The Minute They Get It
  • TCJ
    Posts: 597
    So I have been working with a particular choir for a couple years. Members have been in and out (mostly out) but I finally got a small group that reliably shows up. All of them were grandfathered in from the time before I managed the choir. I would say that were I doing a tryout most likely would not have chosen some of them to be in the choir. Anyway, for a couple years I have been working with them trying to get a better sound out of them including, staying on pitch and knowing a low pitch from a high one. Yes, it could be trying at times.

    I could describe the voices as: on pitch but way too soft, braying donkey - off pitch, consistently two notes below pitch, and good voice but afraid to use it. For about the past six months we've been having practices in which they sing much better and then forget everything on Sunday. Last week, however, I wonder if I didn't have doppelgangers or something in the choir.

    The donkey was gone. The tentative voice was gone . And the one who sang off pitch consistently was on pitch. Not only that, but all three of the women suddenly started singing in their head voices very clearly, strongly, and accurately. It wasn't a professional moment, but I felt like I had a choir and everything was clicking at once. What's more, they didn't forget it on Sunday.

    Is this what is called a Eureka moment? A mirage that will disappear? Or does it just take two years for some people to find their voices?

    (As an aside, I had some other members with really good voices who carried it, but they did not stay with the choir.)
  • Carol
    Posts: 326
    Were they all standing in their usual places or could you attribute the improvement to someone standing in a different spot? Whatever happened I hope and pray it continues! Maybe they got better because they were listening better to one another.
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,533
    Love your descriptors;
    are they represented on (pokemon?) cards or something?
    The two or three cats I herd take turns,
    as if the deck is shuffled and each picks one to imitate during Rehearsal,
    then trade cards during the Prelude which is between Rehearsal and Mass.
    Two years? Thanks for the heads up! Sigh.
    Thanked by 2Carol StimsonInRehab
  • Happened with me in voice lessons. One day after a couple years my teacher's wife came out of her home office and said 'Wow, that's lovely!'. All the efforts and exercises finally started to click.
    Thanked by 1Carol
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,388
    I had been thoroughly ticked off by an anthem the choir blew two weeks ago. They knew it, just were zoned out and not paying attention. A lead tenor was out and one of the old basses tends to lean against the back wall and doze. This past Sunday, however, they nailed every note in the anthem and it was beautiful. There is a rose window above the loft with a representation of the Holy Spirit descending at Pentecost. I looked at the window and silently said, "thank you."
  • TCJ
    Posts: 597
    In answer to a couple questions:

    Carol: They were in their usual spots. I have been stressing listening to them a lot because it seems for the longest time they didn't.

    EFT: I don't even know what Pokemon is, sorry.
  • are they represented on (pokemon?) cards or something?


    I remember one Colloquium - the celebrated M.J. Ballou gave a discussion entitled "How to Deal With Choir Types", in which she dealt with the Campbellian choir stereotypes all directors have to deal with: "Donna Diva", "Lois Lost", "Frankie Flat", and so forth. I should get in touch with her to send me her list of names, so we could get baseball cards made for each of them.
  • I wonder if she covered "Pete Politico", who uses practice time to discuss current events
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,388
    Or Parish Council Pete whose nose is in everything which he tries to run and dominate.
    Thanked by 2StimsonInRehab Carol
  • Carol
    Posts: 326
    Pokemon is a series of playing cards children collect, trade and play a game with. The cards have pictures of made up creatures who possess certain skills or powers that are assigned points. My sons had hours of fun playing with these cards when they were young.
  • How about Molly Mumbles and Terrified Teresa, who have been roped into singing by enthusiastic, optimistic elders, very much against their will? I suppose there's a chance that in a few years they'll gain some confidence.
    Thanked by 2CharlesW Carol
  • Maybe Molly Mumbles and Terrified Teresa are related to Yesmaam Yesmina, or Obedient Obediah,
    who don't have any inclination to sing,
    but whose parents really want to hear them singing?
    I've met both of these.

    And then there's Vanishing Victor (or Victoria),
    who come to a first practice, and express an intense interest & good will,
    but are never seen again.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen Carol
  • Drop-in Danielle is Vanishing Victor's sister. She appears one day at Mass, joins the choir, and everyone assumes she was invited by someone else. Only at the end after she has disappeared without a word do we figure out no one knows her.
    Thanked by 2Carol CHGiffen
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,388
    I have started giving new singers photocopies of music until I am sure they will stay with us. Otherwise, I could have someone drop in for two or three rehearsals then depart, with $50. + of music and hymnals never to be seen again.
    Thanked by 2Carol CHGiffen