Ideas for a last choir rehearsal
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,766
    Friends, tomorrow is going to be my last choir rehearsal with my choir of 5.5 years. I’m leaving on very happy (for me) terms, but it occurred to me that I should try to make tomorrow special for the choir. I’m wondering if anyone has any ideas of things I could do for them (bearing in mind we do actually need to rehearse to prepare for special music on Sunday).
  • Nisi
    Posts: 149
    Start rehearsal with a prayer, warm them up in a familiar way, set out some pieces that you know they generally love and sing them through, just for the sake of joy and prayer. Don't forget to leave them with some sincere words. And have some wine & cheese!
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 1,302
    Wine and some hors d'oeuvres at the end would be very nice
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,766
    Might make it champagne. Thanks for this suggestion. It would be a nice little thing to do.
  • GambaGamba
    Posts: 542
    I’m so glad you get this opportunity. I missed it when I was laid off at the start of the pandemic and had to find another job long before it was legal to get 35 people together, and I still grieve the missed chance to close that chapter properly.

    Probabalt goes without saying, but when I’ve gone, I’ve tried to express at the last rehearsal how grateful I am for each person, and what they’ve accomplished together in the good times and the bad times; for what I have learned in that parish; for how I was welcomed and supported; and to praise my successor and reiterate one more time the importance of singing in the liturgy. This last to hopefully prevent the future collapse of what I built and loved and sad phone calls about how “the new guy just isn’t like you and I don’t think I want to sing anymore”.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,766
    Yes; I have already been taking every opportunity to tell them how grateful I am for everything, not the least of which is all of them and how wonderful they have been to me. It helps that I am genuinely proud of what the choir has achieved, so they can read my sincerity.

    I’ve long issued (imaginary) “gold stars” to people whenever they do something good/funny/worth noticing; it is a big joke among us all. Well, one of my choir members gave me a brass gold star that she had engraved for me to thank me for my time. It was so thoughtful and I am touched deeply by it since it was no small effort for her to do that.

    I’ve also talked to them about really taking ownership of the music that we have learned so that they would feel empowered to keep the ball rolling in my absence. (They will live through an interim director for a few month until they can source a true replacement.) I’ve already reassured them that our Pastor has their back (I think the interim MD does too). We have a motto of “small but mighty” which genuinely suits them. I will try to build that up tonight, too.
  • Do something fun, like singing a parish announcement to Anglican chant.
  • Carol
    Posts: 854
    When my husband directed our little choir (now defunct) he would sometimes give out sightreading exercises for warm ups which were old TV themes. It was fun to see how long it took for someone to recognize the tune. If you have a lot of good readers, it wouldn't be as much of a joke as it was for us.
  • Like this, Carol?

    GC(low)
    C(high)AGC(low)
    GFEEFGC(low)DE
    GC(low)
    C(high)AGC(low)
    GFEEFGC(low)DC(low)
    Thanked by 3CHGiffen Carol Bri
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,500
    Food and drinks
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,766
    We had a one hour rehearsal, then went to the church basement and light libations were had and toasts were made. Then I gave them copies of Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman in latin from this collection https://forum.musicasacra.com/forum/uploads/FileUpload/74/129b76f2226eb6960b24e25aec8060.pdf

    And we went over to the rectory and sang these 'carols' to our Pastor who laughed heartily. It was wonderful.
  • francis
    Posts: 10,703
    I sang those Latin versions for my students last week
    Thanked by 1OMagnumMysterium
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,766
    Well, my choir out-did themselves once again by hosting a surprise party for me last night. (Nearly) the entire choir was there (not bad for a random Monday!), and it was an absolute blast.

    Here's a clip of them singing the St. Michael the Archangel prayer before dinner:
    https://youtu.be/MBnOuDWCW-0?si=hDfxbLFawp1dGvj_

    We played some fun games, including a "name that tune" where the specifically picked all the old tripe from our old hymnal that I had resolutely banished from the parish years ago. It was actually quite funny because we were all having trouble remembering what these things were since we had not sung them in years.

    They also shared their favorite memories of our time together, and it was quite special. They also presented me with a beautiful framed print of an illuminated manuscript of Ad Te Levavi, and they had it matted and all signed in the border. I absolutely treasure it.

    As a final surprise, my two closest co-conspirators raided the loft and brought about 10 of our favorite pieces of music to the party, so we got to have one final a cappella sing-along of some of our favorite rep. It was all very special and tender. I thought that Sunday would be my last moment with them, so this was such a special grace for me to lead them one last time.

    They have left my heart feeling so very, very full.

    I know we all lament the various frustrations of this ministry, but for once I want to sing the praises of the people who make what we do worth doing. I didn't deserve them.