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!