Last Rehearsal Before Christmas/How is it Going?
  • Carol
    Posts: 454
    Last year someone started a discussion called "How is Everybody Holding Up?" or something like that. I am pleased to say that our last choir practice before Christmas went very well. A few things could be a bit tighter, but nothing appears to be destined to be a train wreck and that is about as good as it gets with a small town choir. Hope you all are in as good or even better shape with your choir.
  • TCJ
    Posts: 623
    Everything is pretty good. The sopranos have their parts, the altos are fairly confident, the basses are generally solid. The tenors are struggling. We lost our best tenor early this year and the second best hasn't been able to make practice for a month, so one of the men who usually sings bass is filling in, but he's not as comfortable with tenor. We'll get through.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,960
    The people who came to rehearsal did well. My only concern is a couple who could not be there. They don't always sight read as well as they think, especially the diva who thinks there is nothing left anyone can teach her. But we will make it. We always do. If in doubt play louder.

    Is anyone else really tired?
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 1,449
    Our usual Thursday evening rehearsal was our advent carol party... Mulled wine, mince pies, carols followed by game casserole with yet more wine! We did have a short discussion as to who will be singing at the various services over the next 2+ weeks, now I have to sort out the music...

    We start with the full Saturday Ember day Mass tomorrow... and then we will be singing every day with our day off on the Feast of the Holy Innocents...
  • Elmar
    Posts: 113
    The 'younger'choir did really well. The 'older' choir struggled a bit, but they were working very hard to get the best out if it, even if that meant that the rehearsal was a bit longer ... and both choirs asked vor 15 minutes more of pre-Mass rehearsal than originally scheduled, to be sure that we can have another look at every critical detail.

    It is heartwarming to see how dedicated they are (compared, e.g., to my home parish).
  • Tomjaw,

    Doesn't St. Thomas take precedence?
  • Carol
    Posts: 454
    Tomjaw's choir sounds like more fun than mine! No mince pies or wine for us. I wonder if our pastor will thank everyone down to the office staff and custodian at the end of Midnight Mass but forget to thank the volunteer choir who have rehearsed for weeks on end again.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,960
    I wonder if our pastor will thank everyone down to the office staff and custodian at the end of Midnight Mass but forget to thank the volunteer choir who have rehearsed for weeks on end again.


    How did my pastor get to your church for Midnight Mass?
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 1,449
    @Chris St. Thomas is today, or was today as it is evening here, tomorrow soon approaching will be the Ember Saturday!
    Thanked by 1cesarfranck
  • Carol
    Posts: 454
    The first time this happened I felt sorry for him and he came up to the choir loft to thank us with great chagrin. Then it happened at least one more time and a near miss another time! Then I didn't feel sorry for him. If you know you may forget someone then prepare a note card to aid your memory!

    I had no idea others had experienced this as well.
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,402
    Thankfully we don't do the Liturgy of the Thank Yous.

    I have been dreading Christmas this year: But thanks to serving Low Mass this morning, I think I can face it*.

    Our Christmas rehearsal is this Sunday. I just finalized the music list last week--which is rare for me, usually I've got that done by October at the latest--but I might make a change or two. Let's just see if I can find everything in the music dungeon!

    *Yes, Missa Solemnis should be the norm, but a nice Low Mass is very restorative for a musician!
  • Carol
    Posts: 454
    I wouldn't mind if the pastor skipped the "Litany of Thank Yous." A personal thank you note directed to the all volunteer choir after the fact would be preferable since it requires more effort than a "shout out" and would be more fitting to the decorum of a Mass.
  • Found out last Sunday, after having practiced tenor for a month, that I'll probably be asked to cover alto - the regular section leader having gone home to Michigan to visit family. And I found this out second-hand.

    And remember that little carol-singing/rumble I mentioned a few posts back? Well, it happened again, and I went. Fun enough, and drinking happened so that's always good. As expected, the general cast of characters for this event seemed like extras from a Whit Stillman movie. And the singing section lasted all of thirty-five minutes. Which seemed short to me, but hey, priorities, right? (They even graced it with an article in the local paper, which even manages to capture the sort of sectarian shenanigans bubbling just under the surface.)

    The most bizarre part was when one of my friends sent out a lengthy email telling all of us how attending this event is TRUE evangelization, and how things like FOCUS and Habitat for Humanity aren't truly up to its level. (He didn't attend last night, in case you were wondering.) I took a little umbrage at this.

    But yeah. Working Christmas Eve and Day. I'll be able to sing midnight but family time looks like it isn't happening. Looks like another holiday season fortified with 'traditional' egg nog.
  • Carol
    Posts: 454
    Merry Christmas, Stimson!
  • Finally at peace with Christmas eve music. Did some minor monitoring and adjusting. Choir trebles are great and have a guest "ringer" to help my baritones. Strings and trumpet are ready to go. Preparing for our 30th post midnight mass eggnog and grazing party at our home.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen Carol
  • And, 5pm "family" service is what it is and will be what it will be. Fortunate to have small and excellent ensemble from choir singing at that service.
    Thanked by 1Carol
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,960
    We do things the old fashioned way, choir sings prelude at 11:30 p.m. with Midnight Mass to follow. Back for the 8:00 a.m. mass the following day. Older lady who clamored for us to sing a piece she likes informed us she will not be there and will be out of town. One of these days I am going to hide their hearing aid batteries to get even.
  • Perfectly. I'm at peace with it all.

    The Latin Mass Choir insisted, despite being behind schedule, that we go through with the Victoria Missa O Magnum for Midnight Mass. We called extra rehearsals and we are rock solid.

    The Caecilian Choir had a fantastic Wednesday night rehearsal with brass. Smooth on all of the usual repertoire, and impeccable on the Handel "And the Glory"!

    The little kids (about 30 elementary choristers) ready to go for the 4 p.m. Mass. Some of them adding simple descants on certain parts.

    Altogether, it's in wonderful shape. Can't wait for Christmas!
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 1,820
    I month ago I was entertaining a fantasy of taking a swing at a well intentioned friend who suggested I cope with the bah-humbugs by rewarding myself and my wife (also a church musician) with an elaborately planned getaway trip for Dec. 26.

    Much better to let someone else do the cooking though: in the SF Bay Area one can look forward to Jonathan Dimmock's regular performances of La Nativité du Seigneur during 'dead week', this time last Tuesday at Oakland's Cathedral on the Létourneau organ, almost the perfect instrument with remarkably full yet gentle fortissimi (quibbles are the astoundingly loud air conditioning and a 6/4 ending to La Suffrance, the result of a resultant). These concerts have previously been late at night, and a few conspicuous absences from this 7:30 performance were of musicians that had rehearsal conflicts. May they find similar refreshment!
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • canadashcanadash
    Posts: 1,397
    This year it is not as well as the last few, but such is life. We've lost a few people, but they brought down our pitch, so we rarely go flat anymore!

    I'm glad my two sons are home from university to help the basses and tenors.
  • Carol
    Posts: 454
    So, we just finished our early "Midnight" Mass and Father thanked the choir FIRST and mentioned our long weeks of preparation! And we sounded best we ever have, so all were happy and it was a wonderful celebration of the Nativity!

    Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,960
    We had a couple of errors, but with only 10 people in the choir we did well, considering too many were out of town. Now let's get 4 hours of sleep and go back for the morning masses.
  • Carol
    Posts: 454
    As a volunteer, I am thankful that I can choose my level of participation on Christmas Day. I opted to only sing on Christmas Eve since I was cooking a sit down dinner for twelve on Christmas Day.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,960
    In the aftermath - sounds like I am describing a war scene or natural disaster doesn't it? I went home after Christmas day masses, slept a few hours, then listened to my sister tell me everything about everyone I didn't even want to know, and watched some really dreadful television. I'm told I will look back on it all fondly some time in the future. Stranger things have happened, I guess. But I surely am glad it's all over.
  • JesJes
    Posts: 510
    Last and only rehearsal was 15 minutes because the choir didn’t rock up until 15 minutes before carols service.
    I didn’t feel like I was holding up at the time.
    But it was a success.
    Thanked by 3CHGiffen CharlesW Carol
  • All good. Numbers were strong, with occasional and past participants and out of town guests. Not particularly subtle musically, but solid. Rehearsal time has been an issue, since Christmas and its octave fell on our normal rehearsal day. I planned 3 weeks ahead to rehearse after Christmas Day Mass, and nobody had an opinion, then on Christmas it was "I have a turkey in the oven!"

    Small miracle: we were going to do the Specialnik Codex "In natali Domini" for communion. Our guys leave after the Agnus and are first in line, and I and Ralph do the Communio. We're wrapping up, and hardly anyone is in the loft...OK, do another verse. STILL not all there; they'd gotten stuck in the Communion line. I look: we have our women and a solid bass and me on tenor. So "OK, here goes nothing." And it was LOVELY.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,960
    I sometimes dream of the possibilities when robotics reaches the point where I can have robot singers. No "turkey in the oven," out of town visitors, rough voices from yelling too much at a ball game, cars that don't malfunction, alarms that don't go off, alarms where the snooze button doesn't exist, no convenient but very minor illnesses blown out of proportion, and on and on and on.
    Thanked by 3Carol CHGiffen Elmar
  • Carol
    Posts: 454
    We are fortunate (or not if you feel as Charles does about deacons) in that a deacon brings Holy Eucharist up to us in the choir loft. Our organist plays while we receive and have a moment to pray and then we sing. The long staircase itself can take one's breath away even if there is no long line to receive.
    Thanked by 2CharlesW CHGiffen
  • Carol,

    It wouldn't be how I feel about Deacons that would make me object. I think Fr. Rutler put it well when he said that the liturgical reform would be completed when the last guitar is broken over the head of the last un-necessary minister of Holy Communion. (I grant your point completely, by the way, about stairs, and I am the organist in the choir and also a singer in it).
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,960
    We do the same, Carol. Someone brings communion up to the loft. Our choir has reached the age where it becomes too winded if it climbs our long and twisted stairs more than once per morning. Some of them are only able to advance one step at a time very slowly. Unfortunately, our deacons do not always do so well with those stairs either.

    A DM in a neighboring town told me the only reason they moved their choir out of the loft and down front, was that most of them couldn't handle the stairs. Age can do that to you, unfortunately.
    Thanked by 3CHGiffen Carol Elmar
  • ...where I can have robot singers.


    If previous church law is any indication, robot singers will be banned from the Mass.
    I have my moments where AI seems far preferable to no intelligence at all.
    Thanked by 3CharlesW CHGiffen Elmar
  • My organist and I, if we ever win the lottery, have made a pact to fund a discreet elevator with the winnings. Choir loft stairs - problem solved! :-)

    Edited to add: Of course, so far we've won nothing. A fire pole is looking more like it
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,960
    I was thinking more of a slide like used for airplane evacuations. Either that, or back to the old St. Paul in a basket trick.
    Thanked by 1mmeladirectress