Monday, December 20, 2010

Singin' in the Choir... (plus a little more)

Let me explain why it has been so long since I’ve put up a new post. Both my laptop and the home computer crashed, leaving me with nothing to update with. For weeks I was checking emails on my phone and sneaking into my mom’s work to use the computers there. We now have a new home computer, so I can finally take some time to catch up…
There is way too much to update in one entry, so I’m gonna split it up a bit. So check back regularly ‘cause there is going to be a few more entries coming.
I wasn’t selected for the Scott Alan Master Classes which I had written the essay for. L Oh well. Like I had said, the experience of writing that essay was just as important to me in my own process of becoming a professional actor, singer, dancer, and choreographer. I learned about how much theatre truly is to me, and how I cannot live without it in my life. Sure, it would have been amazing to have these master classes as I entered the city, but I don’t, and that’s just fine. I’m still gonna make it, just in my own way now.
As you know from older posts, I have been singing in a bunch of choirs in the Connecticut area these past few weeks. They have all been an absolute blast to be a part of. There was the Shoreline Soul concert in early December. What a joy it was to sing in that choir. Everyone was so happy singing and loving being there. Not to mention Angela Clemmons, the choir director, is a pure genius. She has the art in her teaching/choir directing of being able to get to the point, requiring excellence, while also being joyful and fun. I hope to emulate her leadership talents in my own endeavors with choreographing and directing; she’s knows how to get it done and have fun doing it. For this concert, I had a solo: “When the Battle is Over”. Now, this was an alto solo, which I sang in the alto range… K I hit the notes, and people really enjoyed it, but when I heard the recording, I couldn’t help but cringe. I’ve been told that you have to wait a full year after a performance to truly separate yourself from the piece and hear the recording with a fresh ear. So maybe that’s it, but all I know is that I didn’t like what I heard coming from my mouth. It sounded shriek-y and strained. I’ll listen again in a year…
The next concert I sang in was the Guilford Congregational Church’s “Lessons and Carols” concert. I was asked by my good friend Stuart to come and be an extra first tenor with them, to add a bit more voice to the complex songs they were singing. See, my church doesn’t have a choir for services, so it was so fun to be singing church music, in a church, for church. J There was that basis of truth and joy that underlined all of the work we did on each song. The messages for each song were to express in fullness all the qualities in which we as singers could express, reaching all those in the congregation. This experience reminded me how to sing from the heart, and with heart, in the music we sang to express in full harmony.
My last choir experience this holiday season was with Rob Mathes’ Christmas concert at the Palace Theater in Stamford. After having sung in Rob’s encore performance of “At Night A Song Is With Me” I was so excited to be singing again in his annual Christmas concert. It’s all original arrangements, plus some original songs, for a truly entertaining night of holiday songs. This concert went from solid rock, to funky jazz, to sweet ballad, blending perfectly together with the Christmas spirit. Being the end of my sudden stint with choir work, I was seeing how much better my sight-reading skills had become over these past few weeks. I’ve been able to sight-read music before, but never this well, and it was so cool to see and feel that transformation. I’m now seeing music in a whole new light, being able to see intervals and make connections from previous measures, all the while fitting in with the tenor section as well as the rest of the choir. I hope that I can continue to sing with Rob in his Christmas concert for years to come. It truly was a blessing to be up on stage singing and really got me into the Christmas spirit with his truly moving music.
And then I was done. After weeks and weeks of rehearsals, each choir only had one performance. Only one performance to show what we had created together, what we made as a collective group of individuals that feel pure happiness while we are singing. I hope I can continue this work as I now realize after having four years away from it in college, I love singin’ in the choir.