Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Gig report: King's Chapel Choir

Last Sunday evening I sang in a concert with King's Chapel Choir. The program was:

Aaron Copland: In The Beginning
Samuel Barber: Agnus Dei (Adagio for Strings)
Daniel Pinkham: The Creation of the World
Leonard Bernstein: Chichester Psalms

Obviously I don't sing with the King's Chapel Choir regularly, since I'm at First Parish Cohasset on Sunday mornings, but I'm lucky enough that HC, the music director at King's Chapel, has asked me to join them for a couple of concerts in their concert series this year to expand their alto section.

This is kind of the perfect gig. There were only 3 rehearsals for this concert, including the dress rehearsal. (This is key - a fun gig that doesn't eat your life!) The repertoire is interesting and challenging. The choir is a friendly bunch of people as well as high-level musicians, and rehearsals strike that great balance between intensely focused and kind of hilarious because people are making puns and jokes under their breath. And a lot of the attitude is due to HC, who really keeps things efficiently moving in rehearsal with a sort of dry wit. He also has faith that people will go home and look at their music, so he never wastes too much time drilling anything. Of course, he is also lucky enough to have a choir that DOES go home and look at their music. Of course, that's probably because he invites people to join the choir who are responsible as well as's like the greenhouse effect, except awesome.

Even so, I have to confess that I was a little nervous after the dress rehearsal on Saturday, when I did not feel at all secure in a good many sections of the music, and I didn't seem to be the only one. But hey presto, the warm-up Sunday was far more solid, and the performance went great. And finally I have to say that the mezzo soloist on the Copland, Heather Holland, was AWESOME.

How did I land this great gig? Pretty simple - I e-mailed HC last fall, asked to sing for him, we scheduled a time to do so, I went in, sang for him, competently sight-read everything he put in front of me, he kindly put me on the sub list, and then I waited. That's the way it works, folks! In case you were wondering, which I certainly was 2 years ago.