Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Charleston, Post 2 - The choir

Day 3 of the Westminster Choir's schedule at the Spoleto Festival rehearsals was much like days 1 and 2. Music rehearsal in the morning, 10-12:30. Staging rehearsal for one of the operas, 2-5 pm. Staging rehearsal for one of the operas, 7-10 pm. Sprinkled in between are meetings with the costume shop and the wig shop for fittings.

The Westminster Choir has been a part of Spoleto Festival USA since the festival's founding in 1977. We serve as the opera choir for all the operas at the festival - last year there were three, this year there are two, Gounod's Roméo et Juliette and Mozart's Don Giovanni. The chorus for the Mozart is smaller, only using half the choir, and the full choir is in the Gounod. I am in the half of the choir that is performing in both. In addition, there is one performance of Mozart's Mass in C and two performances of the choir performing shorter works accompanied only with piano (a Bach motet, some of the Brahms Liebeslieder Waltzes, Barber's Reincarnations, etc.) We have two weeks of rehearsal before the festival to get the two operas staged - it's been three days, and they are almost entirely staged already - only a few scenes remain in each to really nail down. A good thing, too, because we begin orchestra rehearsals on both sets tomorrow.

Physically, staging is fairly exhausting (especially the Mozart, which involves sprinting around an auditorium in bare feet.) Mentally, being at Spoleto is more restful than being in school - after all, I only have to be where people tell me, and then do what other people tell me once I'm there. However, physical exhaustion alone can be overwhelming, and my wig fitting tomorrow is at 9:30 am (yes, I will be wearing a wig for the Gounod!) so it's off to bed for me.


  1. calabiyau3:56 AM

    We need pictures of you in that wig.

  2. To calabiyau:

    I'm not sure it's legal to post pictures of me before the festival opens! I'll see about afterwards. :) (I was fitted for my wig today - it is indeed black.)

  3. Anonymous1:10 AM

    I'm enjoying reading your comments about Spoleto and the Westminster Choir. I won't be there this year, but have attended other years, as my son is a former member of the Westminster Choir. He now performs with his ensemble in the Piccolo Spoleto part of the Festival; this is the ensemble's 5th year in a row with Piccolo.

    I'm so proud of the students of WCC as I'm aware of the exhausting schedule you all have; not like other colleges where you might have 2-3 classes a day with maybe a day off in between, and late afternoons & evenings for your studies. Oooooooh, no, no! You have classes all day with rehearsals all other times :) and concerts throughout the year plus tours and on and on it goes.

    My feeling is if you graduate from WCC, you are prepared for the rigors of the profession, right? I'm always amazed over the stamina and energy, joy, and dedication of WCC students.

    May you have a very successful run this year and all the best to you in your career at conducting!

  4. To Anonymous:

    Thanks for commenting! I suspect the Piccolo group you mentioned is Antioch, which I was lucky enough to hear - they were fantastic!

    Thanks for your good wishes. I certainly hope I'm prepared for the profession - I'll have to persuade somebody to give me a job before I find out. :)

  5. Anonymous8:36 PM

    Yes, Antioch is the ensemble I was referring to, and I'm really happy you enjoyed their concert. Don't forget to leave a message in their Guestbook on their website. You didn't mention if you knew them aside from the Piccolo association, but they have a very in-depth website with snippets and demos of their work.

    Let them know you enjoyed their concert. They have some music contacts in the NJ/NY area so they might be able to point you in the right direction regarding future employment. It certainly can't hurt to ask and they're a pretty nice and friendly group!

    I sure hope you get a chance to record your Spoleto experience on this site for future posterity's sake.

    Much success to you in your divine aspirations!