral (by singing in the choir), that makes up for (i.e., IS) the ora!

Have a good GC y'all!

S said...

I remember the first sentence to memorize in Wheelock's basic Latin text:

Labor me vocat.

...what crolo said.

And what a wonderful idea for a summer choir. Now if only we could scrap all but the cotta (for choir members on the larger size)...

--sheila--

S said...

all vestments but the cotta.

I don't think the congregation is ready for much more.

James said...

Good enough, Mimi will be IT's sponsor. Now, for the reception, I was thinking of watercress sandwiches and tea cakes. Sherry and tea of course and coffee for those who don' have any better upbringing. Any other suggestions? Oh, and of course the good silver.

Grandmère Mimi said...

James, that sounds lovely. I make an excellent cucumber sandwich with a tasty spread on the decrusted and quartered slices.

IT said...

Only the flattest white bread, please. And watercress, I love watercress. Can I request fresh scones with strawberry jam and clotted cream? Or is that too much? Oh lawdy I'm flashing back to Oxford...

And I'm also flashing back to college with mention of Wheelock.....and of course Latin drills (amo amas amat...)

Grandmère Mimi said...

And the cucumber sliced very thin, too.

Sorry, I can't help with the baking.

James said...

As the time is short, the heat is rising and Mimi is unwilling to assist with the baking, the scones are being flown in from a wee shop in Luss on the southern tip of Loch Lomond. The Devenshire creme will arrive sometime tomorrow.

IT said...

Quite, quite mad.

Because after all: I'm not.